Las Cruces has an abundance of great restaurants serving authentic cuisine from South of the border, but the city’s other eateries – such as its popular pizzerias, wine-focused vineyard bistros and famous frozen custard – are well worth checking out when you want an alternative to Mexican fare. Check out our updated guide to Eating Out in Las Cruces to discover the city’s dining hot-spots.
Arguably one of the city’s finest restaurants, Savoy de Mesilla boasts a classy and stylish but simple interior, while its charming outdoor patio provides the perfect scenic setting on which to enjoy meals on sunny, summery days. Serving traditional, casual American dishes with global flavours guests can sample options such as its gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese or the goji scallops and shrimp – pan-seared scallops with tiger shrimps, cranberry-almond quinoa couscous, assorted vegetables and a Himalayan goji berry and mango sauce. Savoy de Mesilla’s weekend breakfast is second to none, with tempting dishes such as pancakes, French toast, crepes and omelettes, to name but a few.
Founded in 2001 by Paolo D’Andrea, a native of northeast Italy, and his wife Sylvia, the Luna Rossa Winery is a vineyard that produces award-winning wines from New Mexico–grown grapes, two of which, its 2010 cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese, took a gold medal at the 2014 international wine competition Taster’s Guild. The Luna Rossa Pizzeria is the perfect location in which to sample one of the winery’s award-winning wines alongside simple but tasty Italian fare, which includes an extensive list of pizzas – from the familiar margherita and four cheeses to the more unusual Nutella pizza – paninis and salads with a choice of 22 flavours of house-made gelato to finish with.
Something of a local institution, Caliche’s Frozen Custard is a locally owned, Las Cruces company that was first established in 1996 and has since grown to three branches in southern New Mexico, which includes its South Valley Drive branch on the outskirts of downtown not far from the scenic Burn Lake. While Caliche’s does serve gourmet hot dogs and croissant sandwiches, the main event here is of course its famous frozen custard. Perfect for anyone needing to satisfy a sweet tooth, Caliche’s frozen custard is available either in a cup or homemade waffle bowl, with options including fudge brownie, strawberry cheesecake and tropical mango.
Located in the historic Old Mesilla neighbourhood of Las Cruces, Ándele first opened its doors over 18 years ago and since then has been serving authentic, traditional Mexican and South-western cuisine that saw the restaurant awarded TripAdvisor’s 2014 Certificate of Excellence. Take in Ándele’s vibrant, buzzing atmosphere while eating enchiladas and burritos or the house speciality dish of tacos al carbon – cuts of meat marinated overnight before being slow-cooked over an open wood fire on vertical rotisseries, served in a tortilla with frijoles charros, lime, onion, cilantro and Mexican coleslaw.
A downtown Las Cruces Mexican restaurant, La Nueva Casita Café is located in the city’s historic Mesquite District, home to the landmark North American trading route El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The popular restaurant has a colourful exterior with walls decorated in murals that beckon guests into its equally vibrant interior with earthy tiled floors, tables with mosaic embellishments and a warm ambience. La Nueva Casita’s menu is populated with authentic, homemade and mouth-watering Mexican fare, from the familiar tacos, burritos and enchiladas to the less familiar caldo de res – a hearty Mexican soup with beef, sweetcorn, carrots and potatoes.
Established by the sixth generation of a French winemaking family, Las Cruces’ St Clair Winery and Bistro is both a restaurant and befitting showroom for the fruits of the winery’s vineyard which is located in the neighbouring city of Deming. Featuring an elegant yet comfortable main dining room and a charming outdoor patio perfect for al fresco dining on warmer evenings, the bistro offers an eclectic, epicurean menu designed specifically to complement its wines, with dishes like the crispy breaded tilapia appetiser with house-made tartar sauce and the pork loin entrée braised in a pomegranate, mango and chipotle sauce with wine and served with garlic mashed red skin potatoes.
De La Vega’s Pecan Grill and Brewery is a locally owned independent restaurant and brewery established by husband and wife Tom and Jeanine Springer, who opened the venue with the purpose of offering a unique mix of upscale cuisine and delicious beers in a casual, welcoming environment. Executive chef Keith Leroux offers eclectic, seasonal menus built from locally sourced ingredients; he delights in serving up dishes like the New York strip steak with grilled asparagus, potatoes and the option of additional crab legs or lobster tails, while brewmaster Rich Weber ferments beers like the Nut Brown Ale, made using chocolate malted barley resulting in interesting chocolaty, coffee and nutmeg flavours.
A popular local pizza house, Zeffiro’s Pizzeria was established with the aim of serving authentic Neapolitan-style pizza to bring the bona fide tastes of Naples to New Mexico. With its casual, urban interior and location just across the street from New Mexico State University, the restaurant is a popular local haunt for students and Zeffiro’s offers guests the option of buying pizza by the slice or as a whole pizza pie, available to eat in or to go. Believing the key ingredient to great pizzas lies in the use of simple and high quality ingredients, a proper pizza oven and close attention to the dough, Zeffiro’s offers guests delicious options like margherita, four cheese and spicy Italian.
Located in an eye-catching purple-painted building, Spiritwinds Coffee Bar is a cheerful and welcoming café and coffee joint serving delicious coffee, tasty snack food and a range of tempting pastries and sweet treats. With its quirky interior full of brightly coloured walls adorned with retro signs and artwork, Spiritwinds is a big hit with the bohemian crowd as well as with lovers of great coffee and its varied menu features a number of sandwiches, salads and paninis alongside options like its black bean burger or the comfort food classic chicken noodle soup. The café also doubles as gift shop selling items like clothing, jewellery and other such trinkets.
Opened in 2007 by award-winning chef Tatsu Miyazaki, a former instructor at Las Vegas’s prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts with over 20 years’ experience as a chef and restaurateur, Aqua Reef specialises in Euro-Asian cuisine, mixing the flavours of East and West into creative, original dishes. Guests can relax in its sleek, urban interior with minimalist Eastern design details while they fill up on fare such as the smoked salmon and mango roll with cream cheese, scallion and cucumber or the teriyaki baby back ribs served with matchstick potato fries. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly options are also available.