Need Recommendations for Sante Fe NM Trip
We will be traveling from Phoenix to Santa Fe in a few weeks, and wanted to find out some chowish recommendations for meals that represent the unique foods and flavors of the area. We would like a few lunch choices, a few dinner recommendations, with one "special" celebration dinner. Special entrees that we shouldn't miss are a plus.
If there is a special favorite restaurant in either Taos or ABQ, we might be up for that as well.
It's difficult to go wrong in Santa Fe. There are so many great places to eat. Try to visit Cafe Pasqual for me; I've ached to go there ever since I read their cookbook but I haven't had the chance yet. Bobcat Bite, a fixture for years south of town on the old Las Vegas Highway, is hugely renowned for its green chile-cheeseburgers.
In Taos we like Orlando's New Mexican Cafe (on the highway heading north out of Taos) for the modest, casual atmosphere and great food typical of the area. Alley Cantina, near downtown, has tasty blue-corn-battered fish and chips. Dragonfly Cafe, also near downtown, serves some creative and delicious breakfasts.
A few miles north of Taos, in Arroyo Seco, you might be lucky enough to find Gypsy 360 open and serving outstanding New Mexican and Asian-inspired dishes. Sadly, they don't seem to be open for dinner. Google "gypsy 360" for some reviews.
In Albuquerque I would suggest Jennifer James 101. Not New Mexican, but new and definately worth a trip.
Definitely try Mu Du Noodles in Santa Fe. It's in an unassuming strip but the food is excellent and the atmosphere is nice. Sit outside on the back patio if it's nice out. There will be a short wait but it's worth it. This is a locals spot that you probably wouldn't find on your own (I think it's on Cerrillos Rd.). I also really like El Farol on Canyon Road for tapas. They have a salsa band and dancing on the weekends, just a really great Santa Fe vibe and great food as well.
The Shed (near the square) for green chile enchiladas.... away from downtown is Maria's -- everything is good, especially the margaritas.... fancy? Geronimo is the most romantic restaurant I've eaten in. Cafe Pasqual is a must, but do breakfast there (just be prepared to stand in line).
I grew up in Santa Fe and worked in several restaurants over the years and reviewed for the New Mexican for a while.
For the special dinner, I second the Geronimo tip. It's very expensive though. Bobcat bite and Mu Du also are excellent. I'm not a fan of Maria's. It's a tourist dump and has mediocre food. The Shed is ancient but still good, as is Tomasita's - another tourist standby. A great experience is to go to Lamy and eat at the restaurant in the old train car. I think they do lunch only and it's the only food in town so you can't miss it (full disclosure - I used to work with the chef). Also the drive is pretty. The Galisteo Inn falls in the category of good food/nearby trip.
Many people like Harry's Roadside Cafe. The food is so-so but the experience is great. Break fast is the best bet there. On the way out to Harry's there used to be a good roadside stand with Cajun food - not sure if it's still there but worth a try. On 2nd St. check out Back Street Pizza and Cloud Cliff Bakery. On the plaza, the Plaza Diner is astonishingly good for such a central location.
In Taos, the Trading Post Cafe (http://taoswebb.com/menu/tradingpost/) is worth a visit.
First off, Juniorworm notes Clod Cliff Bakery on Second Street... sorry to report that they have closed blaming Santa Fe's "Living Wage" law.
Also, as for the fine dining choices, there have been two recent ownership chages in town.
The executive chef of Geronimo is now a partner in Coyote Cafe and the common wisdom is that that restaurant is back to being among the town's very best.
And, noted chef Martin Rios left the restaurant at the Inn of the Anasazi to become a partner at Geronimo.
Musical chefs, sure, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you which restaurant is The Best now on any given day.
Have a great visit !