When good foodies die, they go to New Mexico! Okay, so that’s not exactly verifiable, but our state
is a culinary paradise. And you shouldn’t wait to visit these incredible restaurants. Add them to your New Mexico bucket list today.
1. Charlie’s Spic & Span, 713 Douglas Avenue, Las Vegas
Whether you order one of the ginormous cream puffs or chow down on a breakfast burrito, you won't regret starting your day at Charlie's. This bakery and restaurant serves New Mexican food and makes its tortillas in-house. The stuffed sopaipillas are killer.
2. Passion Pie Café, 406 Main Street, Truth or Consequences
Wake up with a cup of coffee roasted right here in New Mexico by Fat Boy Roasters. Pair it with the breakfast waffles, which have bacon cooked inside them. Or kick things up a notch with the Elvis waffle. The Passion Pie Cafe has a homey vibe and is a local favorite.
3. The Pantry, 1820 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
The Pantry is a Santa Fe institution that's been in business since 1948. The highlight is breakfast, which consists of dishes like breakfast burritos that could double as dumbbells and blue corn cinnamon pancakes. Although they're a side dish, the restaurant's breakfast potatoes are unforgettable - perfectly crunchy on the outside yet fluffy on the inside. Overheard in the Pantry: "I'd trade you for a lifetime supply of these potatoes!"
4. Owl Bar & Café, 77 US Highway 380, San Antonio
During the 1940s, "prospectors" hanging out at the Owl Bar prompted the owner, Frank Chavez, to install a grill. This inspired him to create New Mexico's iconic green chile cheeseburger. The prospectors actually turned out to be atomic scientists working at the Trinity site. While several restaurants say they invented the GCCB, the Owl Bar has as good a claim as any. Plus, the bar inside the restaurant was salvaged from Conrad Hilton's first rooming house. Burger with a side of history, anyone?
5. Curious Kumquat, 111 E. College Avenue, Silver City
Chef Rob Connoley is a James Beard award semi-finalist and his food is as creative as that kind of accolade suggests. Connoley sources 90% of his food locally - his pork comes from the 4-H program. Plus, 40% of his menu ingredients are foraged!
6. El Meze, 1017 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, El Prado
Chef Frederick Muller of El Meze, near Taos, is another James Beard Award semi-finalist. His restaurant is located in a hacienda that dates back to 1847, which is appropriate given that Chef Muller is also a food historian. As a result, he is fascinated by local ingredients. His menus usually feature items like trout, corn, and chiles. Customers rave about both the grilled trout and the Andalusian-style chicharrones.
7. Three Rivers Eatery and Brew House, 111 E. Main Street, Farmington
You can tell that the Andrews Building (constructed in 1912) once functioned as a drugstore. Sodas like root beer and vanilla cream are still made in-house just as they were during the building's soda fountain days. This nod to the past makes the menu all the more unexpected. At Three Rivers, the usual down home suspects are in the line up, but so too are less typical items like scallop salad and pork osso buco.
8. Sazón, 221 Shelby Street, Santa Fe
Although Sazón is a relatively new addition to the Santa Fe culinary scene, Chef Fernando Olea previously operated Epazote (now closed). Come to Sazón for the moles, and discover how complex these sauces can be. A mural on the restaurant's wall, by artist Frederico Leon De La Vega, showcases the ingredients that go into traditional mole recipes. In this foodie haven, servers describe every aspect of a dish in pornographic detail!
9. Jennifer James 101, 4615-A Menaul Boulevard NE, Albuquerque
At Jennifer James 101, menus are seasonal so change frequently. But what doesn't change is the quality delivered by this chef, who has been a James Beard Award semi-finalist multiple times. On Thursdays, James offers three-course, set price ($25 per person) dinners. Reservations required.
10. Zeffiro Pizzeria Napoletana, 136 N. Water Street, Las Cruces
This pizza joint will impress even those who've eaten pizza in Italy! Although pizza seems like a simple dish, making it well is more challenging. At Zeffiro, the emphasis is on the dough, which ferments for 24 hours before being cooked in a dual-fuel oven, to receive a light char. Menu highlights include the lemon asparagus pizza (pictured) and the potato rosemary pizza.
11. Tre Rosat Café, 304 N. Bullard Street, Silver City
Whether you order pork belly tacos, white chicken chili or one of the fantastic pastas, you won't be disappointed by Tre Rosat. The restaurant creates New American cuisine that is always beautifully plated.
12. Bouche, 451 W. Alameda Street, Santa Fe
In a town with many fine dining options, Bouche tends to fly under the radar. It's not clear why. After all, Chef Charles Dale has an impressive bio that includes a stint at New York's Le Cirque and two James Beard Award nominations for best chef in the Southwest. As the name implies, Bouche is a French-style bistro offering bowls of French onion soup cascading with melted cheese. The kitchen is open, allowing you to observe the meal prep. Bouche is tiny, so definitely make a reservation.
13. Farm and Table, 8917 4th Street NW, Albuquerque
Nowadays, many restaurants strive to be farm-to-table but in this case it's literal. Much of the food is grown on the farm right next to the restaurant. This is the ideal place for brunch: relaxed yet romantic.
14. Geronimo, 724 Canyon Road, Santa Fe
This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning Geronimo. Sadly, the restaurant's chef, Eric DiStefano, just passed away. He had a huge influence on the Santa Fe food scene and no doubt his legacy will continue at Geronimo. The restaurant has been around for 22 years and made OpenTable's Top 100 Restaurants in the U.S. list. Diners rave about the elk tenderloin and, even if you aren't down for paying Geronimo's main dining room prices, a limited menu is also available in the bar (go early to score a table).
15. Elisa’s House of Pies and Restaurant, 208 ½ S. Silver Avenue, Deming
Sometimes you just want comfort food done right. Don't let the restaurant's location fool you - it's tucked in an alley. This hidden gem cooks up soul food and BBQ that'll make you drool! Don't miss the millionaire pie.
Tell us in the comments which restaurant you think belongs in New Mexico’s foodie hall of fame.