When people come to town, they often want to know where the locals eat. That’s because locals often dine in amazing,
hole in the wall restaurants that visitors may overlook. In the interests of promoting incredible restaurants, many of which are family-run, we’ve compiled a list of local hangouts. Some are better known than others. Of course, if too many out-of-towners flock to the same place then it stops being a locals’ dining destination. It’s all about balance. Here are 12 New Mexico restaurants that are beloved local favorites:
1. Monroe’s Restaurant, 1520 Lomas Boulevard NW, Albuquerque and 6051 Osuna Road NE, Albuquerque
Monroe’s originally opened as a drive-in in 1962 and has been going strong ever since. It’s a favorite of Albuquerque locals, who love the high quality New Mexican dishes here. The chile rellenos are always popular and the fajita-stuffed sopaipillas are as creative as they are yummy.
2. Red Chimney Pit Bar-B-Q, 817 N Canal Street, Carlsbad
Although visitors to Carlsbad Caverns do stop in here, locals are the ones who’ve helped to keep this family-run restaurant in business since 1954. Red Chimney is a Kentucky-style bar-b-que joint. The meat is slow cooked in a pit – try the brisket.
3. Counter Culture, 930 Baca Street, Santa Fe
Whether you’re here for a breakfast of French toast or stopping by later in the day for a sandwich or fish and chips, you’re sure to encounter locals at this restaurant. Don’t leave without picking up some delicious baked goods, all of which are ginormous. The brownies are so dense that lifting one to your mouth could count as a bicep curl and the cinnamon rolls seem the size of a frisbee! Tip: Bring cash.
4. Old Mesilla Pastry Café – The Shed, 810 S Valley Drive, Las Cruces
Some claim that this restaurant offers the best breakfast in Las Cruces. It’s definitely worth ordering the oatmeal pancakes or the migas. This restaurant also serves lunch. Tip: Arrive early when the café is not quite as crowded.
5. Angelina’s Café, 1226 N Railroad Avenue, Espanola
Angelina’s has been around for about 30 years and the restaurant serves some hard-to-find dishes like lamb costillas (ribs) and chicos (corn that is slow-roasted in a horno and then dried). The green chile chicken enchiladas are also a popular menu item. This place is pretty laid back so if you’re in a hurry, order to go.
6. Cowboy Café, Roswell 1120 E 2nd Street, Roswell
Locals congregate at the Cowboy Café at breakfast and lunch. The restaurant is best known for its biscuits and gravy and also for the massive cowboss burger – three-pounds of ground chuck topped with ghost pepper cheese! Save room for pie… if you can.
7. Mary and Tito’s Café, 2711 4th Street NW, Albuquerque
What do you get when you combine carne adovada and a sopaipilla? Deliciousness. Find out for yourself at Mary & Tito’s, a restaurant that Burqueños adore.
8. Charlie’s Spic & Span, 713 Douglas Avenue, Las Vegas
In Las Vegas, everyone eventually winds up at Spic & Span – and for good reason. The restaurant makes fresh tortillas on site, which takes dishes like enchiladas and burritos to the next level. The restaurant includes a bakery, where you can load up on glazed donuts.
9. Adobe Springs Café, 1617 Silver Heights Boulevard, Silver City
You’ll find plenty of locals at this Silver City hangout, tucking into omelets at breakfast and sandwiches or burgers at lunch. Fun fact: This building used to be part of a motel and there’s actually a natural spring underneath it!
10. Los Potrillos, 1947 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
There’s something for everyone on the extensive menu at Los Potrillos. Standout dishes include molcajete al pastor (pictured) and tamal de cazuela in which tortillas are buried under melted cheese and a rich corn cream sauce. Perfect on a cool day.
11. Bent Street Café and Deli, 120 Bent Street, Suite M, Taos
Build your own sandwich or choose from 20 established combinations at this breakfast and lunch joint. Bent Street Café and Deli has been in business for more than 25 years and it has a loyal following. There’s even a veggie wrap called the
12. Del’s Restaurant, 1202 E Route 66 Boulevard, Tucumcari
Del’s has been around since 1956. When interest in Route 66 was high, many out-of-towners frequented the restaurant and, when the Mother Road waned in popularity, locals continued dining at this restaurant. The breakfast burritos and steaks (especially the chicken fried steak) are mouthwateringly good.
Please remember that we cannot include every local favorite on one list. If your regular hangout isn’t mentioned, head over to the
Only In New Mexico Facebook page and tell us why it should be. But if you’d rather keep it a secret, we understand!
If you like local joints, odds are that you’re also a fan of indie restaurants. Here are
14 mom and pop spots in New Mexico that you won’t want to miss.
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