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Recs for Long Weekend in Santa Fe?

  • aching Mar 17, 2010 02:58 PM
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My husband and I are visiting Santa Fe for the first time in a few weeks and staying at the Inn of the Anasazi. Can you please help us out with restaurant recommendations (preferably within walking distance)? It's his birthday and our anniversary, so I'd like at least one special dinner. My mom recommended Cafe Pasqual's and El Farol - thoughts?

Also - we're flying in and out of ABQ and hadn't plan to linger there, but if there was a lunch or dinner that was worth doing, it would be great to know!

Our priority is great food - ambience and service are less important. Price is not really an issue although obviously we want to feel that it's worth it!

TIA!

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El Farol
808 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Cafe Pasqual's
121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

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  1. My girlfriend and I go to Santa Fe a few times a year ( and have for the last 10 years), and we love to eat well, and Santa Fe has lots of great places. Cafe Pasqual is terrific for breakfast, full of tourists and locals, but good food, and a wait most times. The Plaza Cafe, right on the plaza is great for breakfast, and is a real local destination...in business for about 60 years, I think. Great food and service! If price is no object, try the Compound, on Canyon Road,or Fuego, or Geronimo, now that the original chef is back great food and service, as well. A new tapas place called Boca is very good, and the chef owner used to be at El Farol....I like his food better. It's small, but nice. Right across the street is Il Piatto, a good Italian place, not red sauce, but imaginative, and a decently priced wine list. Also good service, but make a reservation at all these places, if it's at a busy time of the year. Martin Rios's new place called Cafe Martin' is also good, and don't forget the Coyote Cafe, also owned by the chef at Geronimo. It's been there a long time, and changed about 3 years ago. Actually the restaurant at your hotel Anasazi) is good , as well. A short cab ride from your hotel, or a long walk is Ristra, one of our favorites. Really good food and service. Give it a try. P.S. We just ate in amost all of these places over Christmas and New Year's, so my recommendations are current. Most of these places are a walk from your hotel. We love Santa Fe!

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    Cafe Pasqual's
    121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    1. Inn of the Anasazi is tremendous. It is my 'home away from home'... and I can't wait to get back there when I leave.
      Geronimo is one of my favorites. There is elk on the menu and it is one of the best dishes I've ever eaten.
      For breakfast I like Tia Sophia (right off the Plaza). It's a local favorite and I love their huevos rancheros. Further down San Francisco Street is Holy Spirit Espresso if you love good coffee...owned by a man who fit an espresso cart, literally, into a closet....it's great coffee and he's a great guy.
      Cafe Paris on Burro Alley (off San Francisco) has the best french pastries in town. The brioche is wonderful and the quiche is remarkable.
      If someone decides to recommend Trattoria Nostrani to you, and you decide to go, make sure you wear nothing with fragrance, you or your husband, because I've seen people thrown out of the place for it. I like the food but it's alot of drama for the experience.
      There are wonderful restaurants in Santa Fe, some better than others, but these are some of my favorites.
      Enjoy! Make sure you drink lots of water!

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      Cafe Paris
      31 Burro Alley St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      Trattoria Nostrani
      304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      Tia Sophia's
      210 W San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      1. From a recently-minted Santa Fean, welcome in advance!

        There's some good chow in town, but be warned that it often tends to be really overpriced for what it is, especially the choices within walking distance of your hotel. It's not impossible to get reasonable value downtown, but as a rule, I've found the closer you are to the Plaza, the worse your odds will be.

        Regarding your specific questions, I'd skip El Farol except maybe for drinks and live music. I think Cafe Pasqual's is pretty decent for breakfast; dinner is fine, although the recipes are getting a little long in the tooth.

        Since you're an Angelino, Southwestern/New Mexican stuff is probably your best bet in terms of what you can't get back home. The Shed, just off the Plaza, isn't my bar-none favorite of this ilk in town, but the combination of pretty good food, lovely ambiance, outstanding margaritas, and fair prices makes it a really good introduction to NM cuisine. On the high end, haven't been to Geronimo yet, but setting food aside, I think it's one of the most beautifully outfitted restaurants I've seen anywhere. A notch down in price, I think Restaurant Martin is a good call for casually upscale food with NM accents. I nearly always take our out-of-town visitors to Harry's Roadhouse for some fun local color, good food, and good drinks; it's on the edge of town, but worth getting in the car for. And finally, in terms of truly "chowish" NM places, definitely worth a 10-minute drive; a few of my favorites are the Pantry, Tecolote Cafe, and especially Los Amigos, all inexpensive and low- or no-frills for decor.

        I'll also mention that there are approximately twelve billion threads about Santa Fe chow already on the board, so definitely worth reading a few. Here are some of my recent favorites for out-of-towners:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/308009
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/630660
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/675460
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587052

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        Harry's Roadhouse
        96B Old Las Vegas Hwy, Santa Fe, NM 87505

        Geronimo Restaurant
        724 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        Shed
        113 1/2 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        El Farol
        808 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        Tecolote Cafe
        1203 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505

        Cafe Pasqual's
        121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        Restaurant Martin
        526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        1. {I have tried to reply 3 times and my post keeps going poof; here's hoping this one makes it.}

          So many folks "don't plan on lingering" in ABQ and that is unfortunate, because we have some fine places to eat here and the prices are a bit friendlier than in Santa Fe.

          On the way from airport to Santa Fe, for breakfast of lunch try The Grove Cafe. It is just off I-25 and is easy on and off. Great food, nice setting.

          Also good for breakfast or lunch is the quintessential Frontier, a local/university hang out with great NM food.

          Also worthy of a stop is LaProvence, just east of the University in Nob Hill. Great bistro food and the best truffle frites, they are to die for!

          Both Frontier and LaProvence are on University, east of I 25 and easy to get to on the way to or from Santa Fe.

          In Santa Fe, we really like Andiamo! for Italian with reasonable prices and the food is top notch.

          Torino's is great for lunch, it is a bit hidden but worth it and you won't find crowds.

          Chocolate Maven is also good for breakfast or lunch.

          The sister restaurant of The Shed - La Choza - is our choice for a more local feel to it.

          Also, check out 999dine.com for great discounts. Works like restaurant.com You buy certificates for at least 50% off.

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          Andiamo
          322 Garfield Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          La Choza Restaurant
          905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505

          6 Replies
          1. re: DebitNM

            Forgot links:
            Also, La Boca has good tapas, but can be busy and it impacts the service; tables are close together and a bit loud.

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            Frontier Restaurant
            2400 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

            Grove Cafe & Market
            600 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM

            La Boca
            72 West Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            Torino's At Home
            227 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM

            Chocolate Maven Bakery & Cafe
            821 W San Mateo Rd Ste C, Santa Fe, NM 87505

            Brasserie La Provence
            3001 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

            1. re: DebitNM

              FYI, Torino's is no more (alas) at least at that location . . . it's now Santa Luna, run by the chef who used to be at L o s M a y a s (had to spell that long to get rid of the link this idiotic software is insisting on putting into this post).

              http://www.santalunarestaurant.com/in...

              1. re: Erich

                Yes, someone pointed it out to me on another thread here. Luckily for me, they are relocating to ABQ.

                Erich- would you like to join us for a chow down? Weekend of 3/26? Email me if so.

                1. re: DebitNM

                  Hi Deb,

                  Thanks for the invite. Just heard from Daniela that they've signed a lease in the ABQ - heck yeah!

                  Weekend just got happier - hope you folks all have a good one.
                  cheers, erich

                  1. re: Erich

                    Do you know where they will open in ABQ?

                    1. re: DebitNM

                      Daniela did not say . . . her message seemed excited to be moving forward, though.

          2. Wow, thank you all so much for your detailed responses - I will definitely be looking into all these recommendations! I'm particularly intrigued by Geronimo for our celebration dinner (the menu looks insanely good) and The Shed or La Choza for lunch - but I want to do more research.

            A coworker who has a house in Santa Fe just recommended La Casa Sena to me - any thoughts?

            @finlero - I've read a lot of the recent threads on Santa Fe, but there is so much disagreement among the reviewers and also it seems like a lot of chef turnover, so I thought I'd start fresh! =)

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            La Choza Restaurant
            905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505

            La Casa Sena
            125 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            1. Quick report back - we had a fabulous weekend and many excellent meals...

              La Choza - Stopped for a late lunch on our way into town - it was only a few minutes before the end of their lunch service at 2:30, but they welcomed us in. We had enchiladas and quesadillas, both with green chile. We thought it was delicious (although we're the first to admit that we're definitely not chile aficionados). It was also extremely filling - we skipped dinner that evening.

              Cafe Pasqual's - We had a late brunch here on Saturday; still full from La Choza, we split a bowl of tomato soup and an poached egg dish with braised beef (Eggs Barbacoa, I think?). Neither blew us away, but the service was friendly and the energy was positive. I'm guessing that the decor hasn't changed much in the last 20 years - it definitely had that funky neighborhood cafe feel that I am used to from Berkeley and Portland.

              Geronimo - This was my husband's birthday dinner, and it was a huge success. We loved the ambience of the restaurant - it was sophisticated and warm, with southwestern touches but not at all kitschy. The lighting was great and we could actually hear each other speak (which is a big problem at many popular LA restaurants). The service was similarly excellent. But best of all was the food - as promised, the elk was superb. We also had a duck salad, filet mignon, and warm chocolate cake - all delicious. The portions were quite large - if I were to do it again, I would probably recommend two starters, one entree, and one dessert for two people (rather than one starter and two entrees). Although each of the entrees was over $40, the overall bill seemed quite reasonable.

              The Teahouse (www.teahousesantafe.com) - This was the most pleasant surprise of our visit - I had read nothing about it in advance, but it was recommended to us by a gallery owner as a good place to get a cup of coffee. My husband did get coffee and I had oolong tea - but the surprise part was the "oatmeal" (also recommended by the gallery owner). It was the most delectable concoction of oatmeal, wheat berries, and black rice, served with a dollop of whipped cream and sliced strawberries and bananas. I've never had anything like it and it was SO SO GOOD. And luxuriating on the patio in the early spring sunshine was a little slice of heaven.

              Blake's Lotaburger - Convenient to ABQ and so was a fun place to stop for a bite right before we returned our car - but did not in any way compete with our beloved In N' Out Burger!

              Thanks again for your help!

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              Geronimo Restaurant
              724 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501

              La Choza Restaurant
              905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505

              Blake's Lotaburger
              420 E Broadway, Farmington, NM 87401

              Cafe Pasqual's
              121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

              1 Reply
              1. re: aching

                Recent Santa Fe favs below, many found through Chowhound;

                1. Vinagrette - fantastic salads, very healthy. Spinach salad was best I have ever eaten. Salad w pork tenderloin great too (I can't recall the title). I wish this cafe was in every city I visit.

                2. Kakawa Chocolate House - Trip highlight. The meso chocolate drinks are beyond belief. Rich, satisfying and incredibly, made without cream and sugar (though they have those selections too). Well done, fantastic service. Baked goods look amazing though I did not sample. Owner says the baking is done during the week, i wld say aim for the coconut creme chocolate pie on a weekday.

                3. La Boca - Fantastic arugula salad and best hummus I have eaten. Nice happy hour special from 3-5 wkdys.

                4. Plaza cafe - very good green chili, inepensive. Nice slice of apple pie. Huge and covered in carmel, 2 scoops of ice cream.

                5. Yummy Cafe - great tofu veggie soup, fantastic service and really good prices. Very relaxing experience.

                6. Cafe Pasqual's - not great. skip breakfast here, small portions, I left hungry and unsatisfied.

                7. Sage Bakehouse - Well done. Great breads, try the pecan rasin toast with coffee!

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                Kakawa Chocolate House
                1050 Paseo, De Peralta Santa Fe, NM

                La Boca
                72 West Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                Cafe Pasqual's
                121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501