The late summer sun can be a real drag, especially in the afternoon when it beats down and sucks the moisture right out of the ground. You should probably eat indoors then, lest you are transformed into beef jerky mid-meal. But in the mornings and evenings, the light is gentle and affirming, and el sol spreads a restorative warmth that you’ll find yourself longing for in the middle of winter. Don’t let these days pass you by without spending time dining on Albuquerque’s best patios. Your frigid, winter self will never forgive you if you do.
I’ll confess that I’m not a fan of Garduños generally, but the location at Hotel Albuquerque (800 Rio Grande NW) is definitely worth your time. For one thing, the patio is a spectacular oasis with cool fountains and covered niches, perfect for a relaxing evening after work. And since they actually hand-mix their margaritas here, unlike at the other locations, you’ll definitely have a buzzy appreciation of the twilight breeze.
Amore inherited its rooftop patio from the former tenant restaurant, Bailey’s on the Beach. The view of the Sandias is just as spectacular as ever, especially around sundown, but now you can enjoy it with a delicious, officially certified Neapolitan pie and a pint of locally brewed ale. And if you get bored with looking at the mountains, you can always turn you head and check out the action on Central.
If you’re more of a beer fan, then O’Niell’s has your number. Both locations feature patio areas, though the Nob Hill branch (4310 Central SE) is mostly enclosed these days. The O’Niell’s in the Heights (3301 Juan Tabo NE), on the other hand, offers a lovely open space with plenty of easy seating and flowering bushes to complement your ingestion. The best part of both locations is that there’s a good chance you’ll be downing your meal and drink to the accompaniment of live music. Check Oniells.com for a schedule of bands and performances.
This North Valley giant (10500 Fourth Street NW) has been delighting locals and tourists alike for decades, and its spacious, green outdoor seating is a big part of the appeal. Even on a hot day, the tables beneath El Pinto’s verandas stay cool and shady, and the trickle of water from one of the many fountains is guaranteed to keep you from overheating as you munch your way through their famous chips and salsa and classic New Mexican fare.
Amore (2929 Monte Vista NE) inherited its rooftop patio from the former tenant restaurant, Bailey’s on the Beach. The view of the Sandias is just as spectacular as ever, especially around sundown, but now you can enjoy it with a delicious, officially certified Neapolitan pie and a pint of locally brewed ale. And if you get bored with looking at the mountains, you can always turn you head and check out the action on Central.
El Pinto may have vastness on its side, but there’s no beating the food at Farm & Table (8917 Fourth Street NW). I like to come out here for breakfast, when the patio is cool and less crowded than in the evenings. A plate of carne adovada and eggs (as always, their food is 80 percent local and dependent on seasonal availability) and a view of the North Valley restaurant’s farmland make for a classic New Mexican brunch.
If you are feeling a bit more urbane, Hotel Andaluz’ (125 Second Street NW) excellent, small-plate-centric restaurant might be the one for you. Its streetside patio offers an up-close view of the always-interesting Downtown scene. For the best atmosphere, go in the early evening and enjoy your Merlot before the barhoppers arrive en masse.