Gil's Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

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Santa Fe Restaurant Index

To visit a restaurant review, simply click on the restaurant name below and you will be magically transported to that review. Restaurants rated “25″ or higher are noted in capital letters.

African (1): JAMBO CAFE |

American (13): Chocolate Maven Bakery & Cafe | Counter Culture CafeCowgirl BBQ & Western Grill  | Dr. Field Goods Kitchen |Eldorado Court |Five & Dime General Store | Harry’s Roadhouse | Joe’s Dining | Lamy Station Cafe | The Pantry Restaurant | The Pink Adobe San Marcos CafeZia Diner |

Announcements (12): Break the Chain | New Mexico Magazine Presents the Land of Enchantment’s Best Eats for 2010 | New Mexico Magazine Presents the Land of Enchantment’s Best Eats for 2011 | Cecilia’s Cafe Featured on Travel Channel’s Chow Down CountdownGil’s Thrilling Blog Marks One Year Anniversary| Introducing the New Mexico Culinary Treasures Trail | Introducing the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail for 2009 | Introducing the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail for 2011 | Mary & Tito’s Recognized As An American ClassicLet Us Eat SoupWelcome to Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog | 2010: The Year In Food

Asian (1): Jinja Asia Cafe |

Barbecue (2): The Ranch House | Whole Hog Cafe |

Burgers (4): Bert’s Burger Bowl | Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill & Burgers | Santa Fe Bite | Shake Foundation |

Candy (1): Senor Murphy Candymaker |

Donuts (1): Whoo’s Donuts

Chocolate (1): Kakawa Chocolate House

Fine Dining (5):  | GERONIMO | La Cantina at La Casa Sena | La Casa Sena | Las Fuentes at the Bishop’s Lodge |LUMINARIA |

French (1): 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar |

Italian (4): Il Piatto Cucina Italiano | Mangiamo Pronto! | Osteria d’Assisi |Pranzo Italian Grill |

Latino-Eclectic (1): Tune-up Cafe |

Mexican (8): Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill | EPAZOTE ON THE HILLSIDEFelipe’s Tacos | Gabriel’s Restaurante | LOS POTRILLOS | Mariscos Costa Azul |Mucho Gusto | Puerto Penasco |

New Mexican (13): Atrisco Cafe & Bar | Cafe Castro  | Casa Chimayo | El Milagro New Mexican Restaurant |The Guadalupe Cafe | Horseman’s Haven | La Choza Restaurant |Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen | Roque’s Carnitas |The Shed |Tabla de los SantosTecolote Cafe | Tomasita’s |

Pizza (2): Pizzeria Espiritu | Rooftop Pizzeria |

Salad (1): Vinaigrette

Sandwich (1):  Mucho Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe |

Southwestern (6): Cafe Pasqal’s | Coyote’s Rooftop Grill |La Plazuela | Plaza Cafe | Plaza Cafe South Side | Tesuque Village Market |

Spanish (1): LA BOCA |

Steak (1): Rio Chama Steakhouse

World Eclectic (1):  Omira Bar & Grill |

  • John says:

    Just curious… Have been eating at The Pantry Restaurant in Santa Fe for years, and find it one of the best and most consistant eaterys is Santa Fe! Wondering why they are conspiculously missing in you reviews? The place has been there for over 60 years, and everybody eats there – lines around their Cerrillos Road spot every weekend and many week-day lunch hours!

    June 12, 2009 at 8:49 AM
  • Dana says:

    Gil, dear, you are missing some really wonderful restaurants in Santa Fe:
    Tecolote Cafe on Cerrillos – ask for the “community table” to meet the regulars.
    Il Piccolino on Agua Fria near Siler – BEST Italian (and that is from a Sicilian cook)
    Upper Crust Pizza next to the Oldest Church – don’t even bother to go anywhere else for pizza-THE BEST in Santa Fe
    I also agree with John that the Pantry Restaurant. It is wonderful, and my husband and I have just discovered Jinja and it is quite a “find”.

    February 12, 2011 at 7:06 PM
  • Dana says:

    Well, darn it, I forgot the Black Mesa State House in the Big Rock Casino, which is fabulous and Joseph’s Table in Taos, in the high end category.

    February 12, 2011 at 7:14 PM
    • randall says:

      Black Mesa is in Espanola not Santa Fe stupid!

      March 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM
  • Dana says:

    Sorry, STEAK house, not state house! :-)

    February 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM
    • randall says:

      Sorry, VERY stupid, not stupid!

      March 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM
      • Gil Garduno says:

        Hello Randall

        You’re going to have to find another venue in which to spout your vitriol and negativity as you are no longer welcome to share your deprecation on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog. Over time your comments have become more profanity-laced and derogatory. There is nothing either entertaining or constructive in your comments. Readers whose opinions I respect have grown weary of your banal one-liners and hostility. If flinging dirt at others is what you like to do, let me suggest you run for political office or work at a cemetery.

        Gil

        March 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM
  • Roberta says:

    I can’t believe you haven’t reviewed Restaurant Martin,which opened in 2009, or Ristra. They are both fine dining and delicious. We just ate at Ristra a week ago for Restaurant Week and had fabulous Ahi, perfectly prepared, along with a pear salad and a crab bisque.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:45 AM
  • Cornelius says:

    I agree with John. The Pantry is awesome. Fresh corned beef, mmmmm…….

    April 30, 2011 at 1:02 AM
  • Jim Millington says:

    My list for inclusion on the Santa Fe top 10 would include a few obvious, La Boca, Il Piatto and Los Potrillos. One less obvious one that you seem not to agree with is Dinner for Two as you have never reviewed it. The other once obvious bargain choice about which I have changed my mind after the ownership change is Coyote’s Rooftop Grill. It was once on my regular circuit but I have not returned in a couple of years since the new owners changed all the recipes seemingly weekly for a while-all for the worse. Maybe it is good again.

    August 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM
  • Lobo59 says:

    Okay, Gil, you asked for it, so here it is. (Brevity is not my strong point, if you want this shortened, just let me know.). My thoughts on the best ten restaurants in Santa Fe. This has not been easy as Santa Fe has many great restaurants. But, it has been interesting and fun.

    First, I determined what “best” means to me. I wanted to find some standard for my judgments, other than simply “I like this one.” Here are the factors I decided to apply. To make my list a restaurant, regardless of type, must consistently have great food (fresh and delicious) and provide a memorable and pleasant overall experience. It should be a restaurant to which we take our frequent guests to show off our great local cuisine, and to which they say, “Gosh! I wish we had a restaurant like this where we live.” Finally, I look for something unique in a restaurant and which somehow embodies Santa Fe, New Mexico or the southwest.

    Since I could load up my list with “fine dining” and New Mexican restaurants, I decided to limit my list to three fine dining and two New Mexican. A final comment, due to dietary restrictions, I can’t eat all foods (eggs being an example), so my list, to some extent, is tailored to those restrictions.

    After considering more than 50 restaurants, all of which I like, here is my list along with brief comments.

    1 and 2. My New Mexican selections are The Shed and Tecolote Café. The Shed is my favorite restaurant in New Mexico—not only for their New Mexican food, but their salads, soups and deserts are all excellent. Their green chile is excellent and their red is in rarified company with Mary and Tito’s in ABQ. The Tecolote Café also has very good New Mexican food, and its breakfasts are outstanding. Falling just a hair behind these two were La Choza and Guadalupe Café.

    3, 4 and 5. Luminaria, Restaurant Martin & La Casa Sena. I recently commented on Luminaria in your blog.

    Restaurant Martin. Chef Martin Rios, my favorite local chef, has been chef for several fine-dining restaurants, such as The Old House and Geronimo’s. He has recently opened his own restaurant named, appropriately, Restaurant Martin. No matter where he has been, Martin Rios has provided me with unparalleled taste treats.

    La Casa Sena is a selection that surprised me—and I made it! It is a restaurant that our out-of-town visitors praise highly. Dinner in the patio under the stars is always a special experience. The food is creative and consistently very good and the overall experiences have been delightful. (But, boy it’s hard to leave Geronimo’s and The Compound off this list.)

    6. Bobcat Bite, which has the best hamburgers (in the form of their green chile cheeseburgers) that I have ever eaten. Plus, it ranks high in New Mexico charm/funky.

    7. Pasqual’s, which would make my list if they served only their wonderful Red Onion and Squash Enchiladas, but they have lots more fresh, delicious and creative items on their menu. This is a Santa Fe treasure.

    8. Harry’s Roadhouse. They have a diverse menu with wonderful breakfast burritos, very good lunches and dinners, and almost always fine specials at night. They also make great Margarita’s and have a nice garden in which to enjoy them.

    9. San Marcos Café. This feed store café makes my list due to their cinnamon rolls, the best red chile stew I have tasted, fine breakfasts, friendly service, potbelly stove and peacocks. This is a really delightful, one-of-a-kind place, with an abundance of southwest country charm.

    10. Back Street Bistro is characterized by freshness, originality, and offbeat creations. Their rustic homemade soups and desserts are regularly outstanding; sandwiches and salads are reliably fresh and delicious. Everything is made in-house, as far as I can tell—even the corned beef.

    11. (tie) Andiamo! is an upscale trattoria, dinners only. From pizza to classy entrees the food is excellent. Seafood is skillfully prepared and the diversity of fresh vegetables is gratifying. Andiamo! is tied with Café Café, another Italian inspired eatery with great pasta, pizza, soups, salads, and spectacular sides. They even have a Tuscan burger at lunch.

    Whoops! I guess I got one too many. The final two come from a pack of perhaps 20 or more unpretentious, comfortable, restaurants with great food. These were all in a virtual tie.

    August 9, 2011 at 7:42 PM
  • Dana says:

    HI! Gil
    People used to say “the best restaurant in Santa Fe isn’t in Santa Fe”, meaning, “Joseph’s Table’ in Taos. (Joseph Wrede) just re-opened the Palace Restaurant on Palace Ave. in Santa Fe, retaining the name and the ambience of the former bordello and long time downtown restaurant. Think of this incarnation of the Palace as a bordello for tasters.
    Our dinners were with Chef Wrede flair for combinations, but with subtle flavors. Food just melts in your mouth. I had pasta bolognese and I’m still trying to figure out what was in it. (I have sicilian ancestry and I am very picky about Mediterranean food) Husband had braised chicken, which was fantastic.
    Save room for desert.-the cardamon creme brûlée makes you want to dance. Husband took the risk (despite the press listeria worry about cantaloupes) had the cantaloupe mint sorbet. Absolutely not to be missed!
    One little hiccup. DO NOT sit next to the wall that separates the bar. There was a raucous crowd when we visited and trying to carry on a conversation was not possible. I wish they would close and insulate the wall.

    September 26, 2011 at 6:15 PM
  • John Ohta says:

    Hi Gil,
    I just got an e-mail from a friend travelling through the SW. Have to share it with you:

    ” Tonight, we were in the mood for Asian food, so I came across a Yelp review of Shibumi Ramenya in Santa Fe. There wasn’t anything revealing about the reviews, but we went anyway. We both chose the tonkotsu ramen to see if the chef (Eric Stapleman) knows what he’s doing. On being questioned by Lou, the waiter explained that he was trained at a kaiseki in Japan (actually, it was in NY, as the chef explained himself) and that he faithfully endeavors to reproduce genuine ramens. The chef, it turns out, owns an Italian restaurant next door (Trattoria Nostrani), but it seems his first passion is Japanese food. Shibumi is also an izakaya and a sake bar. We have to admit that the tonkotsu was pretty good, the broth flavorful and milky as you would expect, though not as porky as some versions. The broth is cooked over two days, following a prescribed sequence of adding pork parts at strategic moments. There were thin coins of daikon, steamed spinach that had been previously squeezed dry, green onions and sliced fatty smoked pork (belly?) that practically dissolves in your mouth, and the noodles were cooked just right. To be sure, the ramen experience was not the best we’ve had, but it was up there in the top 5, and a welcome meal after a steady diet of SW food.

    The ramen was pricey, $14 for tonkotsu. On a special menu, there was a “special pork ramen” for $30!!! We had to ask the waiter what makes it so special and so expensive. It turns out that it is the chef’s effort to reproduce the cult ramen in Tokyo (Fujimaki Gekijyo). Leave it up to the Japanese to come up with the only way you can eat this special ramen (which costs 3,000 yen, or about $115). Fujimaki has three restaurants. You have to eat at #1 in order to eat at #2, eat at #2 before #3. Only when you’ve eaten at #3 10 times will you be given the “privilege” of eating the masterpiece. Fujimaki claims there are 26 ingredients, and Stapleman, after watching videos countless times of the master making the special ramen, he feels he’s nailed 23 of the 26 ingredients. We will never buy ramen for $30, but we have to admire the chef’s dedication.

    Afterward, we talked to the chef. He told us that a lot of Japanese have heard about his restaurant and start lining up outside to eat there. They seemed pleased apparently.

    _MG_9883.jpeg
    88K View Download “

    September 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM
  • Bruce says:

    Made an early morning trip out to Lamy this morning with friends – on the way back stopped for breakfast at the Blue Moon Cafe. What an unexpected treat. Great coffee, great breakfast! Wonderful service.

    Will have to go back for lunch and/or dinner soon. It will be hard to choose between GCCB, Texas BBQ or New Mexican entree’s.

    Gil – couldn’t find a review on your site – hope this is on your list to visit soon.

    February 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM
  • Sr Plata says:

    Senorena and I stayed at Buffalo Thunder overnight in Celebration of her being Cancer-Free, Praise God! So, since there isn’t much around there, we ate a meal at the Hilton upscale restaurant. I had a 21 Oz Rib close to $60, it was very good but when I compare against the Ruth’s Chris scale, it just wasnt there. I must say the bread was great, some made with green chile, or red chile, and some others that seemed fresh made. We had a side of mash potatoes, culvisetas (Gil Please Correct) and Mac and Cheese which was truely awesome with parmasian cheese crusted in. Dawn had the Chilean Seabass, she really liked it as I am not a big fish eater. My biggest gripe was our Server left the area many times and sometimes there was no one around, I almost when to the Hostess to get a refill on water. They all seemed to be behind a door on break and not sure why the attention wasnt on us were spending a lot of money, note all entrees are a la carte. On the whole, the user experience could be greatly improved and get rid of a la carte! If the Managers read this and have a strong desire to send us back to try out again on the house, please contact Gil…

    March 25, 2014 at 3:21 PM
  • Hannah says:

    Sr Plata, I was really trying to suss out what it was that you ate that you asked Gil to correct…..my guess is calabacitas? Was it squash?

    March 28, 2014 at 8:09 AM

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