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Resturants for a week in Santa Fe

Hi,
My husband and I will be in Santa Fe for a week mid-Oct. We'll be staying near the Plaza, but will have bikes and a car. We'd like the best places to eat lunch at dinner from 5 stars to hole-in-the-wall. We're all about thoughtfully prepared food from fresh ingredients.
Thanks!

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  1. Hi, and welcome in advance.

    This kind of all-purpose "what's good, we like all kinds of food" question has been asked a whole bunch of times here, and there aren't currently that many Santa Fe hounds actively posting, so a board search will almost certainly be a lot more comprehensive than anything you'll get from a fresh post. That said, a couple of quick picks, a search for any of these will turn up loads of info:

    High end: Shohko Cafe, Trattoria Nostrani, Restaurant Martin
    Good value to be had near the Plaza: Plaza Cafe, the Shed, Clafoutis
    Off the beaten tourist path: Los Amigos, Joe's Diner and Pizza, Counter Culture, El Campanario, Plaza Cafe South, Josh's BBQ
    Worth a drive out of town: Bobcat Bite, Harry's Roadhouse, Santa Fe Brewing Co.
    Places other people will send you that I don't especially care for: Chocolate Maven, Vinaigrette

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

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

    Trattoria Nostrani
    304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Counter Culture
    930 Baca St, Santa Fe, NM 87505

    Shohko Cafe
    321 Johnson St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Joe's Diner and Pizza
    2801 Rodeo Rd Ste A5, Santa Fe, NM 87507

    Restaurant Martin
    526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Clafoutis
    402 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    6 Replies
    1. re: finlero

      I will add Bistro 315 for high end and Max's too.
      For very good Italian at reasonable prices - Andiamo!

      Be aware you are coming to town during a very busy time of year [Balloon Fiesta] in case you weren't aware of that. [if mid Oct means prior to Oct 10th] If you will be looking for dinner during Fiesta, reservations will be needed.\

      We like LaChoza for authentic NM, sister restaurant to The Shed, a bit more local than tourist than The Shed.

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      Andiamo
      322 Garfield Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      1. re: finlero

        Definitely looking for the non-touristica route! We're from NE, we like to escape the leaf-peepers this time of year. Thanks.

        1. re: Advisorr

          I hear ya. DebitNM and I have each done some respective time in the Northeast (I believe she lived in NY, and I moved here a year ago after a decade in Boston), so our recs should be fairly in line with what New Englanders will be looking for.

          All of the above recs should be a good fit. I'd argue Harry's and Bobcat Bite will feel the most different; while it's weird to send someone from NE to an Italian restaurant, I think Nostrani measures up favorably to Boston's very best (Prezza, Il Capriccio, Erbaluce), so still worth a trip, especially during the end of the harvest season.

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

        2. re: finlero

          Just had a really nice dinner at Vinaigrette. The salads were fresh and large and tasty and the dessert [housemade pie a la mode] was yummy. Why don't you care for it?

          I also had a nice lunch at Chocolate maven a while back. Thought it was good too?

          Are we having a falling out of opinions, fin??

          1. re: DebitNM

            Ha, well I don't know about a falling out, but it would seem we have a few differences of opinion. But that's a good thing for the board! The reason I like CH so much more than Yelp et al is the threaded conversational format that lets us all talk about stuff like this, as opposed to just shouting our opinions into the abyss.

            So in that spirit of constructive, respectful disagreement, let me add some specifics:

            Chocolate Maven - I LOVE the out-of-the-way industrial location (it's exactly the sort of place I rely on CH to help me find), maybe it raised my expectations too high. I've never had lunch here (and it sounds like this may be the thing you specifically seek out), but I've been here a half dozen times for sweets, trying everything from pastries to cookies to chocolates, and every, single, thing I've tried has been noteworthy only in its mediocrity. The pastries are remarkably large (chocolate croissants half the size of my head), but I've found they completely lack the nuance and depth of flavor that make a caloric splurge worth having. The croissant dough is way too bready and entirely bland; I'd much rather have a pastry a third the size with the same number of calories, but I want to taste rich, dark butter flavor. The multiple cookies I've tried have tasted like they came from a supermarket bakery from the 80s, and the chocolates and tarts, while beautiful to look at, have all been uninteresting and again completely not worth the calories. If you're going to have a pretentious name like Chocolate Maven, I'm sorry, but you have to do better than that.

            Vinaigrette - the food here is generally fine. Not over-the-top stellar, but usually pretty good. And I should say some of the homemade salad dressings are really outstanding. My problem with it is the truly poor value: it's expensive, and at the same time, the portions are disturbingly small. The $16 Asian beef salad gets you a portion that could be a side salad at any number of good restaurants, with a few pieces of (unquestionably delicious) beef on top. Upgrading the $9 Caesar salad by adding the $7 seared diver scallops gets you three (!!!) scallops, which were overcooked and rubbery the time I ordered it. I'm generally willing to pay a premium for outstanding food, and I usually complain that portions are too *big* (see croissants above), but for me, Vinaigrette stretches my tolerances past the breaking point.

            Ooh, haven't had a proper rant here for a good long while, that was therapeutic.

            1. re: finlero

              Armed with a 999dine.com coupon, Vinaigrette worked out to be a reasonable meal, both in terms of cost and taste. I had a Greek salad [$8.95 plus $5 for chicken] with lemon-dill chicken. It was huge and next time, I'll skip the chicken - it was tasty but unnecessary. Hubby had Apple Cheddar Chop. His was a decidedly small portion but the pork tenderloin was very tasty.

              Many of the salads we saw passing by looked large, I guess the key is to know which to order.

              FWIW - we did have lunch at Chocolate Maven and we found the choices and the food good. I did bring home a chocolate croissant and it wasn't anything special.

        3. Restaurant Martin is outstanding fine dining for lunch or dinner. I really like Santa Cafe. Dine outdoors. Santa Luna Cafe is casual for lunch or dinner. The Compound is very nice. I really like the Ore House also for fine dining for lunch or dinner. Sit on their 2nd floor porch overlooking the Plaza. The Plaza Cafe is outstanding for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

          Restaurant Martin @ 526 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, NM 505 - 820 - 0919.
          http://restaurantmartinsantafe.com/
          Santa Cafe @ 112 West Marcy Ave., Santa Fe, NM 505 - 986 - 8649.
          http://www.santacafe.com/
          Santa Luna Cafe @ 227 Don Gaspar Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 989 - 3732.
          http://www.santalunarestaurant.com/
          The Compound Restaurant @ 653 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 982 - 4353.
          http://www.999dine.com/nm/compound/in...
          The Ore House @ 50 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 983 - 8687.
          http://www.orehouseontheplaza.com/
          The Plaza Cafe @ 54 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 982 - 1664.
          http://www.thefamousplazacafe.com/

          Tia Sophia's is nice for a casual breakfast or lunch. Tomasit's is also a fun place for a casual lunch. Dine outside and enjoy the outstanding burgers.

          Tia Sophia's @ 210 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 983 - 9880.
          Tomasita's @ 500 South Guadalupe St., Santa Fe, NM 505 - 983 - 5721.

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

          Tomasita's
          500 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          Ore House
          50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          Restaurant Martin
          526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          4 Replies
          1. re: Littleman

            Good to see a rec for The Ore House, it seldom gets mentioned. Love margaritas sipped on the deck overlooking the Plaza!

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            Ore House
            50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            1. re: LikestoEatout

              Another + for the Ore House. I love that place.

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              Ore House
              50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            2. re: Littleman

              I thought the Plaza Cafe had a recent garlic/oil fire and is closed for the time being? the one on the southside is still open. I love the Red Enchillada for something simple and authentic, and that little restaurant in the Sambusco Center? - good pupusas!

            3. Santa Fe has SO many choices, and one never knows whose kitchen is hot or in a dip, but here goes: Liking Atrisco right now for local NM food, don't let the mall location put you off, good fresh food, owner used to run the farmers' market. BODY Cafe is really interesting for vegan food and a fab assortment of hand-made chocolate truffles. Have personally never understood the appeal of Harry's except for breakfast, and think Bobcat is just a greasy burger without even any fries (what, potato chips? you're kidding!). Agree that Shohko is always reliable Japanese, but have also been enjoying Lan's Vietnamese (off the beaten path location). High-end: Geronimo & the Compound both $$$ but very beautiful and if the kitchen is "on," worth the money. Martin's is also very good, but atmosphere not as quintessentially SF as Geronimo and the Compound. Amavi also high-end and one of the prettiest dining rooms in town. Il Piatto right downtown for good Italian with a focus on fresh local produce, and both La Boca and El Meson do a good job downtown with tapas. Bienvenidos y Buen Provecho!

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

              Amavi Restaurant
              221 Shelby Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

              Shohko Cafe
              321 Johnson St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

              El Meson
              213 Washington Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

              Atrisco Cafe and Bar
              193 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501

              6 Replies
              1. re: SantaFesina

                Totally agree the lack of fries at Bobcat Bite is a severe enjoyment liability, although I personally quite like the burger itself (if nothing else, no arguing with house-ground beef), especially with the obligatory cheese and green chile.

                @SantaFesina, you've piqued my interest, are there any burgers around town you particularly do like?

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

                1. re: finlero

                  I had a very tasty and beefy burger from Tesuque Village Market, which also grinds its own beef on-premises. Of course, at the end of the day (or the beginning of the meal!), it's all about personal tastes. And I know it sounds whiny, but I also can't stand to either eat so early or wait so long for a seat in such a small place, no matter how appealingly Santa Fe the Bobcat is!

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                  Tesuque Village Market
                  PO Box 6400, Tesuque, NM 87574

                  1. re: SantaFesina

                    Not whiny at all -- that's totally valid! And it's worth mentioning in general: Bobcat is going to be jam packed, with an hour or two wait, pretty much every night at prime time. I think the place has fun local color for out of towners, but I agree it's generally not worth the wait (especially with no fries or beer), so I've only been a handful of times.

                    Will check out the TVM, thanks for the tip!

                2. re: SantaFesina

                  I was just in Santa Fe for a long weekend in August. Totally agree with SantaFesina about Atrisco - it's great for local fare, despite the mall location. I also adored Horseman's Haven even though it's basically in a gas station parking lot (get the chorizo breakfast or a breakfast burrito with carne adovada - OMG heavenly). Was less thrilled with the Pantry and have never been a huge fan of The Shed or La Choza. Though we didn't get there this time, I like Tortilla Flats for inexpensive NM food as well. A lot of my SF based friends love the Santa Fe Baking Company and Tecolote Cafe for breakfast/brunch but I never got too excited about them.

                  Our upscale picks this time were Martin and Geronimo. I didn't go to Martin myself but my parents absolutely adored it. Geronimo was a huge disappointment and I wouldn't go again - my dishes were underseasoned, unbalanced and just not good, and although my husband and parents had slightly better luck, nothing was really amazing. My parents liked it better than I did but were far happier with their meal at Martin. Live and learn. I want to try Trattoria Nostranni next time. Coyote Cafe was also good when I was there a few years back but I think the kitchen has changed hands multiple times since then, so who knows.

                  I found Bobcat Bite totally underwhelming the one time I was there but they could have had an off night. I like Chocolate Maven for pastries and such, good sandwiches and great rosemary garlic fries as well. If you're up at the opera or north of town for any reason, Gabriel's has good margaritas and guacamole, and I hear their red chile ribs are fabulous (though overpriced). We had pretty good pizza one night at Upper Crust, and I have in the past had terrific sushi at Shohko. Enjoy!

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

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

                  Tecolote Cafe
                  1203 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505

                  Tortilla Flats
                  3139 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507

                  Horseman's Haven Cafe
                  4354 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507

                  Shohko Cafe
                  321 Johnson St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                  Atrisco Cafe and Bar
                  193 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Sorry that Geronimo was disappointing, although that is why I added the caveat about whether the kitchen is "on." That is always the problem when one is spending big bucks, it can be utterly memorable for either the right or the wrong reasons. I have always thought that It's a good reason to make fine dining dates for lunch when the price point can be lower and save dinner for the working stiffs' recommendations! FYI: Coyote is currently under the stewardship of Eric DiStefano, who is also the exec chef of Geronimo.

                    Agree about the Shed and La Choza, simply don't know why they are so popular. Also agree about the Pantry, Tecolote (long past it's prime); and Baking Co. is downright dirty. Tortilla Flats would be vastly improved if they upgraded the coffee (bleh, worse than McDonald's!). Have always loved huevos rancheros for breakfast at Pasquals, but it's become so busy that it's not worth waiting when you want - er, need - your coffee.

                    Pizza Centro is the new darling for pizza although I have not tried it yet. http://www.pizzacentronys.com/

                    Writing about food always makes me HONGRY!!!!!!!!

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

                    Tecolote Cafe
                    1203 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505

                    Tortilla Flats
                    3139 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507

                  2. re: SantaFesina

                    I finally tried Body about a month ago. Appalling service.

                  3. We liked Tia Sophia for lunch. We had a great Mexican (not NM) meal at a place in a shopping complex diagonally across from the St Francis hotel. Very different salsa, and excellent moles. La Boca is a tapas place that we wanted to love--food was OK, service was...well...enthusiastic but inept. Lost our reservation, which we had walked in earlier in the day to make, but they seated us right away. Wine was half off on Monday night, but the waitress broke the cork in the bottle we ordered, and it was the last one of its type. They ran out of pimenton...how do you do that in a tapas place?

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

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

                    1. Thank for all your advice! We took some and mixed it with advice from locals too!

                      Restaurant Martin out-shined all our meals, in fact it was certainly one of the better meals we've had . We're going back tomorrow. Thoughtfully, artfully prepared, not over sauced, but creatively presented with multiple flavors that enhanced each other.

                      We did have a fun night at the over-priced, but decent Cafe Pasquale's. The service was excellent and the food quite good. We ate at the community table -- it was a hoot. Luckily we had the advantage of fun, interesting, multi-dimensional table mates! I am sure it doesn't always work out that way.

                      On other notes:

                      The Whole Foods in Santa Fe has terrible produce.

                      DO NOT go to the Teahouse. RUDE, terrible service. We waited a half hour for lunch after being told they didn't have 4 of the items we were interested in eating, that they would substitute a salad for rice and beans, but that it was really a hassle and not something they normally do. The owner/manager was rude to another table who waited for a half hour too (IT WASN'T busy) and the table mentioned the wait and she told them they hadn't been waiting that long. The lunch was expensive, over-priced and not a decent portion size. BUMMER. It looks like it has a casual, pleasant feel with interesting teas, but avoid!

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                      Restaurant Martin
                      526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501