When a restaurant looks nondescript or unappealing from the outside, it’s tempting to just go somewhere else. However, in the case of these restaurants, that would be a mistake because you’d miss out on a great dining experience. So ignore questionable exteriors, and wait to pass judgment until you’ve sampled the food at these 12 underrated places in New Mexico
1. Pasión Latin Fusion Restaurant, 722 Lomas Boulevard NW,
The exterior of this restaurant is nothing special and the parking area borders on sketchy, but inside it's a whole other story. The food is as vibrant as the decor. Whether you choose the fish tacos or the duck taquitos, your stomach will thank you. Even the standard guac and chips are kicked up a notch by the addition of passion fruit salsa.
2. Cowboy Café, Roswell 1120 E 2nd Street, Roswell
Although this café doesn't look all that promising from the outside, it's known for breakfast, especially for heavenly biscuits and gravy.
3. Horseman’s Haven Café, 4354 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
When you think of great restaurant locations, "behind a gas station" probably doesn't spring to mind. Don't let that deceive you. Horseman's Haven is a bustling local fave. Whether you opt for carne adovada or enchiladas, be warned that the chile here packs a serious punch.
4. Monte Carlo Steakhouse, 3916 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque
If you're searching for the Monte Carlo Steakhouse and instead wind up at a liquor store, you'd probably glare at your map app and head elsewhere. However, the restaurant is actually located on the back side of the liquor store. The setup looks like such a dive that the Monte Carlo has actually been featured on the show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." Once you're tucking in to one of the best steak dinners in Albuquerque, you'll be glad you braved the questionable location.
5. Elisa’s House of Pies and Restaurant, 208 1/2 S Silver Ave Deming
Elisa's is tucked into an alley, but the restaurant's fried catfish and fried chicken dishes make this a side street worth exploring. Don't forget to try the millionaire pie.
6. Bodega Burger Co & Lounge, 606 N California Street, Socorro
This place looks like it's part dive bar, part hotel restaurant. But appearances don't matter when you dish up burgers this good. Try the green egg and ham burger or the vegetarian black bean burger.
7. The Dog House Drive In, 1216 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque
Used as a filming location for "Breaking Bad," the Dog House does have a certain bail bonds vibe. But, with the first bite of your chili dog, you'll forget all about ambience.
8. The Steak House Café, 1 East Broadway Street, Tatum
For down home food cooked right, refuel with some steak fingers, chased with a slice of pie. Bring your appetite; servings are massive.
9. Chili Works, 1743 Trinity Drive, Los Alamos
If you like to customize, this build-your-own burrito restaurant is the place for you. Whether you want carne adovada or chorizo inside, the result is delicious, messy, and technically portable.
10. El Metate Tamale Factory, 610 W Mesa Avenue, Gallup
El Metate Tamale is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a little ways off the interstate, in a residential neighborhood. Don't let that fool you. Given the name, you expect the tamales to be good, but the stuffed chicken sopaipillas are another standout.
11. Laguna Burger, Hwy 66,
Laguna Burger is attached to a gas station. From a foodie perspective, that usually doesn't bode well. But, the laguna burger makes a pitstop here totally worthwhile - as do the race cars attached to the blades of the ceiling fan!
12. El Sombrero Patio Café, 363 S Espina Street,
You'd never guess from a glance at the exterior that this restaurant serves outstanding salsa, shredded beef tacos, and green chile cheeseburgers.