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May 4, 2010 08:55 AM

HELP needed for Santa Fe and Taos

We are looking for the BEST local high quality cooking. We are going to Santa Fe NM (3 nights) and Taos (1 night) for the first time for a special birthday and are looking for GREAT restaurants creatively using fresh, local ingredients. As we live in New York, we want high quality creative Sowthwest food NOT French, Italian, Japanese, etc. Any recommendations for dinners and/or lunches?


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  1. "Creative Southwest food" is a surprisingly elusive target around here. Most of the fine dining establishments lean toward a more international style (you won't find many regional ingredients on the menus at Terra, Restaurant Martin, the Compound, or Geronimo), and most of the places that dish out Southwestern grub aren't very creative. Given the target you have described Cafe Pasqual is probably the one place you shouldn't miss. Coyote Cafe still works in that classic upscale Southwest genre, and is reportedly on the upswing after years in the doldrums, although I haven't been recently so I can't confirm that first hand.

    If, on the other hand, you are willing to forego "creative" there are numerous great spots around town dishing out wonderful regional cooking...but that's a different conversation.

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

    Restaurant Martin
    526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    1. I am in Santa Fe right now and I drove out on the scenic byway "high road" towards Taos and had an amazing meal at Rancho de Chimayo. It's in the middle of nowhere, but the scenery getting there (about 45 minutes from SF) and the food was authentic. It would make for a very special birthday treat and get you out into the countryside.

      Rancho De Chimayo
      RR 98 Box 300, Chimayo, NM 87522

      1. Ditto on Cafe Pasqual. I'd give my left arm for another portion of polenta with red chili sauce.

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

        1. Epazote has wonderful food from Mexico- Chef Fernando Olea experiments with flavors, uses old family recipes and works magic with moles. We love Coyote Cafe's Rooftop Cantina for a casual dinner (or try it for lunch). Love the port tacos. For a the birthday dinner, try Luminaria at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. Chef Brian Cooper is great and the patio is worth going for. BTW, some of the restaurants w/ new American fusion are great. One of our favorites is 315- started out French and took a left turn. Trattoria Nostrani made Gourmet's last top 50 American restaurants.
          Enjoy your time in Santa Fe.
          Taos has some great restaurants. The very small Byzantium is supposed to be fabulous.

          Trattoria Nostrani
          304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          1. PS- saw the Pasqual's recommendation and concur. They do three meals a day and they are all good, but dinner is my favorite. They have some local influence, but the food is global.