Las Cruces is, as might be expected, an oasis of delicious Mexican food, but the city isn’t short of other culinary delights. Cuisines from all over the world can be found in the city, including Greek, Lebanese, and Asian offerings. Las Cruces even delivers quality seafood and sushi in the middle of the desert, as well as some of the best frozen custard in the States.
One of Las Cruces’ finest restaurants, it’s not only the food that excels at the Savoy de Mesilla, the outdoors patio provides a lovely scenic setting for a meal on a sunny day. The menu features traditional American dishes as well as some more unusual options, such as alligator tail and Kobe beef sliders. The liquid nitrogen ice cream for two is an exciting way to finish off a meal. Their weekend breakfast is the one of the best in the city, and is served between 8am and 1pm, meaning it’s perfect for both a business breakfast and a long brunch with friends.
Habanero’s Fresh Mex has been a favourite with Las Cruces locals for some years now, and regulars always comment that its staff are some of the friendliest and most welcoming in Las Cruces. Its reasonable pricing means it is regularly frequented by students, and it’s rare to find a time when this little hole in the wall is empty of hungry diners enjoying some quality Mexican food. The Macho Chimichanga, filled with chicken and beef, is not for the faint hearted, and when paired with Habanero’s guacamole it’s hard to imagine a better combination.
Habanero’s Fresh Mex, 1275 S Solano Dr, Las Cruces, NM, USA, +1 575-524-1829
In 2001 Paolo and Sylvia D’Andrea founded the Luna Rossa Winery, inspired by the skills Paolo learnt growing up in Friuli, Italy. Their wines are made of grapes from New Mexico, grown in their own vineyards, and have been awarded several international accolades, including a Double Gold at The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. They host wine tastings and wine festivals, as well as running the Luna Rossa Pizzeria in Las Cruces which serves pizza, pasta, paninis and salads, as well as a tasty selection of 22 flavours of gelato, made in-house. Unsurprisingly, the wine list is excellent.
Some have described Caliche’s Frozen Custard as a local institution, and it’s not hard to see why. The choice at Caliche’s is second to none, and their range of sundae choices includes kiwi berry, mango-dango, and hot fudge, as well as banana split and strawberry shortcake options and seasonal specials, which are updated regularly. These can also be served in a homemade waffle bowl when you’re looking to really indulge your sweet tooth. But beware, a small cup is the equivalent of two whole scoops of frozen custard, so order carefully!
Caliche’s Frozen Custard, 590 S Valley Dr, Las Cruces, NM, USA, +1 575 647 5066
Sushi restaurants are few and far between in the desert, so the Katana Teppanyaki Grill is a real find, offering a wide array of fresh sushi. But while the sushi is enjoyable, the real reason to go to this restaurant is for the visual spectacle. The food is cooked in front of you, meaning it is particularly popular with children and families, as the chefs are always friendly and put on a good show as well as serving up delicious food. We recommend making a reservation if there are more than two of you, especially for dinner, as this restaurant isn’t huge.
The middle of New Mexico might seem like the last place to find good European, Asian and African cuisine but the International Delights Café serves up excellent food from all over the world. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this restaurant imports ingredients from a number of different countries, giving its dishes an authenticity lacking in many multi-cuisine restaurants. Between mezze plates with hummus and tabouli, gyro (a Greek meat sandwich), and a variety of kebabs, the International Delights Café provides a plethora of exciting dining opportunities, and its espresso bar serves such good coffee it could rival some Italian cafés.
International Delights, 1245 El Paseo Rd, Las Cruces, NM, USA, +1 575 647 5956
Santorini is an unassuming little restaurant with a big menu, overflowing with quality Lebanese and Greek dishes made from traditional recipes by their very experienced chef. It’s one of the best places for vegetarians to eat in Las Cruces, and staff will go out of their way to accommodate customers’ special requests. The falafel is second-to-none, and always a popular choice with customers, but we recommend ordering a few of their tasting platters to share so you can try a little bit of everything.
Santorini, 1001 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM, USA, +1 575 521 9270
Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of excellent Mexican food in Las Cruces, so it’s only natural that a few Mexican restaurants feature on our list of the top restaurants in the city. Nellie’s Cafe is certainly up there with the best of them. A lively restaurant with a buzzy atmosphere, get there early to avoid queues at lunchtime as word of Nellie’s good prices and great food travelled fast and the restaurant is always packed.
Nellie’s Cafe, 1226 W Hadley Ave, Las Cruces, NM, USA, +1 575 524 9982