The Fork: Our 25 Favorite Dishes in Santa Fe (Right Now)

Breakfast, lunch and dinners for you winners—you don’t even know

Hello, dear readers, it’s The Fork here, SFR’s stalwart if hated food newsletter champ. We’ve hijacked this year-end issue with words of our own, specifically our 25 favorite dishes in Santa Fe—and we just mean for right now, so don’t flip out or anything. This rundown represents some of our favorite things both new and not-so-new and, since we’re off the next two weeks, you’ll have to let it keep you warm throughout the holiday season.

Let’s get into it (in no particular order):

1. Crunchy Carnitas Tacos @Fusion Tacos (multiple locations;

We’ve ordered these a few too many times lately, but getting four tacos with perfectly tender pork carnitas is always a delightful treat. In your face, dishes with three tacos!

2. Veggie Tacos @El Parasol (1833 Cerillos Road;

Most places tend to serve some sad beans and cheese in their veggie tacos, but El Parasol’s proprietary blend of avocado, potatoes and carrots works so well in those crispy shells. We frequent the Cerrillos Road location, but there are others, of course!

3. Citrus Salmon Bowl @Poki Tako (various locations;

Though chef Randy Tapia left the CHOMP food hall and just does the truck thing now, if you come across Poki Tako and don’t order this zesty bowl full of fish and rice and veggies, you’re blowing it big time.

4. French dip @Capital Coal Neighborhood Eatery (326 S Guadalupe St.;

After our boss wrote a million words about how Dakota Weiss and Rich Becker’s new multi-concept micro food hall rules, we had to try their French dip. The verdict? Might be the best we’ve ever had.

5. Cloud cakes @Café Fina (624 Old Las Vegas Hwy.;

Restaurant pancakes can be dry, dense and weird, but Café Fina’s Murphey O’Brien’s are thin and moist and flavorful with just the right amount of crispiness at the edges.

6. Fileta crema chipotle @Puerto Peñasco (4681 Airport Road)

We don’t hate that most dishes come with fries at this Southside eatery, but the chipotle salsa cream sauce on whitefish haunts our dreams to this day.

7. Greek pie @Pizzeria Espiritu (1722 St. Michae’s Drive;

Kalamata olives, feta, spinach, mozz and Espiritu’s pizza dough, the taste of which we’ve never found anyplace else? Uh, yeah, we’re gonna eat that. In fact, we DID just eat that the other day. It was the only time we’ve ever felt happy even a little bit at all.

8. Cubano sandwich @Dr. Field Goods (187 Paseo de Peralta;

Chef Josh Gerwin has done a bang-up job of taking over the old Santa Fe Bar & Grill in the DeVargas Center, and his cubano with pork, ham, mustard and pickles and stuff might be the reigning champ.

9. Breakfast sandwich @Baked & Brew (1310 Cerrillos Road;

Owner/bakers Kate Holland and Nicole Appels aren’t open on the weekends (which we super respect, actually), but should you stop by during the week to build your own brekkie sammie from various options, you’ll know why it’s on the list.

10. Umeboshi onigiri @Ozu (1708 Lena St.,

Jeff Ozawa and Jamie Lewis’ Lena Street Japanese joint rules all around with a restaurant and grocery options, but this little number with rice and pickled plum is a glorious pick-me-up kinda snack.

11. Sheesh tewook @Cleopatra (418 Cerrillos Road;

With locations both downtown and on the Southside, you can get this glorious marinated chicken dish so easily. Plus, you can make jokes like, “Sheesh tewook good, but not anymore,” or, “Sheesh tewook here, but she moved last summer.” Anyway, We’ve loved this one for decades and will shout that from the rooftops as long as we draw breath. We tend to frequent to downtown location in the Design Center.

12. Literally anything @Bread Shop (1703 Lena St.;

A rotating sandwich menu means things are always fresh over at Jacob Brenner and Mayme Berman’s place. Get some bread or specialty groceries for home, too, while you’re there; and great coffee.

13. Chicken and waffles @Boxcar (133 W Water St.;

There are fewer places than ever to get chicken and waffles in Santa Fe, so thank goodness for Boxcar’s—especially with the red chile butter on the side. Oooh, baby.

14. Pork belly carnitas @Zacatlán (317 Aztec St.;

Over on Aztec Street, you can get one of the finest pork belly dishes around thanks to chef Eduardo Rodriguez. It’s served with a freaking strawberry rhubarb tamal. Do you get how huge that is?!

15. Galbi jjim beef short ribs @Alkeme (227 Don Gaspar Ave.;

The team-up of chefs Erica Tai and Hue-Chan Karels is no joke to begin with, but the slow-braised beef short ribs take six hours to make and about six seconds to eat because they’re so wildly delicious.

16. Frito Pie @Five & Dime (58 E San Francisco St.;

Last summer, SFR sent the intern to try as many Frito pies as he could stomach, and he came back to tell the tale of Five & Dime’s classic option being the best. That’s from a guy who knew nothing about Frito pies, too, so he had no reason to lie. We still love it to this day, too.

17. Fajitas @La Fogata (112 W San Francisco St.;

Don’t be vexed by the sub-street level location of this fine eatery—the sizzling fajitas are some of the most expertly prepared around, and you can also get a drink served in a hollowed-out pineapple.

18. Chicken mole @La Plancha (3470 Zafarano Drive Ste. C;

Chef Juan Carlos Pineda’s mole tastes just like our bud’s grandma used to make, and his proprietary green rice with cilantro and other secret ingredients is to die for. Do note the restaurant moved from Eldorado to the Southside.

19. Green chile corn chowder @Soup Star (1372 Vegas Verdes Drive;

Folks will tell you to get the Hungarian mushroom soup at Soup Star, and they’re right, what with its connection to the old Backstreet Bistro, but the green chile corn chowder is a dream of textures and flavors. Thanks, owners Anita Salazar and Miqueas Celote!

20. Creprese burger @Crepas-Oh! (1382 Vegas Verdes Loop;

Ummm...a burger served with caprese accoutrements (mozz, tomato, pesto) and served in a crepe? Where the hell has this brilliant blend of sweet and savory been all our life?! God, it’s so good. They have locations in the Railyard and on the Southside (the Southside one is next door to Soup Star, too).

21. Poppyseed bagels @Ouroboros Bagels (order via

You’ll need Instagram to keep up with bagel master Adam Stone’s goings-on, but with his long history of makin’ the hole-iest of bread, it’s worth it. The poppyseed is particularly glorious, but we hear the bialy is excellent, too.

22. Sous vide Kurobuta pork shoulder @La Mama (225 E Marcy St.;

Our boss was over the moon for this one, so we had to try it, too, and we can safely say that chef Jordan Isaacson’s dish with flash-fried cotija and red chile is worth dying for. We are not kidding.

23. Grilled chicken and avocado sandwich @The Ranch House (2571 Cristo’s Road;

Why is chef Josh Baum’s grilled chicken sandwich so good? Like, it’s a chicken sandwich with avocado served on sourdough, and yet it’s easily (EASILY) the best chicken sammie we’ve eaten anyplace. Wild.

24. Leo’s Smackdown burger @Horno (95 W Marcy St;

The burger with which chef David Sellers won the Edible Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown that one time. It might be in the bacon-onion patty, honestly, but the brioche bun is so tasty.

25. Three rolled tacos w/guacamole @Burrito Spot (1057 Cerrillos Road;

If you want a quick bite that comes in beef, chicken or cheese varieties and you’re in a rush, these tasty little guys are insanely affordable and filling and delicious. That drive-thru action makes it quick, too, even when there’s a crazy line—which is often the case.

So there you have it. Our top dishes in town RIGHT NOW. Not all time, just right now. If you’d like to tell us yours without screaming about how we’re wrong, please do via Remember, too, this whole thing comes to you in no particular order. We only numbered them because we started to lose our place and then we were too lazy to go back and delete all the numbers. See you all in 2024!

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