The following list is by no means a definitive guide to all the best restaurants in Santa Fe, but rather a number of my personal favorites. Given its size, Santa Fe has an inordinate number of wonderful restaurants, ranging from authentic Northern New Mexican to Fine Dining with a Southwest Flair to more exotic options. Please know that we are happy to help you find the optimal restaurants for your taste preferences and budget, and can also assist in the making of reservations.
Northern New Mexican/Mexican
The Shed is the quintessential Northern New Mexican restaurant of Santa Fe, frequented by locals and visitors alike. Just a short walk from the inn and one block off the Plaza, it is located in an historic adobe compound and oozes architectural charm, from the colorful floor-to-ceiling murals to the ancient wooden beams and kiva fireplaces. Known particularly for its red chile, The Shed menu is filled with enchiladas, burritos, tacos and more. They also have an assortment of potent margaritas, making its proximity to the inn a real bonus.
: La Choza is the sister restaurant of The Shed, and I personally think the food is a bit better than that of The Shed, as it is generally not quite as busy. It too is filled with brightly painted murals, though has somewhat less inherent charm than The Shed. The menu features traditional Northern New Mexican fare, including enchiladas, burritos, tacos and an array of margaritas. I especially appreciate their Vegetable Enchilada dish, as it is actually chock full of sautéed vegetables (most vegetarian New Mexican dishes consist of beans and cheese only) in between yummy blue corn tortillas.
Valentina’s: This is a relatively new discovery of mine, as it is hidden away in a small shopping mall (the Solana Center) and a couple of miles from The Plaza. This is truly a local’s destination, and free of any pretention. Besides serving top notch meals, there is almost never a wait, unlike The Shed or La Choza, where wait times of 45 minutes or more are not uncommon in the high season. In addition to the usual array of enchiladas and burritos you will find more traditional Mexican offerings like tortas, mole, and menudo, along with steak and seafood plates. Go on Wednesday or Thursday night for the live all-women’s Mariachi Music! Open 7am-9pm.
Located just around the corner from the inn, this family run restaurant serves up the best fajitas in town, along with an assortment of equally delicious New Mexican and Mexican entrees. Because they are just off Paseo de Peralta in the back of a small grouping of businesses they are often overlooked, so a good bet for a great meal without having to wait in a long line. Choose from chicken, beef or shrimp fajitas, which arrive at the table on a sizzling cast iron platter. Not in the mood for fajitas? Try their “Chicken Bomb”, a rich and filling stuffed chicken dish, incredible Mole Enchiladas, Shrimp with an Orange Tequila Cream Sauce, or flavorful Pork Tacos. Be sure to save room for the tasty Almond Flan, outrageous Heath Bar Ice Cream Pie, or heavenly Key Lime Pie.
Chez Mamou : Located just a few blocks from the inn, this casual bistro serves a classic French menu, with options for either a quick light meal or for a more filling lunch or dinner. Lighter fare options include Crepes, Omelets, French Onion Soup and a yummy Goat Cheese Salad. For those with a heartier appetite, choose from Veal Medallions, Beef Bourgogne, Duck Confit and more. They also have a beautiful array of patisseries, though in my humble opinion they look better than they taste. Chez Mamou is open all day, so a great choice for a meal during one of those in-between times when most Santa Fe restaurants are closed.
Also just a short walk from the inn is La Boca, a very popular Spanish tapas restaurant. The tables are situated one right next to the other in this small venue, making for a noisy environment during peak hours. It is not at all surprising that this place is so popular, as the inventive and innovative twists on classic tapas (small plates designed for sharing) are so fabulously delicious. There is a wide range of options for meat lovers and vegetarians alike, along with a superb paella and an extensive wine list. They serve until 10pm, so a good option for a later meal.
This farm to table Italian restaurant, featuring house made pastas and traditional Italian cuisine, is just a short walk from the inn. While not 100% consistent in terms of food quality, when they hit it, they really make the mark. My recommendation is to go for the pre or post dinner Happy Hour, from 4:30-6pm or 9-10:30, when you can get half price on wines by the glass, appetizers and appetizer-size entrees. I have enjoyed many an early dinner there with friends, and highly recommend the early seating deal.
Serving delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine, Jambo is a gem of a restaurant. In fact, they have won the Santa Fe Reporter’s “Best International Cuisine” for five years in a row. The lively vibe and friendly staff make for a fun experience, and the extensive menu, which includes fish specials, goat, lamb, chicken and vegetarian options, has something for every dietary preference. They serve the best sweet potato fries I have ever had – in fact I stopped ordering them elsewhere as they were never as good as Jambo’s. Some favorites are the Curried Coconut Chicken, Goat Stew, and their Jerk Chicken or Vegetarian Sandwiches (ask for Roti instead of pita). They are open from lunch through dinner, should you want a meal at an unusual time. This is a haven for locals and there is often quite a wait.
This is one of our favorite restaurants, as we just can’t get enough of their Southern Indian fare. Known for their dosas (huge but very thin pancakes made with fermented rice and lentil batter, filled with various yummy concoctions), they also serve up some remarkable dishes like Cashew Calamari, Dahi Vada, Chile Onion Pakora, a number of curries, and so much more. While the menu is primarily vegetarian, there are also seafood, chicken and lamb options. Open for dinner only, there is always a long line at this very popular establishment. They do not take reservations for parties of less than six, so best to get there early.
I recommend Bouche for its romantic atmosphere and classic French Bistro cuisine: Escargot, Onion Soup, Foie Gras, Steak Frites, Mussels, Calves Liver, Duck Confit) along with occasional introductions of Italian comfort food: Gnocchi or a fabulous Ravioli dish. Be careful not to fill up on their rustic house-made bread, which is easy to do. Do try to eat at chef’s table, where you watch the food being prepared in the kitchen. The warm and attentive service and pleasant ambiance makes for a memorable dinner. If you go for your birthday or anniversary, you will no doubt be treated to some complimentary champagne.
Surprise! We do have excellent sushi in this high mountain desert location. Their fish is extraordinarily fresh, and is shipped in daily from California, Alaska and Japan. Family run for over 40 years, Shoko has won the Santa Fe Reporter’s Best Sushi Award eight years in a row. You can be in and out quickly, or linger in the calm setting without feeling at all rushed. Along with the expected Sushi, Sashimi, Teriyaki, Tempura (wonderfully light and delicate) and Bento Sets, they also incorporate green chile into some offerings: the Shrimp Stuffed Green Chile Tempura is particularly good. If you don’t have such a big appetite, I recommend the Spicy Tuna or Yellowtail Salad and Soba or Udon Noodle Dishes. Naturally they have a full array of Sake for your added delight.
Vinaigrette is known primarily for its huge variety of salads, with most of the greens coming from their organic farm just outside Santa Fe. Also on the menu are several sandwiches and some lovely soup options. But really, go for the salads – you can top off your salads with seafood, chicken, beef, should you want a solid serving of protein. Dining on the outdoor patio, weather permitting, is my preference, as it can get a bit loud indoors at peak hours. The place is very popular and has limited parking, which can be a bit frustrating. All the more reason to go early or late and avoid the crowds.
This small, family-run café, just a few blocks from the inn, serves up incredibly flavorful green and red chile. Many locals, including my husband and eldest son, think it is some of the very best in all of Santa Fe. If you can’t decide between the red or green, then ask for Christmas on your burrito or enchilada, which are served with flavorful posole on the side. In addition to New Mexican specialties they offer a great selection of sandwiches, a daily soup special, hamburgers, veggie omelets and plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. If you are in between meals, it is worth a stop for coffee and some of their delicious flan.
– Sage makes, hands down, the best bread in town (we serve it most every morning at the inn), along with scrumptious scones, savory tartines, paninis, exquisite sandwiches, soups and salads. For those with a sweet tooth, they bake up incredibly decadent chocolate chip cookies, tarts, and assorted pastries. This is the perfect spot from which to pick up a picnic lunch, grab a quick bite, or have a yummy coffee and pastry.
Clafoutis: Run by a French couple, this place is incredibly popular and extremely busy at peak meal times. They are open from 7am-4pm, so I recommend going for an early or late lunch. Choose from tasty croissants, salads, sandwiches (Croque Madame, Croque Monsieur), quiche, onion soup and more. They also have ready-made, simple baguette and cheese/ham sandwiches, ubiquitous on Parisian street corners, which are great for a quick picnic take-out. Also yummy are their homemade potato chips. Many love their pastries, but I personally tend to think they look better than they taste. Try to get a seat by the windows, especially when they are open during warmer weather, and you will have a more tranquil experience.
This is a great choice for lunch or early dinner after cruising the galleries of Canyon Road. You won’t want to be in a big rush here, as the very casual and laid back Santa Fe atmosphere sometimes translates into slow service. Nonetheless, the place remains a very popular haunt for locals and visitors alike. Eating outdoors, weather permitting, is especially pleasant, though their somewhat funky and rustic interior is welcoming on a cold day. Along with a massive selection of teas (over 100 options!), you can choose from their extensive menu of
soups, salads, sandwiches, paninis, plus heartier selections like lasagna, pot pie, posole stew, and more. They also have a selection of inexpensive wines and local craft beers, if tea is not your thing.
For high end Mexican cuisine I highly recommend Sazon, known for its array of moles and creative menu. You will want to take your time here so as to savor the exquisite food, fine service and Old World ambiance. The restaurant is close to Plaza, quiet enough for easy dinner conversation, and receives rave reviews from both local and visiting self-proclaimed “foodies”. To start the meal the server will present a sampling of five moles to inspire your choice of entrée, whether it be lamb, pork, menudo, beef or shrimp. Everything is beautifully plated and prepared to perfection.
Simple but elegant, this historic adobe compound just off Canyon Road has been a fine dining staple in Santa Fe since 1965. I absolutely love their quiet and serene outdoor patio (be sure to request the patio when making reservations). I had one of the more memorable meals of my life here, seated in the back “moonlight” garden, each plate impeccably prepared. The Compound provides a cool oasis when walking Canyon on a hot summer day, with its thick adobe walls shaded by enormous old cottonwood trees. The menu is much less expensive at lunch, so is an excellent choice for a sumptuous meal after a morning of gallery-hopping. The Chicken Schnitzel is sublime (only on the lunch menu, but if you ask nicely, they will prepare it for dinner), as is the Wagyu Beef Green Chile Cheeseburger . The menu changes seasonally, and both the fabulous tastes and artistic presentation tend to get rave reviews. Another plus is the ample parking, a rarity on Canyon Road.
Just a two blocks from the inn, the sleek and contemporary design of Eloisa makes it the antithesis of Santa Fe adobe. Here you will find a fusion of Latin American and New Mexican flavors, brilliantly rendered by Chef John Sedler, who was nominated for James Beard Award in 2016. The creative menu and consistent use of fresh and local ingredients, is sure to delight. In addition, they offer both small or large plate options, so you can order to suit your appetite and budget. For a novel dining experience I suggest “The O’Keeffe Table”, a five course tasting menu inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s lifestyle and art. A side note: Chef Sedler’s aunt was the private chef for O’Keeffe for 15 years, and he spent time playing in her home and gardens as a child. You will need to reserve 24 hours ahead of time for this multi-sensory dining extravaganza.
Check out their rooftop Bar Alto
at sunset for unique cocktails and stunning panoramic views of the brilliant Santa Fe sunsets.
’s:] This historic adobe home on Canyon Road (built in 1756) is home to Geronimo’s, Voted by Travel & Leisure as One of Top 25 Restaurants in the World. Here you will inevitably experience impeccable service and a gastronomically delightful meal from start to finish. Standouts on the menu are the Leek & Asparagus Bisque, Asian Pear Salad, Maryland Blue Crab Cakes, New Zealand Elk Tenderloin and the Green Miso Sea Bass. I love that they have a four course Vegetarian Tasting Menu! A sumptuous menu, remarkable wine list and elegant dining room make Geronimo’s a top choice for fine dining in Santa Fe. Even if fine dining is not your norm, Geronimo’s is worthy of the splurge. Advance reservations are highly recommended.