Spiciest Food in Albuquerque
We love chile, and we love it when it’s hot. A good, spicy chile not only overwhelms the senses with flavor and heat, it also triggers the release of endorphins, meaning that a fiery New Mexican meal can propel you to an altered state of mind. Take a trip to Sadie’s, order up a huge plate of the hottest food around, and prepare to step through the looking glass.
Best Food Truck
Ever since the Supper Truck rolled into town, fast food has taken on new meaning. From its signature shrimp and grits to the dish of the day, they serve up a Southern-styled feast for the eyes and the tummy, no matter where you find them. Track them down, and you might also find a picnic movie night or free yoga in the park.
Best Place to Find a Food Truck
Pod at Talin Supermarket
Although there are more than 50 food trucks in the Duke City, rounding them up in one place is hard to do. Your best bet is to head to the Talin parking lot on Wednesdays from 11:30–1pm to find four to six of the best trucks in town. Count on The Supper Truck, Rustic Food Truck and a random assortment of other meals on wheels.
Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests
Well you struck out taking your visitors to The Beach Waterpark (It’s not there anymore!) and The Rattlesnake Museum (The snakes were all sleeping!) No worries, you can still redeem yourself by hitting up El Pinto’s gorgeous hacienda-style patio for dinner. Order the red chile ribs, and all will be forgiven.
Best Bar Food
“Bar food” carries a negative stigma: Otherwise, why bother with the qualifier? But Gecko’s isn’t going to waste your time with salted nuts and overdone nachos; instead, their huge tapas lineup is stiff competition for almost any restaurant in town. And with two locations to serve you, you won’t have to settle for soupy burgers or gummy cheese sticks again.
Best Fine Dining
Sometimes you want to get all gussied up, say “hors d’oeuvres” repeatedly and throw your head back in knowing and sophisticated laughter over a good glass of wine. Where do you go? To the elegant and well-established Artichoke Café in EDo. Also, that’s not how you say “hors d’ouevres.”
Best Late Night Eating
The best 12am art viewings in Albuquerque take place at the famous Frontier Restaurant. Sit in any of the dining rooms with your carne adovada or sweet roll and let John Wayne speak to you. He usually starts drawling around closing time (1am).
Best Commitment to Local Ingredients
There’s no argument that for local ingredients, Farm & Table is the best pick in town. How much closer can you get to your ingredients than by growing them in your own 3-acre farm next door to the restaurant? And the freshness translates through the creative kitchen to the table where the meals arrive beautifully plated, and with the flavor of each morsel true to its origins.
Best Place for Adventurous Eaters
That hamburger is good, but you’d rather be eating monkey brains. Am I right? Though monkey brain is elusive in this town, goat is not. At Talking Drums Restaurant, you can chow down on some goat, snails, cow skin, cow feet, grilled peppered gizzard and more. And you can eat with your hands.
Best Downtown Restaurant
Meat! On skewers! Readers embrace the Brazilian way at downtown hotspot Tucanos. With a never-ending parade of grilled meats and vegetables, salads and soups, Tucanos makes any downtown night festive, and full.
2) Café Lush
Best Restaurant in Nob Hill
Let’s face it. Nob Hill is a veritable hornet’s nest of excellent dining options. Not that you’ll get stung so much that you’ll never be able to decide where to eat. You still love a little antipasti, insalate, primi and secondi at Scalo, the serene fine dining mainstay in the Nob Hill Shopping Center.
Best Restaurant in the North Valley
This North Valley gem serves mostly New Mexican fare with a lively smattering of inventive dishes. The dining room also serves as a gallery for local artists, and the patio is a comfortable extension of the cozy atmosphere. Regulars count on flavorful burgers, but the grilled marinated vegetable sandwich will please the vegetarian in the party.
2) Farm & Table
Best Restaurant in the South Valley
Grandma’s K & I Diner
Home to loyal regulars and the behemoth “Travis,” Grandma’s K&I Diner has been serving New Mexicans at its original South Valley location since 1960. Cozy up to the counter, and let Grandma comfort you with her singular cooking.
2) Kathy’s Carryout
Best Heights Restaurant
Jennifer James has been an Albuquerque treasure for two decades now, and her Menaul restaurant has the best rotating contemporary menu in town. Check in on a Thursday night, and for $25, you get a three course meal featuring locally sourced ingredients and whatever strikes the chef’s fancy. Just make sure you call ahead.
Best Restaurant on the Westside
After a hard day, a drink with a tiny umbrella in it can make all the difference. With Jinja’s Pacific Rim sensibilities, pre-prohibition era cocktails and Asian fusion cuisine, a rough day at the office will soon be a melting memory.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Best Restaurant in Rio Rancho
Our neighbors to the north have had this gem for more than a decade, but the secret is out and Alibi readers know it. Turtle Mountain serves up a fine selection of microbrewed beers, many with unique ingredients like mugwort and rose hips, as well as featuring a menu bursting with classic fare like fish n’ chips and bleu cheese burgers.
Best Restaurant in the East Mountains
Ribs Hickory Pit BBQ
Feeling puny and mortal? Here’s what you’re going to do: Drive to Cedar Crest. Stop at Ribs BBQ. Load up on draft beer, fried okra, ribs by the slab and sundry smoked meats. With a full belly, drive to the crest, stand in the wind, and peer down on our little city. That’s probably the closest you’ll get to Greek god-dom.
3) Burger Boy
Best Local Brewery
Over the last few years, Marble has emerged on the local brewing scene as a juggernaut fueled by yeast and barley, a living monument to the power of a craftsman-like approach to creating a consistently high-quality product while never forgetting one’s roots. You can buy a half-dozen varieties of Marble beer at nearly any liquor store, find it on draft at a wide array of Albuquerque restaurants, or head straight to the source and gulp it down at one of the friendliest brew-pubs around.
3) Il Vicino
Best New Restaurant
Getting hit in the eye by the moon would hurt. Actually, getting hit in the eye by a pizza pie would probably hurt, too. Fortunately at Albuquerque’s newest Neapolitan pizzeria, you can view the moon from a safe distance on the rooftop patio, and the incredible wood-fired pies—covered in house-made mozzarella and featuring locally grown ingredients—are served well away from the eyes. Now that’s Amore.
Most Missed Restaurant
A drive through the back side of the Sandias often included a stop at Bella Vista—now just a memory for many Burqueños. The lavish restaurant featured a buffet, salad bar and old-fashioned Italian fare. In its place is The Greenside, a contemporary eatery with a patio that faces the forest.
3) Johndhi’s BBQ
Tom Docherty (Café Lush)
The many fans of Tom Docherty and his adherence to using the freshest of local ingredients at Café Lush propelled this long-time Albuquerque chef to the top of the heap. An impressive achievement in a city with so much great food!
2) John Haas (M’Tucci’s Kitchina)
Dining al fresco under blue skies is one of the great pleasures of living in New Mexico, yet sometimes a good patio is hard to find. El Pinto is a little slice of Spanish heaven with its fountains, lanterns and lush foliage. Happy hour begins at 4:30.