At the risk of leaving someone out, we’re offering this list of our favorite Santa Fe restaurants for fine dining, family outings, international affairs and more. We don’t even pretend that this comes to close to covering all of Santa Fe’s tables. But ticking off all of these should hold you over for the next edition of SFR’s Restaurant Guide, due out in October.
When it’s time to celebrate and splurge, Santa Fe is not short on options. Treat yourself or your special companion to an unforgettable meal where waitstaff will make you feel like a pretentious foodie and you won’t be able to resist taking a photograph of each course. Pinkies up, wallets down:
653 Canyon Road, 982-4353
History and elegance in a quiet spot designed by Alexander Girard.
132 W Water St., 983-1615
Classy Southwestern fusion—and there’s rooftop dining and “culinary cocktails” too.
Dinner for Two
106 N Guadalupe St., 820-2075
Fine dining in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. Caesar salad is prepared tableside, Tijuana-style.
808 Canyon Road, 983-9912
Wine, tapas and dancing, billed at “Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant & cantina.” Now that’s old.
724 Canyon Rd, 982-1500
Global eclectic, seasonal and so named because it’s a home built by Gerónimo Lopez in 1756.
72 W Marcy St., 982-3433
Spanish tapas restaurant has been a destination for locals and tourists alike.
526 Galisteo St., 820-0919
Chef Martín Rios, twice a James Beard Award semi-finalist, bills this as “progressive American cuisine.”
231 Washington Ave., 984-1788
Fine American and Southwestern dining.
221 Shelby St., 988-2355
A lineup of southern European-influenced dishes like roasted Tuscan halibut and braised buffalo short rib.
Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, 198 State Road 592, 946-5800
Inventive and varied cuisine includes garlic lamb demi-glace or a compressed watermelon salad.
There are times when nothing but chile will do. We’ve no doubt had to leave off a few of the standbys in a town with more burritos, enchiladas and tacos than anything else. But you get the idea. And let’s not get started on how you can tell if you’re eating Mexican or Nuevo Mexicano. You’re in New Mexico, get some on you:
121 Don Gaspar Ave., 983-9340
Cozy, organic and thoroughly local. It’s named after the folk saint of Mexican and New Mexican kitchens and cooks.
Horseman’s Haven Café
4354 Cerrillos Road, 471-5420
A haven for lovers of affordable New Mexican cuisine where they truly take their chile to the #nextLEVEL.
406 Old Santa Fe Trail, 983-8431
It’s where the Guadalupe Café used to be, and now has more sauces.
905 Alarid St., 982-0909
Margaritas and NM cuisine, as they were meant to be. Listen to trains go by from the patio while you enjoy their world-famous sopaipillas.
Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen
555 W Cordova Road, 983-7929
There’s a reason margarita and Maria share quite a few letters, the drink menu here is longer than the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The Pantry Restaurant
1820 Cerrillos Road, 986-0022
New Mexican food, like tortilla burgers, curly fries and pork chops.
The Pink Adobe
406 Old Santa Fe Trail, 982-9762
An appetizing, satisfying local institution. It’s located in the historic Barrio de Analco, also home to the oldest church and house in the US.
113 E Palace Ave., 982-9030
Delicious and cozy, with gorgeous outdoor courtyard seating. Go early for lunch and don’t forget the garlic bread.
2811 Cerrillos Road, 473-5800
Stick to what you know, they say. Owners Julia and Carlos Castro know New Mexican food.
500 S Guadalupe St., 983-5721
New Mexican on the railroad tracks, where they host their own annual lowrider and custom car show.
210 W San Francisco St., 983-9880
Breakfast and lunch daily. There’s no alcohol, but don’t miss the roast beef burrito.
Finding a place where the whole family can sit down for a meal without having to endure barflies, worry about breaking fine crystal and ordering something your kid will eat can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible. A few suggestions for intergenerational dining:
Back Road Pizza
1807 Second St., Ste. 1, 955-9055
New-York-style pizza and Pac-Man? Yes, Please.
96 Old Las Vegas Hwy., 989-4629
It’s classic American goodness, after all. Also, any excuse to drive down Old Las Vegas Highway, is a good excuse.
2801 Rodeo Road, 471-3800
Fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. ‘Cuz they buy more regional grass-fed meat, poultry, eggs, produce and flour than any other restaurant in town.
Plaza Café and Plaza Café Southside
51 Lincoln Ave., 982-1664
3466 Zafarano Drive, 424-0755
They’ve been doing this for a long time, serving up fish and chips along with traditional New Mexican fare.
San Marcos Café
3877 Hwy. 14, 471-9298
Comfort food, cozy setting and peacocks, located on along the mythic Turquoise Trail.
Sunrise Family Restaurant
1851 Saint Michaels Drive, 820-0643
Watch for the satellite dish painted like a breakfast plate. Excellent BLTs and New Mexican/American await inside.
The Ranch House
2571 Cristo’s Road, 424-8900
The standout among this barbecue excellence is the baby back ribs: Glazed with a red chile honey sauce.
1115 Hickcox St., 983-7060
Great outdoor seating area in a walkable neighborhood.
Santa Fe is one of the UNESCO creative cities, but its reputation as a tri-cultural community leaves out too many important food contributions to be true. We’ve got Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, East African and more. Here’s a sample of the global nature of the available cuisine:
322 Garfield St., 995-9595
When you can’t fly to Italy, head to Andiamo. The Mission-style bungalow that hosts the restaurant dates back to 1880.
418 Cerrillos Road, in the Design Center, 820-7381 and 3482 Zafarano Drive, 474-5644
Lamb and chicken gyros and a plethora of other Mediterranean delights.
95 W Marcy St., 984-1091
Fresh, local ingredients carry the palate over the seas. Housemade ravioli is to die for.
227 Don Gaspar Ave., 986-5859
Eat like a raja, feel like a raja. A dependably delicious lunch buffet has vegetarian options.
2010 Cerrillos Road, 473-1269
East African cuisine and four-time “Souper Bowl” champs.
Mariscos “La Playa”
537 W Cordova Road, 982-2790
Seafood à la Mexicana, where the desert used to be a sea, didn’t cha know?
544 Agua Fria St., 820-6440
Chef Paddy Rawal takes special measures to ensure the authenticity of his Indian cuisine.
Restaurante El Salvadoreño
2900 Cerrillos Road, 474-3512
Eminently satisfying Central American street food.
San Q Japanese Pub
31 Burro Alley, 992-0304
A play on words: Thank you for this new take on tapas.
321 Johnson St., 982-9708
If you like Japanese food at all, there will be something here that you will love.
501 W Cordova Road, 988-4951
A classic order-by-number Vietnamese kitchen.
1710 Cerrillos Road, 954-1780
Chef Phairat “Pat” Phomnoi spent 28 years as a monk, many of them cooking for large groups of vegetarians.
Some restaurants don’t easily fit into a category. In some ways, that can make them even more exciting and vibrant. It might be a special dish or a special night that landed them on this list, or just that nagging sense that we were forgetting some really righteous joints.
821 W San Mateo Road, 984-1980
Watch pastry chefs work behind plate glass windows while you eat their goods.
319 S Guadalupe St., 982-2565
Beer, brisket and babes in boots. Where the buffalo roam, the antelope play and Texans get tipsy.
Dr. Field Goods Kitchen
2860 Cerrillos Road, Suite A1, 471-0043
Chef Josh Gerwin has decadent taste buds and a number of tattoos. He calls this “Rockin’ New Mexico fusion.”
333 W Cordova Road, 986-0362
The right place to go if you are on a health kick or have just left yoga class. Get a fresh young coconut with a straw in it.
The Bull Ring
150 Washington Ave., 983-3328
Prime location and prime sirloin that allows you to relive your gentleman smoking-room fantasies.
Counter Culture Café
930 Baca St., 995-1105
Coffee and eclectic food in a neat ol’ warehouse.
La Casa Sena
125 E Palace Ave., 988-9232
Singing waiters, wine and beautiful, healthy food with a courtyard cottonwood tree that is historic in its own right.
434 W San Francisco St., 982-9966
Where else can you feast on an onion blossom while being serenaded by Doug Montgomery?
326 S Guadalupe St., 988-7008
A trip to the Guadalupe shopping district could end with espresso and dessert here.
821 Canyon Road, 992-0972
There’s tea galore, coffee and a full menu that includes the best oatmeal you’ve ever eaten.
1291 San Felipe Ave., 988-2100
Gluten-free diners will find breakfast pastries, pizzas and sandwiches.
Compiled by Julie Ann Grimm and Enrique Limón with help from contributors to SFR’s Restaurant Guide 2013.
Unless noted, photos by Joy Godfrey.