The New Mexico town of Taos sits on a site that has been inhabited for more than 1000 years. These days, Taos is a cultural hub, following the establishment of the Taos Arts Colony in 1915. With a string of excellent galleries and culturally significant areas, visitors will enjoy experiencing the great variety of restaurants and cafés on offer. We discover ten great places in Taos to dine out.
Specialising in local home cooked cuisine, The Love Apple is run on the old site, indeed, in the former building, of the Placitas Chapel. This small building was previously a Catholic church, built in circa 1800. These days, talented chefs can be found turning out brilliant dishes. Local medijool dates are brined in classic American bourbon, before being wrapped in bacon and fried, resulting in a delicious starter. For main course, choose from a variety of game dishes and a fantastic lamb-sausage bolognaise served with polenta and fresh greens, all in the beautiful confines of this small chapel.
Run under the auspicious gaze of executive chef Frederick Muller, El Meze restaurant serves rustic American food. This he calls ‘La Comida de las Sierras’ or, in English, ‘the food of the mountains’. Using locally sourced fish, meat and vegetables, Muller creates an authentic tapas style of dining which draws upon both Spanish and Moorish influences. Indeed, while decorated simply, the design and architecture takes on many old-world Spanish design influences, which are reflected in the food. Dishes include grilled mountain trout, which is served with Moroccan butter and greens, as well as duck and chorizo pate. If still peckish after this repast, there is a large selection of mouth-watering desserts on offer.
Lambert's of Taos, Taos | Courtesy of Michael’s Kitchen
Lambert’s restaurant and bar, one of Taos New Mexico’s best kept secrets, promises guests a relaxed yet refined dining experience. With its low level lighting, soft, yet simple, decoration and carefully designed menu, it certainly delivers. In one form or another, Lambert’s has existed in Taos since 1989 though it currently resides in the beautiful building at 123 Bent Street, which was built in 1903. While starters include such delights as lamb wellington and wild mushroom risotto, mains include roasted Vermont quail, beef stroganoff and pepper-crusted lamb loin.
“Pollo Borachon” (Drunken Chicken) – chicken on-the-bone marinated in red-wine with vegetables baked in a casserole dish with a homemade crust. | Courtesy of Gutiz
If fun and laid back is the vibe you are looking for, then Michael’s Kitchen is the place for you. Not just a restaurant, Michael’s kitchen is also a very popular bakery, dealing with cakes and treats that everyone can enjoy. These are made fresh, every day and are perfect to either eat in or take away. Bakery treats include bear claws, cookies, brownies and a variety of pies, including blueberry, apple, and raspberry flavours. As well as serving lunch and dinner, Michael’s kitchen is best known for its fantastic breakfast offerings. Diners can set themselves up for the day with any number of omelettes, French toasts and even that New Mexican staple, huevos rancheros.
Now, while many restaurants in Taos stick to their solely Hispanic and Latin roots, Gutiz is a brilliant example of combined French and Latin foods. Open for breakfast and lunch, the Gutiz team prepare some of the best food that can be found in this small New Mexico town. Lunch and breakfast options are plentiful with sandwiches, tapas and small plates available throughout most of the day. Gutiz strives to use locally sourced ingredients, with most of their menu made from scratch. Pastries, desserts and chocolate truffles are also made in house to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Old Martina's Hall, Taos | Courtesy of Doc Martin’s
Old Martina’s Hall is much more than just a restaurant, encompassing both a stage and a dance hall for fun loving locals and tourists alike. These events, which alternate between dinner with entertainment and dancing classes, are run every Friday evening, so make sure to book in advance and check what’s in store for that evening. The food is everything you would expect from a Taos venue, but the main attraction here is certainly the live music. That said, dishes include shrimp and green chilli tempura, blackened Mahi Mahi fish with a red pepper coulis and delicious griddled flat iron steaks.
Doc Martin’s in Taos is a celebrated award-winning restaurant run by chef Gregory Romo. As well as being famous for the excellent dining opportunity it affords its guests, Doc Martin’s is known for its fantastic wine collection. Food and Beverage Director, Adam Kerr is a certified Sommelier and takes much pride in choosing the finest wines for the list and by the glass. With 400 varieties stored in the restaurant’s cellars, it is perhaps unsurprising that Doc Martin’s has won Wine Spectator’s ‘Best Of’ award for the past 29 years. Doc Martin’s also provides excellent accommodation for guests, setting them in a sophisticated yet cosy environment that is perfect for relaxation.
Trading Post Café, Taos | Courtesy of Elevation Coffee
Trading Post, a combination of acclaimed Italian café and art gallery, sits but a short distance away from Ranchos de Taos’ famous Saint Francis de Assisi Church. The Trading Post itself is a building stepped in history, as local traders would pass through over a hundred years ago. In this setting, chef Rene produces fantastic Italian fare and other global specialties, in an open air kitchen. This means that guests can watch as their food is prepared, surrounded by a variety of artworks. Menu items include roast duck, penne Arrabbiata with spicy sausage meat and pepper crusted New York steak.
Open seven days a week, and winner of the 2013 Taos peoples’ choice award, Elevation Coffee serves specialty and premium coffees. Highly trained baristas use their skills to create exquisite lattes, mochas and cappuccinos, as well as other less technical drinks. As well as a great coffee shop, Elevation Coffee also features a selection of art works that guests can appreciate while taking in a little pick me up. Similarly, the venue also celebrates the creative side of coffee making, with incredible patterns and shapes being etched into the coffee froth of each cup, seeing is believing, so make sure you pay them a visit.
Described as a colorful Mexican eatery, Orlando’s New Mexican Café serves fresh margaritas, craft beers, and authentic Mexican food. Orlando’s is especially famous for its deep filled fish tacos, with deep fried cod and green chilli mayo, wrapped in flour tortillas and topped with cheese. However, there are also a great many meat and vegetarian choices for those who like something a bit less fishy.