One of the best parts of traveling is the opportunity to try foods from other cultures. If you can’t travel, you can do the next best thing: try dishes at various ethnic restaurants. Luckily, New Mexico is home to many restaurants that serve cuisine from around the world. Here are some of the best ethnic restaurants in our state.
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1. German – Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant (Taos Ski Valley)
High atop the Taos Ski Valley, the Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant is a welcome watering hole for the apres-ski crowd and summer visitors. As well as beer, bratwurst, and pretzels (best enjoyed on the massive patio), the restaurant has a menu of Bavarian delights and sophisticated chef specials. Find them at 100 Kachina Road, in Taos Ski Valley. Please note, the restaurant closes between summer and winter. Look for them to re-open when the snow starts falling.
2. Indian - Bombay Grill (Gallup)
Don't let the truck-stop setting fool you! Locals and people passing through both give kudos to Bombay Grill. This is classic Indian food with all the food groups represented: curries, kabobs, saag paneer (cooked spinach with fresh cheese) and garlic naan. Go for the lunch buffet and try a bit of everything, or order off the menu. Bombay Grill is at 3405 West Historic Highway 66, in Gallup.
3. Italian - Torino's @ Home (Albuquerque)
This relaxed Italian eatery is a gem, hidden in an out-of-the-way plaza in Albuquerque.
The menu features fresh a take on rustic Italian dishes including fresh, house-made pastas,
slow-braised meats, wild game, and seafood. Find Torino's at 7600 Jefferson Street, NE, Suite 21.
4. French – St. Clair Winery & Bistro (Albuquerque)
Enjoy a crafted sandwich and French onion soup on St. Clair's sunny patio or have a full French country meal in the cozy bistro. Since St. Clair is one of the most noted wineries in the state, pairing your meal with wine is a must. St. Clair is located at 901 Rio Grande Boulevard, NW, in Albuquerque. Other St. Clair bistros are located in Farmington and Las Cruces. They also have a wine tasting room in Deming.
5. Lebanese & Greek - Santorini Restaurant (Las Cruces)
The chef-owned Santorini Restaurant features classic Lebanese & Greek dishes, plus homemade desserts. Try a light bite with a selection of Mediterranean appetizers or a sandwich stuffed with Greek and Lebanese meats and veggies. You can dig into gyros and kabobs too. There is plenty here to satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Find Santorini Restaurant at 1001 East University Avenue, E-3, in Las Cruces.
6. Chinese – Chen's (Albuquerque)
This family-run establishment is an Albuquerque fixture and Best of the City winner. Their Chinese specialties and combination plates cover the expected gambit of Chinese food (with chicken, pork, beef, seafood and veggie options) but the tastiness of the food always exceeds expectations. Parking can be tight, but there is always room. Find Chen's at 235 Juan Tabo Boulevard, NE, in Albuquerque.
7. Vietnamese – 7. Pho Bar (Rio Rancho)
This little sister of Cafe Trang (Albuquerque) packs a lot on to its menu – banh mi sandwiches on fresh-baked baguettes, pho (of course) and other noodle soups, numerous types of spring rolls, and other Vietnamese staples. Find Pho Bar at 3301 Southern Boulevard, SE, in Rio Rancho.
8. African and Caribbean – Jambo Cafe (Santa Fe)
This colorful, casual restaurant serves authentic, home-style Swahili and African-Caribbean fusion dishes like jerk chicken and goat stew. Wraps and pies round out the menu. For the health-conscious, they have vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and organic options. Find Jambo Cafe at 2010 Cerrillos Road, in Santa Fe.
9. Japanese - Shohko Cafe (Santa Fe)
Shohko Cafe was New Mexico's first sushi bar, opening in 1975. Even after all the years, sushi lovers still flock here and for good reason. The restaurant has been named "Best of Santa Fe" for many years running. Not a sushi fan? You'll find plenty to eat here too, with tempura, noodles or bento sets. Also, be sure to sample some of the sake from their large, curated selection. Shohko Cafe is located at 321 Johnson Street, in Santa Fe.
What restaurants would you like to see on this list? What’s your favorite type of ethnic food? (And New Mexico, since we are lucky enough to eat it three times a day, New Mexican and Mexican food doesn’t count.) Share your opinions below.