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What are the "must not misses" in Santa Fe and Albuquerque?

My husband and I will be spending a 3 days in Albuquerque and 4 days in Santa Fe at the beginning of July. We will also drive to Taos for the day and will have time for lunch there. What are the our best bets for excellent and typically New Mexican food? We are foodies from S. Florida.

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  1. Monica's El Portal, 321 Rio Grande NW. This is the one place you must visit for excellent New Mexican food in ABQ. Their rellenos in particular are made-to-order - a rarity.
    El Pinto, 10500 4th St NW, is off the beaten path in ABQ's North Valley, but worth the drive. The food is probably second to the setting, but they have excellent salsa.
    Padilla's, 1510 Girard Blvd NE. Also very good but very tiny, and may be crowded at peak meal times.
    Dos Hermanos, with several locations around town, is locally famous for its massive burritos. Get a breakfast burrito with green chile and chorizo. http://www.redorgreen.com/
    Avoid Little Anita's, Los Cuates, and Gardunios! Their quality just doesn't compare. Sadie's is a local favorite, but I think they use too much cilantro in their food so won't recommend it.

    I don't frequent Santa Fe or Taos, but in Santa Fe, try La Plazuela inside La Fonda hotel, especially for breakfast. The Bean is a classic coffee shop in Taos - some people think it's too kitschy, but I recall they serve up some good huevos rancheros. http://www.thebeantaos.com/ Enjoy your trip!

    1 Reply
    1. For my favorites, see:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/565839 for ABQ

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587052 for Santa Fe

      For lunch in Taos, you can't go wrong at any of these:

      Graham's Grille, http://www.grahamstaos.com/
      Orlando's {New Mexican
      } Michael's {quite eclectic} http://michaelskitchen.com/
      Appletree http://www.appletreerestaurant.com/


      1 Reply
      1. In Albuquerque, Yanni's was really good overall but their pizza was only ok. Season’s Rotisserie & Grill & Seferino’s were only ok. Susan’s Fine Wine & Spirits has a great selection of wine & beer. Theobroma has exceptionally good chocolate.

        In Santa Fe, the sushi at Shohko was remarkably good. Blue Corn has decent Mexican food but their beers are undistinguished.

        Hope this helps. We've really enjoyed our travels in New Mexico.


        2 Replies
        1. re: FishTales

          Yanni's is really more Greek/Mediterranean than a place for pizza. There are better choices for pizza on Central [IL Vicinco].

          I agree that Seferino's is only just ok. I really like Seasons, it is very "california" like, with pretty simple but tasty items.

          Not a sushi person, but there is a place on Central, in Nob Hill that is always busy. I can't remember the name, but it is on the south side of Central between Carlisle and Wellsley.


          1. re: DebitNM

            Crazy Fish

            Crazy Fish Restaurant
            3015 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

        2. Well, for a July trip to Santa Fe I'd recommend a nice lunch at Santacafe on the patio under the cottonwoods. It's not New Mexican food, but "American with a Southwest flair". Lunch is reasonably priced compared to dinner. Try the Crispy Calamari. Also, excellent desserts.

          Some other Santa Fe spots that I like:

          Guadalupe Cafe for excellent breakfast burritos (carne papas burrito) [422 Old Santa Fe Trail, tourists and locals


          The Pantry for breakfast (breakfast burrito with chorizo and red chile, great potatoes) [1820 Cerrillos Road, mostly locals, great staff, www.santafestation.com/pantry/index.html


          Adelita's for breakfast/lunch. Mexican vs. New Mexican. Tripe, tongue tacos too if you're into that [3297 Cerrillos Road, mostly locals, clean and fast]

          I concur with DebitNM's Santa Fe recommendations (Shed, La Boca).

          Finally, you may want to stop at Embudo Station on your way to Taos. It's about to re-open, and I haven't been there in a while, but it's right on the Rio Grande (again under the beautiful cottonwoods). They used to have some decent beers and OK food (it's all about the location there) but who knows how it will be under the new ownership. Stop in for a beer and post here to let us know how it was!

          www.tandaapproved.com Restaurant reviews for Santa Fe and northern New Mexico

          1. We thoroughly enjoyed dinner at the Shed on our last trip.

            1. On the decidedly less gourmet end of things, I love the green chile huevos rancheros at the Frontier in Albuquerque. Next to UNM, it feels like a giant cafeteria from an alternate universe, but what it does, it does well! I also love the goat and peanut stew at Los Potrillos in Santa Fe; they have a lot of interesting dishes you don't see in many Mexican restaurants in the US. It's inexpensive and not particularly atmospheric (although the all-female mariachi group that perfoms on some weekend evenings is amazing!).

              Frontier Restaurant
              2400 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

              Los Potrillos
              1947 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505

              2 Replies
              1. re: bortukan

                Frontier is our go to place fpr breakfast or lunch; it is excellent for those meals. For dinner, there are so many better places to try. Since it is the same menu for all hours, I wouldn't waste a dinner on it.

                That said, their tortillas, made fresh constantly, are the best in the world. Their cinnamon buns get raves too, though I am not crazy about them -too much frosting and not enought cinnamon for me.


                1. re: bortukan

                  Agreed on Frontier as absolute do not miss in ABQ. Unique, yummy and 24 hours!

                  My favorite breakfast/lunch spot has always been Perea's. I have not been back in town since they moved, but I am assuming they still rock. Perhaps the best refrieds I have had anywhere.

                2. Yes, the Frontier in ABQ is a definite cant miss- go for breakfast or for a late late night bite. Their tortillas are AMAZING- get a breakfast burrito...mmmm so good. And I will sure second the rec for Los Potrillos on Cerillos in SF, they have a chicken in a pineapple cream sauce that is TO DIE FOR. mmmm I'm drooling just thinking about it now. For breakfast in SF be sure to hit up Tecolate Cafe... soooooo good.

                  1. Surprised no one has mentioned Cafe Pasqual in Santa Fe - I assume it's still there? Cool corner spot with funky decor and friendly staff serving a slightly upscale southwest cuisine (not too fancy, but not basic either). Long lines, but if you can get there at an off-hour it's definitely worth a visit. Brunch, lunch or dinner are all good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: monopod

                      Ooh, it is very good to have brunch at Cafe Pasqual's. It is worth the wait in line.

                    2. while in Santa fe:
                      My favorite breakfasts:
                      Cafe Paquals
                      Tia Sophias
                      Tesuque Village Market

                      Bumblebee's (VERY casual, great lamb burritos, all made with fresh ingredients)
                      Santa Cafe (sit outside)
                      Mauka (also outside)
                      Cafe Pasquals
                      Shed (new mexican)
                      MUDU Noodles now has a Sunday Brunch
                      El Parasol (to go burritos and chicken tacos, SUBLIME)


                      MU Du Noodles
                      Rooftop Pizzeria
                      Santa Cafe (go for the appetizers at night-great calamari)
                      El Meson (tapas/live music)
                      Compound ($$$)

                      Have a great trip to my town!

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: DebitNM

                          Deb, I have had two great Green chille cheeseburgers at the newly burgerized Bumblebee's on Cerrillos.
                          Great chocolate shakes too.....

                      1. El Patio near UNM in Albuquerque has always been reliable for dinner.
                        Barela's Coffee Shop in the South Valley and Duran Central Pharmacy near downtown are great lunch and dinner places. Pro's Ranch Market on Atrisco (off of Central) has a kind of crazy indoor food court with a lot of great, reasonably authentic Mexican (not New Mexican) food and delicious aguas frescas.

                        1. Mariscos Altimar on Coors Rd. just north of I-40 on your right after the motels. Excellent fresh Mexican seafood and standard fare. Great prices and one of the cleanest places I've been in years. Also, not at all fancy is a burger chain that only operates in NM called Blakes Lottaburger. In my opinion it's the best fastfood burger in the U.S. Get the green chili burger.

                          1. Originally from NM, we love RB Winnings and The Grove for breakfast and lunch. Agreed you cannot go wrong with El Patio across from UNM for good NM food Los Quates is also delicious by Lomas and San Mateo.

                            1. The Shed and Pink Adobe in Santa Fe.

                              The Pink Adobe
                              406 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501