$$$$ Restaurants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Albuquerque - Downtown
Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11am-2:30pm Dinner: Sun-Thu: 5pm-9pm Fri-Sat: 5pm-10pm Happy Hour: Mon-Fri: 3pm-6pm Closed Sun (hours can change without notice)
It only makes sense to order the steamed artichoke at the Artichoke Café. Slathered in lemon-caper oil and a raspberry vinaigrette, it makes a great starter before trying a more hefty order of grilled curried chicken or sliced steak. Once your lunch or dinner at the upscale Artichoke Café has concluded, you’ve got to adjourn to the sexy wine bar next door. The wine list is actually a leather-bound tome with a massive assortment of wines. Prices start at a decent $28 or $30 a bottle and zoom up into the upper stratospheres of frivolity, but you can also order select vintages by the half-bottle or glass. You'll love the front-facing "big city" windows, curvy wooden bar and comfortable seats.
Albuquerque - Fairgrounds
Thurs-Sat: 5pm-10pm (hours can change without notice)
Located at the end of a long corridor in the Downs Casino, the Crown Room’s very existence is something of a surprise. Even more surprising is just how elegant the cozy dining room is. The chaos of the casino outside the door quickly fades away as you dive into cuts of steak that rival the finest in town. Sure, it’ll set you back a few bucks, but the experience is not to be missed.
Albuquerque - Far Northeast Heights
9800 Montgomery Blvd NE (Far Northeast Heights)
Albuquerque NM 87111
Albuquerque NM 87111
Mon-Thurs: 4pm-10pm Fri-Sat: 4pm-11pm Sun: 11am-10pm (hours can change without notice)
Rough-hewn wood planks lead you into this nautically-themed steak and seafood restaurant, which doesn’t start seating for dinner until 5pm. Luckily, happy hour begins at 4pm. Have a Lady Godiva hot cocktail and a baker's dozen of topless oysters in the bar while you wait. Then dive into creamy clam chowder, butter-sweet Australian lobster tail and Ranchero center-cut top sirloin. There's plenty of key lime pie in the icebox and Phil Collins on the speakers.
Albuquerque - Nob Hill
3509 Central Ave NE (Nob Hill)
Albuquerque NM 87106
Albuquerque NM 87106
Tue-Sat 5-10pm (hours can change without notice)
Jennifer James goes casual-ish with this Nob Hill eatery that serves up everything from a heavenly seared foie gras on grilled bread pudding drizzled with bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup to a whimsical carrot dog. The wine selection is great and there are weekly off-menu specials like lamb and mocha baked Alaska.
Tues-Thurs: 11am-9:30pm Fri-Sat: 11am-10:30pm Sun-Mon: 11:30am-8:30pm (hours can change without notice)
$$$$ • Vegetarian Available • Gluten-free available • Booze Served • Full Bar • Wine Bar • Live Music
You love Yanni's. So do we. Their adjoined Lemoni Bar seats about 85 people and is open for lunch, dinner or just cocktails. Painted natural tones and accented with elegant lighting, the lounge provides a subtle contrast to the bright, light and airy dining rooms at Yanni's. It’s an ideal place for pre- or post-movie cocktails and snacks, or more substantial cuisine. Their green chile Bloody Mary will certainly boost your brunch.
Albuquerque - North Valley
Tues-Wed: 11am,1:30pm,4 pm Thurs-Sat: 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm, 6:30pm Sun: 11am-1:30pm (hours can change without notice)
Meals Served: Lunch
Sure, you’ve had tea before, but have you ever really had tea before? You know, with quaint little scones and clotted cream? Do you even know what clotted cream is? Well, the ladies over at the St. James Tearoom sure do, and they’d love to inform and inspire you with the lost art of proper tea service—the proprietress, Mary Alice Higbie, is a certified tea consultant through the Protocol School of Washington in D.C. (we’re serious). The $44 full afternoon tea includes three pots of different premium loose teas and an elegant three-tiered serving tray that’s loaded with assorted savories and finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, homemade lemon curd and other sweets. For a $7 upgrade you can have a Royal Tea, which includes a glass of Gruet (call for reservations). The Tearoom’s Cherriwyn China Shop carries a lovely selection of tea accessories, too.
Mon-Sun: 4:30pm-9:30pm Fri-Sat Happy Hour: 9pm-11pm Sunday Brunch: 10:30am-3pm (hours can change without notice)
$$$$ • Vegetarian Available • Booze Served • Full Bar • Wine • Live Music • Outdoor Patio • Smoking Permitted • Lounge
Vernon’s is a swanky underground spot for good eats and high times, delivered speakeasy-style. The dining room is walled with lustrous, ebony adobe, and the tables are clothed in crisp, black and white linens. By the glass or bottle, there’s plenty of quality hooch. The menu is classic steakhouse stuff with beef tournedos in a silky demi-glace, fresh fish and a damn fine veal Oscar. Check out the Black Diamond Lounge to take in the fancy cocktails and live music.
Albuquerque - Old Town
Sun-Thurs: 5-9pm Fri-Sat: 5-10pm (hours can change without notice)
This creeking wooden-floored and quaint restaurant is located in Old Town and is one of the few places in the city unafraid of serving a very rare steak. The all around energy is charming and old timy, and their menu is thoughtful and satisfying. Save your money and treat yo self.
Sun 12pm-9pm Mon-Sat 11am-9:30pm (hours can change without notice)
$$$$ • Vegetarian Available • Booze Served • Catering • Take Out / To-Go • Live Music • Wireless Internet • Lounge
This Old Town favorite offers something to suit most appetites, from green chile cheeseburgers to rock shrimp pappardelle, and it’s all served up in the adobe warmth of a 200-year-old hacienda. Don’t skip the drinks: They offer several excellent Margaritas to slake your thirst.
Need to impress somebody from out of town? Take them to Level 5. This rooftop restaurant and bar on top of Hotel Chaco has panoramic views of the Sandias and a cocktail menu made for people who really like good cocktails. Want to know what venison carpaccio tastes like? Or a $48 steak? Make a reservation at Level 5 tonight.
Mon-Thu 5-9pm Fri-Sat 5-10pm (hours can change without notice)
It’s a classy kind of joint, this Antiquity; tablecloths, waiters with bow ties and fancified French food (including seafood) that will push you toward ecstasy even as it drains your pocketbook. But it’s unmistakably Albuquerque too. For one thing it’s in an ancient Old Town hacienda, the kind with an uneven floor, two-foot-thick walls at every doorway and rooms that ramble back farther than you would ever guess from the outside. For another, the blue-jeaned may mix freely with the formally attired in that wonderful New Mexican way that so annoys the Easterners among us.
Alibi recommends: The tenderloin au poivre and whatever’s on special.
Vibe: Romantic, cozy and candlelit. Really an escape from the rest of the world.
Albuquerque - Sandia Pueblo
30 Rainbow Rd NE (Sandia Pueblo)
Albuquerque NM 87113
Albuquerque NM 87113
Tues-Sat: 5-10pm Closed Sunday & Monday (hours can change without notice)
The nickel slots are bright, noisy: Bien Shur is subdued, quiet, tasteful. The dining room is classy and beautiful but still comfortable, leaving diners to contemplate the wonderful contemporary cuisine and stunning views of the city and Sandia mountains. After your meal, you can head back downstairs into the casino scuffle for some live jazz in the Tlur P’a Lounge and a hand of video poker.
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.
Albuquerque - Westside
Mon-Thurs: 5-10:30pm Fri-Sat: 5-11:30pm Sun: 11am-10pm *Bar opens every day at 4pm (hours can change without notice)
Rough-hewn wood planks lead you into this nautically themed steak and seafood restaurant, which doesn’t start seating for dinner until 5pm. Luckily, happy hour begins at 4pm. Have a Lady Godiva hot cocktail and a baker's dozen of topless oysters in the bar while you wait. Then dive into creamy clam chowder, butter-sweet Australian lobster tail and Ranchero center-cut top sirloin. There's plenty of key lime pie in the icebox and Phil Collins on the speakers.
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.
Ojo Caliente - Taos
50 Los Banos Drive (Taos)
Ojo Caliente NM 87549
Ojo Caliente NM 87549
Ojo Caliente is a local treasure, and you’re cheating yourself if you don’t stop in once in a while. Come for the water, but stay for dinner. And breakfast, for that matter, if you can afford to spend the night. The Artesian restaurant features New Mexico-inspired dishes that trade heavily on local ingredients, as well as a variety of fine dining fare. It’s the perfect way to complete your Ojo experience.
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.)