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Sep 30, 2008 05:02 PM

ALBQ Itinerary, opinions and recs please!!

Hello SW 'hounds!! I am making my annual trek to NM to visit my parents and need some advice. I have searched through the SW boards and have come across a few suggestions, but I need to make sure that these restaurants are still (a) open, and (b) still serving great food!!

My *MUST DO* places (so far) are:

The Artichoke Cafe (SE corner of Central and Edith),
Jennifer James 101 (Menaul Blvd), and
Nob Hill Bar & Grill (Central Ave)

I have read so many facinating posts on Jennifer James, plus both NHBG (former chef of Ambrozia, correct??) and TAC's menu seem absolutely wonderful. Is there anything off all menus that I have to try? In an older thread for ALBQ I read that the lobster corn dogs of Ambrozia were a "must order," given that the chef is now at NHBG, does the food still reflect his/her past greatness?

Here are a few of my *maybe's*:

Le Provence
Slate Street Cafe
Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro
El Toro Loco (which I had heard may be the only Non-New Mexican-Mexican food restaurant, is this true??)

I know that the majority of these restaurants are more on the upscale side, but I like to spoil my parents (and myself, of course) when I visit.

Here is what I need recs for:

*Ribs - wet or dry, preferrably pork, great southern side dishes
*Mexican food - I will apologize right now: sorry NM, but I do not like your New Mexican food or chiles. I am a CA girl through and through, my grandmother was born and raised in Mexico and cooked for me all the time - so, even after years of visiting my parents (CA transplants in NM), I still haven't acquired a taste for the national cuisine. I would like any advice on places that do serve great margarita's as well (I have had Garduno's marg's, but where else?)
*Cocktails - inventive, unusual, creative, interesting. Dives, college, upscale, local bars or restaurants. Happy hour or not. I'm a bartender, so I am always on the lookout for a great bar scene and drinks!!
*Any and all breakfast / lunch / dinner destinations that can't be missed!!

I only have one request, please no chains / franchises. I like to support the local community!!

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. cocktailqueen77....thanks for posting! I will be spending all of next week in ABQ..and am looking for some great dinner spots.....Jennifer James is already on my list....they rest of my week is wide open.
    If you are looking for a dive...try the Frontier......the best warm green chili salsa I've ever had!
    It's on my list for late night chow!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ciaogal

      Thanks ciaogal!! I hope you will post on your experiences!!

    2. Try NHB&G for cocktails only - their food has gone downhill since Ambrozia days.

      Absolutely try to get to Sophia's for any meal. Ditto Jennifer James (though only dinner is served).

      Slate Street is good, Frontier is a great breakfast spot with good people watching, La Provence is good for bistro fare.

      Mexican..... hm, ok. You can get pretty good stuff at El Norteno, and AMAZING breakfasts at a crummy little diner (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) called La Nortenita - homemade corn tortillas and yummy huevoes mexicanos and menudo.
      Mariscos La Playa is recommended for their shark tacos.

      Other "must do"? Great sweets can be had at Chocolate Cafe in Nob Hill, and at any Flying Star, though they are not cheap. A big part of the not cheap reason is that they use great ingredients - imported butter, organic eggs, etc etc. The coffee there has gone way downhill and now "officially" sucks.

      Good coffee can be had at Grove CAfe & Market, and at Michael Thomas Coffee. Good espresso can be had at the new Cafe Giuseppe's in Nob Hill, and at Ecco Gelato (but have the gelato at Giuseppes and NOT at Ecco - its too bland).

      For decent food but a fabulous view try Sandiago's at the base of the tram. Don't blow any money on the restaurant on the top.

      Hmm... I think I'm done for now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tenacity

        Thank you tenacity!! I'll switch NHB&G to the cocktail list, and add your Mex recs!!

      2. Abuelita's New Mexican Kitchen [about 25 minutes north of ABQ] on the way to Santa Fe

        Barelas Coffee House - (505) 843-7577
        1502 4th St SW

        Casa de benavidez - north valley [ 20 minutes ]
        8032 4th St. NW,

        Cervantes - (505) 262-2253
        5801 Gibson Blvd Se [near airport]

        Duran's Central Pharmacy
        [old Town; don't let name fool you]
        1815 Central Ave. NW

        El Modelo Mexican Foods
        (505) 242-1843
        1715 2nd St Sw

        El Pinto [20 minutes north of ABQ; on way to santa Fe]
        (505) 898-1771
        10500 4th St NW

        Il Vicino Wood Oven pizza - Nob hill/University area
        [also various locations]
        (505) 266-7855
        3403 Central Ave NE

        Range Cafe - multiple locations
        (505) 293-2633
        4200 Wyoming Blvd Ne B2

        Yanni's - mediterranean/greek [Nob Hill/Univ area]
        (505) 268-9250
        3109 Central Ave Ne

        Desserts - Flying Star, multiple locations including Central in Nob Hill

        All along Central in downtown area, for places to have some adult beverages; also along Central in Nob Hill

        Seasons Rotisserie & Grill [Old Town] -jazz some nights
        2031 Mountain Rd. NW,

        BBQ -
        Quarters; Yale near airport
        Madd Maxx's in Rio Rancho on 528, across from Intel
        Rudy's on San Mateo just north of i40 [and also Coors on westside]
        Dickey's on southbound frontage road of I 25 south of Jefferson

        There is a really nice, upscale shopping center that just opened and there are some nice restaurants there, though they are all chains I believe.

        Uptown on Louisiana, just north of I 40.

        Hope these help some. Deb