I came to Santa Fe for the fiery sunsets, pueblo architecture, and vibrant art scene; I left dreaming of chile rellenos, gooey breakfast burritos, and burgers with a spicy punch. New Mexican cuisine leans heavily on locally sourced food and Hatch chiles. The local food is mind-blowingly delicious and farmer fresh. If you find yourself in Santa Fe, then be sure to drop by these purveyors of the scrumptious.
I abhor lengthy wait times, but I waited like a giddy school girl lining up to see the Bieb at this establishment, twice. An hour wait time is a reasonable penance to feast upon pollo adobo or green chile enchiladas at this creative cookery. The restaurant is extremely welcoming and spreads out across several colorful rooms filled with wooden tables, benches, and chairs. The servers are helpful. One even doodled a map for me to showcase some of his favorite local sights around Santa Fe. The food is somewhere between heavenly and sublime. Utilizing blue corn tortillas and fresh Hatch chiles processed at their in house mill, the Shed delivers fresh New Mexican cuisine that will leave a deep impression.
Location: Right off Santa Fe Plaza, East of the Palace of the Governors
Open for lunch and dinner – menu
The breakfast burrito is a splendorous vessel filled with all that is great about breakfast. At Tecolote, this glorious concoction is stuffed with fluffy scrambled eggs and peppery sausage. The flaky tortilla casing is drizzled with cheddar cheese and smothered in local red and green chile sauce. Like some sort of enlightened enchilada bearing all the badges of a world class breakfast burrito, it is nirvana on a plate.
Tecolote has been serving breakfast and lunch in Santa Fe for over 30 years. The manager, Chris, makes the place feel like home and even brought out a plate of their various sauces for us to sample pre-burrito. Although throughout the restaurant, on the menu, and even on their website, they avidly proclaim, “No Toast,” each meal comes with a bakery basket filled with a variety of fresh muffins and other baked goods. The jalapeno corn muffin is my personal favorite. Beyond the burrito, try a local dish like Huevos Yucatecos – corn tortillas layered with black beans, eggs, green chile, Swiss and feta cheese, pico de gallo, and surrounded with fried bananas. Yum.
Location: 1203 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Open for breakfast and lunch – menu
Bert’s Burger Bowl
Bert’s Burger Bowl is a hole in the wall that locals adore and travelers embrace. The small establishment houses enough room to order but not much else. People come from near and far for Bert’s ambrosial green chile burgers. The signature all beef burgers are served with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and hatch chiles nestled between a slightly charred bun. The end result is perfectly balanced with a substantial chile kick. For some extra spice, dip your burger in Bert’s red chile sauce. A regular burger is $2.75. Bert’s also serves hot dogs, Frito pies, burritos, and a Kobe burger that will run you $12.95.
Location: 235 N Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe
Open for lunch
While more a bakery then a restaurant, Sage deserves inclusion on the merits of its fresh artisan breads, cookies, muffins, and deli sandwiches. Their peanut butter muffin, filled with sweet jam, tasted revelatory – one of the best things I have ever eaten. Artisan breads like pecan raisin walnut grace the minimalist interior on steel racks at the back of the cafe. The owners are very kind, and their bakery fresh goods are muse worthy.
Location: 535 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Open for breakfast and lunch
The chile relleno is taken to glorious heights at this small Taos eatery. With just a handful of tables, Relleno’s quaint atmosphere and threadbare furnishings belie the transcendental grandiosity that their tasty rellenos hold. Arriving spicy and hot from the tiny kitchen, the rellenos here are the best. Ever. The double shelled crispy tacos also stir powerful emotions of deep adoration. It is worth the scenic drive from Santa Fe to Taos for a taste of greatness.
Location: about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe, directly off the Taos Plaza
Open for lunch and dinner