Thanks, these are great. Re "atmosphere," I don't care about decor but will have a group of about 6a nd we want to be able to talk and not feel rushed. Also, am looking for at least one option in Old Town.
And ... I'm not militant vegetarian so maybe I'll just eat the lard in the name of authenticity and taste...
Vegetarian or otherwise, I feel like the quality of the decor at most ABQ restaurants seems to be inversely proportional to the quality of the chow. This being said, two decent enough restaurants with nice al fresco choices would be El Patio and El Pinto. Aside from the very rare place that adds ground pork to its green or red sauce (neither of the above), NM-style food is actually pretty replete with vegetarian options.
The Range, especially the original in Bernalillo, has really fun decor and pretty good food.
The Grove isn't primarily NM-style, but the food and patio are both excellent, lots of veggie choices. Breakfast and lunch only.
Lots more places up the street in Santa Fe with nicer decor, but they'll tend to be more expensive, and the chow will be hit or miss depending on where you go.
10500 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114
re: Chimayo Joe
You might call these folks to make sure that they still have vegetarian NM food:
Richard’s Mexican Restaurant
3301 Menaul NE
I'm not vouching for whether you might consider it a nice atmosphere, but it wasn't a dump the last time I was there. Personally, I'm not a fan of non-traditional (which is to say "vegetarian" - Joe is quite right about the prevalence of lard as a base in real NM food) New Mexican, but I recall that Richard's was not bad. It might be to your taste.