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May 12, 2012 09:56 AM

Santa Fe: Comments on Coyote Cafe and Tabla de los Santos, please

I am planning our three dinners in SF for the last of the month.

Was surprised to read good things about Tabla del los Santos on another forum. Would love opinions from this forum.

I'm also curious about Coyote Cafe. We had one of the nicest times eating there we have ever had in SF. When we returned on our next trip, it was unquestionably the worst experience anywhere. I didn't think I would ever go back, but have been reading some complimentary things lately.

My husband read some appealing things about Cafe Chimayo, also.

Also comments and suggestions will be very much appreciated.

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  1. We just got back from Santa Fe- we didn't eat at any of the places you're looking at, but we had some fantastic meals. Cafe Pasquals is very popular with locals and tourists alike, and the food is largely local and organic. It's very small and very busy, but we enjoyed sitting at the community table, where we got some restaurant tips from a fellow diner.
    Rio Chama is excellent- they have a good wine list, and their burgers are fab. I always get a green chile cheeseburger, and my husband can't resist the buffalo sliders with short rib and pate.
    We had a great dinner at Chocolate Maven, which is more famous as a bakery, but they're trying to build a following for their dinner menu. Our meal was wonderful, and the country style pistachio duck pate with house made brioche and cherry apple chutney was one of the best things I've eaten in a long time.
    Tune Up Cafe is great for breakfast or lunch, as is The Pantry. We found to be helpful for ideas.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Willcookforfood

      Thank you, willcook.
      We are going to try Tabla and Cafe Chimayo. I will post if anything is really bad or really good.

      My husband insists that we go to Pasqual's each time for his mole enchiladas. In fact, several months we detoured traveling east from Phoenix so we could have dinner at Pasqual's.

      1. re: laredo

        We'll be there in a week and I'd love to hear your thoughts re Cafe Chimayo?

        1. re: leeinsf

          The people were very nice at Cafe Chimayo and seem to be trying hard.

          I didn't care for what I ordered: chicken mole. It was served with beans and some iceberg lettuce. My husband ordered trout. Both dishes were brought at the same time; his was hot. Mine was lukewarm. I was a little irritated about that. There were only eight or ten other diners, so there didn't seem to be an excuse to me.

          I told the waiter and he graciously brought me a hot plate.

          I think the restaurant opened in November so they probably still are working on rough spots.

          I don't think I would return without knowing things had improved.

          Again, the people were very nice and I hope they are successful.

    2. I really like Coyote Cafe, It's delicious, but if you don't want to do their fine dining I would definitely suggest you go to the Cantina and enjoy a LAVA LAMP or one of their other specialty drinks in the afternoon, , also their cantina menu is casual but yum, I like the tacos al pastor...My two favorite meals in Santa Fe right now are Aqua Santa and La Boca, I would highly recommend either without hesitation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: almaluna

        Thanks for the information, almaluna (pretty name!).

        We haven't tried La Boca because of the noise level and went to Aqua Santa once years ago, when it was new. I'm glad it is still recommended.

        We backed off Tabla after noting their dining room was empty as we passed by many times going to and from our hotel.

        We did end up at the Cantina for a snack. I am a bigtime guacamole snob/purist, and I thought theirs was delicious.

        Also ate at Bumblebee's, Cafe Paqual's, and La Choza.

      2. I had dinner at Coyote Cafe last week and was deeply disappointed in it. It is no longer Mark Miller’s vision and reality. If the new owners are going to completely change the concept, then they need to rename it, because now, it is nothing like what it was in it’s hay day. There were no moles on the menu, no braised pork dishes from Mexico, no tamales, no inspired twists on New Mexico cuisine. It was all run of the mill fine dining dishes, none of it spectacular, with too much seafood on the menu, and overblown prices. I will forever mourn for the Coyote Cafe that I new in my early twenties... :( Thank God for Mark Miller’s excellent Coyote Cafe cookbook so that I can recreate the dishes that I broke my foodie tooth on.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rokzane

          Rokzana, that is just sad. I haven't eaten in the Cafe for many years but we like the Cantina for informal lunches. Their ceviche, fish tacos and margaritas are good. Now Mark Riffin, who helped create the Cantina (and is head chef at The Compound in SF) has opened Zacatecas in Nob Hill ABQ with basically the same concept and a similar menu. We have been there three times. Once excellent, the next less than excellent but good and the third time just OK. They have only been open four or five months and already I'm not sure we'll go out of our way to go there again.