Santa Fe, home to more art galleries than people (or so it seems) and definitely more adobe buildings, is known nationwide for its green chile. It’s the state’s leading cash crop and the Chile Capital of the World, Hatch, is located in New Mexico. Red chile ‘ristras’ can be seen hanging outside many a home in Santa Fe, and perfectly represent the crop’s importance to this magnificent state.
If you’re ever at a loss deciding between red or green chile while you’re enjoying the delicious food Santa Fe has to offer, keep in mind that green chile is typically hotter than red—but why choose when you can have both? Ask for your dish Christmas-style and you’ll get half green, half red.
1. Green Chile Cheeseburger
Not surprisingly, any restaurants around town offer this delectable treat. The family-owned Santa Fe Bite, formerly known as Bobcat Bite, has been featured in national roundups of the best burgers across the county, and it doesn’t disappoint. Five Star Burger and Cowgirl also offer slightly different variations on the classic, the “Mother of All Green Chile Cheeseburgers” at Cowgirl being the most memorable. It’s got melty brie cheese, truffled green chile and a three-meat blend in the patty.
2. Tacos at Tune-Up Cafe
…Or should I say food of the Gods? Tacos are heaven in food form and you can bet that Santa Fe has got some darn good ones. Throughout my trip in New Mexico, my favorite tacos were from Tune-Up Cafe, a tiny little restaurant that serves El Salvadoran food and that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Their goat barbacoa tacos were to die for and I could happily live off of them for the rest of my life.
3. Huevos Rancheros at Cafe Pasqual’s
We all know breakfast is the best—and most important—meal of the day so why not start yours with a time-old classic? Cafe Pasqual’s in downtown Santa Fe serves up a mean Huevos Barbacoa with house salsa (can you tell I like barbacoa?). This institution has been around for 37 years and is committed to sourcing many organic and local foods.
4. Salad at Vinaigrette
If you don’t like salads, prepare to have your mind changed. Vinaigrette has such a selection of saliva-inducing salads they are sure to convert even the staunchest of salad-haters. If their La Pepita salad with chicken, black beans and avocado or the All Kale Caesar! with grilled chicken don’t immediately make you hungry, try one of their hot turkey sandwiches with house-roasted turkey breast. And save room for dessert, their carrot-cake isn’t named Rockstar Carrot Cake for nothing.
With so many different variations—chicken, shrimp, veggies—who couldn’t like fajitas? Plus you get to assemble them yourself, so it’s pretty much a homemade meal, right? Almost if not every restaurant serving classic New Mexican fare is going to have them on the menu, but for truly delicious food at a reasonable price, Posa’s El Merendero and Cafe Castro are two unassuming restaurants that fit any budget.