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Santa Fe Anniversary Dinner Recommendation

My wife and I are heading down to Santa Fe (from Boston) for our 5th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, and I was hoping to get some recommendations for dining options...

The main recommendation I'm looking for is for the actual Anniversary dinner. A close co-worker who grew up in the Albuquerque area recommended Geronimo's or The Compound. I took a look and both look really great. After poking around the Chowhound board a bit, it sounds like there's some movement among the various chefs at the top restaurants, so I'd be curious to get a current perspective on these recommendations. Also, if anyone feels like there are better options, I'm definitely open to any recommendations...

Other than that, I'm really looking forward to getting some authentic Southwestern flavors and cuisine. Both my wife and I like bold flavors, spicy food, etc. So any suggestions for good local fare would also be highly appreciated.

Thanks in Advance!!

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  1. A restaurant that doesn't get a lot of play here on Chowhound but is one of the more discussed SF restaurants when one is back in NYC is Trattoria Nostrani (sort of across from the G O'Keeffe Museum). Good food, nice atmosphere, somewhat overblown "no scents" policy. You might consider it.

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    Trattoria Nostrani
    304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    1. Agree with Erich on Nostrani.

      cseshag -- I moved recently from Boston; in order to tailor some recs a little better, what are some of your favorite places out that way?

      1. Restaurant Martin is getting a lot of great reviews. I personally love Santa Cafe.

        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/

        I also like Geronimo, Inn of the Anasazi and the outdoor dining a La Casa Sena.

        Geronimo@ 724 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 982 - 1500.
        http://www.geronimorestaurant.com/
        Inn of the Anasazi @ 113 Washington Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 988 - 3030.
        http://www.innoftheanasazi.com/
        La Casa Sena @ 125 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 988 - 9232.

        The Ore House is very nice and has an outdoor porch on the 2nd floor overlooking the Plaza.

        The Ore House @ 50 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 505 - 983 - 8687. FD/LD.
        http://www.orehouseontheplaza.com/

        http://www.lacasasena.com/

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        Restaurant Martin
        526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        1 Reply
        1. re: Littleman

          I agree with most of the above, but I would strongly suggest that The Ore House is NOT anniversary-meal worthy. The porch is very nice, and cocktails there could be a very mellow experience. But the food I had there on my last visit was ordinary bordering on 'less than'.

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          Ore House
          50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        2. Agree with all of Littleman's recommendations, except Fydeaux is right about Ore House not being special-occasion-worthy, more for a casual night of looking out at the Plaza. Just talke to someone who ate at Geronimo last Sat night for a birthday and was delighted; and you can't beat the SF setting. At the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Grand Tasting, the Compound blew everyone outta the water with very complete presentation and quality; it's also a very pretty setting with authentic decor from Alexander Girard of Folk Art Museum fame. Casa Sena has a pretty patio, but never been impressed by the food. SantaCafe also nice patio dining and fairly reliable quality.

          Also makes me nervous to recommend when someone is spending on a very special dinner...

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          Ore House
          50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

          8 Replies
          1. re: SantaFesina

            315 Restaurant anfd wine bar is very nice, romantic and excellent food.
            http://315santafe.com/

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            315 Restaurant & Wine Bar
            315 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            1. re: DebitNM

              I agree 100%. Mrs Fydeaux & I had our anniversay dinner there 3 years ago and it was wonderful from beginning to end.

              Cafe Paris in Burro Alley would also be a good choice if French bistro food and ambiance is to your liking.

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

              1. re: Fydeaux

                While I really like Cafe Paris, I don't think of it as a special celebration place. It has charm if you sit outside as it does seem to be like eating at a cafe in Paris.

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

                1. re: DebitNM

                  I think people are getting a little off topic here. I live in Boston now (30 years) but grew up in Albuquerque and visit Santa Fe annually. If I was looking for Italian or French Bistro, frankly there are better choices in the Boston Area. Stick to what they can't get here - high end Southwestern/New Mexican. I have eaten at SantaCafe and it is very nice with a modern take on traditional Southwest cuisine. The Ore House is very very very casual.

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                  Ore House
                  50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                  1. re: melachap1354

                    While it's of course true that the OP may not want French or Italian, which I agree are outstanding in the Northeast, I would say that I think Nostrani would measure up nicely in a Pepsi Challenge with the best Italian restaurants in Boston. As Erich points out above, the no-scents policy is a little weird, but the food and wine are stellar enough that I'd send East Coasters there without giving it a second thought.

                    I agree with DebitNM that Cafe Paris is fun, but probably not the occasion place the OP is looking for. Actually, the thing I like about it is the low-key "it's just French food" vibe.

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

                  2. re: DebitNM

                    Sorry, my own perspective got in the way. I live in Milwaukee. While we are home to many excellent restaurants, the opportunity to visit Santa Fe makes even Horseman Haven or Blake's a special occasion restaurant!

                    1. re: Fydeaux

                      I hate to say it, but true New Mexican cuisine isn't fine dining, it is soulful, comfort food at it's finest. There are upscale places in Santa Fe that do SW/"haute cuisine" fusion that makes them more pretentious [IMHO] than they have a right to be.

                      I would look for NM food in the local's favorites and not for the anniversary dinner. For the big dinner, some of the above would work nicely for romantic, sauve servers etc.

                  3. re: Fydeaux

                    Note that Cafe Paris no longer has a wine license. Don't know why... might have something to do with a landlord dispute many months ago when it seemed that they were going to close. Even if I'm just having a lunchtime quiche there a glass (or two) of wine is a requirement for me. No buzz in iced tea !

                    315 Restaurant and Wine Bar that DebitNM mentions above would be the better choice if "bistro ambience" is something specifically desired. Food is very good and the wines available are excellent.

                    And, finally, add another vote for everything at Nostrani Ristorante (recent name modification). What comes out of the kitchen is among the very best of what's done in Santa Fe. Just be sure that noone wears any fragrance at all as you WILL be turned away at the door.

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

              2. lot's of solid choices mentioned here. 315, SantaCafe, Coyote Cafe, Compound all would be good. Suggest you check out the Bell Tower bar at La Fonda for a sunset beverage if it is still open (closes seasonally). For local fare you might try Tia Sophia's for lunch or breakfast - the mayor, judge, chief of police, etc. The bar at El Meson is a good place to spend some time, often live jazz, always good tapas.

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

                El Meson
                213 Washington Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                La Fonda
                100 E San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501