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Fine Dining in Santa Fe? Recent experiences wanted!

biondanonima May 20, 2010 12:02 PM

We're heading to Santa Fe at the end of the summer and are looking for a great restaurant to celebrate a special occasion. We've spent a lot of time in SF, but not recently, and I wanted to get a new read on some of the top restaurants. I've read a bunch of older posts and have rounded up the usual suspects: Geronimo, the Compound, Inn of the Anasazi, Trattoria Nostrani, Ristra. We'll be dining with my parents, who have never been to Santa Fe, so I was hoping to pick a place that has some Northern New Mexican flair, although that's not the most important factor. I find the menus at Geronimo and the Inn of the Anasazi most appealing, but that's just me. Thoughts? Any newer spots I'm leaving out of consideration? Thanks!

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Trattoria Nostrani
304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

  1. biondanonima May 20, 2010 04:55 PM

    I've also read good (if mixed) things about Aqua Santa and Coyote Cafe. I've eaten in the rooftop cantina at Coyote but never in the dining room - menu looks interesting but maybe overpriced? Aqua Santa doesn't seem to have a website.

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    Aqua Santa
    451 W Alameda St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    4 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima
      DebitNM May 20, 2010 08:49 PM

      2 new spots that are getting lots of buzz:
      Restaurant Martin
      Max's Restaurant.

      We are having dinner at Restuarant Martin tomorrow night, will report back.

      http://www.restaurantmartinsantafe.com/
      526 galisteo street
      santa fe, nm 87501

      http://www.maxssantafe.com
      505.820.0919

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      Restaurant Martin
      526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      Max's - Santa Fe
      403 1/2 S. Guadalupe, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      1. re: DebitNM
        biondanonima May 21, 2010 09:53 AM

        Looking forward to your comments about Restaurant Martin - their menu looks interesting. Max's looks good too although maybe not quite so upscale as the others. Might be a good place to send my parents while they're on their own though - I don't know that they're going to want to eat at our favorite low-brow spots in SF! This is going to be our one "fancy" dinner in NM so we want to make it count!

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        Restaurant Martin
        526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        1. re: biondanonima
          DebitNM May 22, 2010 06:47 AM

          I started a new thread about dinner last night at Restaurant Martin. [ 2 thumbs up!]

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          Restaurant Martin
          526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          1. re: DebitNM
            biondanonima May 25, 2010 07:02 PM

            Restaurant Martin looked really interesting to me but I sent links to all the menus to my parents, and they voted for Geronimo, so that's where we're headed. I might try to find an excuse to check out Martin another night though!

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            Restaurant Martin
            526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    2. s
      santafefoodie May 28, 2010 06:57 PM

      There really is no "Northern New Mexico flair" when you go upscale. Geronimo and the Inn of the Anasazi are both excellent. I prefer Geronimo. Coyote Cafe used to have southwestern influence, but Chef Eric DiStefano (also exec at Geronimo) has toned that down. Other good choices are SantaCafe where there is some Santa Fe influence and the Compound where there is none. If you want upscale with New Mexican influence, check out Tabla de Los Santos at the Hotel St. Francis. Chef Estevan Garcia formerly of Cafe San Estevan is the man.

      1. s
        santafefoodie May 28, 2010 07:00 PM

        I forgot to mention Cafe Pasqual. The food is eclectic, check the current menu they may have some New Mexican inspired dishes. The food is great, the down-side is it is tiny and does not have that upscale ambiance you might want..

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

        1. s
          SantaFesina Jun 2, 2010 01:17 PM

          We just ate a delicious meal at Geronimo last night, and loved that they had a vegetarian tasting menu. It is NOT New Mexican food per se, but it' location in a historic building that is quite lovely, and the food overall was very good, though not inexpensive. It is also a fun place for celebrity sightings which adds an extra frisson of fun, especially since so much film-making is happening in NM now. We like walking to and fro on Canyon Road at least part of the way, especially afterword on a summer night. We have not been to the Compound in over a year, but would rate it up there with Geronimo, although we sometimes found the menu combinations there a bit too rich for our tastes. Our last outing to Anasazi was at lunch, which was very good and so pleasant to sit outside and watch the world of Santa Fe go by. We have always had good luck at SantaCafe and we love their patio. Cafe Pasqual would have the most NM "flair," but it is so small and can be a bit loud, although we have always enjoyed the food. And don't discount your folks enjoying your low-brow spots, since that is they are likely to see a different side of the local scene.

          1. Son of a Chef Jun 27, 2010 10:51 AM

            Spent 4 nights in Santa Fe during Spring Break. Weaseled an early table at Aqua Santa and had an extraordinary meal. But no, I wouldn't say this was New Mexican food per se, as Fesina says. This was a place that could relate to any major city. As we were exiting, it was fun overhearing Brian talking to one of our young sons (who says he wants to be a chef) about the things he 'cooked' when he was 8. ...

            While Cafe Pasqual is 'eclectic' and maddenly tiny, the meals are incredible, and New Mexican -- we enjoyed a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner there during our week. Upscale setting? More like a quirkycampus health-food restaurant type of feel. But oh so good.

            Also, I know this is purely the opposite of upscale -- consdering we were literally brushing elbows with a couple of ranch-hands sitting behind us -- and it's a few miles out of downtown, I highly reccomend you go enjoy a green chile burger at Bobcat Bite.

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            Bobcat Bite Restaurant
            420 Old Las Vegas Hwy, Santa Fe, NM 87505

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

            Aqua Santa
            451 W Alameda St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            1. s
              scottso Jun 27, 2010 08:09 PM

              Full disclosure, I ran into a friend who will be the new wine steward at The Revamped Il Nido in Tesuque (he owners of Steaksmith are opening it this week I think). My friend had very nice things to say, I'm just saying why wouldn't he.... But he's been around and highly recommended. So...I will check it out when I go up to the opera next month and report back.

              2 Replies
              1. re: scottso
                l
                LikestoEatout Jun 28, 2010 04:14 AM

                El Nido has changed hands?

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                El Nido Restaurant
                1577 Bishops Lodge Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87506

                1. re: LikestoEatout
                  s
                  scottso Jun 28, 2010 06:48 AM

                  Indeed.Here is a linkhttp://www.santafenewmexican.com/LocalNews/S...

              2. m
                mlsirkis Jul 21, 2010 11:44 PM

                I just ate at SantaCafe last week. The pork chop with cherries was so wonderful, I wanted to order another one for dessert!

                1. GroovinGourmet Jul 24, 2010 07:29 AM

                  My last fine dining experience in SF was at Restaurant Martin. FABULOUS!

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                  Restaurant Martin
                  526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

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