Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southwest >
Sep 7, 2008 07:37 AM

Dinner in ABQ

Hi All, I'm on a cross-country trip from the Bay Area to New York and will be traveling through Albuquerque & Santa Fe. I've been looking at the boards and found a bunch of great recs for SF (thanks!) - I need a dinner rec for ABX - and I would love something that is local/New Mexican.
Also - I've read a bunch about enchiladas (green vs red) as the big thing to order - is that touristy? What should I be looking for?
Thanks! Sue

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Red or green refers to the color and type of chile [sauce, not Texas meat and beans stuff]that is found on many different New Mexican dishes. It can range from mild to VERY hot. If you don't know which you might like, ask for some of each. Also, I suggest that you ask for it "on the side" in case it turns out to me not to your liking.

    They each taste differently and they vary in taste from place to place. Even the degree of hotness will vary at the same restaurant on a different day!

    For some good local food:

    Frontier [ inexpensive, caters to locals and the college crowd] located on Central and Cornell just across the street from UNM. For breakfast, get a breakfast burrito [scrambled eggs, potatoes rolled inside a flout tortilla and then covered with green chile and cheese. You can also get bacon, sausage or carne adovado[ chunks of pork in red chile] inside.

    These are my top recommendations for the best of New Mexican food - not fancy, but where I like to eat:

    Barelas Coffee House, Duran's Central Pharmacy [yes, pharmacy!] and Model Pharmacy will get you what you seek. Casa de Benevidas is worthwhile, but a bit tricky to find. Garcia's has several locations, and are frequented by locals, but they seemed to have slipped some of late.

    Garduno's, Sadies, are good too, but are more tourist oriented.

    Hope this helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DebitNM

      Thanks Deb! These recs look great - and thanks for the menu tips!!

    2. Stay the night in ABQ and head to The Grove for breakfast. Central and Walter, just West of I25.

      1. I used to teach at Rio Grande High School a long time ago and loved the great small cafes on 4th St, south. This is where I learned to love meunedo, posele and frito pie. Do these places still exist?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Yes they do, but most of them cater to real local tastes. I love posole, had menudo once by mistake - it was awful. Frito pie is ok. Those little places really can be iffy for those who don't know what they are doing. Perhaps not for a first visit. :o)

          I don't know the Grove, near the hospital - so medical hang out??

          1. re: DebitNM

            The Grove is a fancier breakfast/lunch spot. Don't get me wrong, the coffee is outstanding, BUT this ain't "Albuquerque food".

            Menudo is an acquired taste, unless the stuff you had was truly badly prepared, and its Mexican in origin where posole is more New Mexican, if I get my history correct. I'll reply with more options to the original post...

        2. Coming from the Bay Area, steer clear of our sushi. :-) Its fine, but nothing like you've got. Ditto for Chinese.

          For New Mexican: Frontier, Mary & Tito's on 4th & Menaul (best red in the county), Perea's on east Central, and yes Barela's is great.

          For "local" treats: Rt 66 Malt Shop at 17th & Central (NOT the 66 Diner, which is as kitschy as the malt shop is just plain delicious), Frontier (great people-watching), and a view you can't get in San Fran can be had at Sandiago's at the bottom of the Tram. Food is pretty good, but seeing the city lights as evening falls is fantastic from the patio with a margarita in hand.

          Links for all are below! (neat feature)


          Route 66 Malt Shop
          1720 Central Ave SW Ste C, Albuquerque, NM 87104

          Barelas Coffee House
          1502 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

          Mary's & Tito's Cafe
          2711 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107

          Ssr Perea's New Mexican Restaurant
          9901 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87123

          Sandiago's Mexican Grill
          38 Tramway Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87122

          1 Reply
          1. re: tenacity

            tenacity - thanks for the thorough recs - I am going to check out these links!