Around The World: Ethnic Cuisines

Best Greek

7 min read
Around the World
Best Greek: Olympia Café (Sergio Salvador
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Great prices and lunch specials, spitfire service, and some of the best potatoes in town make Olympia Café your top pick for Grecian delights. Olympia started dishing up piping-hot homestyle fare in 1972, and it’s been a University-area favorite ever since. (MD)

Yanni’s Mediterranean Grill and Opa Bar

Gyros Mediterranean

Best Italian

Mamma mia! Trombino’s Bistro Italiano is a spicy meat-a-ball! While the venerated Northeast Heights establishment started dishing up traditional Italian a couple of decades ago, the Trombinos have been purveying deliciousness on the culinary scene since 1966, when Mario and Violet came from Chicago and opened Trombino’s Hamburgers. But it’s their Italian bistro that continues to earn a well-respected position in Albuquerque’s culinary scene. Bellissimo! (JCC)

Scalo Northern Italian Grill


Best Middle Eastern

If we can’t have peace in the Middle East, we’ll settle for chickpeas in the Middle East. And when it comes to chickpeas (and silky tahini, perfectly roasted lamb, gorgeously grilled pita and all things skewered), Albuquerque offers some strong contenders. So strong, in fact, readers had a hard time deciding between longtime standby Pars Cuisine and newer arrival Sahara Middle Eastern Eatery. We’re more than happy to give chickpeas a chance, so a tie seems rather, well, symbolic, whether you’re looking for tasty yet affordable eats between classes at UNM (Sahara) or a delish dinner accompanied by hypnotic belly dancing (Pars). Enrich that, Ahmadinejad. (MT)

Yasmine’s Café

Café Istanbul

Best French

For a little desert burg, Albuquerque contains a generous portion of French cuisine. Choosing a favorite must be très difficile (just like trying not to break into Français is here). Nob Hill’s take on Southern France wins again this year. The atmosphere at Brasserie La Provence is suited for a casual Sunday brunch or a fancy celebratory dinner, while the exquisite and broad selection of French foods appeases a variety of hankerings. Vive la Brasserie! (JCC)

La Crêpe Michel

3) Tie:
Café Jean Pierre, La Quiche Parisienne Bistro

Best Vietnamese

Albuquerque has almost as many Vietnamese restaurants as it does New Mexican eateries, so taking home top honors in this category is no small task. May Café, tucked cozily in the shadow of a giant Paul Bunyan statue, has fantastic pho, reasonable prices and is just as old as the Alibi —open since 1992. (CC)

2) Tie:
Café Dalat, Viet Taste

Vietnam 2000

Best Thai

Last year’s second place finishers, Orchid Thai edged out the competition with a tom yum soup that does good on its name. Along with delectable pineapple curry, firm yet yielding tofu and an orchid on every plate, Orchid Thai is a haven for food lovers who like it sweet and spicy. (EAH)

Siam Café

Jasmine Thai and Sushi House

Best Chinese

New Mexicans like their Chinese food served with a touch of class. No all-you-can-eat buffets for our readers. Hence, perennial winner Chow’s scoops up first again. The Zeng family has operated the restaurant since 1994 and now boasts three locations (including the original Santa Fe spot), making this a local mainstay. (DOL)

Kai’s Chinese Restaurant


Best Indian

With one of the best buffets in town, India Palace serves up consistently high-quality food. The service is attentive but not overbearing. After you’ve had your fill of creamy saag paneer , wander into the gift shop next door for all things Bollywood. (MD)

Taj Mahal

Rasoi: An Indian Kitchen

Best Korean

In the mood for some spicy pork bulgogi ? Tempted to move over a table and order from the adjoining Sushi & Sake restaurant? This dual ethnicity restaurant has your number. Located, incongruously, in the parking lot of the Highway House motel, Korean BBQ House / Sushi & Sake exist under one harmonious Asian roof. Just don’t bring up the Liancourt Rocks as a topic of conversation. Trust us. (DOL)

Fu Yuang

Pacific Rim Asian Bistro and Buddha Lounge

Best Japanese

Flying knives flash above the teppan grill. The chef jokes, flips an eggshell into his hat. You bond with the other folks at your table over perfectly cooked rice, subtle sauces and fresh veggies. You’re in Japanese Kitchen. Next time, try the adjoining sushi bar for some of the plumpest, softest cuts of fish in Albuquerque. (MD)

Shogun Sushi

3) Tie:
Azuma Sushi and Teppan, Noda’s Japanese Cuisine

Best Mexican

Nothing compares to queso fundido con chorizo . But if meat’s not your thing, El Norteño devotes a section of its menu to vegetarian options. Chicken mole and a healthy seafood section, along with all of the traditional favorites, round out the offerings. Bring your loved ones around on their b-day, because birthday boys and girls eat free. (MD)

Los Equipales

Taquería Mexico

Best Restaurant For Pretending You're In A Foreign Country

A trip to the Near East is a few I-25 exits away. Since 1984, Pars Cuisine has been taking New Mexicans on luxurious trips to the far away land of Persia with traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods served in an exotic setting. (Curbside check-in not available.) (JCC)

Brasserie La Provence

3) Tie:
La Cocina at Pro’s Ranch Market, Taquería Mexico

Most Wanted Ethnic Cuisine That's Not In Albuquerque

We didn’t know if this category would reveal a conclusive winner. It’s a good question, but there are a lot of possible answers. We were wrong. Ethiopian food won by a landslide. Just thinking of a rich wat stew or light injera bread has our mouths watering. So please, if anyone in Burque has the recipes and desire to open such a restaurant, our records show your customers eagerly await. (MD)

2) Spanish

3) Filipino

Best Other National Cuisine

If you’re the only Salvadoran restaurant in town, you probably shouldn’t expect the opportunity to compete in a "Best Salvadoran Food" category. But if you serve interesting cuisine, and everything on the menu is delicious, and the service is effortlessly fun and friendly, and the beach blankets on the wall and bumpin’ salsa music make your customers feel like they’re at a beach party, then success awaits you in the prestigious "Other" category. (ALV)

2) Brazilian:

3) German:
Dagmar’s Strudel House
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