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Santa Fe Restaurant Guide (just the affordable ones)

New Mexican:

  • La Choza (always busy, plan ahead by putting your name in at the hostess stand and wait for a text 1-1.5 hours later. Near by drinks places, REI or SITE Santa Fe. Closed Sunday); suggestions: Enchilada plate (adobado or cheese & onion) with red chili, posole, rellenos good but better elsewhere. Their sister restaurant is The Shed, which is equally good, but more worthy of the wait that may be required if the weather is fine and you can dine outside.
  • Fiesta Oaxaca : closed on Wednesday, this small place just around the corner from the Fine Art Museum on the plaza, has molé in at least four colors. If this creamy, cocoa or nutty sauce is your favorite style of Mexican food this restaurant is your go-to. The patio is small, and the interior is not fancy, but the food is worth it, and the drinks are good and the margaritas large.
  • Palacio Restaurant: 209 E Palace Ave, is a hard to appreciate spot because it looks like a greasy spoon from the sidewalk on Palace. Often I’ve walked by Palacio, ignoring it, but it’s good quality, and very reasonably priced, with a great little backyard for lunch dining. It happens to be right next to Casa Sena, an impossible-to-get-in, expensive restaurant that often does an expensive prix fixe offering, and requires a reservation. Casa Sena has a fantastic outdoor courtyard for dining in good weather. 
  • Tomasita’s (easier than LaChoza to get table, well organized to do take-out); suggestions: chili relleno, enchiladas.
  • Harry’s Roadhouse (open Wednesday – Monday and often there is a 15-45minute wait.) Margaritas are the best in town, served in a shaker. If you’re in the bar while waiting for a table they will pre-pour them into a tumbler. Not a dumb idea if it’s crowded. Enchiladas with steak are excellent, but what makes Harry’s a place to return to often is the changing weekly menu. We have never had a bad meal from this special menu. Pies are delicious.
  • Tesuque Village Market: (always a wait during prime time) Excellent margaritas – the worlds best according the their signage. Suggestion: chili rellenos.
  • The Pink Adobe (its bar, the Dragon Room, has a great happy hour, but sometimes requires checking in at the Pink. Later in the night, it worked for us to just sit in the Dragon Room. Prices seem much higher now that the Inn next door has purchased these dining establishments) Great margarita’s – Rosie’s, the house margarita, is pink and good tasting, but not on the menu. Bar food was always good: hamburger, the clam stew Clams Diablo (not quite as good as before, fewer clams and just in a strong red sauce) and the tacos.

Asian Food

  • Paper Dosa (take out is easy online). A thin pancake with various fillings is a dosa, paper-thin, and an import from South India. This restaurant is popular, crowded but very comfortable. And while the dosas are great when delivered fresh to your table but a little harder to do as take-away. The curries are also fabulous. so a good choice whether dining in or out.
  • Kai Sushi – reasonably priced Sushi combos. Excellent fish. Nice sake list. Weird shopping center location of Saint Michaels, but, oh well.


  • Second Street Brewing on Rufina (great outdoor deck, live music some evenings and Sunday afternoons.  Same brewery has a restaurant in the Railyard just north of the Farmers Market. More crowded). Suggestions: Alien Burger with regular fries. The burger stacks up cheese, beef and a chili relleno – stem and tip creating the illusion of an alien in bun.
  • Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales – more than a brew pub. Food is elegant, but not always enough for the price. Mostly outdoor seating but protected from the elements and warm in winter. Not usually crowded and the beer list is long, very long.
  • Breakroom of Santa Fe Brewing – conveniently located on Galisteo (near Manhattan), just a few small blocks from the Railyard or the State Capitol.
  • Chile Line Brewery (hard to park, the brewery has the beer, the restaurant nice wine.) Pizza is excellent, if maybe a little expensive, but is our go-to choice with an appetizer of calamari. Beer is chili infused and nicely made, but not for everyone (me no like).


  • Piccolino (Very moderately priced and well set up for take-away. Call to order and go for pick-up with your number through the drive through.) Interior is modest, tables are a little tight.  Great choice if down by Siler and Aqua Frio. Suggestions: Veal Scalapino, wonderful Tiramisu. Some of the pasta dishes are more plain than the menu description. Lasagne is great.
  • Lino’s Trattoria and Pizzeria  (see above) Pizza and an appetizer of calamari. Italian entries are hit or miss. Drink the wine, it’s expensive but high quality. Free music on Friday and Sunday evenings.


  • Dolina : on Guadalupe, is modern and healthy food, savory and sweet baked goods. Maybe the best of its class
  • Clafouties : traditional French pastries and the best baguette in town. Go to counter to get pastries to go, or put your name in for a sit-down meal. Food is excellent.
  • Mille: (all customers must order at the counter so you are waiting in a line with everyone just to get a pastry, their very-good baguette or almond croissant). Slightly more nouveau in the French style, offering an excellent Croque Madame.
  • Dulce: (counter service, often a little disorganized). Suggestions: savory pastries if they haven’t run out of them.
  • Boultawn’s : Bagels. Yes, great ones like Cheddar and Chili.

Other Ethnic Food:

  • Yama’s Greek Rotisserie: (drive up window for to-go. Very quick). Suggestions: Gyros, Greek salad, Musaka.
  • Mampuku : (sit-down and be waited on, the soup will be at it’s best when it arrives at your table). Best ramen bowl in town, confirmed by Chinese people who were our ski school clients. The hostess/waitress is the daughter of the man who makes as the delicious broths for the noodle bowls. Suggestions: Tonkotsu pork broth (Black or regular); Shrimp stuffed green chili tempura.
  • Izanami : (at Ten Thousand Waves on the road to the ski area. Outdoor pavilion and in-door dining. Reservations seem important, but mid afternoon in January we were able to walk in.) Upscale izakay, or tapas-like Japanese food, not too pricey for the quality. Especially if you don’t order from their extensive Saké menu.
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