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Mar 12, 2009 06:11 PM

Fine Dining in Santa Fe, Grad Student Style

Hi guys! My partner and I are travelling to Santa Fe from Austin for spring break and are looking for a place to have a nice "date" meal while there. I've done some perusing already on the boards here but the recommendations are a little outside of our grad student budget. Anybody got a suggestion for a semi-nice place where we could get a meal (an appetizer, two entrees, maybe dessert and a glass of wine each) for about 50-60 bucks? Something southwestern would be great, Tex-Mex or Italian not so much. We both love seafood also, though that does tend to push prices up a bit. We'll be there from Friday to Wednesday, just in case that makes a difference.

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  1. Hey Y'all,
    This is a born and bred Austinite talking here. Bouldin Creek representin'. I've been in SF for about five years.
    Sadly, for your price range, your not going to get a white tablecloth "fine dining" experience like you described.
    But... I can give you a few recomendations.
    For Italian I would go to Andiamo, it's a neighborhood bistro style place. They have apps and pizzas for under 10 bucks, however their entrees are 20+. The food is great though, My girlfriend and I have gotten out for around 70-90 for 3 courses plus drinks.
    If you want New mexican I would go to La Choza. Sister restaurant to the Shed, it's great and has a parking lot. It's far from fine dining, but a good solid NM meal. There is no such thing as Tex Mex here, much to my chagrin.
    For French, I like Clafoutis, great prices, kind of weird location, but only open for bfast and lunch. At least stop by for a croissant and coffee. Brush up on your french, have a bon jour and a merci at the ready.
    There is a great Spanish place called La Boca. It tapas, so you can control your spending. The plates are small but the flavors are great.
    I also like Shoko for sushi. Dont be afraid of being so far away from the sea, it's great. If you get a few rolls and some of their hot offerings, you can get out for under 60.
    Something I like to do is eat at a low to mid range place and then go to an upscale place for dessert and coffee. I reccomend Coyote Cafe for this. Such a great place, the desserts are sublime. Or go to the Compound and have the liquid chocolate cake. If this is too much I would go to Zia diner and have their banana split. It's big enough to share and they make all the sauces and use artisinal ice cream. The savory food there is just ok, so focus on desserts, they have a lot of pies and soda fountain classics.
    I hope this helps. If you really are craving the "finer" style I would take a trip to the pawnshop on the way out. In SF, your budget has to be over 100 for everything you described.
    Well good luck and enjoy Santa Fe. Cheers!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Salt_ofthe_Earth

      thanks very much for the recs! I know it was a bit of a tall order and I've heard that Santa Fe is expensive. Didn't necessarily need super fancy- just not bar or diner food. I'll check out La Choza- I've heard it mentioned before, and tapas is definitely a great idea also. Will let you know how it goes!

    2. The best suggestion I can make is to check out the prix fixe dinners that many nice restaurants are offering. My wife and I are going to 315 tonight, which is one of our favorite restaurants. They have a three course dinner for $18 @ person. I don't know how you can beat that. You should pick up a copy of Pasatiempo, which comes with the Friday issue of the New Mexican. It is full of ads for prix fixe dinners, though most are more in the $25 @ person range.

      1. Well, you've probably already come and gone, but I'll post for the benefit of future searches.

        My recommendation would be Santacafe for lunch instead of dinner. Prices are scaled back but you still get the full Santacafe experience (beautiful building, attentive service, and very good food). Try the Crispy Calamari. Unfortunately, you're a bit too early for patio dining under the cottonwoods.

        112 W Marcy St, Santa Fe, NM

        1 Reply
        1. re: tandaapproved

          I'm late too, but for future researchers:

          Andiamo! is wonderful Italian at reasonable prices.

          Chocolcate Maven for breakfast or lunch.

          santa fe

          chocolate maven
          santa fe

        2. i would try Mauka, great fish, stay with ordering from the appetizer list to stay on budget.

          also, MuDu noodles, again, order from apps., or split one of their huge entrees.

          El Meson has great tapas, live music on weekends.

          for lunch, try Bumblebees...easy on pocket , very unusual oferings...lamb burrito is awe inspiring, not tex mex.