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Santa Fe in July

We are two couples from New York City traveling to Santa Fe for a long weekend in July and looking for restaurant suggestions. We're staying at the Inn of the Anasazi and plan to eat at their restaurant on our first night, so we need ideas for three additional dinners. Prefer to eat local-style Southwestern/New Mexican food. Looking for nice, comfortable dining atmosphere where we can converse easily and not feel rushed. Price not an issue. I've read the Santa Fe threads on this board, but some of the posts go back more than 6 months or a year. Updated suggestions welcome!

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  1. How mobile will you be? You'll be less than a block from The Shed, which has decent New Mexican chow. Tomasita's and La Choza (The Shed's sister restaurant) are nearby as well, and fine. (I prefer the crowd at La Choza to that at The Shed.)

    One rarely found (in restaurants) northern New Mexican specialty, chicos (dried/smoked sweet corn reconstituted in a beef stew), is available in Matilda's up about a half-hour's drive northward in Española. Worth a drive to try something that most newer New Mexican residents (let alone tourists) don't even know about, but probably not a bad idea to call to make sure they have them that day before making the drive.

    1. Hope you will be in S.F. for the Folk Art Market but if not a favorite place (and reliably excellent) for lunch or dinner is Santacafe. Beautiful to sit inside or on their patio. Make reservations if you can as it is a popular place and not too far from your hotel. Walking is a very safe activitiy.

      1. Just got back from Santa Fe. We stayed at Hotel Plaza Real which is right next door to Inn of the Anasazi. We took the train so did not have a car. Before we went we checked Chowhound and locals advised to stay away from tourist traps The Shed, Cafe Pasqual for breakfast.
        Every meal we had was great, our suggestions.
        Tia Sophia for breakfast, all locals great service Cafe Pasqual at half the price, got my Carne Adovado fix with their Thursday special.
        Dinner, one night the Cantina, next to La Casa Sena, this is the place with the live music and very good food. Classically trained singers sing Broadway show tunes. Great food and service.
        The best meal we had is at a little spot Il Piatto, 95 W. Marcy St. about 2 blocks from your hotel. Better Italian food then in Italy, Started with eggplant and red pepper soup and then had Gorgonzola tortellini in cream sauce with red peppers, Asked for Parmesan cheese and they brought a whole bowl of shaved Parmegganio Regannio to the table. Extensive wine menu, lots of Italians by the glass including Siciliian which is rare out west. Wish I could eat there every day.
        If you want the Southwest experience go to Geronimo's nothing like it in Santa Fe but bigger bucks.
        The good news is that with the economy the place is empty. You could shoot a cannon Up Canyon Road, the gallery scene, and not hit anybody. Never made a reservation, never had to wait. Also have a drink on the balcony overlooking the square at the Ore House, ask some locals, that is how we found Tia Sophia,

        1. Your choice of the hotel is great.
          Geronimo is my favorite and we tend to eat there most nights.
          I've never eaten elk the way the chef prepares it. It's seriously remarkable.
          Ask your waiter to tell you how it, and anything else you order, is prepared. They are schooled in the ingredients and the preparation and it's an interesting part of your dining experience.
          Their wine list is superb with a knowledgeable staff ready to answer all of your questions.

          2 Replies
          1. re: latindancer

            On West San Francisco Street there is Tia Sophia, one of my favorite breakfast spots that's been around forever. Across the street is a tiny coffee spot that is built right into the building. It's, undoubtedly, some of the best espresso I've ever had. The spot is, literally, a closet and there's story how they got their machine to fit into it.
            My favorite spot for lunch is on Burro Alley...Cafe Paris. They have some of the best quiche I've ever eaten, anywhere. Brioche is their specialty which is, along with their other pastries, made fresh next door.
            Enjoy your visit.

            1. re: latindancer

              I keep thinking about Santa Fe and my love of the Inn...where you're staying. Because of the small number of rooms, and the wonderful dining experience at their restaurant, the room service is exemplary. It's a Rosewood hotel and its reputation is everything it claims to be.
              I could easily never leave the room other than to step across the street to the Plaza in the evening.

          2. CAUTION: Geronimo has new/old chef and a new menu to go with. The website has not been updated to reflect the changes, but for reference here is an article from our local rag: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Loca...

            DiStefano is a genius, but I haven't heard any reviews yet of the new Asian & French inspired menu. You may want to wait to see how he settles back in, especially given that he is also juggling duties at Coyote.

            The Compound continues to be my go-to for an upscale meal. They have an excellent wine list.

            And no trip to Santa Fe would be complete without Bobcat Bite for a green chile cheeseburger or rib eye.

            Cafe Pasqual is a lovely way to spend $20+ at breakfast, and has a wonderful mostly organic/local menu at dinner.

            Tune Up Cafe (www.tuneupcafe.com) in the old Dave's Not Here space serves up great New Mexican food and adds a Salvadoran flair to a few items. Never had anything here that I didn't like.

            1 Reply
            1. re: 505alyce

              I am so looking forward to eating at the Tune Up Cafe. I've heard nothing but stellar reviews about it.
              But I had absolutely NO idea about the change of helm at Geronimo. I just gave out a big 'OH NO!" when you posted this. I'm sickened as my trip to Santa Fe, in a few short weeks, is not going to be the same without that wonderful food I've loved for quite a while now.
              What a shocker.

            2. I have to put in a good word for Aqua Santa. They seem to fly below the radar in Santa Fe. The food is not New Mexican, i.e. chiles and such, but it is locally sourced and everything is prepared exceptionally well.

              Aqua Santa is a very small restaurant with a very small menu. They are very hospitable and accommodating. We had our wedding dinner there! Freshly baked loaves of bread waiting on the sideboard to be served... mmm. I recommend the lentil soup, Caesar salad, and caramel pudding dessert.

              2 Replies
              1. re: avivale

                Thank you for this.
                It looks wonderful.

                1. re: avivale

                  I concur with avivale on Aqua Santa. It's getting more and more difficult to find a quiet restaurant where one can converse without shouting. I've only been to Aqua Santa twice and both times the food was very well prepared and enjoyable. Also, as you request, we were able to have a quiet and unhurried dinner.

                  You didn't mention breakfast, but seeing as how it's "the most important meal of the day", I'll put in my recommendation for the Guadalupe Cafe. Excellent breakfast--especially the carne papas burrito. Great place to fuel up for a day on the town. Nice patio too.

                  Both places are walkable from your hotel. Google maps is your friend. Enjoy.

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

                2. thanks to everyone for the suggestions -- we are really looking forward to the trip! I will try to post a trip report after our visit.