The food at award-winning chef Martín Rios’ eponymous restaurant would be enough to land it on this list even if he served it from the back of a VW van—but, of course, he doesn’t. Restaurant Martín’s magical outdoor patio, classy indoor dining room and friendly, unassuming service have made it a perennial favorite among locals and visitors alike—whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or hoping to impress a client at a business lunch. Then, of course, there’s the food. Rios draws on a range of American and Continental traditions to craft menus that are at once inventive and comforting, with dinnertime favorites like salmon, beef tenderloin and roast chicken embellished with ingenious touches (we’ll bet you’ve never had braised cheek and porcini mushroom strudel with your steak before). Rios is attuned to dietary needs, too: Rather than being confined to mixed-greens salad, for instance, vegetarians get their own entree-sized tasting plate. Lunchtime is a great opportunity to sample some of Rios’ work without racking up an entree-sized bill—but however or whenever you do it, Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s finest dining experiences.
526 Galisteo St., 820-0919
Lunch Tuesday-Friday; dinner Tuesday-Sunday; brunch Sunday. $30-$40