If you’re looking for an amazing food city, Santa Fe is it. After my last trip where I spent a week exploring, I found that there are incredible restaurants in Santa Fe. The City Different has everything you need for a culinary tour of the Southwest.
But there’s more to taste in Santa Fe than its signature New Mexican food. The city is also home to incredible African and Caribbean food, several top-notch Mexican establishments, and barbecue specialists.
During my Santa Fe trip, I had the chance to experience a wide range of cuisine which is what I loved about the city. You can dine casual or even go upscale.
Here’s my list of the city’s top dining destinations, and the restaurants you don’t want to miss in Santa Fe.
Planning a Trip to Santa Fe? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in Santa Fe:
- Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, for the best luxury hotel
- Hotel Santa Fe, for the best quintessential Santa Fe hotel
If you’re seeking more to do in Santa Fe beyond, don’t miss my list of 23 essential things to do in the city!
The 15 Best Santa Fe Restaurants
Just outside of Santa Fe’s main downtown is Dolina Café, a modern Slovak-inspired eatery. While it’s difficult to walk past the pastry case in front, which is brimming with cakes, cookies, pies, and croissants, it’s worth it to sit down for a full brunch. The menu features both Eastern European dishes and brunch classics—my cinnamon French toast was incredible, and it’s made in-house daily.
Address: 402 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Cafe Pasqual’s is a must-visit when in Santa Fe. The menu is filled with locally inspired dishes—think enchiladas, corn pancakes with red chile, and roasted poblano mac and cheese—all made with organic ingredients. Expect to wait in line for a table, as it’s a very popular stop but it’s worth it. During the wait, you can pop into the Cafe Pasqual’s art gallery next door for ceramics, sculptures, and more.
Address: 121 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Geronimo is the place to go in Santa Fe for an elegant dinner and flawless service. Set in a 1756 adobe home, Geronimo features an eclectic and global menu, but the fine dining experience feels distinctly New Mexican thanks to the surrounding kiva fireplaces and exposed wooden beams. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a more upscale meal in the city.
Address: 724 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501
If there’s one Santa Fe restaurant that gets the most buzz among visitors, it’s The Shed. Part of Santa Fe’s dining scene since 1953, it’s known for serving up classic New Mexican dishes, such as red chile enchiladas and other blue corn specialties. I enjoyed sitting in the inside courtyard, which had a lovely atmosphere. Reservations are essential, as this place gets packed.
Address: 113 1/2 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Sazón has been wowing Santa Fe diners since 1991 with its takes on both contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes. Its Mexico City-born chef, Fernando Olea, nabbed the Best Chef of the Southwest 2022 James Beard Award in part thanks to his complex moles. The restaurant’s deliberately small menu emphasizes locally sourced meats and produce.
Address: 221 Shelby St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
6. El Nido
Traditional, open-fire cooking techniques are the name of the game at El Nido, which embraces all things spit-roasted, smoked, and ember-cooked. Nearly every dish passes through its custom wood-fired grill or Italian brick oven, imbuing them with special flavor. Don’t miss the house-made pasta, which the restaurant says is prepared with the best ingredients Northern New Mexico has to offer.
Address: 1577 Bishops Lodge Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87506
7. Tia Sophia’s
Tia Sophia’s has been attracting both tourists and locals alike to its charming space for more than three decades. Through dishes including its iconic breakfast burritos and red chile cheese enchiladas, Tia Sophia shares the culinary heritage of the region and celebrates the flavors of New Mexico. Both the setting and the dishes are colorful and unfussy.
Address: 210 W San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
8. The Compound
The Compound is a perfect setting for an upscale lunch. The concept is French-meets-New Mexico, and it makes for an exciting menu and elevated dining experience. This restaurant was my favorite for more refined dining, and I loved their seasonal dishes, such as poached pear with blue cheese on toast. The restaurant also has an award-winning wine list with more than 500 selections.
Address: 653 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501
9. Jambo Cafe
It’s not all enchiladas and chile dishes in Santa Fe. Featured twice on the popular Food Network TV show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, local favorite Jambo Cafe serves up African and Caribbean cuisine. Expect to find starters like coconut shrimp and cinnamon-dusted plantains, as well as entrees such as grilled jerk chicken, lentil stew, and spiced mahi mahi.
Address: 2010 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505
Kakawa is well known for its artisanal approach to chocolate, including both its delectable truffles and its historic drinking chocolates. Their elixirs feature different styles from around the world, from the ceremonial drinks consumed in pre-Colombian America to the drinks that gained popularity in Old-World Europe. I loved the Marie Antionette drink I had, made with orange blossom and a bit of almond milk.
Address: 1050 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501
This vibrant, Mexican-inspired restaurant is a hotspot in the city highlighting sustainably sourced ingredients, agave-focused cocktails, and artwork created by the local community. Paloma offers both fresh and classic interpretations of Mexican dishes, inspired by Oaxacan cuisine. Its back patio is a great place to dine al fresco on a sunny day.
Address: 401 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Coyote Cafe is a staple on the Santa Fe dining scene. After more than 30 years in service, it’s an icon in the city. The menu is Southwestern, with a creative and eclectic spin. Originally opened by a celebrity chef back in 1987, Coyote Cafe helped pioneer the use of native ingredients in contemporary dishes, earning it the buzz it still enjoys today.
Address: 132 W Water St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
13. El Chile Toreado
El Chile Toreado has been a beloved part of Santa Fe’s dining fabric for more than 20 years. This family-owned food truck—whose name translates to “The Fighting Chiles”—features ultra-spicy jalapenos as its signature ingredient. The truck’s authentic Mexican comfort food honors traditional flavors and ingredients.
Address: 807 Early St, Santa Fe, NM 87505
14. The Ranch House
Originally started as an ode to smoked meats, the first iteration of The Ranch House quickly outgrew its small space and expanded into a larger restaurant with top-notch barbecue. It’s a nice spot for everyday dining, and the variety of American cuisine it serves makes it an easy choice for families. The menu is dotted with New Mexican touches, including sides like green chile slaw, refried beans, and calabacitas.
Address: 2571 Cristo’s Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507
15. La Boca
La Boca is a perfect destination for an intimate, contemporary dinner right in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. Opened in 2006 by an 8-time James Beard Award nominee, it’s a Spanish restaurant and wine bar featuring an extensive and curated menu of wines and sherries. Expect to find elevated takes on familiar tapas, such as patatas bravas, fried shrimp, and grilled artichokes, along with paellas.
Address: 72 W Marcy St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Frequently Asked Questions: Santa Fe
What Food is Santa Fe Known For?
Santa Fe is known for Southwestern food, and New Mexican chiles are particularly famous. You’ll find them in soups, sauces, and several other dishes throughout New Mexican cuisine—including as a topping for enchiladas, a particularly popular use.
What Part of Santa Fe Should I Stay In?
Santa Fe is an incredibly walkable city, so it’s easy to get around if you’re staying anywhere near the city center. Many shops and restaurants are near Santa Fe Plaza, so a hotel close by would be very convenient. I would consider the Hotel Santa Fe to be close to the city center or the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado for a more in-nature experience.
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