Santa Fe’s Best Places to Eat and Drink
Of course there’s Mexican food, and New Mexican food, and great hearty breakfasts for pre-ski or pre-hike mornings, but the international culinary options in this funky little town may surprise visitors expecting little more than margaritas. (Those margaritas are pretty tasty too.)
228 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
After helming two restaurants in Los Angeles, native Santa Fe chef John Sedlar returns to his grandmother’s New Mexican cuisine at Eloisa. The whitewashed, minimal, brick-exposed space serves as a temple for savory empanaditas, sopes, tamales, posole, tortillas made with fresh masa, and creative jicama and guacamole tacos with flower petals. To sip, tequila and mezcal cocktails are crafted by Dede Roybal, a bartending genius. You won’t be disappointed. All dishes are expertly and artistically plated. Afterward, stretch your legs walking around downtown Santa Fe—Eloisa’s locale couldn’t be any more convenient.
231 Washington Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Since 1983, Santacafé has been a culinary destination for the chic lunch set (Tom Ford is a fan). Opt, as they do, for eclectic “classics” like crispy calamari with four-chile lime dipping sauce, shrimp and spinach dumplings with tahini sauce, or the homemade pasta of the day. Come summer, the large patio is bustling, while in winter, guests are ushered into the minimalist-yet-cozy dining room, made warm with fireplaces and cool with taxidermy.
132 W Water St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
The outdoor cantina upstairs at the famed Coyote Cafe makes a perfect spot to perch and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the bustle of the Santa Fe streets. Try the Lava Lamp cocktail, a more-delicious-than-it-sounds blend of draft beer and a frozen margarita. Other concoctions like the prickly pear margarita make excellent companions to the warm, thickly cut tortilla chips and fire-roasted salsa.
406 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Tucked inside the venerable Pink Adobe (est. 1944), the Dragon Room bar is a cozy, cheery spot with handpainted tables and trees growing through the floor. The lounge menu features a French onion soup (that has been on its menu since inception) and house-made chips, as well as queso and shrimp tacos on corn tortillas with sliced avocado. There’s also freshly baked blue-corn piñon bread. Don’t miss the happy-hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m., including the watering hole’s famed classic margarita. In cooler weather, gather around the kiva fireplace, and for warmer evenings, sneak out to the outdoor patio under festive strung lights.
401 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Sandwiched in between the Railyard District and the plaza, this breezy brick-and-adobe-exposed Mexican-inspired spot features a sprawl of folk art, majolica tiles, distressed windowpanes, and leather banquettes. There’s a range of diverse delights on the menu: duck carnitas, marrow tacos, grilled whole sea bass and, for vegetarians, cauliflower Frito tacos topped with Marcona almonds, raisins, and Spanish olives. For a side dish, order the warm Mexican street corn, known as esquites. To sip, it’s all about house-shaken tequila, smoky mezcal cocktails, and classic Mexican brews like Sol and Bohemia.
500 Sandoval Street
Brought to you by the fine-dining folks at the gourmet-minded State Capital Kitchen, this highly touted food truck called Gnar (short for gnarly, or awesome) carries farm-fresh delights from chefs Arthur Martel and Mark Connell. Decked out in artist David Santiago’s fierce female-centric portraits, the tiny kitchen doles out affordable grub like stuffed waffle-pressed sopaipillas or Wagyu beef burgers alongside heaping bowls of pho. Afterward, wash everything down with thick chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry milkshakes.
235 North Guadalupe Street
For a proper taco fix, score a picnic table at this creative roadside establishment where the tasty folded offerings are stuffed with bison, goat, chicken, beef, shrimp, and fish. The traditional crowd-pleasing tacos al pastor comes with tender pork and sweet pineapple, pairing well with flaky fresh tortilla chips and salsa. There are also veggie options like the verduras—try the sweet potato and garlic kale version or the avocado and fingerling potatoes—and, of course, classic nopales. To drink, opt for fresh and tart hibiscus or sip from a brightly colored bottle of Jarritos.
802 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
This Middle Eastern bistro sits inside a cozy Canyon Road building decorated with original pieces by local artist Sepideh Majd. For the cuisine, chef (and owner) Neema Sadeghi’s small Middle Eastern plates rely on starters like stuffed grape leaves and hummus followed by more traditional dishes like an eggplant-based kashk-e-bademjan and a hearty stew known as abgoosht. Guests nosh on assorted grilled kebabs (easy to share) and thinly sliced fish, beef, or lamb served atop basmati rice with saffron. For dessert, opt for the refreshingly subtle rosewater and lime ice cream.
1352 Rufina Cir, Santa Fe, NM 87507, USA
Just outside the beloved and epically immersive Meow Wolf, a colorful food truck doles out Cajun and Creole delectables. The grub, courtesy of Southern natives Connor Black and Eliot Chavanne, focuses on locally sourced ingredients and the duo’s own smoker, responsible for the base of Louisiana classics like house-made andouille sausage gumbo, fried chicken and waffles, pecan-smoked baby back ribs, and crawfish étouffée. There’s also a fried gulf oyster po’boy that rivals a Big Easy version. For something sweet, sample the fluffy beignets.
128 E Marcy St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
For a quick bite, drop by the unassuming Ecco Espresso and Gelato. Tucked inside an old adobe building near the Santa Fe Plaza, this airy self-service space has a sprawl of metal tables (inside and out) and a menu of pastries, deli sandwiches (tuna with dill and cucumber), locally roasted coffee, hand-pulled espresso drinks, and spicy hot chocolate. As for gelato, uncover an assortment of 20 flavors including classics like chocolate and vanilla to more unusual, creative scoops like strawberry-habanero, amaretto-peach, and cherry-stracciatella.
1291 San Felipe Ave A, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA
Just off Cerrillos Road, this casual, light-filled venue does double duty as an inventive market and restaurant. Chef Noela Figueroa’s rotating menu is known to feature hearty fare made with local ingredients. Start with breakfast (kimchi egg scramble), move into brunch (sauerkraut latkes), and stay for lunch (buttermilk fried chicken with bok choy slaw). Sample from fresh juices, alongside wine and beer compliments of Rowley’s Farmhouse Ales. Before you leave, stock up on kitchenwares and jars of the kitchen’s preserved garlic confit, pickled vegetables, or pumpkin butter.
402 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Cozy Dolina serves a lovely breakfast spread with an Eastern European bent. Try the nutty granola atop Greek yogurt with fruit, ricotta pancakes, and a hearty breakfast burrito with organic eggs, hash browns, and asadero cheese (topped, in good New Mexican fashion, with red or green chile). There’s also robust espresso and coffee, local bone broth, and baked grab-and-go sweets like chocolate croissants, banana pie with a flaky, buttery crust, and Slovakian-style vanilla cream puffs.
3798, 637 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA
In the mornings, Modern General’s the spot to grab an acai bowl, a smoothie, or a wheatgrass shot for high-altitude nourishment. This airy general store stocks an assortment of baked goods (try the tart lemon cake) and grab-and-go wares. Check out the curated lineup of chic garden tools, farm lavender soaps from Albuquerque’s label Los Poblanos, and kitchen utensils. The cheery, canary-yellow coffee cups (for your almond-milk latte) are a bright addition to a friendly, busy space where locals and travelers unite.
500 Sandoval St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
On Sandoval Street, this warmly lit gourmet spot from chefs Mark Connell and Arthur Martel (Arroyo Vino) provides a welcome detour from the standard New Mexican fine-dining route. In a reconsideration of the traditional dim sum cart, shareable dishes—plated on pretty, Instagram-worthy ceramics, are presented to diners. Offerings change seasonally and often include creations like suckling pig wontons or cassoulet with rabbit sausage as well as veggie-focused items like parsnip risotto with thyme and maple, and English pea and stone fruit salad with a goat cheese sorbet. There’s also a stellar wine list.
653 Canyon Rd A, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
The elegant, grown-up Compound Restaurant on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road caters to devoted locals and tourists alike with a Southwestern-meets-Mediterranean focus. James Beard Award–winning chef Mark Kiffin scores with entrées like roasted rack of lamb, salmon with crispy pancetta, and wild mushrooms with organic stone-ground polenta. At lunch, the bar menu is less pricey and offers a chance to sample the famed Compound Burger, made with local Lone Mountain Ranch Wagyu beef, and wash it down with a cold beer. Even with the fantastic cuisine, the best parts of this white tablecloth and custom furniture institution remain the clean adobe arches and folk-art decor created by artist Alexander Girard.