From Albuquerque to the state capital Santa Fe, and everywhere in between, New Mexico is home to a number of outstanding restaurants achieving local and national fame for their unique cuisines. Whether award-winning global cuisine, made-from-scratch New Mexican eats or quality steak takes your fancy, our round-up will guide you to the very best restaurants in New Mexico.
Perfect for romantic meals, Antiquity Restaurant is an intimate, rustic chophouse and, at over half a century old, it is one of Albuquerque’s most long-standing restaurants. Situated a short walk from Albequerque historic Old Town Plaza in a charming old adobe, Antiquity serves some of the best steaks, chops and seafood in town with a menu that features European-style appetizers like French onion soup and escargot sautéed in garlic herb butter and served in mushroom caps, while entrées include Australian lobster and charcoal-grilled filet mignon. For an extra special dining experience order the slow-grilled chateaubriand for two, which is carved tableside and served with béarnaise sauce, sautéed mushrooms and fresh vegetables.
High Noon Restaurant & Saloon
Ideal for diners who like to combine dining with local history, the High Noon Restaurant & Saloon first opened its doors in 1974, though its location – a 230-year-old building in heart of Albuquerque’s Old Town – has an even longer legacy and, rumor has it, its own resident ghost. Specializing in steaks and wild game with New Mexican and Southwestern flavors, High Noon’s standout entrees include the 14 ounce center-cute rib-eye with haricot vert and red wine demi-glace and braised short ribs with peach BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes and crispy fried onions complemented by the restaurant’s specialty margaritas and premium tequilas.
The Artichoke Café
Voted the best upscale restaurant of 2014 in the Albuquerque Journal Readers Choice Awards, The Artichoke Café is the creative efforts of executive chef Pat Keene and chefs de cuisine Casey Bower and Christina Martinez who bring a mix of classic training and creative ingredients to the restaurant’s contemporary American menu. Located in Albuquerque’s up-and-coming EDo (East Downtown) neighborhood, The Artichoke Café combines dishes like elderberry cured halibut, manchego stuffed Berkshire pork chop and the herb-roasted chicken breast with gorgonzola bread pudding with resident sommelier and beverage director Julian H. Martinez’s signature artisan cocktails and Wine Spectator award-winning wine list.
The Range Café
Quite possibly the most raved about casual eatery in the greater Albuquerque area, The Range Café today has three restaurants spread across the region but its original location in the town of Bernalillo, opened in 1992, is where it all began. A fun, brightly colored space decorated with works by local artists greets guests and a menu full of made-from-scratch New Mexican fare features signature dishes like shredded beef blue corn enchiladas, spicy New Mexico mac ‘n’ cheese with roasted green chile and the diners’ favorite – meatloaf with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and seasonal veggies while The Range Café’s lively lounge serves cocktails and local beers and wines.
The Range Café, 925 Camino Del Pueblo, Bernalillo, NM, USA, +1 505 867 1700
Located in Santa Fe’s historic Borrego House built in 1756, Geronimo – with its many accolades including being listed among OpenTable’s Top 100 Restaurants in America twice and an AAA Four Diamond rating – is undoubtedly one of the city’s best restaurants. A chic and modern dining room complemented by traditional elements like wood beams and kiva fireplaces is home to an eclectic seasonal menu with global flavors crafted by executive chef and partner Eric DiStefano and chef de cuisine Sllin Cruz. Expect tempting appetizers like Maine lobster ragout, entrées like spice-rubbed roasted game hen and signature Geronimo dishes such as the telicherry-rubbed elk tenderloin with mashed potatoes, sugar snap peas, Applewood smoked bacon and a creamy brandy-mushroom sauce.
Geronimo, 724 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 982 1500
Named after the Spanish patron saint of cooks, Café Pasqual’s has been serving local Santa Fe diners its signature blend of New Mexican, Old Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian inspired upscale cuisine for 35 years. Located in downtown Santa Fe, the intimate restaurant is decorated with tiles and murals hand-painted by acclaimed Mexican artist Leovigildo Martinez, and art fans will love exploring the cafe’s second-floor art gallery featuring works by New Mexico-based artists before dining on exquisite dishes like Moroccan orange and date fruit leather salad, house-made tamales and pan-seared sea scallops with fragrant jasmine rice, sugar snap peas and yuzu sauce.
Café Pasqual’s, 121 Don Gaspar Avenue, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 983 9340
Based within Santa Fe’s luxury boutique Inn and Spa at Loretto, Luminaria lives up to its upscale surroundings with a sophisticated menu of progressive Santa Fe cuisine and elegant space worthy of fine dining. A stylish dining room painted in chic gray hues nods to region’s Anasazi heritage with reclaimed ayacahuite barn wood tables and works by locally-based Native American artist Mateo Romero adorning its walls, while a charming patio overlooking the inn’s gardens is perfect for romantic, al fresco dining on warmer evenings. Award-winning executive chef Marc Quiñones brings his sophisticated techniques and a respect for local culinary traditions to dishes like the prime flank steak with basmati rice, black beans, bell peppers and onions.
The Curious Kumquat
Opened in 2014 by chef Rob Connoley, a 2014 James Beard Award semi-finalist for the title of Best Chef Southwest, The Curious Kumquat serves modernist foraged cuisine and while it’s often said it could easily contend with eateries in big cities, the unique restaurant is happy to reside in the small, southwestern town of Silver City. Inspired by both his global travels and a respect for the historic foraging diets of Apaches, chef Rob crafts dishes from locally sourced and foraged ingredients resulting in adventurous plates like prickly pear ancho rabbit, Korean duck, mole negro cauliflower and local market lamb chop.
Savoy de Mesilla
A few miles north of the border in New Mexico’s second biggest city Las Cruces, Savoy de Mesilla – a popular restaurant serving contemporary American fare with global influences created by successful local chef and restaurateur Tatsu Miyazaki – is undoubtedly amongst the best restaurants in the city. In a chic and stylish dining room, or on Savoy de Mesilla’s beautiful patio, guests can enjoy adventurous dishes such as the spicy, lightly fried Louisiana alligator tail appetizer with house ranch dressing and the pan-seared Maple Leaf Farms duck breast with seasonal potato, assorted fresh vegetables and a cherry port wine reduction.
Savoy de Mesilla, 1800 Avenida De Mesilla, Las Cruces, NM, USA, +1 575 527 2869
The Grove Café & Market
A lively eatery located in Albuquerque’s hip EDo neighborhood and popular with the city’s young foodie crowd, The Grove Café & Market was opened in 2006 by executive chef Jason Greene and business partner Lauren Greene. Though its menu is based around local, organic and high quality ingredients, the ambience at The Grove is casual, fun and welcoming – an unpretentious space in which guests can enjoy gourmet brunches and lunches with dishes like egg white frittata with arugula and pecorino or the hearty roasted Berkshire pork sandwich with romesco sauce, fennel and lemon aioli. Be sure to visit its quaint market to stock up on gourmet groceries and chocolate, cookbooks and other cute gifts.