New Mexico August 05, 2016
The Oldest Restaurant In New Mexico Has A Truly Incredible History
Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the country. So it should come as no surprise that New Mexico’s oldest restaurant is located in the City Different as well. El Farol, a Spanish tapas restaurant, was established in 1835 and is still going strong 181 years later!
As you enter this building you can feel its lengthy history, particularly in the bar area, which has some Old World flavor.
Dining at El Farol is an experience that engages the senses. The low lighting and abundant use of wood create a low-key yet intimate atmosphere.
This restaurant works for equally well for groups of friends and also romantic dinners for two.
Diners are entertained by live musical acts every night of the week (there is a nominal cover charge). However, the restaurant is most famous for its flamenco shows, which are full of drama and excitement.
Flamenco predates El Farol – mention of it first crops up in literature in 1774 – but not by all that much. Tickets are $25 per person and you definitely need a reservation for these popular events. Seating for the flamenco dinner begins at 6:30 p.m..
While flamenco shows are held in the back of the restaurant, the small tables on the front portal overlook the art galleries of Canyon Road and provide a great spot for people watching.
Sip on one of El Farol’s endless list of cocktails as you watch the world go by. The Mary Hatch is a popular option. Think of it as the love child of a Bloody Mary and Hatch chile.
If your main interest is in exploring the huge repertoire of drinks served here, a very limited menu is available at the bar. Happy hour runs from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Nelson H. Trujillo, the chef at El Farol, is a relatively new arrival. He continues the tradition of preparing small plates for diners. Full-sized plates are available, but tapas such as pork tenderloin topped with melted idiazabal cheese and swimming in a port fig sauce are the dishes you’ll remember.
Other menu standouts include the parmesan crusted artichokes, the garlic shrimp, and the paella (a full-sized dish) that can serve either one or two people.
“El Farol” means “warmth” or “light.” So if you’re looking for some culinary history with a side of flamenco, head toward this beacon on Canyon Road and see for yourself why it won a “Best of Santa Fe” Award in 2015.
El Farol is open Monday to Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
It’s located at 808 Canyon Road in Santa Fe.
Here are some other
unique New Mexico restaurants that you’ll want to visit. Interested in New Mexico’s past? Then check out these historic towns and landmarks.