Leaves rustle gently in the breeze; the fountain gurgles; soft chatter is interrupted occasionally by laughter or…a lone voice belting out a song from
? Having a meal in the flower-filled courtyard of the historic Sena hacienda can be one of the most enjoyable dining experiences in the city. The atmosphere is exceptional, the food is very good (even better if someone else is paying) and the wine list
is outstanding (ditto). The menu here is laudably unusual among Santa Fe's fancy restaurants, too many of which serve "New American" cuisine that seems to leave out any ingredients from the Americas themselves. At La Casa Sena you'll find king salmon dusted with wild mushrooms and ancho chiles; pork tenderloin stuffed with chorizo sausage; and duck confit stuffed inside a blue corn flauta. On a recent visit, our favorite entrée was the "Jackalope" Mixed Grill: bacon-wrapped rabbit sausage and grilled antelope loin with an apple/asadero enchilada and
/squash blossom slaw. Although dinner prices here are competitive with Geronimo (entrées at both places average around $35), the menu is more approachable and the atmosphere more relaxed, especially in the Cantina, where Broadway lovers gather every night to hear their servers sing show tunes.
125 E. Palace Ave., 988-9232,
. Lunch and dinner daily. $$$$