New Mexico April 14, 2017
The Beautiful Restaurant Tucked Away In A New Mexico Forest Most People Don’t Know About
As you cruise around the curving road towards the Santa Fe National Forest, the trappings of the city quickly slip away. You’d never guess that the Santa Fe Plaza is fewer than 10 miles away. Throughout the year, this drive offers tranquil forest scenery but, during fall, the yellow aspens beautifully contrast against the evergreens.
Unless you’re in the mood to climb many stairs, continue past the lower parking lot to the upper one - climbing the hill upon which Izanami perches.
As you approach the restaurant on foot...
...Feel yourself being lulled by the soothing setting.
Let the trickling waters of the fountain guide you toward the restaurant's entrance.
The reason why this place is so relaxing is that the restaurant is part of a Japanese-style spa and hotel called Ten Thousand Waves. Relaxation is literally the goal here.
The building is constructed in a traditional Japanese style, which creates an appealingly minimalist atmosphere.
Once inside, gaze up at the handmade lanterns, brought over from Nagoya, Japan.
The restaurant overlooks sprawling acres of national forest.
In warmer weather, reserve a seat on the balcony to fully take advantage of the view.
At lunch, Izanami serves wagyu beef burgers, bibimbap, and ramen, along with a limited selection of the Japanese tapas for which it is best known.
At dinner, the small plates menu is much more extensive, featuring hot and cold dishes that are designed to be shared. This style of dining is known as izakaya and the closest parallel in U.S. cuisine is upscale bar food.
Regardless of what you order, the plating is phenomenal. It’s such a treat for the eyes that you may almost forget about the forest setting. Almost.
While I’ve never had a disappointing dish here, the sake braised mushrooms and fried chicken with dipping sauce are personal favorites.
You’ll notice two things about the food here. The first is that it incorporates a lot of organic ingredients – 90% of the protein and produce is organic and sustainable. The second thing is the absence of fish – a deliberate choice by a restaurant in a landlocked state.
Clearly, Japanese cuisine goes far beyond sushi.
Investigate the extensive sake menu – tasting flights are available - and Izanami employs a master sake sommelier if you’re in need of advice.
Even those who aren’t drinking alcohol can sip on intriguing beverages like elderflower spritzer, rosemary limeade, and many green tea options.
Don’t leave without sampling dessert. The sweet and salty chocolate tart with miso caramel sauce is divine – it belongs on every chocoholic’s dining bucket list.
Izanami is pretty popular, so it’s a good idea to make a reservation.
To learn more about the restaurant or to book a soak in a hot tub (try the waterfall tub) visit the website for
Ten Thousand Waves.
Address: 21 Ten Thousand Waves Way, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Here are several more
restaurants with fabulous views in New Mexico that you’ll want to check out.