When we took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I was captivated by the wide variety of food and drinks that the city had to offer. Known for its extensive array of museums, Pueblo-style architecture, and unique regional cuisine, the city had so much to offer as we wandered through and toured the culture and life around town. The world famous art scene gives the city its nickname—the City Different. Many are drawn to the town to see what inspired artists such as Georgia O’Keefe.
During our time there, we toured old Santa Fe Square and shopped for their beautiful artisan silver and turquoise leather goods. The art galleries on Canyon Road and the Georgia O’Keeffe museum were especially amazing sights to see. It wasn’t a Bodie trip if there wasn’t a little bit of wine tasting, so of course we passed through the La Casa Sena Wine Shop! We toured the Railyard, an urban space that celebrates the history, art, recreation, landscape, and culture of Santa Fe. The New Mexico Military Museum and Santa Fe National Forest were especially fun. We then took a short pass through the farmer’s market and did a healing soak at the mineral springs at Ojo Caliente. There are so many amazing attractions and opportunities when visiting Santa Fe, but the food and drinks was what made our trip memorable! These 7 restaurants are the top places to try when touring the city.
Nestled deep in the hills of Santa Fe, you’ll find the Teahouse—a desert oasis offering amazing refreshments and cultural flavors. It is an acclaimed restaurant, tea house, wine bar, and wholesaler where they offer over 150 different flavors of tea. You can’t go wrong with their simple Jasmine tea, an organic leaf blend with notes of fruit and tang. Other popular flavors include the Matcha and Aloe Vera blend, which was my personal favorite. This tea had refreshing eucalyptus and peppermint leaves, spicy ginger pieces, sweet fennel, and a sprinkle of Manuka honey powder. Located on Canyon Road, this spot is a must for avid tea drinkers and visitors alike.
Offering contemporary American cuisine by Chef Mark Kiffin, the Compound has been dubbed the best premier restaurant in the city. The menu derives from the heritage of Santa Fe along with the influences of regional and Mediterranean cuisine. Seasonal changes are emphasized throughout the dishes, focusing on hearty meals in the fall and winter with local harvested fruit, osso bucco, and porcini risotto. In the spring, local vegetables, fresh fruit, and organic lamb are featured. I highly recommend the sweet bread appetizer, chicken schnitzel, and beet carpaccio and endive salad.
One of my personal favorites on our trip was the Bell Tower at La Fonda Hotel, a rooftop bar overlooking the city. We came at sunset to have some drinks and they did not disappoint! Offering unique top-shelf cocktails, a light tapas menu, and a gorgeous view, this was a personal highlight of our vacation. One of my favorite drinks was called “Drink Your Vitamins,” with Corralejo Reposado, Ancho Chile Reyes Liqueur, carrot juice, lime juice, blood orange soda, and a chile salt rim. The spiked cucumber lemonade and frozen coconut margarita were also to die for!
Next on the list is Cafe Pasqual’s, a small but vibrant cafe in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. I loved the festive ambience with bright, hand painted Mexican tiles and murals. New Mexico, Old Mexico, and Asia have influenced the menu, and the cafe has won countless awards for its unique flavor profiles and friendly environment. The Mexican hot chocolate is one of their staple items, with fresh shaved chocolate and cinnamon to warm you up in the morning. Other dishes that you have to try include the huevos motuleños, breakfast quesadilla, and my personal favorite: the star krimson pear and almond tart with chantilly cream.
Tucked away in the Santa Fe plaza, you will find La Casa Sena. This beautiful restaurant is hidden in an old historic building with a beautiful, charming courtyard. The menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, and has a beautiful wine list and array of craft cocktails. Chef José Rodriguez creates a menu with regional ingredients and an appreciation for the local culture. One of their most exquisite dishes is the beef tenderloin, with a garlic potato purée, broccoli rapini, truffle oil, and a hollandaise-bordelaise sauce. Don’t skip dessert when you dine here, because the panna cotta is magnificent! We can’t wait to come back and visit here.
We stopped at this local watering hole for some pizza and drinks and were thoroughly impressed. A small hotel bar open to guests and locals alike, La Reina offers live music, wood-fired pizza, and a mezcal and tequila based cocktail menu. When you order here, make sure to grab their famous cocktail named after the restaurant. It has a fantastic mix of Agua de Jamaica, reposado tequila, mezcal, lime, and ginger syrup. The kids loved the Gosar pizza, with san marzano tomato sauce, gosar ranch italian sausage, red onion, basil, maldon salt, and evoo! This is definitely a great pit stop if you’re looking for something light and fun.
Our last stop in Santa Fe was Shake, a vintage-style stand with classic cheeseburgers, sandwiches, fries, and shakes. We loved the casual environment where you order from a takeout stand and dine on picnic benches. The Shake Foundation is home of New Mexico’s Green Chile Cheeseburger, a classic that the locals rave about. This burger comes with an amazing green chile sauce and a number of optional toppings including house-brined pickles, jalapeños, garlic mayo, and whipped lardo, a seasoned, cured pork fat. After a long day of touring the city, this was a perfect way to end the night.