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Aug 7, 2007 11:54 AM

Santa Fe Dinner recommendation

Hey, good-eating friends. San Francisco Chowhounder here.

I am passing through Santa Fe on an up-coming road trip, and will have ONE night for a dinner in Santa Fe. I have read the Chowhound boards pretty thoroughly and have read the new NYTimes travel article on Santa Fe (Aug 5, 2007 - <> what luck, huh?).

I'd like to get a 'conclusive' answer as to where to eat my ONE dinner in Santa Fe. I am not so concerned about price. I just want ZERO regrets that I did the best I could with my one meal: I would squeeze in two dinners in one night if it were at all possible.

So, to limit the discussion:

1. Please, don't tell me to go to Albuquerque....I have read all the debates between the Santa Fe'ers and the Albuquerquians. I will be in Santa Fe for this trip and that's just the way it has to be this time.

2. I'd like to stick with relatively 'local' cuisine. (Trattoria Nostrani sounds interesting, but I can have great Italian and French food in San Francisco.


3. I am debating between Anasazi, Geronimo, and Ristra, primarily. Which of these 3 would be the best 'quintessential' New Mexico dinner? If there is an absolute must other than one of these three, please let me know. (Or, please steer me away from 'unauthentic' ones.) But, it seems these three keep popping up.

Thanks for the help!


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  1. Anasazi, Geronimo and Ristra are upscale restaurants with Southwestern influence although Ristra has more French than New Mexico in it. For the "quintessential" New Mexico experience, my suggestion would be the Plaza Restaurant and order a bowl of posole with a sopapilla, the carne adovada plate with flour tortillas and a side tamale. Wash it down with a Tesuque beer and then have a piece of their lemon merengue pie for dessert.

    1 Reply
    1. re: IslayMan

      Anasazi ? Geronimo ? Ristra ? Tough choice for that ONE meal... Were it me, I'd go to the Anasazi of those three. That said, if you've not been to Santa Fe before, I'd have that meal at Mark Miller's Coyote Cafe. Dismiss the suggestion of going to Las Vegas, New Mexico; there simply isn't much there to call quintessential. As for the debate between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, there ARE very good restaurants in ABQ but serious foodies in ABQ absolutely know to drive north to Santa Fe for fine dining and many choices.

      The Plaza is terrific and part of "being in Santa Fe". It's NOT fine dining. It's comfort, and hamburgers ormeatloaf or an omlette in the morning.

    2. It has been a while since I've been there, but I have had several very nice meals at Santacafe.

      1. From my perspective, the only place, that leaves me with zero regrets is Geronimo. It's a a shame I can't afford to go there more often.

        1. FOr the very best, drive about 30 miles to Las Vegas NM, to Blackjack's at The Inn on the Santa Fe Trail, easy to get to I-40 from there, and the food is some of the best and most innovative I've had in ages. We divert our semiannual N to SW journey specifically to stay in that little motel and eat at that restaurant. You never know what you're going to get, but I've never been disappointed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dragonfare

            I think you're memory might be a little rusty. Las Vegas is about 70 miles and a little over an hour drive from Santa Fe on I-25. I-40 runs east-west through Albuquerque. With all the great choices in Santa Fe, this would not be my ideal recommendation for a single dinner.

            1. re: IslayMan

              Ah, thank you for the correction, IslayMan: I've only made that particular trip once or twice, in a trip of quite a few more miles, so it seemed short.

              But the food really is good. ;)

          2. JCR - if you are out there... where did you end up? Any reports/regrets?

            I am basically a SF Chowhounder looking for classic Southwestern/NM cuisine. But I will also be visiting with my 2 (cutie-pie) nieces ... so the place should be kid friendly and not necessarily a top/fine-dining restaurant. Just something that locals like to eat.

            If you have any suggestions in Santa Fe for me please let me know. Oh, and I love sopapillas and green chiles!!!

            Thanks, S