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Delicious Dives in Santa Fe?

My husband and I are planning a fall trip there and love to eat but not necessarily at picey restaurants. I'm looking for good Mexican and Southwestern style food that doesn't cost and arm and a leg.

Any suggestions along these lines?

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  1. Here is a list of great places to eat in Santa Fe that will leave you a few clams in your pocket:

    The Pantry
    Guadalupe Cafe
    Blake's Lottaburger for green chile cheeseburgers
    Santa Fe Baking Company
    A bit more $ but highly tasty is Maria's

    1. The Plaza Restaurant
      Mariscos la Playa
      Bobcat Bites
      Horseman's Haven

      Sorry, I've never understood the attraction to Tomasita's. It's always crowded with tourists and I find it to be mediocre at best.

      1. If you're in town Wed-Saturday, stop by Bobcat Bite for a green chile cheeseburger, or a ribeye.
        The Pantry or Flying Tortilla or Tecolote for breakfast
        The Shed or La Choza for lunch
        The Plaza Restaurant/Diner for any meal
        I'd skip Maria's and Tomasita's, like wagger.

        3 Replies
        1. re: 505alyce

          Thanks so much for the suggestions. I've been so curious about the green chili burger. Any cooks out there who know how they're made?

          1. re: amandal

            Burger, cheese, green chile on top has been my experience.

            1. re: RobynS

              I usually do burger, whole or chopped green chile, then cheese. That way the cheese keeps the green chile from falling off and the chile is warmed as well. As to cheese, use your preference, cheddar, american, swiss are all good. I love blue cheese too but some think it overpowers the flavor of the chile. One tip that my wife got me onto was sprinkling garlic salt on the green chile before you put it on the burger. I may have to get one for lunch now.

        2. Try Felipe's Tacos on Llano st just off of St; Michael's. It's cheap and they claim to use healthy ingredients and cooking techniques. I like their tortas and chicken tacos. They close at 4 pm I think so make this a lunch spot.
          Also I recommend Los Potrillos on Cerrillos Rd. This is more Interior Mexican comfort food. They have a huge menu of mexican specialties, and it's fairly reasonable for dinner.
          Guadalupe Cafe is a downtown located New Mexican eatery that serves locals and tourists alike. Here you will find all of the classic new mexican dishes.
          El Parasol is a takeout place on Cerrillos, and I really like their salsa, but sometimes their tacos and tamales are a bit too greasy. If you can get past this and the fact that there is no dining room it's quite good, the prices are low and it's quick. I like to go here and then head to a park for a picnic. I haven't tried their sister restaurant El Paragua in Espanola, but I have heard good things.
          Also Bumble bee's. They have a couple locations,but the one I go to is just off Guadalupe near Bert's This is a mexican style fast food place that is semi cheap, It's very brightly colored and bustling during the day. The food isn't spectacular, but it's really good when your in the mood. I like the Norte Burrito with lamb. But I think the best thing here is the salsa bar. Warmed chips and four or five fresh salsas to choose from, it's almost worth going just for the salsa.
          I also would skip Tomasita's and Maria's. They do have devoted fans but I have always been lukewarm to these tourist oriented places. They are both nice atmospheres so you might want to go during happy hour for drinks and apps just to say that you tried them.
          Hope this helps, have a good time in Santa Fe!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Salt_ofthe_Earth

            Thanks for the lengthy and helpful tips, salt of the earth. I also appreciate the cooking tips, but I wonder what kind of green chili do you use? I hate to be picky, but there are several green chilies. Anaheim? Poblano? Jalapeno? For some reason I was imagining something different, like a green salsa made from chilies on the burger.

            1. re: amandal

              In New Mexico it's just called green chile. It's going to be closest to an Anaheim but there are many varieties. Note, chile, the fruit, is spelled with an e. A good source of information is The Chile Pepper Institute based at New Mexico State University.


              1. re: RobynS

                Thanks for correcting my spelling. I feel like an idiot. I read in a guidebook last night that the NM green chile is known as the Hatch chile.

                1. re: amandal

                  Well, I didn't mean to make you feel like an idiot, I was just pointing out the difference in the spellings. Chili with an i refers to either tex-mex chili or the powder chili powder. Really did mean it as informative not degrading, sorry if it came off that way.

                  Hatch is the most famous of the growing spots of New Mexican green chile which is located just north of Las Cruces but the plant grows all over the region quite successfully. One of my favorite late summer smells is the roasting of green chile and I love when I can find it up here in Denver.

                  If you're looking for green chile in the store you can often find a brand called Bueno in freezer sections outside of New Mexico. It's already roasted and can be purchased in different heats either whole or chopped.

          2. We were in Santa Fe last weekend and loved Tara's Organic Ice Cream. There were lots of interesting flavors (basil, avocado, pink peppercorn, goat cheese-raspberry) in addition to just about the best chocolate and vanilla I've ever had. I guess they will be featured in an upcoming show with Bobby and Jamie Dean showcasing shippable foods from around the country.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Mimi

              Robyn, I appreciate the education and wasn't at all offended. Mimi, the ice cream entry is making me hungry.

              On another note, no one recommended Dave's Not Here. Anyone have an opinion about it? I love the name!

              1. re: amandal

                Dave's Not Here closed earlier this year. I read an article (in the New Mexican, I think) that said the couple who took over the location planned to keep some menu items, including the burger. I haven't been.

                1. re: jjones21

                  Here is info on the new restaurant in the Dave's Not Here location:

                  Gil's website is useful; you should take a look at it.

                  And it never hurts to call to make sure a restaurant mentioned in a guidebook hasn't closed!

                2. re: amandal

                  Dave's Not Here was our favorite place when we lived in Santa Fe in the early 90's. Going to Dave's was a highlight of our many trips back to Santa Fe. But on recent visits we found it had gone so far downhill we couldn't face going there anymore.

                  I'm sorry to hear it's gone out of business, but am not at all surprised given the slide in quality. Perhaps there's hope for a rise from the ashes.

                  Our favorite dishes were blue corn chicken enchiladas with green chile, huevos Mexicanos "Christmas", awesome burgers and to-die-for chocolate cake. Simple, homey, tasty and reasonably priced. A real local hangout. We ate there 3+ times a week.

              2. I don't usually reply to Santa Fe posts because we live in AZ and don't feel qualified but we have been to most of the places recommended on this and other posts. Our personal favorite is Guadalupe Cafe. It's not necessarily a dive but it's not fancy. We've never had a bad meal there and it's quite inexpensive. The southwest chicken salad is a real treat and big enough for two to share as a meal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Doug in Mesa

                  I ran across some good reviews of Adelita's restaurant. Anyone familiar with this place?

                  1. re: amandal

                    I ate at Adelita's a few years ago, and it was good. I had menudo and enchiladas, delicious, but I haven't been back. Went to Los Potrillos last night and was good as always. I forgot to mention to get the flan, it's the best I have ever had. For some reason they put hershey's chocolate syrup and canned whipped cream on the plate, so if you are a purist like me ask them to just serve the flan by itself. Just perfect.

                2. I would recommend Harry's Roadhouse. I love their turkey enchiladas, and their prices are very reasonable. It can get crowded, but with two people you can usually get seated really fast. Los Portillos, the Shed and La Choza are also really good. I drive by Adelita's all the time, but have never tried it. It appears similar in caliber to Los Portillos from the outside.

                  I agree that you should skip Tomasita's!

                  1. You asked for delicious "dives" servng Mexican and Southwestern style food. I think that a lot of the places that have been mentioned aren't in the "dive" category, such as Tomasita's, but I guess that's a matter of personal definition.

                    I love the green chile cheeseburger at Bobcat Bite (definitely a dive to me) and was so sad to have lunch at Tune-up Cafe, the successor to Dave's Not Here, and have their "Dave Was Here" offering. It was no where near as good as Dave's and this place doesn't qualify as Mexican or Southwestern anyway (they feature pupusas), so you should take it off your list.

                    Dive or not, you should go to Tia Sofia's. The food is excellent and inexpensive. I think their green chile stew is the best in town and I'll say the same about their breakfast burrito.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lpsfnm

                      Diego's, in DeVargas Center, is another local favorite of ours. Great chile rellenos and sopapillas.

                      Ain't nothing better on earth than loading up a sopapilla with honey and mopping up the red chile sauce. Muy bueno! :)

                    2. I want to second, or third, the recommendation on Los Potrillos. And it's not a dive, but the prices are reasonable and the food is both inventive and authentic. Much better than Tia Sophia (tourist trap imo). Maria's food is not that special, but the drinks are great. Bumble Bees is great for takeout or lunch, and meets the dive criteria. Salt of the Earth and Wagger seem to really know their stuff.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: goingoutagain

                        Los Potrillos is some of the best damn food Ive ever had.... I had chicken smothered in a pineapple/cream/chile sauce.... TO DIE FOR. And yes, excellent flan to whoever mentioned that. mmm............