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Apr 7, 2011 10:56 AM

In search of the hottest, spiciest food in Santa Fe!

I am a serious chile head looking for restaurants in Santa Fe that bring that authentic New Mexican heat! Red chile, green chile... who makes it the spiciest?? The more tongue-burning, the better. I have heard Horseman's Haven has a Level 2 green chile that scorches but what other local spots have fiery foods? And what spicy dishes are the best to order at those places?

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

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  1. You know, it's funny, but as spicy as NM-style cooking tends to be as compared to most of the country, I don't actually know anywhere in Santa Fe that specifically prides themselves on punishing levels of capsaicin as opposed to just going for big flavor. Curious what others have to say on this.

    Green chile in particular is really variable. You can get an "extra hot" batch that just has a small bite, and can get a so-called "mild" batch that turns out to strip paint.

    Los Amigos has a legitimately hot house salsa; I have to pace myself when the chips and salsa arrive so I still have some taste buds left when I get my entree. That said, it's a slow build of hot, but not instant nuclear. Ditto their red and green.

    El Merendero (aka Posa's) has some very hot, rather bitter red. I'd definitely try their carne adovada.

    The hottest meal I've had in Santa Fe was, perhaps oddly, the trout green chile enchiladas at El Campanario. This was a green chile and tomatillo sauce, but for whatever reason, it was hot enough to make my eyes water. Delicious flavor too, I really like this place.

    Sadie's down in ABQ has a reputation for heat, but again it varies from hottish to crazy inferno depending on the batch of chile. Their food is good, but not as good as any of the above.

    Spiciest NM-style I've found anywhere is Los Dos Molinos, fittingly in AZ, with locations in Springerville, Phoenix, and Mesa (and NYC, but that's another story). They are consistently the hottest I've found, but the underlying flavor is really only ok as compared to the locally made stuff.

    Los Dos Molinos
    900 E Main St, Springerville, AZ 85938

    1. You piqued my interest, so I dropped by Horseman's Haven with a buddy for lunch yesterday...yeah, if spice is your top priority, this is your place.

      The salsa and the red chile were both warmish, the green chile was legitimately hot, and lots of it.

      While the chile itself was truly excellent, the underlying dishes were good, not great. The old-school "real Santa Fe" atmosphere is awesome though, I wish more places like it were still around. NB no liquor license, so you won't have beer in your capsaicin-mitigation toolbox; huge glasses of iced tea though.

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: finlero

        Great feedback, finlero! Thanks for weighing in on this topic. I heard Horseman's Haven isn't all that authentic (with the way they achieve the heat level) in their chile, but they sure can burn your tongue. I'll have to check them out, among other, truer Norther New Mexican restaurants.

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

      2. The Tecolote Cafe on the North End of Cerrillos has good chow and chile with a good bite to it

        Tecolote Cafe
        1203 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505