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Where to have dinner before a night at the Santa Fe Opera?

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We're in town for 2 operas at the beginning of August. We know there are not a lot of restaurants close to the opera house? What are the best bets for an early dinner before the opera? Should we opt for the pre -opera buffet (and is that all indoors) or are there better options? Not sure tailgating would be a great option for us - we're on our own.

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  1. You're right that there aren't a lot of options near the Opera, which leads to two viable non-tailgating options:

    * The buffet isn't ultra-chowish, but it's a tick or two above serviceable, down to the wine being reasonably legit. It's served on a very nice covered patio just down the hill from the opera house. And the pre-opera talks are reliably stellar, truly enriching the overall experience with the added knowledge and perspective. N.B. The tables are for six, so for better or worse you'll likely be sitting with strangers who also enjoy opera.

    * The Opera is only 10 minutes north of town, so it's totally feasible to dine in town on the early side (5 or 5:30) and still get there in plenty of time.

    And just to say it, you don't have to go over the top to tailgate. Some of my favorite nights there have involved dropping by Kaune's grocery store for some cheese, bread, and a bottle of wine, and enjoying it on paper plates and plastic cups.

    1. That's really good advice. I had heard that the drive from downtown to the opera house is clogged, so I had assumed that eating downtown was not a great option. Thanks also on the intel on the buffet.
      Opens up other possibilities, for sure!