You expect to find great restaurants in cities. After all, with so many places for people to choose from, establishments must beat tough competition to stay in business. However, sometimes incredible restaurants are hidden in small towns. We’ve concentrated on places with a population of fewer than 3500 people. So, next time you’re in these 10 small New Mexico towns, be sure to check out the following restaurants.
1. WOW Diner, 1300 Motel Drive, Milan
This 50s-style diner off I-40 provides a respite for travelers and a haven for locals. Standard fare such as burgers and chunky onion rings is available. But so too are dishes such as lobster pasta with green chile - hardly a staple at your average diner. If you have room for dessert, definitely order some donuts.
2. Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante, 298 Juan Medina Road, Chimayó
Despite its rural location, Rancho de Chimayó received a 2016 American Classics Award from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. This restaurant, which offers authentic New Mexican cuisine, has been around for 50 years. The carne adovada and the chile rellenos are standouts, as are the heavenly sopaipillas.
3. Outlaw Grill, 1007 E. Main Street Eunice
Apparently, there are plenty of hungry outlaws in Eunice, because this restaurant is usually packed. The Outlaw Grill is known for steaks, pasta dishes, and green chile chicken.
4. Casa De Suenos, 35 St. Francis Drive, Tularosa
If Casa de Suenos's homey atmosphere isn't soothing enough for you, the restaurant's soups should make you feel warm and cozy. Patrons rave about the red chile chicken posole and the albondigas (meatball soup).
5. Ramona’s Café, 944-998 E. Motel Drive, Lordsburg
Ramona's is a teeny restaurant off I-10. If you fancy huevos rancheros, stop by for breakfast. Later in the day, popular dishes include chimichangas and tacos.
6. ¡Ándele! Restaurante, 1950 Calle Del Norte
Ste 1-3, Mesilla
¡Ándele! specializes in Southwestern and Mexican cuisine and has been around for 18 years. It's something of a cult favorite among locals, who extol the green chile chicken enchiladas.
This is just one of Mesilla's many excellent restaurants.
7. Aceq Restaurant, 480 State Road 150, Arroyo Seco
This farm-to-table restaurant reimagines comfort food. The menu features items such as Wisconsin beer-battered cheese curds, and Brussels sprouts that could win over diehard carnivores. Follow up your entrée with the chocolate crème pie.
Aceq is small, so definitely make a reservation. The restaurant is open for dinner and also for Sunday brunch.
8. Valley Café, 335 W. Hall Street, Hatch
Sparky's isn't the only place in Hatch dishing up mouth-watering food. Although the Valley Cafe is pretty small, it serves massive portions. Start your day with the mega breakfast burrito, a veritable dumbbell that contains three different meats! Then there's the double meat burger, which takes the GCCB to the next level by adding bacon. You won't leave here hungry.
9. Chopes Bar And Café, 16145 S. Highway 28, La Mesa
La Mesa may have 728 residents, but they know how to cook here. Chopes has a great green chile cheeseburger and addictive cheese enchiladas.
10. El Bruno's Restaurant Y Cantina, 6453 Main 550 Street, Cuba
This family-run restaurant has been operating since 1975. El Bruno's wins awards for its green chile, which is hauled in from Hatch by the trailer load and then roasted on-site. Diners chow through 30 tons of green chile at the restaurant each year! Patrons love the salsa and the carne adovada.
Have you eaten at any of these restaurant? What other amazing small town restaurants have you been to in New Mexico?