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Taos, NM

stokarz Feb 19, 2009 02:55 PM


I'm new to Chowhound and have heard from numerous people how great this website is. My husband and I are going to Taos NM skiing next month. Any suggestions on restaurants would be helpful. Also, we'll probably be spending some time in Alburquerque. We love New Mexican food (really authentic). Appreciate any suggestions.

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  1. c
    chowmix RE: stokarz Feb 19, 2009 03:33 PM

    Welcome! If you plug Taos into the search field above, you'll come up with many posts on the area. Here's a short circuit from my perspective.

    Orlando's. Fabulous New Mexican. Reasonable prices.
    Joseph's Table. Upscale, creative. In the Hotel La Fonda. Excellent wine list with a nice selection of half bottles.
    Lambert's. No longer owned by Zeke Lambert but much of the original staff is theres. Was still fantastic when I ate there last October.
    Dragonfly. Wonderful breakfast & lunch.
    Graham's Grille. Sort of nouveau. Sort of Southwest. Dyanmite food and atmosphere.
    Doc Martin's in the Taos Inn. Forget the restaurant. It's mediocre and overrated. But the bar is fun with some good music.
    Anaconda Bar in the Monte Sagrado. Good atmosphere and Scotch & gin selections.
    Roberto's. Pretty decent rellenos and basic New Mexican. Worth it for the eclectic and retro experience, if he's open. The hours and days are always an adventure.
    Have fun. Taos is one of my all time favorite places.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chowmix
      stokarz RE: chowmix Feb 22, 2009 10:01 AM

      Dear Chowmix,

      Thank you for your recommendations---greatly appreciated!


      1. re: chowmix
        DebitNM RE: chowmix Feb 24, 2009 07:40 PM

        I agree with Orlando's, Dragonfly, Graham's Grill, Doc Martin's, Joseph's Table.

        For a local, funky place for breakfast [other meals ok too] Michael's Kitchen at the north end of town [closer to ski valley] 304 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte

        OBL Old Blinking Light, also closer to ski valley

        To save a bit of $$, check out www.999dine.com They sell dining certificates that save 50% and are available for Lamberts, Grahams Grill and OBL.

        1. re: DebitNM
          stokarz RE: DebitNM Mar 1, 2009 07:37 AM

          Thank you for your recommendation---I ordered a certificate for Praire Star ---we're staying in santa ana pueblo for a conference after skiing -March 12-15th----would you recommend OBL in Taos buying a dining certificate---is it on the mountain?



          1. re: stokarz
            DebitNM RE: stokarz Mar 1, 2009 08:32 AM

            WE've liked OBL in the past, but haven't been there in about 2 years. It is on the road to the mountain; it is north of Town proper.

        2. re: chowmix
          DebitNM RE: chowmix Feb 25, 2009 02:13 PM

          For ABQ restaurants:

          See my favorites [lived in ABQ for over 5 years and am considered to be a chowhound:



        3. kchurchill5 RE: stokarz Feb 22, 2009 10:04 AM

          Staying in Taos or Taos Ski Valley, very different unless you don't mind the 20-30 drive. Taos ski valley is very limited, taos however has many great restaurants. Alburquerque has tons, but haven't been in a year so my recommendations may not be there. I just wanted you to be aware of the ski valley and the town itself. We stayed in the valley and actually stayed in since we had a kitchen. The view was amazing, the jacuzzi great. We loved making a great dish in the room and enjoying the view. It was romantic, the fireplace, jacuzzi wine a simple Italian dinner and no restaurant could of surpassed that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kchurchill5
            stokarz RE: kchurchill5 Feb 24, 2009 03:55 PM

            Thank you for responding----we too enjoy simple dinners when we're on a ski vacation. We're staying at Snakedance---looks quite nice. Do you know anything about these condos? We plan on enjoying cocktails on our deck, plenty of chips and salsa! Where would you suggest the best pizza (my favorite)? Thanks to all for your input!! My husband was in Taos many years ago---loved Tim's Stray Dog.

            1. re: stokarz
              kchurchill5 RE: stokarz Feb 25, 2009 05:51 AM

              I think it is Crossroads pizza, I still have a brochure. Not sure if it is the same. In a small wooden shack almost. But you know what the valley is like. It so relaxed some micro brews and just a fun relaxed time. The St Bernard if I remember had a nice after ski place to relax too. Also a small grocery store place that will actually deliver to you to cook your own meals or just get some stuff for the fridge. I think it changed names but still there for what I heard. And I think Rhodas, but my friend mentioned that to me and I am sure that was the name. Right in the main complex at the base. Great all around good food lunch and dinner. We ate there every night or cooked in. Snakedance and Eidelweiss (sp?) also have good nightlife. And since I was there last, there is a martini bar for after skiing right at the base. Pretty much all I can remember. www.skitaos.org I believe has some good info too.

          2. lucygoosey RE: stokarz Feb 25, 2009 12:44 PM

            the Frontier in Albuquerque on Central for dive New Mexican. I've never been through ABQ and not gone. Naughty and cheap. I think it's 24 hours.

            Also if you're driving from ABQ to Taos, Ojo Caliente hot springs is a small detour and a steal! check out their packages.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lucygoosey
              DebitNM RE: lucygoosey Feb 25, 2009 03:09 PM

              Frontier has THE best tortilla and they are made fresh, constantly. MMMMM.

            2. kchurchill5 RE: stokarz Feb 25, 2009 01:21 PM

              It is a long, somewhat boring drive. Tan, tan and dark tan :) Everywhere. Other than the mountains, the scenery to me coming was FL was less than exciting. But getting into the mountains a whole different story. We went from ABQ to Santa Fe and then Taos, I think about 3 hrs if I remember. Definitely different but the skiing was awesome.

              1. l
                Lenzo RE: stokarz Mar 1, 2009 02:03 PM

                Lucky you--you are off to Taos! I agree w/Chowmix's suggestions. Here are a few more.

                Tim's Stay Dog is being sold--I ate there a few months ago and it was still fun and good. It's a great choice if you are up the mountain. I hear that it will stay open, just that it will have a new owner. I'm not expecting any changes. I love that place. Also on the mountain is The Bavarian. It is really good--but it's, well, Bavarian food!!

                The better food choices are away from the mountain. It's not that far of a drive.

                I'm not sure what your tolerance level is vis-a-vis authenticity--but you can't get any more authentic than Abe's just down the road in Arroyo Seco. Abe has a great local bar, and there is a very basic take away counter (with seating). Best tamales and posole around!

                Just about next door is Taos Cow for ice cream, sandwiches, coffee and treats. The flavors all great, but I love the caramel-pinon ice cream.

                Down the road a little bit more is Sabroso. Great food! (Get a 999dine coupon for the restaurant.) I usually eat in the bar--great wines and the bar scene is cozy. I love the restaurant, too. Can't go wrong with either. Went there for my birthday last summer. (Their terrace is excellent, too. Too bad you won't be there when its warm.)

                The newest place to eat is Love Apple. It is totally Taos-cool, located in an old church. The menu is organic/natural, with Southwestern as well as international overtones. Nice, fairly priced wine list, too. (It is on the Paseo del Pueblo Norte.)

                I highly recommend the Taos Diner. Fabulous red and green chile sauces. Excellent New Mexican dishes, and American ones as well. Great biscuits. Great pancakes. Huge burritos (get a small one unless you are a pro football linebacker!). Love the huevos rancheros. It used to be almost all locals, but it's being discovered.

                For pizza, you have some great options. Pizanos is really good and about a 15 minute drive from the ski valley. On the main road north of town (Paseo del Pueblo Norte) is another great option, Taos Outback Pizza. Each has its admirers--you really can't go wrong with either. Pizano's is closer to you.

                For some New Mexican, you might want to try Orlando's, Ricky's (a hole in the wall, but really authentic), Chow Cart (again, a former chow cart that's now in a permanent spot), Michael's Kitchen, the Taos Diner, Roberto's (but sometimes he doesn't open if the snow is good--don't be upset--it's just Roberto). Rellenos is good, too.

                A few more things--Old Blinking Light (about 15 minutes from the Ski valley) is now run by Joseph Werde, who also runs the excellent Jospeh's Table (on the Plaza). OBL seems to be upgrading its menu and service. It looked much cleaner and brighter. Unlike days of old, you should make a reservation. Try to go on a night when Michael Hearne or Jimmy Stadler or Kim and the Caballeros are playing--all local favorites. Also, buy a bottle of wine in the wine shop next to the restaurant. The restaurant charges a nominal ($10????) corkage fee, so you can enjoy a nice bottle of wine w/ dinner. (Try to get a 999dine coupon.)

                El Monte Segrado is the swish spot. High end, big city feel. It's less painful if you are on an expense account! Excellent, though.

                I do disagree with the suggestion to skip Doc Martins at the Taos Inn. I've been eating at Doc Martin's for about 20+ years. It has definitely had its lows, but it's been quite good lately. You can get many of the food items in the Adobe Bar--probably all of them. That's an option is you want to listen to the entertainment. I was there last August and the restaurant was very good. We tried to get in last month, but couldn't--they were full. (Make a reservation.) The key is to go between 5 and 6:30 and get the early bird specials (about $18--a deal in this day and age. I'm sure I'll regret telling the world that--now I'll never get in!) They have a nice wine list. I've gotten some great bottles for a great price. And you can't beat their $5 glass of Gruet chardonnay or sparkler!

                Speaking of wine, please don't drink and drive. New Mexico strictly enforces its drunk driving laws.

                Have a great trip!!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Lenzo
                  DebitNM RE: Lenzo Mar 1, 2009 02:09 PM

                  Glad to know that I am not the only to take advantage of 999dine.com A great way to save money and to try some restaurants not on regular list of go to places. They have certificates for ABQ, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Taos and even a few in Durango.


                  1. re: Lenzo
                    rancher rick RE: Lenzo Feb 25, 2013 01:11 PM

                    OBL is open again? Great news! My wife & I were there a few years on one of our Taos ventures......had an absolutely fabulous evening with music by Michael Hearne & Bob Livingston from Austin. A magic night!! We still talk about that night here at our ranch.

                  2. s
                    sherry3 RE: stokarz Mar 3, 2009 08:33 AM

                    I agree with the recommendation of Love Apple and suggest a reservation. Also for something simple 5 Star Burgers on the south side of town, across from the movie theater, serves a great burger (many choices from lamb, turkey, cheese, portobello, salmon, etc.). Close to the Ski Valley, in Arroyo Seco, Maverick County Cafe (undergoing some renovations but set to open soon) is great and has a killer combo beef/buffalo burger and shrimp udon soup.

                    1. o
                      ontheroadagain RE: stokarz Mar 4, 2009 08:16 PM

                      Taos, #1 tip: Eat early, real early. Have your relaxation AFTER dinner. Many places stop serving food very early; you can get drinks pretty late. (that tip is dated about 7-8 years, may have changed.).

                      There is a great place (ski food and GREAT breakfast chili) up at the mountain, it's called "Tim's Stray Dog" (fun place), on April 1st or last day of season? They do a Crawfish boil that is not to be missed (hotter than hell though, painfully so).

                      If you are a decent skier, you must hike/ski "The Ridge" above the lifts: It is so very worth it (very steep, but wide open easy, above tree-line terrain. What a view!

                      There is a fantastic, though expensive place about 6-9 miles south of Taos (NOT the ski village, Taos itself). Can't remember the name (The "Stakeout" maybe), but it is on the east side of the road to Santa Fe, on the bajada (so is the road) just below the hills - the place is a beautiful pueblo (all by itself and hard to find, there was only a tiny sign) that looks out to the west over the Rio Grande valley: This is not to be missed, if it is still open/there (ask in town they all know the place): the food was amazing, the atmsphr was priceless. There was a place in the center of town that had butter/honey whipped bread spread on soft roles that was one of the best things (simple but terrific) that I have ever tasted.

                      Go see the Rio Grande gorge just NW of Taos: Worth a peak, a 10 minute side trip/diversion on the way back down from the Mntn to Taos. The Taos pueblo is pretty neat too. Earthship has a community near the Gorge (a few miles west of the gorge ?). There is also horse back riding in Kit Carson Nat'l Forest (we went to "Vallecitos Stables" for a day off the slopes).

                      Don't know ABQ well but, "The Owl" is famous for it's old Americana diner atmosphere, chili burgers, huge beers, and shakes (no great culinary experience, just Americana, but fun for that). The original Owl (south of ABQ, near Los Alamos/White Sands) is the one that "the bomb" builders went to during that scary time. They have a Porsche Club night where you can see some nice cars. The VLA (of "Contact" fame) is about 2-3 hours south of ABQ on RT 60 south and west through Socorro (great brew pub and fantastic Pizza place there, can't remember name, but only one).

                      Hope this helps

                      1. b
                        Birdbike RE: stokarz May 15, 2011 01:41 PM

                        Ricky's in Taos. Good food(try the breakfast sopapialla-I asked for mine with ground beef rathet than breakfast meat outstanding). Sopapiallas are the real deal. Rellenos are good and authentic...very nice staff, good prices, locals eat there...usually a good sign. Id eat there everyday if I lived in Taos

                        Rellenos Cafe
                        135 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM 87571

                        1. m
                          mountaincachers RE: stokarz Sep 20, 2012 08:35 PM

                          Obviously this is not a response to the original question, which is several years old, but our 2012 report on the restaurants that we tried during our recent, brief stay in Taos.
                          On the night we arrived, we had originally planned on trying Orlando's, but we had had a big lunch, so changed our plans to go somewhere we could get salads/small plates/ or lighter fare. Having read recommendations for Graham's Grille, we gave it a try. We were a little disappointed. We were warmly welcomed by the owner, and the service was good. The menu, which is large, felt a little unfocused. The food was spotty...some things were good and some were just average. Maybe we ordered poorly, but at a good restaurant, everything should be good. The dish I ordered really didn't match it's description. I had to ask to make sure it was actually what I had ordered. (It turns out it was a pasta dish, though no where in the description did it mention pasta and it wasn't in the pasta section of the menu. Odd). Not terrible, but not great either.
                          The next day we did the hike to Williams Lake, so stopped at Taos Cow for sandwiches and ice cream. The sandwiches were excellent. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here, but it is a very good option if in the area. The ice cream flavor was very good, though the texture may have been a tiny bit icy. Still though, a good choice,
                          That night we went to Love Apple and had a fantastic meal. The setting is neat, the service was good, and the food was outstanding. (Of note, our bills at Graham's Grille and Love Apple were almost identical, but Love Apple was far and away a much better meal). We left much happier than we had been the night before.
                          The next day we finally made it to Orlando's for lunch and were not disappointed. Great outdoor seating, and the food was so flavorful and delicious. Exactly what we were looking for in a New Mexican restaurant.
                          So, in summary, we would HIGHLY recommend Love Apple and Orlando's, recommend Taos Cow, and skip Graham's Grille.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mountaincachers
                            sherry3 RE: mountaincachers Feb 15, 2013 10:20 AM

                            Love Apple is a great local place but visitors should be warned that it is a cash or check only place. I agree Orlando's is great, with a wait usually starting right when they open since it is popular with locals and visitors. Graham's service can be hit or miss.

                            Across the street from Taos Cow is Aceq, recently written up in New York Magazine, and it is wonderful. They are open Wednesday through Sunday (you should double check this) and they use as many local ingredients as possible. It is a small menu but everything on it is good and cooked in an interesting way. If they have picked up something good at the market or gotten fresh mushrooms from the mountain that day, it will be in that night's menu.

                            Another good place is El Meze, on the main road, which has a fabulous covered patio in the summer (June to end of September usually) and cozy interior in the winter in a 100 year old adobe building. The food is always good and service is always reliable. Even the most common sounding dishes are fabulous in the hands of Chef Fred Mueller.

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