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Santa Fe Anniversary Dinner Recommendation

c
cseshag Sep 27, 2010 06:37 PM

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. Erich RE: cseshag Sep 28, 2010 07:29 AM

    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. finlero RE: cseshag Sep 28, 2010 11:12 AM

      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. l
        Littleman RE: cseshag Sep 28, 2010 12:33 PM

        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
          f
          Fydeaux RE: Littleman Sep 29, 2010 10:56 AM

          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. s
          SantaFesina RE: cseshag Sep 29, 2010 01:25 PM

          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
            DebitNM RE: SantaFesina Sep 29, 2010 05:11 PM

            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
              f
              Fydeaux RE: DebitNM Sep 30, 2010 06:18 AM

              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
                DebitNM RE: Fydeaux Sep 30, 2010 06:20 AM

                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
                  m
                  melachap1354 RE: DebitNM Sep 30, 2010 08:27 AM

                  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
                    finlero RE: melachap1354 Sep 30, 2010 02:36 PM

                    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
                    f
                    Fydeaux RE: DebitNM Sep 30, 2010 03:09 PM

                    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
                      DebitNM RE: Fydeaux Sep 30, 2010 06:52 PM

                      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
                    fyfas RE: Fydeaux Oct 2, 2010 12:50 PM

                    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. geraldb RE: cseshag Oct 2, 2010 02:13 PM

                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

                1. c
                  cseshag RE: cseshag Oct 2, 2010 08:41 PM

                  Thanks to everyone for all the recommendations! And my apologies that I haven't had any time this week to respond to some of the questions/suggestions.

                  First, to finlero's original question...Our favorite place for special occasion dining in the Boston area is Oleana in Cambridge. I love mediterranean/middle-eastern cuisines, so there's an obvious attraction. Also have been very impressed with Craigie St. On the high end of Boston dining, we haven't had the opportunity to eat at some of the more obvious/high profile choices (No. 9, L'Espalier, Clio, etc)....Our general tastes for dining out run to either east asian options or more neighborhood-y type places....In the Cambridge side of things, we spend a good bit of time at Green St. in Central Square. In Boston, we gravitate towards the smaller, low key placesin the South End - Metropolis and Orinoco are a couple of favs down that way. Sorry about the rambling nature of the list.

                  Regarding the many excellent suggestions offered, I am definitely most interested in the Southwestern influenced options...it's not that Boston necessarily does French/Italian better, but that Boston really doesn't do Southwestern/Mexican at all, so getting to partake of these flavors is very appealing. From looking at the menu, the options that seem most interesting are:

                  Santa Cafe
                  La Casa Sena
                  Restaurant Martin
                  The Compound

                  I think I'm currently leaning towards Santa Cafe based on the menu, but if folks have a different opinion, I'd definitely be open.

                  Finally, while the Ore House may not be the appropriate place for the Anniversary, we'll definitely put it on the list for one of the other meals we'll have while we're around. Also, I think Tia Sophia's has definitely made it on the list for Breakfast.

                  Thanks so much for everyone's input. It's greatly appreciated!

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                  La Casa Sena
                  125 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501

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

                  Ore House
                  50 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                  Restaurant Martin
                  526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cseshag
                    l
                    Littleman RE: cseshag Oct 3, 2010 09:10 AM

                    My wife and I celebrated our anniversary at Santa Cafe several years ago and it was one of our most memorable dining occasions. Please dine outside if weather permits. That's one reason I like Santa Fe so much is the outdoor dining. We also enjoyed Inn of the Anasazi, Compound and 315. Martin's is very nice also. Best wishes and good luck. Happy anniversary.

                  2. r
                    rcurtism RE: cseshag Oct 7, 2010 12:50 PM

                    Really surprised no one has mentioned Terra at the Encantado Resort in this thread. It is a bit of a drive (maybe 20 minutes from the Plaza), but it's a gorgeous drive (especially if you take Bishop's Lodge Road through Tesuque), and for my money offers the best fine dining experience in the area. There's not a whole lot of regional content on the menu (in line with most of the other high end places recommended here), but for us they have consistently delivered a complete fine dining experience in a beautiful and unique setting.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: rcurtism
                      fyfas RE: rcurtism Oct 9, 2010 08:32 AM

                      I've also had only good experiences at Terra.

                      I didn't mention it to this conversation simply because every time I tell people I know how good our experiences have been, I get horror stories in reply. It's really a love-it/hate-it kind of thing that truly puzzles me.

                      I'd even go so far as to say that it is a tossup as to the very best meal in Santa Fe being either at Terra or Nostrani Ristorante.

                      1. re: fyfas
                        l
                        lpsfnm RE: fyfas Oct 10, 2010 07:17 PM

                        We live in Santa Fe and eat out a lot. Do not go to Casa Sena. The patio is beautiful, but the food would be a disappointment. We ate once at Nostrani and found the food very good, but very over priced. Read the comments on the web and you will not go there unless you like snooty service and don't use a personal deodorant, much less perfume/cologne. We also ate at Terra a couple of weeks ago for the first time and felt like we were in the Hyatt Hill Country Resort (outside of San Antonio) rather than something special in Santa Fe.

                        I think your best bets for a special evening, based on your comments, are at Restaurant Martin (inside), Santa Cafe (on the patio or inside), or 315 (on the patio or inside). If value for your dollar is not a consideration, then add Geronimo and Coyote Cafe. In this same category, we have never had a really great meal experience at the Compound, but they do have a following.

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                        Restaurant Martin
                        526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

                    2. aching RE: cseshag Oct 10, 2010 07:50 PM

                      We had a lovely meal at Geronimo when visiting Santa Fe last spring - the ambiance, service, and food were all excellent. It was my husband's birthday and it was exactly right - festive but understated. He got the elk, which was truly excellent. I remember we liked the dessert a lot too, although I can't remember exactly what it was.

                      Also, not for your dinner but on the same street as Geronimo, we were pleasantly surprised by a little place called The Teahouse. Their "oatmeal", which is really more like rice pudding, and a cup of tea was the perfect way to start the day.

                      http://www.teahousesantafe.com/

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                      Geronimo Restaurant
                      724 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501

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