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Need Recommendations for Sante Fe NM Trip

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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.



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  1. 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.

    1. In Albuquerque I would suggest Jennifer James 101. Not New Mexican, but new and definately worth a trip.

      1. 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.

        1. 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).

          1. 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.

            2 Replies
            1. re: juniorworm

              Oh I forgot about the Plaza Diner. That is a great restaurant with a little bit of everything. Nothing like a beer with limejuice and salt with breakfast! I had the mole bowl once and everybody at the table was jealous of my food.

              1. re: juniorworm

                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 !

              2. Hate to be repetitive, but Geronimo provided us with an outstanding food and wine experience. I'll go back there in a heartbeat next time I visit Santa Fe. Agree with it being spendy though. Worth every penny I left there!

                1. Thanks for all of the great options!

                  Now comes the difficult task to try and decide on which ones will get the nod. It sounds like The Shed for sure, and probably Geronimo. We need to do some more research on menus, etc. before we make any more choices.

                  1. Among high-end restaurants, the best are probably Coyote Cafe, Tratoria Nostrani (beware strict no-cologne, no-perfume policy), and the Compound. Jury's still out on the new Geronimo. The Old House at the Eldorado Hotel is quite good too. A nice newcomer we tried last night is Mauka on Agua Fria, next to Ristra....great Asian fusion cuisine and outdoor dining.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: girlgourmet

                        Had lunch w/ my Boss last Thursday @ Harry's Roadhouse.
                        It's very cute...we only had salads...they were great! we both had the Southwest Chopped Salad....it was chock full of local veggies. Jicama, corn, beans,..and a side of corn bread! It was perfect for a hot June afternoon.
                        The patio is adorable!

                        Harry's Roadhouse
                        96B Old Las Vegas Hwy, Santa Fe, NM 87505

                    1. Visited Santa Fe about a month ago. Cafe Pasqual is a must for breakfast. The wait is worth it. Coyote Cafe is putting out amazing,creative meals, dish after dish. Can't imagine finding better in Santa Fe. The Old House was very good and Inn of the Anasazi was even better but Coyote Cafe blew them all away

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kennyr

                        We had some high hopes to find some great restaurants in Santa Fe -- thanks for all of the good suggestions. We hit The Shed for dinner, and the green chile enchiladas were good, not great. Pretty good salsa and guacamole.

                        For breakfast, we chose something close by (Bagelmania) before we started out of town. Pretty standard and reasonably priced, but nothing special. Wanted to try one of these suggestions for lunch, but got caught out of town touring some interesting places.

                        For our second night, we looked over the menu at Geronimo's, among some other choices, but found the tapas menu at El Farol very interesting, so we made reservations there. The food and service were outstanding, along with the patio dining. We had a leisurely dinner, especially enjoying the Ceviche de Atun (tuna), Puerco Asado (pork tenderloin with figs), Caldo Pescado (saffron-potato soup!), Gambas Parilladas (grilled shrimp with mango-chipotle cream sauce), and Aguacate (crispy fried avocado). Our leisurely walk down Canyon Road was very pleasant, with some very nice gardens, fountains, sculptures, etc.

                        We looked over the menu at Jennifer James 101 in Albuquerque, and were almost tempted to drive down there from Santa Fe for dinner, but our trip was cut short. Will make sure to stop in on our next trip.

                        Had to leave the next morning, and thought about trying to get in to Cafe Pasqual, but opted to get out early so we could come back home. The last two hours without air conditioning was brutal, so we were glad that we had started early.

                        Thanks for all of the suggestions. So many places to try and so little time, but next time we will be armed and ready.