The Best Food and Drink in New Mexico for 2018 Gallery from The Best Food and Drink in New Mexico for 2018 Gallery
The Best Food and Drink in New Mexico for 2018 Gallery
The Best Food and Drink in New Mexico for 2018 Gallery
New Mexico is nicknamed “The Land of Enchantment” for its natural beauty and rich history, including its bewitchingly good food. In our first annual guide to the best food and drink in every state, we cover all the best burgers, pizza, sandwiches, Mexican food, and other staples this great state has to offer.
The best pizza in New Mexico is definitely not sitting on top of Walter White’s house, but it could be on your table should you dine at Il Vicino. Looking for the unique experience of dining in a tortilla factory? Albuquerque’s El Modelo has got you covered. Just because you’re going to have to decide between red or green chile sauces everywhere you go in New Mexico doesn’t mean you also have to debate where the best spot in town to grab lunch is — we at The Daily Meal have done that work for you.
How did we decide, you ask, when there are so many delicious places to dine? After comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs we’ve been able to make definitive slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state.
Courtesy of Pie Town Café
Best Apple Pie: Pie Town Cafe, Pie Town
This café (formerly known as the Daily Pie Café) is famous for its New Mexican apple pie which is loaded with apples as well as pine nuts (grown in NM) and hot green chiles for a surprising hit of heat that, with the sweet, flaky crust and tart Granny Smith apples is unbelievably and intensely delicious. Also, yes, it’s really in a place called Pie Town.
Facebook/Tiny's Restaurant and Lounge
Best Bar: Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge, Santa Fe
According to the Santa Fe Reporter, locals believe that Tiny's Restaurant and Lounge is the best karaoke spot in town. For 65 years, the family-owned establishment has stayed popular, though it has changed locations several times. It’s well known for beer (there are 34 varieties to choose from), steak, and Tex-Mex fare like Frito pie (Fritos, ground beef, red chiles, and beans garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese), chile relleno (two jumbo Hatch green chiles stuffed with pepper jack cheese, dipped in house breading, and served with Spanish rice, pinto beans, and pozole, a hominy soup), and char-broiled rib-eye. Several nights a week, the old-school dining room — adorned with artwork by local artists — and patio erupt with live music, dancing, and, of course, karaoke. The bar and dining area also boast one of the Southwest's largest decanter collections.
La Cumbre Brewing Company
Best Beer: La Cumbre
Albuquerque’s La Cumbre is well known for its IPAs, but none of them top its flagship Elevated IPA. Though it clocks in at just 7.2 percent ABV, this beer is full of hops. With a perfect 100 score on RateBeer, you know this beer is the perfect example of its style.
Flickr/ Jeremy Noble
Best Burger: Green Chile Cheeseburger at Santa Fe Bite, Santa Fe
Down the Old Las Vegas Highway (the original Route 66), the green chile cheeseburger served at Bobcat Bite, founded by Mitzi Panzer in 1953, was hailed as not only the zenith of green chile cheeseburgers, but perhaps one of the greatest burgers, period, in the country. A dispute between the Panzer family and John and Bonnie Eckre, who took over The Bite 13 years ago, forced the Eckres to move to a new location on Old Santa Fe Trail and adopt a new name, Santa Fe Bite, but the restaurant’s legendary ginormous burgers — 10-ounce house-ground, boneless chuck patties cooked to temperature preference and blanketed with green chiles under white American cheese on huge, ciabatta-like buns — remain. And for that we should be very thankful. Find more details on Santa Fe Bite here.
Best Chinese Restaurant: Pop-Up Dumpling House, Albuquerque
Fresh, perfect interpretations of Chinese street food populate the menu at this dumpling house (which, despite the name, is permanent). It’s located inside the Albuquerque location of New Mexico’s largest international grocer, Talin Market, and, unfortunately for you, it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Best Cupcake: Smallcakes, Albuquerque
The owners of New Mexico’s Smallcakes must have been on quite the sugar high when they came up with some of their flavors. If you think varieties like Pink Chocolate and Caramel Crunch sound good, that’s just the beginning. With flavors like Orange Creamsicle and Heavenly Heath, these cupcakes are sure to delight. Pair one with a scoop of homemade gourmet ice cream and you’re sure to get your sugar fix.
Best Dive Bar: The Matador, Santa Fe
The Matador in Santa Fe is your standard dive bar. Walk down a narrow staircase, and you’ll find punk and metal music blaring from the speakers and a solid selection of bottled beers. Don’t let this small bar intimidate you; the bartenders and patrons are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever find in New Mexico.
Best Doughnut: Whoo’s Donuts, Santa Fe
If you’re in Santa Fe, then head to Whoo’s Donuts and choose between our two all-time favorite flavors (which just so happen to be amalgamations of our more classic favorite flavors): the pistachio cake with white chocolate lemon ganache, or the sweet, salty, and spicy maple bacon with dark chocolate glaze and chili brown sugar.
Best Farmers Market: Farmers’ and Crafts Market of Las Cruces, Las Cruces
The Farmers’ and Crafts Market of Las Cruces has been serving the Las Cruces community for more than 40 years. With more than 300 farmer and artisan vendors, it was voted the nation’s best large farmers market in a poll conducted by America’s Farmland Trust in 2011. The market is open year round every Wednesday and Saturday.
Facebook/ La Montanita Co-op Food Market
Best Grocery Store: La Montañita Co-op
For the title of Best Market in New Mexico, we zeroed in the city of Albuquerque to see what it had to offer. One review said of La Montañita Co-op, “Very nice place and every organic grocery I want I can find it here. Handicap parking and access, bike parking and very centric.”
Best Italian Restaurant: Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza, Albuquerque
Il Vicino has eight locations in the region and has been going strong in Albuquerque (the original location) since 1992. Pizzas here are baked hot and fast in a wood-fired oven, made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, and are inspired by chef Tom White’s trips to Italy. There’s also a wide variety of soups, salads, panini, and oven-baked pasta dishes, including a stellar lasagna bolognese.
Best Mexican Restaurant: El Modelo, Albuquerque
Back in 1929, Carmen Garcia began using one of the three rooms of her house as a tortilla factory; she would wake up and make them herself starting at 2 a.m. so that she could sell them for breakfast. She added tamales, then expanded the business with her son in 1945, helping to turn it into the institution it is today. Now owned by Virginia Chittim, El Modelo still makes rave-worthy tortillas and tamales, along with enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, and sopapillas — many of these featuring New Mexico’s signature red and green chiles.
Anasazi Restaurant and Bar/Yelp
Most Expensive Restaurant: The Anasazi, Santa Fe
The luxurious Rosewood Inn is home to Santa Fe’s most upscale restaurant, The Anasazi. Chef Edgar Beas sources much of his menu from 13 different farms, and the end result is a quintessential New Mexican dining experience. You can order à la carte (entrees range from $35 to $45, but many instead choose the multi-course tasting menu, which changes daily and costs $125, or $175 with wine pairings.
Best Pasta Dish: Lasagna Alla Bolognese at Osteria D’Assisi, Santa Fe
This simple, no-frills osteria looks like it’s been imported directly from Italy, and so does the menu. Chef-owner Lino Pertusini and executive chef Christian Pontiggia both hail from Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, and they’re turning out spot-on versions of Italian classics. A good lasagna is hard not to love, and you’ll definitely fall in love with theirs, made with house-made pasta, meat ragout, marinara sauce, béchamel, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Find more details on Osteria D’Assisi here.
Best Pizza: Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza, Albuquerque
Il Vicino has not only the best Italian restaurant in the state, but also the best pizza! You can build your own pizza using creative ingredients like balsamic onions, green chile, capicola, white anchovies, Portobello mushrooms, and fiery shrimp, or choose from a gourmet selection including Motorino (Alfredo sauce, spinach, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, balsamic onions, and pesto); Prosciutto e Rucola (prosciutto, San Marzano tomato sauce, olive oil, fresh mozzarella, arugula, cherry tomatoes); and Tartufo (truffle mushroom cream, mozzarella, Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, and chopped parsley).
Best Sandwich: Albuquerque Turkey at Relish, Albuquerque
Relish is an indispensable Albuquerque sandwich shop, crafting gourmet sandwiches to order with high-quality ingredients (like organic greens, house-made mozzarella, and bread from nearby Le Paris Bakery), and plenty of care. Stop by for lunch and try the hot Albuquerque Turkey, made with Boar’s Head honey roast turkey, havarti, tomatoes, chipotle mayo, and green chile (this is New Mexico, after all) on toasted sourdough. This should be the New Mexico State Sandwich.
Best Soup: Green Chile Stew at The Shed, Santa Fe
Going strong since 1960, The Shed is one of Santa Fe’s most renowned restaurants, and quite possibly the best place in the state to get your fix of dishes prepared with New Mexico’s famed Hatch chiles. While the posole is also spectacular, the green chile stew is the one to order; made with roasted chiles, potatoes, and chunks of lean pork, it’s everything that’s great about New Mexican cuisine in a bowl.
Best Steakhouse: The Bull Ring, Santa Fe
This comfortable and low-key steakhouse, in business since 1971, is nothing short of a Santa Fe landmark and a carnivore’s dream. Nestled in the courtyard of an unassuming downtown office building, the restaurant prides itself in serving only corn-fed USDA Prime beef, hand-cut on the premises daily. Make sure you start with some onion rings and a cup of their green chile stew (as one does in Santa Fe), then move onto a fillet, rib-eye, New York strip, prime rib, porterhouse, or El Matador (a sirloin strip served with green chile, sautéed mushrooms, and onion straws). You really can’t go wrong. Find more details on The Bull Ring here.
Best Taco: Chicken With Green Chile at The Shed, Santa
Santa Fe loves the green chiles from Hatch, down in the southern part of New Mexico, due to their nearly supernatural ability to pair perfectly with just about any type of food you can think of. At The Shed, in business since 1953, the chiles are grown especially for the restaurant and brought in fresh daily, then processed on site. One of the best applications of this spicy green sauce that you’ll find in the city is on the restaurant’s taco plate: two fresh blue corn tortillas with baked chicken topped with green chile, Cheddar, onion, lettuce, and tomato. The chicken is perfectly cooked, but the chile is the real star of the show (as is the stellar posole that comes with it). For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2018.