Alibi V.24 No.41 • Oct 8-14, 2015 

BOBR: Best of the Rest

Smorgas-Burque

potluck smorgasbord

All the odds, ends, and miscellaneous award categories are here.

Spiciest Food

Ragin’ Shrimp

Those cagey Cajuns at Ragin’ Shrimp made a strong play for spiciest food in Albuquerque, and it looks like their cayenne-accented cuisine put them over the top. We may be a thousand miles from the nearest bayou, but we still know a thing or two about heat and the fire at Ragin’ satisfies.

2) Cecilia’s Café

Best Food Truck

Rustic: A Divine Food Truck

Rustic has been rolling through Burque streets for several years now, slinging one of the best burgers around. As noted in the Best Place to Find a Food Truck category below, it goes best with a locally brewed beer so keep an eye open for them next time you’re at your favorite taproom.

2) Irrational Pie

Best Place to Find a Food Truck

Marble Brewery

There’s no question that when you’re searching for the best food-on-wheels, you’ve got to drop by one of Albuquerque’s many local breweries. A symbiotic relationship between food trucks and microbrews has existed since Marble first opened its doors Downtown and it’s still going strong.

2) Tractor Brewing Taproom

3) Downtown

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina

The legions of celebrity photos on the walls of El Pinto attest to the fact that this is the place to take your favorite tourist, whether we’re talking Hillary Clinton or Aunt Martha. The sprawling patio, the indoor waterfall, the impeccable food and excellent margaritas guarantee a good night for out-of-towners and locals alike.

Best Bar Food

Gecko’s Bar & Tapas

“Bar food” seems like it should be said with a sneer, as though it’s somehow inferior to what you’d find at a “real” restaurant. But Gecko’s has been showing that notion to be a dirty lie for years now with their resplendent tapas and dinner menu. Get a cocktail and dive into the likes of black tiger shrimp and scallop ceviche, chipotle chicken wings and a chile-dusted grilled pineapple and ham sandwich and find out for yourself.

2) Two Fools Tavern

Best Fine Dining

Artichoke Café

Serving fine food since before EDo was EDo, Artichoke Café remains top of the heap when it comes to fancifying your lifestyle. But watch out! Those goombahs at Vernon’s are lurking in the wings. And from what we hear, those guys play rough.

2) Vernon’s Speakeasy

Best Late Night Feast

Frontier Restaurant

Frontier’s had this category locked up since we began the Best of Burque Restaurants survey over 15 years ago. In fact, in the last few years we‘ve used this space to bitch about the fact that they’re not open all night anymore, because nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can beat the experience of getting an awesome burrito at 4am in the company of Burque’s bleariest drunks and scallywags. C’mon, Frontier, open those late-night doors for us!

2) Taco Cabana

3) Gecko’s Bar & Tapas

Best Commitment to Local Ingredients

Farm & Table

Alibi readers love their locally grown food and are lucky enough to live in a state where small farmers can get a leg up and make a living doing what they love. And thanks to restaurants like this year’s winner Farm & Table, we non-agricultural types can eat a delicious meal featuring ingredients grown on a farm only a few hundred yards from the dining room.

2) Flying Star Café

3) The Grove Café & Market

Best Nob Hill Restaurant

Scalo Northern Italian Grill

The best part about eating at Scalo is getting to sit by the street-side window on a platform about 3 feet above the sidewalk. You literally look down at the hoi polloi scuffling their way down Route 66 as you delicately sip fine wine and curl incredible pasta around your fork. Oh, you’ll be back among them soon enough, but just for a moment, savor the fantasy.

2) Ragin’ Shrimp

3) Elaine’s

Best Restaurant in the North Valley

Sadie’s

Alibi readers know that when you’re on north 4th and you have a sudden craving for a huge amount of hotter-than-hell green chile, there’s only one place to go: Sadie’s. Yeah, there’s pretty much always a wait, but sitting it out in the bar with one of those flashing buzzer things while you down a margarita or two and scarf down chips is a significant part of the pleasure of this long-time Albuquerque institution.

2) Farm & Table

3) Eli’s (formerly Sophia’s Place)

Best Restaurant in the South Valley

El Modelo Mexican Foods

El Modelo has been serving up some of the city’s best New Mexican food since 1929, which makes it one of Albuquerque’s oldest continuously operating restaurants. Our readers say it’s also one of the best, and next time you head down Second Street, make sure you stop in and try the tamales (voted Best of Burque for several years running).

2) Barelas Coffee House

Best Restaurant on the Westside

M’Tucci’s Italian Restaurant

The Westside can sometimes seem like a desert when it comes to good local cuisine, but there are some real gems tucked among the chains. For instance, this year’s winner, M’Tucci’s, has secured itself a reputation as some of the best Italian that you’re likely to find in Albuquerque. So make head out and grab a table among the sculpted iron animals and Venetian masks that adorn the walls at this Winter Haven road restaurant and get ready to enjoy.

2) Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria

Best Restaurant in Rio Rancho

Joe’s Pasta House

One of our voters gave an exasperated “Man, who knows” in answer to this question. To that person and to any other similarly befuddled Burqueño we say, expand your horizons and get thee to Joe’s Pasta House, our winner for 2015. If pasta doesn’t tickle your fancy, try Namaste for Indian or Turtle Mountain for microbrewed beer. Our readers say you can’t go wrong with these three.

2) Namaste

3) Turtle Mountain Brewing Company

Best Restaurant in the East Mountains

Greenside Café

One of the great things about living in Albuquerque is the fact that we have easy access to one of the best mini-vacations around: a trip to Sandia Crest. Driving up that winding road among the trees and granite cliffs will settle your nerves and restore your brain. By the time you head down, though, you’re going to be hungry, and our readers suggest you stop in at the Greenside Café and fill ‘er up on a sloppy taco salad and some Turquoise Trail trout.

2) Ribs Hickory BBQ

3) Hollar Restaurant

Best Local Brewery

Marble Brewery/La Cumbre Brewing Co.

Out of all the breweries that have sprouted up in Albuquerque over the last decade or so, our readers have chosen these two titans as their favorites. Marble is the stalwart trailblazer, a pioneer that has tantalized us with its lineup of rock solid ales since opening in 2008. La Cumbre, though a little later to the game, has made a huge impact with its beefed up beers and rockin’ warehouse district tap room. Why choose? You can pick up bottles and cans of both at your local liquor store and drink a series of toasts to the vibrant beer culture that produced them.

2) Bosque Brewing

Best Restaurant to Feature as a Filming Location

The Grove Café & Market

We’re still shocked we don’t all call it Burquewood, given the number of films and TV series that have been birthed in our city. How many times have you done a double take when you recognize an Albuquerque intersection right in the middle of a movie supposedly set in Chicago or wherever? But our favorites will always be the projects that own up to their location shooting and showcase Albuquerque in all its rough and tumble glory. The Grove, having featured on several episodes of “Breaking Bad,” makes for a perfect spot to relive your cinematic Albuquerque memories.

2) El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina

3) Cravin’ Cookies ... and More!

Best New Restaurant

Rad[ish]

A scrappy little café on the first floor of the historic Simms Building, Rad[ish] is already generating buzz with an entirely gluten-free menu and intriguing twists on classic comfort food. Try the hamburger in a bowl! It’s, well, a hamburger with no bun that’s in a bowl! Rad[ish] also offers meals for take-home purposes sure to suit any hungry Downtown commuter with an appetite for quick, quality eating.

2) N'awlins Mardi Gras Cafe

Most Missed Restaurant

Café Miche/Stumbling Steer

Every year, we lose some of our favorite eateries. On the one hand, that’s just the nature of a business so dependent on the vagaries of consumer trends and economic ebb and flow, but on the other it’s always sad when you show up to a beloved restaurant and find the doors locked. This year, Downtown bistro Café Miche and Westside brewery/steakhouse Stumbling Steer joined the list of casualties.

Best Chef

Jennifer James

She’s done it again! Albuquerque’s own cast iron Queen of Cookery continues to make waves with her bitchin’ kitchen at Jennifer James 101. We should just build a statue of her already.

2) Leah Purucker of the Daily Grind

Best Patio

El Pinto Restaurant & Cantina

There are many fine options for outdoor eating in our city, but Alibi readers know that the El Pinto patio is without equal. What’s more wonderful than scarfing down an enchilada beneath the vine-bedecked trellises of this North Valley gem? Especially with a Silver Coin margarita just waiting for you to take another sip.

2) El Patio de Albuquerque

3) Church Street Café