1. Eli’s Place, 6313 4th Street NW, Albuquerque
Eli’s is the place to be if you’re in Albuquerque for breakfast. Menu standouts include the breakfast burritos and the blue corn pancakes. This restaurant used to go by a different name, but the quality of the food remains the same.
2. Chocolate Maven, 821 W San Mateo Road, Suite C, Santa Fe
Chocolate Maven could easily be mistaken for a warehouse. However, the folks here prepare one of the best brunches in Santa Fe. Ask to be seated downstairs, where you can watch the bakers preparing goodies through a massive glass window, while you eat. Don't leave without stopping in the attached bakery to pick up cupcakes, or pastries the size of your head.
3. Nancy’s Silver Café, 514 N Bullard Street, Silver City
This restaurant offers both New Mexican and American fare, which are equally good. However, the light yet crunchy chile relleno stands out. Locals are well aware that the food here is yummy, so arrive early or be prepared to wait.
4. Rasco’s BBQ, 125 S Compo Street, Las Cruces
If you’re craving brisket that falls apart or succulent pulled pork, head to Rasco’s, where you’re likely to receive a warm welcome from the owner. Everyone loves the mac and cheese, which is fried into a patty of melty goodness.
5. Jorge’s Café, 2064 W Highway 70, Ruidoso Downs
Although Jorge’s is known for breakfast, you’ll find yourself cleaning your plate whatever time of day you show up. The green chile here elevates all the dishes it accompanies, from enchiladas to burritos.
6. Thai Tip, 1512 Wyoming Boulevard NE, Suite E, Albuquerque
Thai Tip may be housed in a bland strip mall, but the food here is bursting with flavor. The menu features classic dishes such as curries and pad Thai along with less typical fare such as Bobby’s green bean tempura salad – an unexpected delight.
7. The Bakery and Café, 3420 Mountain View Boulevard, Angel Fire
This locals’ hangout has been in business for 25 years. Breakfast is served all day and includes everything from chicken fried steak, to migas, or French toast. As you’d expect, the baked goods are stellar, as are the burgers.
8. Jake’s Café, 641 Thorpe Road, Suite 5, Dona Ana
As you cross the black and white checkered floor and slip into a red booth at Jake’s, it feels like you’ve traveled back to the 1950s. You can’t go wrong the Dona Ana burger or the big messy guacamole burger.
9. La Escondida Café, 109 N Delaware Avenue, Roswell
If you’re craving a breakfast burrito in Roswell, make a beeline for La Escondida Café. This joint has been around for ages because the folks here create delicious Mexican fare, while keeping prices low and portions generous.
10. KendalBen Barbeque, 314 W US Highway 66, Milan
KendalBen has only been around for a couple of years but the restaurant has already built a reputation for smoked meats. Try the ribs or pulled pork and don’t forget to add a side of fried pickles.
11. Chris’ Café, 3568 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
It’s easy to drive by Chris’ Café without ever realizing it’s there, which is a pity because you’d be missing out on a great breakfast (the potatoes are to die for). This hidden gem is also known for its enchiladas.
12. El Modelo Mexican Foods, 1715 2nd Street SW, Albuquerque
El Modelo makes the ultimate tamales. We’re all agreed, right? Judging by the volume of people streaming in and out of this restaurant, that’s a resounding “yes.” Outdoor seating is available but this is mostly a to-go restaurant.
Have you been to any of these restaurants? If you had to eat at one New Mexico restaurant for the rest of your life, which one would you pick?