Dinner and drinks at The Cowgirl Hall of Fame: It's a restaurant and bar that is completely Santa Fe, very good food and live music seven nights a week.
Part restaurant, part bar, part museum, and part theater, this fun place serves Texas-style brisket and barbecue and good New Mexican fare, including tasty chilies rellenos, soft tacos filled with grilled salmon, and butternut-squash casserole. In summer you can dine on tree-shaded patios, and kids can eat in the Corral, a special area with its own menu. After dinner there's entertainment--blues and rock bands, singer-songwriters, or comedians.
The Blue Coyote Cafe, not far from the Plaza. You can sit up on the balcony on the second floor and enjoy blue corn chips with a dip. For a bigger meal, book in advance!
Our favourite restaurant for dinner was the 'Tortilla Flat' out on Cerrillos Road. Great Mexican dishes - HOT. Actually, I burnt my stomach from too much chili with honey (great).
For a great Mexican food experience try Marisco's La Playa (at the beach) for seafood with a punch, or Guadalajara Grill for more traditional New Mexican.
Both of these places have a little more Mexican atomosphere. There are two Marisco's in Santa Fe. At the one on Cerillos (further away from Plaza than the one on Cordova), you'll find the heart of New Mexico's working class eating-it-up. It's always been crowded when I've been there for dinner, and I believe I'm always the only 'gringo' (white, non-hispanic person) there.
Favorite Dish: My favorite at Marisco's is the ceviche -- which is a cold, appetizer-style seafood dip -- marinated in some kind of fruit like mango with a lime twist. They also serve a great cold avacodo dip with chips as you're looking over the menu.
I always get Chiliquilas at Guadalajara Grill. It's a great mix of white cheese, green chile, chicken, and corn tortilla chips. It reminds me of a meal I had in Alaska, in Talkeetna on the road from Anchorage to Fairbanks. We stopped in at a little restaurant for breakfast. The cook was newly arrived from Mexico City and was homesteading. He said chiliquilas are a mainstay in Mexico City and I should try them. This was just in 1996 -- I couldn't believe you could still homestead up there! And even more surprising was that I got GREAT home-cooked Mexican cooking, at least 30 degrees north latitude!
Tecalote Cafe for Breakfast. They've been in business for about 22 years and serve up great homemade breads and New Mexican style Huevos Rancheros with NM green and red chiles.
It's a nice mix of New Mexican and other style foods -- not too much chile.
The atmosphere is casual and relaxed. Your water glass is always full (of course, you don't usually get water unless you ask for it -- remember, your in a very dry place). Choose to sit at a 'community table' and
Favorite Dish: I always have the Atole (a kind of traditional blue cornmeal) and pinon (from the Pinyon pine trees) nut hotcakes. When given the option of tortillas or bread basket, always try the bread basket -- has little homemade biscuits, muffins, and cinnamon rolls.
Shoko Cafe for Sushi dinner. Blue Corn Cafe for the Corn Chipotle Soup, good lunch break. Tecalote Cafe for Breakfast. Cafe Pasquals anytime -- for an eclectic mix of any-time-of-the-day hungers. Second Street Brewery for beer and burgers. Longevity Cafe for lunch break -- 'new age' hot tonics and quiche. The Old House for formal, high-end dining, with a very beautiful and creative food presentation.
Each of these restaurants has a good atmosphere, though all are different. Remember, that in Santa Fe, you can dress up or dress down, but err on the side of more casual. You can get a $10 or less entree from all of these places except for The Old House, which is more like $20.
The best food I got in Santa Fe was at this little stand on the street corner in front of one of the museums. The pork chops smelled good so I had to try one and got a tortilla with it. We ate supper at the Austin Steak House near our hotel. This little curb side stand had friendlier service and better tasting food than that much fancier restaurant.
This local's only restaurant is deep in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. The staff has worked here longer than most New Mexico residents have called New Mexico home. They have the best food in Santa Fe, the best breakfasts, and they know it. Don't expect super service from a gal named Sally Sue- it won't happen. But you'll still enjoy my all-time favorite breakfast restaurant in town. Oh- and they are closed on Sundays!
Favorite Dish: Green Chili Huevos Rancheros (breakfast) or Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas (lunch). If you're especially sinful, enjoy the stuffed sopapillas!
My Favorite restaurant is Castro's.
The food is excellent and the chili has a kick, but not to hot for those of you who prefer mild chili.
Favorite Dish: Chicken Burrito stuffed with green chile! (Comes with Sopapillas!)
Vanessi's, just off the Plaza to the west, served me the tastiest Kansas City Strip Steak I have ever ordered! The ambience is relaxing, modern and fun, while retaining Santa Fe's feel.
Another favorite is: Rancho de Chimayo, in Chimayo, 20 miles north of Santa Fe. Set in an historic small old Spanish town with a truly legendary and historic Catholic Mission Church, they provide the very best in New Mexican cuisine.
There are SO many wonderful restaurants! I love taking people from out of town to El Farol to sample tapas, or Pasqual's for breakfast to die for - sit at the communal table to share experiences with the locals and other tourists. La Casa Sena has wonderful food, and the Cantina provides you with entertainment as your waiters & waitresses take breaks to perform show tunes. The Ore House is a nice place to have appetizers and drinks on the veranda and overlook the Plaza action. Other places I love to eat are: Harry's Roadhouse, Geronimos, Julian's, Santa Cafe, Chows, India Palace, Pyramid Cafe, Pranzo, Old Mexico Grill, Fabios (both the Seafood & Grill Restaurant, or the PIzza Oven for more casual dining). I'm sure I'm leaving some out - but I would recommend any of the above for a great meal.
Favorite Dish: Fabio's gnocchi is the best I've ever tasted. Pasqual's has wonderful & unusal dishes - try the Huevos Motelenos or the Trout Hash for breakfast. El Farol is great because you can select from the tapas (appetizers) one or two at a time and just keep going until you have tried everything you want (or until you are so full you can't eat any more. Chow's is a chinese restaurant with a touch of New Mexico flavoring - try the firecracker dumplings, or the spring rolls whose ginger sauce is to die for, or the hot and pungent lamb - in fact, try almost anything! I've never had anything there I didn't like.
This mom and pop diner is way off the beaten path, which is part of its charm. This funky little place is adorned with horse and cowboy art, and most of the patrons wear cowboy hats. The food is inexpensive but great. The green chili is hotter than hell.
Favorite Dish: 3 D Burrito with green chili
Sorry, no individual restaurants to recommend. It's been a few years since I have last visited Santa Fe. However, I would like to make several comments about Santa Fe cuisine. First of all, it is a great restaurant city, with a large number of fine dining establishments offering adventurous and creative menus. A personal observation about the local food - the hispanic cuisine here, as in Albuquerque, can be fiery hot. So, if you don't tolerate spicy foods, check with your server - and remember: what may be mild to him/her may be set you ablaze.
We just stopped in and luckily found one of the top Mexican restaurants in the city. Service was great, food was even better.
Favorite Dish: I had a combo plate with a taco, enchilada and chili relleno
Upstairs overlooking the plaza. I don't think that I've ever had more than some nachos and a beer here.
Favorite Dish: Cold beer and a nice view of the plaza.
For some reason, we always eat our first dinner in SF here. Sometimes it is pretty good, sometimes okay. However, this last time it was very good.
Favorite Dish: Enchiladas