A Different Taste: One-of-a-Kind Restaurants in Santa Fe

From feedproxy.google.com, by Juliet White
A Different Taste: One-of-a-Kind Restaurants in Santa Fe

Photos by Juliet White

Photos by Juliet White

Some restaurants are hard to categorize, either because their offerings are genuinely unique or because they serve a cuisine that’s less common. That’s certainly true of these three unique restaurants in Santa Fe.

Jambo Café

2010 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe

Jambo-plantains

Chef Ahmed Obo spent grew up on Lamu, an island off the coast of Kenya. His early culinary experiences have translated into Jambo Café, an African-Caribbean fusion restaurant that has developed a loyal following in Santa Fe. Jambo is known for its soups, which change daily, but my favorite item on this menu is the cinnamon-dusted plantains. Not only are they perfectly caramelized, but the introduction of a pineapple curry dipping sauce prevents the dish from becoming too sweet. Fish isn’t a staple of New Mexican cuisine, which makes the delicately prepared, banana leaf-wrapped mahi mahi a true delight. The Kenyan-style beef kabobs are another succulent option. The pairing of caramelized onion marmalade with pomegranate is unexpected and refreshing.

Tip: Reservations recommended.

Omira Bar and Grill

1005 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe

Omira-SaladBar

While Brazilian restaurants are increasingly abundant elsewhere, Omira is the only one in Santa Fe. This churrascaria is authentic – the setup, quality, and flavors are on a par with those found in Rio. The food is served rodízio-style: servers circulate with skewers of meat, mostly beef, which they shave onto your plate. If you’re not a fan of red meat, there are skewers of pork and bacon-wrapped chicken. However, light meat eaters get better value for money by opting for the salad bar instead. This is far from a limp lettuce, curled cucumber affair. Omira’s salad bar includes soup, a few cooked options — some of them meat-based — along with dishes such as kale and apple salad, and balsamic mushrooms. Service here is excellent, but the constant parade of skewer-toting servers mute the romance. It’s a great place to bring a group of friends.

Tip: Go at lunch because prices then are significantly lower.

Jinja Bar & Bistro

510 N. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe

Jinja-LettuceWraps

Jinja’s strengths are unexpected flavor combinations and sauces. Most plates incorporate multiple dipping sauces; for instance, a sweet onion dip and a creamy horseradish sauce elevate the steak frites. Lightly pickled sweet cucumbers accompany the steak and also the rice paper fish. It’s rare that cucumber is the first food I gravitate towards, but that’s certainly the case at Jinja. The lettuce wraps are a must-try. Ham lends a touch of salt to the ground chicken, while a sweet chili sauce provides a nice kick. Most dishes are available as either large or small plates — the latter are heartier than tapas and great for anyone with a lighter appetite.

Tip: Reservations recommended, particularly during summer months, as Jinja is close to the Santa Fe Opera.

"A Different Taste: One-of-a-Kind Restaurants in Santa Fe" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.