The Best New Mexican Food
Collected by Kate Donnelly, AFAR Local Expert
Hail to New Mexican food—a melting pot of Spanish, Mediterranean, Mexican, Pueblo Native American, and cowboy chuckwagon. The best New Mexican cuisine is earthy and home-style and includes dishes such as tamales, chiles relleños, green chili cheeseburgers, and enchiladas. The official New Mexican state question is "Red or green?" Your answer depends on the kind of chili sauce you want smothered on your dish. Unsurprisingly, the state hosts some of the best New Mexican food you'll find anywhere.
121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
The Chez Panisse of Santa Fe has been helmed by the same Berkeley-bred chef-owner since the 1970s. While the restaurant isn’t for New Mexican food purists, the local dishes are solid and range from classic renditions to enchiladas gussied up with...
113 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
A local institution, situated since 1953 in a 1692 adobe hacienda with brightly colored walls and a pretty courtyard, the Shed is deservedly famous for its smoky chile, just-hefty-enough blue corn tortillas, and classic recipes. Its sister...
125 Washington Ave Suite A, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
While sitting among treetops on a second-floor deck overlooking the colonial streets of Santa Fe, this menu description captivated me: "Made in the traditional style of Chimayó [a village in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, about a...
360 W Hall St, Hatch, NM 87937, USA
If you're passing through southern New Mexico, the town of Hatch--the chile capital of the world'--merits a stop. Green chile peppers, red chiles, fresh, dried, roasted, jarred--you name it, you'll find it in this unpretentious hamlet in the Rio...
409 W Water St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Recommended by locals and featured in an episode entitled “Aces of Authenticity” on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” Casa Chimayo is a delight for someone seeking traditional New Mexican food with a story. For starters, try...
300 Juan Medina Rd, Chimayo, NM 87522, USA
In the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Santa Fe, the village of Chimayó has become famous for its adobe church, "El Santuario," whose side chapel's dirt floor is reputed to have healing powers. Every Good Friday, tens of...
406 W Coal Ave, Gallup, NM 87301, USA
Yes, New Mexico actually has an official "state question"--since 1996, referring to the ubiquitous chile sauce, it's "red or green?" Fortunately you don't have to choose just one; the local way to say 'can I have both' is just one word:...
207 W Hall St, Hatch, NM 87937, USA
New Mexico has an official state vegetable: the chile pepper. (In case you're wondering, only 13 out of the 50 states even have such a designation.) And the self-proclaimed chile capital is the tiny agricultural village of Hatch--population 1600....
2711 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107, USA
A modest, friendly family establishment (serving since 1963) where locals and visitors-in-the-know visit for flavorful James Beard award-winning New Mexican cuisine including carne adovada with warm, marinated roast cubed pork in a brick red chile...
1114 Don Juan Valdez Ln, Taos, NM 87571, USA
There's always a wait at this family-run mainstay which serves a bevy of Southwestern winners a la the shrimp burritos and carne adovada (red chile–marinated pork) and chili. A trip here is best summed up as friendly, prompt and delicious. Park a...
321 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104, USA
In Old Town, locals often frequent the inviting, friendly Monica's El Portal, a 36-year-old institution, housed in an unassuming building. There's a range of traditional homemade dishes like blue corn chicken and a hearty green-chile stew. The...
905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA
Located in the Railyard District, the friendly and efficient La Choza (Spanish for “the shed") doles out traditional New Mexican fare. Start with the satisfying posole (a hominy). Try the stuffed sopapillas with an earthy red chile, and classic...
319 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Check out the rocking, hip and popular Cowgirl, a melding of Texas BBQ and New Mexico flavors and Old West style. Early evening, there's happy hour including cheap, tasty margaritas. At night, patrons kick up their heels to live music. There's a...
211 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Come summer, locals flock to the tranquil patio for al fresco dining. The new chef is the likable Marc Quiñones, whose kitchen churns out Southwestern food with molecular gastronomy. Commence your meal with the award-winning tortilla soup or green...
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