Inaugural Santa Fe thread: my current high rotation

[Edit: some updates to the original list can be found below.]

Somebody has to post the first Santa Fe thread on here…might as well be me. Here are my current high-rotation restaurants around town, various price points, no particular order:

  • Radish & Rye - coast-style locavore small plates, plus bourbon-based craft cocktails. Expensive and totally worth it.
  • Paper Dosa - killin’ South Indian, especially their eponymous dosai. Food seems notably more healthy than your average Gujarati spot.
  • Dr. Field Goods Kitchen - farm to fork with (FBOW) attitude. Sourcing from a dozen local farms and ranches, the food is heavy, bold, and delicious. Their signature sandwich of smoked green chile pork loin, apple jicama slaw, green chile, and cheddar is a good place to start. Very good beer menu; to my knowledge it’s the only place in the state I can get my beloved Bernardus Abt 12.
  • Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop and Bakery - what started as an annex kitchen space for Dr. Field Goods started selling baked goods at breakfast, sandwiches at lunch, and meat and charcuterie throughout the day, usually based on what they find at the farmer’s market (think pork sausage with charred garlic scapes and local feta). Sandwiches are enormous and utterly stellar.
  • Plaza Cafe Southside - a locavore spot pretending to slum it as a midscale diner, if it’s on the menu it’s going to be one of the better renditions you’ve tried. I love their baja fish tacos, and they just might have the best green chile cheeseburger I know.
  • Ranch House - easily the best BBQ in town. Must haves are their smoked wings (in either hot sauce or BBQ), baby back ribs with honey chipotle BBQ sauce, and their smoked turkey (only available on Tuesdays).
  • Shohko Cafe - best sushi in town, plus consistently excellent kitchen fare. Their ramen and other noodle choices are excellent at lunch. The family also owns a sake wholesale business, so they have all sorts of interesting sake selections.
  • La Choza - probably my favorite NM-style restaurant in town, aided immeasurably by their fantastic margaritas.
  • Jambo Cafe - African/Caribbean food, the menu is unusual and a joy from top to bottom.
  • Izanami - izakaya in a gorgeous setting at Ten Thousand Waves. This place has gone through a few rough patches amidst chef changes, but they’ve hit a nice stride over the past year or so. The wagyu beef, thinly sliced, served raw, with a hot stone for cooking and duo of dipping sauces, is among my favorites.
  • La Boca/Taberna - sister restaurants that share a kitchen, serving inventive Spanish tapas. Both are superb, La Boca is slightly more formal and perhaps a tiny tick better overall, but I’ve been to Spain, and both of these restaurants give anywhere we dined abroad a run for its money.
  • Cheesemongers of Santa Fe - a really superb newish cheese shop, with a lovely and ever-broadening selection of American and European cheeses and charcuterie. They started doing picnic baskets to take to the Opera for tailgating, smart move.

I haven’t been to all the New Mexican restaurants in Santa Fe, but I’ve been to several. La Choza is my favorite, too. I’ve always thought their red chile was some of the best in the state.

Thanks for posting. I was just going to ask about newer restaurants in Santa Fe because we’re going for Thanksgiving week. (Yesss - my first Thanksgiving dinner out - I’m excited not being the cook for once!) La Choza is one of my favorites as well.

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Interesting. I lived in Santa Fe for several years, left in 1995. Sure wasn’t that much variety back then! Horseman’s Haven was favorite of mine.

Horseman’s Haven is still around, still very good, and still notorious for having the hottest chile in town. For my money Plaza Cafe Southside’s chile wins on flavor, ditto La Choza, but HH is the real deal.

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It’s been about a year, time for a few updates.

A few new thumbs-ups:

  • Bouche - Charles Dale’s real-deal French bistro took a few years to find its feet, but at this point it’s really extraordinary. The menu is a joy from top to bottom, but the real excitement is in some of the semi-varsity level options like escargots and sweetbreads (plenty of less-threatening options as well). The French-heavy wine list has been stepped up too.

  • Bodega Prime - counter service breakfast and lunch done right. Terrific salads and sandwiches served with contemporary ingredients. The place is still finding its feet and can feel like it’s trying a little too hard (e.g. a staffer coming over and asking, “Do you love everything?”), but considering it’s been open for only a month, it’s already doing plenty very right.

One closure from the 2015 list:

  • Taberna - appears to have gone away. La Boca is still going strong.

And two caveats from the 2015 list:

  • Radish & Rye - sadly their original chef left to work on a farm down in ABQ and the food has slipped a little. Cocktails are still good and I could imagine the food returning to form, but I can’t really recommend it at present.

  • Izanami - the a la carte izakaya fare is still good, but the omakase no longer is. The omakase dishes have morphed into shareable, often adventurous, but ultimately mediocre European-style dishes with mild Japanese accents. They’re often difficult to share and damn near impossible to eat with chopsticks with any semblance of grace. Sake pairings for the omakase are now pre-fab flights with minimal thought put into them.

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I may be passing through Santa Fe in a couple of weeks (haven’t finalized my route) and I’ve found this thread very helpful and enticing.

Thanks for updating it.

Thanks won’t be back to Santa Fe until next year but will print this off and keep the info.

We were in Santa Fe for Thanksgiving and really enjoyed the French Pastry shop next to La Fonda hotel…excellent French pastries!

The square had the start of Xmas happening and it was awesome to see the kids singing, the band, everyone with their dogs and drinking hot cocoa, since it was about 45 degrees and packed with locals and tourists.

I’m warming up to Santa Fe…Taos has always been my fave.

Going back next Thanksgiving…

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2