Fine Dining Restaurants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Albuquerque - University
Mon-Thurs: 5:30-9:30pm Fri-Sat: 5:30-10pm (hours can change without notice)
Ranchers Club is arguably the city’s fanciest restaurant, where fine steaks and seafood are king. Certainly, it has the dining room with the most formal service—tuxedos and golden-domed plates and all—but with live music and expertly crafted cocktails, the resplendent bar is also worth your time. This is the place we like to go for really special occasions—like when someone else is paying or when we want to break a hunger strike.
Mon-Sat 11am-11pm Sun 11am-10pm (hours can change without notice)
The charcuterie restaurant and wine bar in the middle of the most college-y block in the city might seem a little out of place, but it’s a breath of fresh air for those of us who have been shopping for a good grown-up neighborhood spot. Salt and Board serves a rotating selection of wines and craft beers, as well as sandwiches, toasts and salads made with fine meats and cheeses. There’s also—of course—the charcuterie board, which includes three cured meats paired with three cheeses that will likely send you into a salty, fatty, blissed out food coma.
Bernalillo - Santa Ana Pueblo
Wed-Sat: 5:30pm-9pm Closed Sunday, Monday & Tues (hours can change without notice)
You’ll worry you’re lost the whole way out to the beautiful Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, home of The Corn Maiden restaurant. The resort is a stone’s throw from Bernalillo but feels much, much farther from town. The views from the restaurant are unmatched (except by neighboring Prairie Star) and the luxurious Southwest ambience is stellar. Expect the food to be beautiful, too. Open until 10pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Corrales - Corrales
Tue-Sat: 11:30am-9pm Sun: 10am-9pm Closed Monday (hours can change without notice)
A classy kind of place in the wilds of Corrales with astounding lobster ravioli. And who could resist the call of spicy clams? Head on in for dinner and a nice bottle of wine or for Sunday brunch on the patio. It’s only a few miles thataway, as the crow flies.
Los Lunas - Los Lunas
If you ever really want to impress your date, take them to the Luna Mansion. The historical building was built as a gift from the Santa Fe Railway to the influencial Luna-Otero families. If you’re there for dinner, you can feast on the likes of oysters Rockefeller, prime rib, moonshine salad, king crab and Mansion mud pie. And don’t forget an excellent bottle of wine from one of the oldest wine cellars in New Mexico. If you’re there for brunch, try Sunshine on Brioche or Sol Luna banana foster French toast.
Placitas - Placitas
Lunch: Fri-Sat: 11am-2pm Dinner: Tues-Thurs: 5-9pm Fri-Sat: 5-9:30pm Brunch: Sun: 10:30am-2pm Happy Hour: Tues-Thurs: 4-7pm Closed Monday (hours can change without notice)
At Blades, the mood is jovial and boisterous, in keeping with the neighborhood bistro feeling to which its aspires. A stainless-steel counter at one end extends the feeling of openness by offering a view into the kitchen, while across the dining area is a beautifully crafted hardwood bar. On the short, dinner-only menu, there’s an eclectic mix of appetizers (roasted beets with toasted goat cheese and balsamic glaze), European-style entrées (paella), and several salad and soup options, all beautifully presented.
Santa Fe - Santa Fe
Sun-Thu: 5-9pm Fri-Sat: 5-9:30pm (hours can change without notice)
315 is the kind of French restaurant Albuquerque doesn't have. It's got a casual atmosphere in an old converted house, but the food is knock-your-socks-off stellar. Chef Louis Moskow uses the finest ingredients (think foie gras and beluga caviar). Before you order, your server will bring over a chalkboard showing the day's specials; they're often the most exciting offerings. This is also a great place to have just a snack and a glass of wine from the incredible list.
It's one of the fanciest restaurants in a city that has a lot of fancy restaurants. What makes The Compound different is a beautifully designed interior, lush gardens, a killer sommelier and really freakin' good food. Chef Mark Kiffin doesn't mess around with too much Southwestern stuff (though he did when he was at Coyote Café), favoring dishes like tuna tartare topped with osetra caviar and preserved lemon. Try this place for lunch during the week or dinner any night. And in good weather you should absolutely sit outside. (Also, The Compound has a package liquor license, so you can leave with nearly any bottle from their huge cellar.)
Mon-Sun: 11:30am-9pm (hours can change without notice)
New Mexico’s most famous restaurant, Coyote Café is where Chef Mark Miller came to fame as the king of Southwestern cuisine. This beautifully renovated restaurant serves only dinner, but the rooftop bar, Coyote Cantina (open in the summer), has a wide selection of tequilas and an affordable Latin American menu. Try the trio of salsas including lime pico de gallo for only $6 while enjoying a cocktail.
This is another one of our all-time Santa Fe favorites. We go for Spanish-style tapas in one of the quiet dining rooms. Sometimes we stop in for a late-night drink and some entertainment in the lively bar up front. Whether it's a flamenco guitarist and dancers, or a Western swing band, the bar is always fun.
Mon-Sun: 5:45-9:30pm (hours can change without notice)
Most people consider Geronimo the best restaurant in Santa Fe. The signature dish is a telicherry rubbed elk tenderloin atop garlic mashed potatoes and bathed in a mouth-watering brandied mushroom sauce. Generously dotted with applewood-smoked bacon and big, meaty morel mushrooms, and served with a superb glass of red wine, it is yum-um-ummy. The ambience here is a little uptight, but the food is what matters, right? If money is an object, try lunch; it's just as good and way cheaper.
Breakfast: Mon-Fri: 6:30-11am, Sat-Sun: 6:30am-12pm Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11am-2pm Dinner: Tues-Sat: 5:30-10pm (hours can change without notice)
Look for The Old House tucked away in the deluxe Eldorado Hotel. Here you’ll find mostly French-inspired food like sautéed diver scallops with a portobello and foie gras Wellington, wilted greens, Xeres sherry and Meyer lemon sauce. Everything, from the silverware to the service, is top-notch.
Sun- Thrs: 11:30am- 10pm Fri- Sat: 11:30am- 11pm (hours can change without notice)
Food Network star Ming Tsai worked here for a few years in the mid-’90s, and the menu still shows a strong Asian influence in dishes like shiitake-and-cactus spring rolls with Southwestern ponzu dipping sauce. Close to the plaza, but not too pretentious, SantaCafé is an old standard. Ask to be seated on the lovely enclosed courtyard.