Eat Like a Local
An off-the-beaten-path food guide
By Ty Bannerman
Driving around our fair city (and beyond) will eventually leave you hungry. After all, man does not live on offbeat tourist destinations alone.
Never fear! We here at the Alibi have your daily post-Fiesta digestive needs well-covered. Whether you find yourself ravenous on Route 66, undernourished in Old Town or peckish on the Peak, these options below will go down easy and fill your belly. Here are some unique spots to visit while you’re here and my favorite nearby restaurants.
The Rattlesnake Museum: Touts the largest collection of live rattlesnakes in the world
202 San Felipe NW, 87104
Explora: A hands-on learning center for all-ages, great for families
1701 Mountain NW
Nearby Eats: High Noon Restaurant & Saloon
425 San Felipe NW, 87104
Whether you find yourself ravenous on Route 66, undernourished in Old Town or peckish on the Peak, these options below will go down easy and fill your belly. Here are some unique spots to visit while you’re here and my favorite nearby restaurants.
What better way to follow an afternoon spent braving the most dangerous snakes in the southwest, or a museum full of ornery toddlers, than with a tradicional margarita at the High Noon Saloon? The restaurant and bar occupy a more than 200-year-old adobe hacienda that exudes New Mexico history, and the food, which ranges from blue corn barbacoa enchiladas to steak diane, is always excellent.
Monday through Friday: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History: Tells the story of the Atomic Age
601 Eubank SE, 87123
Nearby eats: Loyola’s Family Restaurant
4500 Central SE, 87108
When hunger pangs strike on old Route 66, only an authentic ’50s-style diner will do. Loyola’s is housed in a building that has changed little since it served hungry travelers during the Mother Road’s golden age. It’s also a real Albuquerque original, family-run for two generations and serving authentic New Mexican food like posole and carne adovada alongside options like pancakes and French toast. “Breaking Bad” fans take note: This was Mike the Cleaner’s (RIP) favorite hang out. Open for breakfast and lunch.
Tuesday through Friday: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday: 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunwest Silver: A wholesale source for turquoise and Native American jewelry
324 Lomas NW, 87102
Nearby Eats: Cecilia’s Cafe
230 Sixth Street SW, 87102
This narrow old house in the middle of Albuquerque’s Downtown offers up some of the best New Mexican breakfast and lunch around. The friendly staff slings green and red chile-infused dishes to a room full of happy regulars. If you’ve got a taste for the spicy, this should definitely be on your list. A word of advice: If your waiter warns you that the chile is extra hot that day, pay attention. They mean it.
Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Balloon Museum: A collection or artifacts from throughout the history of ballooning
9201 Balloon Museum Dr. NE, 87113
Nearby eats: Chama River Brewing Company
4939 Pan American Freeway, 87109
The Balloon Museum is pretty far out into genericana land, but even among the mega-chains you can find a few gems. The Chama River Brewing Company is one of them. Offering up a heroic selection of house-brewed beers and entrees ranging from the red chile-braised duck legs to beer-battered fish and chips, this upscale restaurant is a perfect reward after a long, balloon-filled day.
Sunday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tinkertown: Room after room of eccentric Americana and animated carved wooden figures
121 Sandia Crest Road, Sandia Park, 87047
Nearby eats: Burger Boy
12023 New Mexico 14, Cedar Crest, 87008
For many of us here in Albuquerque, a trip to the East Mountains isn’t complete until we’ve stopped at this Cedar Crest institution and eaten a world-class green chile cheeseburger. Watch out: They can be hot. It’s not the cheapest burger joint around, but after a trip to the top of the mountain and an hour in the Tinkertown treasure trove, no other meal will be quite as satisfying.
Monday and Wednesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Acoma Pueblo: Sky City is an ancient Native American pueblo perched on a 370-foot-high mesa. Be sure to sign up for a tour and don’t take photos unless you get a permit.
Nearby eats: Laguna Burger (Inside the 66 Pit Stop)
Exit 114 off of I-40
I’ll level with you. A trip to Acoma will take you pretty far from likely eateries. Fortunately for you, even on the open plains there are two delicious options for a lunch break: 1) If you’re lucky, there’ll be some guys by the side of the road to Sky City selling the most incredible tamales you’ve ever eaten in your life, or 2) the 66 Pit Stop just off the highway in Laguna Pueblo. Here, you can eat one of the best green chile burgers in the state of New Mexico. Neither option offers much in the way of atmosphere, but both will more than make up for it in sheer flavor.
Monday through Sunday: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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