Alibi V.24 No.41 • Oct 8-14, 2015 

BOBR: P.M.

Dinner Time

retro dinner

Breaking down every aspect of dinner we tell you how to find the best courses in the city.

Best Appetizers

Gecko’s Bar & Tapas

Appetizers are made for sharing but with enticing options like black tiger shrimp and scallop ceviche or grilled squash with carne adovada, you might be tempted to keep the plate to yourself. Whether dining in Nob Hill or the Academy location, Gecko's tapas menu wins out over other appetizer options in town.

Best Burger

Five Star Burgers

It could be attributed to the all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus ground fresh daily but the best beef means nothing if it's not cooked properly. At Five Star Burgers, there’s no need to worry. Every patty comes perfectly cooked to your specification.

2) Holy Cow

3) Blake's Lotaburger

Best French Fries

Blake’s Lotaburger

Regular fries are dandy but dust those sliced potatoes with a little spicy seasoning and they transform into Blake's seasoned fries. These spuds are a cut above the rest and with the award to prove it. No Lotaburger meal is complete without them.

2) Holy Cow

Best Wings

Wingstop

The readers have spoken and they've said they like their wings saucy and they like them from the aviation-themed chain, Wingstop. A trio of runners-up includes Buffalo Wild Wings and local options Gecko's Bar & Tapas and Nexus Brewery.

2) Buffalo Wild Wings/Gecko’s Bar & Tapas /Nexus Brewery

Best Pizza

Farina Pizzeria & Wine Bar

In a time when Americans overvalue the cheapest pizza they can get their grubby hands on, it's nice to know there are places where you can sit down and enjoy a quality pie fresh from the oven. Farina is one of them and—according to Alibi readers—home to the best pizza in Albuquerque.

2) Dion's Pizza

3) Il Vicino

Best Pasta (Western)

Torinos’ @ Home

Torinos' @ Home has garnered the attention of Food Network's spiky-haired goof Guy Fieri but, more importantly, the fresh, made-from-scratch pasta has garnered enough votes to make it the best in Albuquerque.

2) Mimmo's Ristorante & Pizzeria/Trombino's Bistro Italiano

Best Noodles (Asian)

Asian Noodle Bar

With a name like Asian Noodle Bar, the noodles better be good. They are. In fact, according to Alibi readers, they're the best. It's the perfect place for Downtown denizens to pop in for a plate of pad thai or for a bowl of lunchtime pho.

2) StreetFood Asia

3) Siam Café

Best Falafel

Sahara Middle Eastern Eatery

Like an oasis in the desert, so is a quality falafel when you haven't had some good Middle Eastern eats in a while. Get your falafel fix at Sahara, served hot out of the fryer and drizzled with cool tahini sauce. This is no mirage; it's the miracle of the falafel.

2) San Pedro Mart Middle East Grocery & Restaurant

3) Anatolia Turkish Mediterranean Grill

Best Tacos

Taquería Mexico

Though there are some seats available inside, many of Taquería Mexico's habitués choose to queue at the walkup window, even when the line starts circling the bright red, white and green facade. Why? These tacos are worth it and as authentic as it gets north of the border.

2) Perico's

3) The Last Call/Sadie's

Best Quiche

La Quiche Parisienne Bistro

I'd like to imagine one day I'll find myself lounging at a little Parisian bistro, sipping a café au lait, Eiffel Tower in the background, a mime smoking a pretend cigarette nearby. For now, I'll have to enjoy a taste of Paris at La Quiche Parisienne where the quiche provençale can transport me 5,000 miles across the Atlantic without the jetlag.

2) La Crêpe Michel/The Daily Grind/The Egg & I

Best Mac and Cheese

Flying Star Café

Flying Star continues to defend its title for best mac with a solid bowl of creamy pasta goodness. Those curly Q pasta bits have a magic way of holding on to the cheesy richness from plate to mouth, letting you sop up every last bit of liquid gold.

2) Nexus Brewery

3) Vinaigrette

Best Barbecue

Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q

Get a taste of Texas by the half-pound, no plate necessary. Portions are bundled up in butcher paper to be enjoyed on picnic tables. Dab your peppery brisket in some famous Rudy's sauce or spring for the smoked prime rib, available weekends only. For some homegrown barbecue, consider runners up The Cube or Quarters.

2) The Cube BBQ

3) Quarters BBQ

Best Seafood

Pelican's Restaurant

You're not going to catch a lobster or snag a crab by dipping your pole into Tingley Beach. But you can enjoy Australian lobster tail and Alaskan king crab legs prepared at Pelican's. Getting quality seafood flown in fresh is key to the success of this longstanding nautical restaurant.

2) Ragin' Shrimp

3) Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Best Salad

Vinaigrette

When you jab your fork into a plate of salad at Vinaigrette, odds are good that the piece of arugula/beet/onion/tomato/etc. you've stabbed was grown on owner Erin Wade's 10-acre farm in Nambé. With that kind of quality control in place, it's no wonder the salad bistro takes top honors in this particular category.

2) Dion's Pizza

3) Flying Star Café/Il Vicino

Best Sandwiches

Baggin’s Gourmet Sandwiches

"Can I get an unforgettable sandwich?" If you ask that question at Baggin's, you're going to get sliced turkey breast, bacon, cream cheese, mayo, sprouts, tomato and avocado on 12-grain bread. Unforgettable is not only an adjective used to describe the sandwich, it's the name of the sandwich itself. Other memorable meal names include Sundown, Afternoon and High Baggin's.

2) Al's Big Dipper

3) Relish Sandwich Shop

Best Pho

Saigon Far East

I'll admit, I judge books by the cover. But when a friend recommends a good page turner, I'll give it a read. When a restaurant takes the top spot for its pho, I'll bite. Even when the exterior doesn’t catch your eye, rest assured it's what's on the inside that counts. In this case, a fantastic bowl of pho awaits.

2) 2000 Vietnam/Pho Linh Vietnamese Grill/Viet Taste

3) Basil Leaf/Café Da Lat

Best Soup (American Style)

Al’s Big Dipper/Baggin’s Gourmet Sandwiches

Behold the restorative powers of a good bowl of soup. A bowl of chicken noodle can help beat back a cold and a hearty beef stew can keep you fueled for a day. Stop in to see what the soup du jour is at either Al's Big Dipper or Baggin's, tied for the best in Albuquerque.

2) Flying Star Cafe

3) Annie's Soup Kitchen/The Grove Café & Market/Panera

Best Sushi

Sushi King

It's good to be king. Sushi King owns this category with creative concoctions like El Diablo, made with green chile tempura, or--nerd alert--a Gryffindor roll, prepared with shrimp tempura and topped with flying fish eggs.

2) Japanese Kitchen Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

3) Crazy Fish / Kokoro Japanese Restaurant

Best Springrolls

Saigon Far East

Fantastic on their own or accompanying a hearty bowl of pho, the spring rolls at Saigon Far East are downright delectable. The delicately prepared veggie rolls are perfect for dipping in the accompanying peanut sauce.

2) 2000 Vietnam/Basil Leaf/May Café

Best Indian Curry

Taj Mahal

The tantalizing tastes of India come alive at the Taj Mahal, not the iconic mausoleum in India, but the local restaurant sharing its name. The lunch buffet is a good time to visit, letting you sample a variety of Indian dishes and nosh on garlic naan.

2) India Kitchen

3) Taaj Palace

Best Thai Curry

Orchid Thai Cuisine

Pulling from the culinary traditions of China, India and Japan, the flavors of Thailand are aromatic and in full bloom at Orchid Thai Cuisine. Spicy chili flavors are tamed with a splash of coconut milk making for deliciously palatable bowls you'll want to drink up.

2) Siam Café

3) Salathai