Far down in the south of New Mexico lies Ruidoso, once a quiet mountain resort town and now a growing regional economic hub. Whether you’ve come to hike, ski, or bask in such a beautiful area, Ruidoso has you covered with these 10 dining options.
It’s best to arrive at the cute old house that has now been converted into Tina’s Cafe when you’re very hungry. Their main dishes, which tend to mix classic American dishes with local New Mexican flavor, come in huge, delicious portions. That’s not all, though – guests love their long and varied dessert menu. Once you see what they’ve got, you won’t want to leave without trying some food yourself. Try the apple or peach green chili pie. You may leave stuffed, but that’s the best way to make sure you leave with no regrets.
Great breakfasts and great Mexican food – this is what you’ll find at Pena’s Place, a Ruidoso local favorite that’s just open for breakfast and lunch. Before you even take a bite of your meal, you’ll notice the beautiful decorations and wood furniture, all made by the owner. It’s quite small (and therefore can involve a wait in the winter when the outdoor seating is closed), but has a cozy atmosphere. If you’re looking for a slightly spicier twist on an old classic, have their eggs Benedict – you won’t be hungry all day.
The Village Buttery
You can probably guess from the name that the good folks at The Village Buttery know their way around an oven. While their list of baked goods is impressive, that’s not all they’re known for. This is a great place to come if you’re trying to stay on the healthy side, as their soups, salads, and sandwiches are all excellent. For a real treat, try one of their fresh quiches, like the ham, green chili and cheddar option. Their specials may change every day, but one stalwart is the buttermilk pie.
Cornerstone Bakery Cafe
You might go to Cornerstone Bakery Cafe just for the coffee, or the baked goods, or the breakfast, but then you’ll end up wishing that you had time and stomach space to just stick around and experience all of it. The staff here is the absolute epitome of friendliness and welcoming spirit, which you’ll feel as soon as you arrive, even on one of their many busy days. No matter whether you decide to get a loaf of their freshly baked green chili bread, one of their scrumptious cinnamon rolls, or some Mexican food for lunch, you’ll leave full and happy.
Michael J’s Italian-American Cuisine
Ruidoso might feel pretty far removed from Italy, but you won’t feel that way at Michael J’s Restaurant. They do excellent versions of Italian favorites and serve fresh fish that is some of the best seafood you can get in the whole area. There’s something very comforting about Italian food done well, and you’ll get that feeling when you sit down to a bowl of Michael J’s minestrone and follow it up with a flavorful pasta or meat dish. If you have the space, try their cheesecake – the owner is from New York, a fact which becomes clear once you try the New York-style cake.
Rio Grande Grill & Tap Room
There’s just something great about tap rooms at microbreweries – like the Rio Grande Grill & Tap Room. They’re connected to the Sierra Blanca Brewery, which offers a range of beers fit for even the pickiest of beer lovers. Their food still manages to hold its own, however. Who wouldn’t like to start with an appetizer called Angels in Paradise” At Rio Grande you can do just that, and you’ll get a plate with two jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon, stuffed with crab, and served alongside a raspberry chipotle dipping sauce. Their classic pub food will have you drooling, and those wanting to eat healthy will especially appreciate their great salads.
Hall of Flame Burgers
Locals agree that if you’re looking for the absolute best burger in the city, Hall of Flame Burgers should be your first stop. Wanting to live up to every bit of their name, they put a lot of care into getting the burger just right, from the meat to the toppings and all the flavor in between. The Philly cheesesteaks are also excellent, a hard sandwich to find done right this far west of the Mississippi. This is a very good place to leave your normal routine and try a new burger – like the spicy green chili cheese burger, for example, or the southwest burger – two of their specialties.
Every town needs a classy place for a fancy night out, and Texas Club fulfills that role for Ruidoso. Once you’ve gone and had a steak in the pleasant atmosphere at Texas Club, you’ll join all the other visitors in praising the steak for its expert cooking and flavoring. As it is with many of the best restaurants, it’s best to get a reservation here, especially on the weekends – it fills up fast with other people looking for the same high-quality meat and sides. If you can, it’s best to save some room for dessert here; their bread pudding and other various dessert options are highly praised as well.
Log Cabin Restaurant
Another constantly busy Ruidoso favorite is Log Cabin Restaurant, but it’s not a steak that you should be looking for here – it’s one of the best places to get breakfast in town. Unless you get there very early, you’ll likely have to wait for a few minutes, but the service is quick and thorough and they’ll have you seated just as you’re beginning to get hungry. The warm and cozy atmosphere feels very welcoming, and it will make you enjoy your fluffy pancakes and fresh waffles even more. If you’re not a breakfast person, have no fear – they serve lunch dishes as well.
Zocca Coffee is a coffee lover’s paradise, or a chai latte lover’s paradise, or a fresh baked good lover’s paradise, or the list could go on. The bottom line is, when you’re in Ruidoso and you’re in need of a caffeine fix, don’t miss out on the charming and very intimate Zocca Coffee. You’ll love the pretty touches they put on your drinks, and your taste buds will be over the moon with the quality of both the drink itself and the food you get to go with it. They have sandwiches if you’re looking for something more substantial, but if you just want a sweet treat, you’re in for so much more than you bargained for.
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