Restaurants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, searchable by cuisine and location, with ratings and reviews. Get educated before you eat!
Mon-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-8pm (hours can change without notice)
This new craft cocktail bar and restaurant sets itself apart by using locally distilled liquors in its drinks, and by making those drinks really well. Go for their sweet-and-tart Paloma if you’re after a summery drink, or try the Manzano “Margarita” with Tumbleroot agave reposado and Naranja orange liqueur. The food menu has quite a few healthy options like salads and grain bowls, as well as some heartier options like the Korean fried chicken bowl. It’s hard to go wring with whatever you choose here.
Alibi recommends: Paloma, 12th street main squeeze, the Korean spicy chicken bowl, chimichurri chicken sandwich, housemade cookies and milk
Vibe: Glass and polish, exposed wood rafters, and pendant lighting to make HGTV proud; warmer weather will put their scenic patio on the map.
I know what you’re thinking: a seafood shack in the desert? How on earth could this be any good? But it truly is. Slapfish prides itself in sourcing fish from sustainable farms and fishers, which means that what’s in your taco is pretty high caliber stuff. Their fish and chips are as greasily satisfying as you could want, and the ultimate fish taco (famously large enough you’ll need both hands to eat it) tastes like a surf trip down to Baja. Crack a couple cold ones on their patio and dig into the catch of the day.
Finally, the bibimbap ($9.95 classic, $11.95 deluxe). Now, if you’re like me, you’ve never heard of this. The easiest way to explain the concept is a bowl of rice, that you just load up with ingredients, mix it up and chow down. Featuring your choice of rice, you get to add a protein of your choice (in our case, it was the Korean BBQ beef, naturally) as well as 3 to 5 toppings, depending on which version you order. They have some staples that are available year round, but they also have a bunch of seasonal choices. Follow that up with your sauce of choice, and you have a loaded-up bowl of tasty. You can, and should, throw a fried egg on top for $1, giving even more texture and flavor to this dish. It was, without a doubt, one of the best meals I’ve ever had. There’s not much more to say about it; besides you absolutely must try it for yourself.
Alibi recommends: Fire chicken tacos, and any form of the bibimbap
Vibe: Friendly food in a cool fresh space
Mon-Thu: 11pm to 9pm Fri-Sun: 11am to 10pm (hours can change without notice)
Starting with the more traditional stuff on the menu, the "traditional" ($5.25) is a rice paper wrap over rice noodles and a few shrimp. The shredded diakon, carrot, cucumber and lettuce add a sharp and earthy crunch, a moist and cool bite. There's a crispy fried wonton wrapper rolled tight, giving the spring roll a sturdy texture, and as far as a sauce for dipping, the traditional approach would be the luxurious peanut sauce or, of course, the fish sauce. They offer a brown rice paper wrap, which seemed both chewier while not holding the wrap together as well -- which seem mutually exclusive, but there you go. The pork sausage ($5.25), again with the same veggies and texture as the traditional, is surely the crowd pleaser, and easily stands up to any of the sauces on offer. If you want spice, go with the green chile or the sriracha-lime. Better still, add some green chile to the roll itself, as I found it to have both the down-home heat and flavor to please a local's palate! Choices are limited for the vegetarian and vegan out there, so I'd love to see Spring Rollin' hop on the Impossible (or something like it) train and offer a protein beyond just tofu ($5.25). Still, the fresh herbs and veggies, including cucumber noodles, will certainly make a roll or two! If you're lucky you might spy some additional ingredients not on the menu, so keep a sharp eye out. I managed to catch some grilled jalapeno slices, and they really delivered some extra fire!
Alibi recommends: Avoid overwhelm by staying "on menu" for your first trip; then go hog-wild on your second visit!
Vibe: A small but friendly industrial space with light and satisfying fare.
5701 Gibson Blvd SE (Fairgrounds)
Albuquerque NM 87108
Albuquerque NM 87108
Seven days a week, 7am-2pm (hours can change without notice)
Finally, I hit the Charlie, their biscuit French toast creation. It came with those crunchy papitas, honey butter, maple syrup and a very large sausage patty. I’ll say this about the sausage, and it’s not to be a negative; though it was homemade and well seasoned, I felt it was overcooked. I openly acknowledge that there are a number of factors why it was cooked to the well done standard, including health and safety issues, so if you’re like me and prefer a less well-cooked style, be sure to mention that when ordering. It tasted fantastic, and you could tell it was seasoned right before it was made, since the flavor was still in place when I bit into it. The French toast aspect left me torn, not because it tasted bad, but it was just so unexpected. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by light, fluffy brioche French toast, but with biscuit dough this was much heavier and thicker than you’d expect. Again, it wasn’t bad, but it’s certainly a big departure from what I usually expect in a French toast.
Mon-Fri: 6am-2:30pm Sat-Sun: 7am-2:30pm (hours can change without notice)
Finally, I took on the Classic Eggs Benedict. Yes, they do more creative ones with different ingredients, but when you get down to it, there’s a reason classic eggs Benny is still king, and it’s because it’s an unbeatable combination. Two poached eggs on ham atop an English muffin, all topped with a creamy Hollandaise and herbs. It was that creamy, rich, buttery and dreamy Hollandaise sauce that made the dish pop. Yes, the ham was good, and the eggs were cooked correctly, but that sauce. It’s one of those few things in life that are very easy to do wrong and incredibly hard to get just right, yet here, they’ve got it down to near-science. It’s a genuinely amazing breakfast classic, and Sunnyside Up does it genuinely well.
Alibi recommends: Any Eggs Benedict on the menu.
Vibe: Friendly breakfast and lunch diner
Lunch: Mon-Sat: 11am-2:30pm Dinner: Mon-Thu: 5-9:30pm Fri-Sat: 5-10pm Sun: 4-9pm (hours can change without notice)
Additionally, there were the Korean BBQ offerings I had to get my hands on. I went with the Chadolbagi ($21.95 for a pound), which was a thinly sliced beef brisket that was generously seasoned and came surrounded by a ton of garlic chunks. The aroma alone would be enough to sell me on the love of this dish, but then you get waves of flavor in every bite, leading to a voracious consumption of meat in an aggressive fashion. For good measure, I also snagged the Donkatsu Don ($14.99) which had panko-breaded and fried pork, rice, a wide spectrum of veggies and eggs. The sauce drizzle they added to the fried pork was something of legend. It had a touch of sweetness that truly opened up some of the more ignored facets of pork flavor, letting it blossom in your mouth. The crunchy panko crust helped hold onto that flavor and gave it the oomph it needed to be spectacular. Add in all that egged-up rice and veggies, and you’ve got a bowl of food that will leave you so full, you won’t be worrying about your next meal for a while.
Alibi recommends: Firecracker Sushi, Donkatsu Don, Mochi
Vibe: High energy, meant to be enjoyed with a large group of people
Mon-Thu: 11am-9pm Fri-Sat: 11am-9:30pm Sun: Noon-8:30pm (hours can change without notice)
As for entrees, the cabbage, carrots and celery soak up the simple heat of the Spicy Jungle Noodles ($11.99). The stir-fry gives the flat noodles all the garlic and glisten typical of the dish, with the protein and the broccoli standing front and center proudly. There's sriracha on the table if, like me, you prefer a bit more heat, but that's not meant to suggest that the chef shies away from flavor. The surprise of the Kung Pao Chicken ($11.99) is that it's served far wetter than your typical Kung Pao, approaching a soup-like texture. The spice is mild, nothing for timid tongues to worry over, and the vegetables are prepared with precision—arriving consistently in each bite while the protein, luscious bits of chicken thigh in this particular case, was the star without overpowering other ingredients. Obvious chunks of mushroom, the crunch of peanuts and the brightness of fresh herbs each add texture and layers to the subtle heat and soy of the sauce. The generous portion and large side of rice makes for a nice leftover surprise: Toss it all together when you're ready to go, and your leftover rice soaks into the liquid remnants—making for another half-meal after your movie is long over—enough to fill in the cracks.
Alibi recommends: Red Chili Dumplings, The Gryffindor Roll, Pad Eggplant or Pad Kee Mow.
Vibe: Cool and inviting, with both decor and a menu that spans multiple Asian region and flavors.
Mon-Fri: 10am to 9pm Sat-Sun: 11am to 9pm (hours can change without notice)
The Republican features pork al pastor, which was incredibly tender. You can customize to your heart's content. They have a wide range of salsas at the bar, plus you can roll with corn or flour as your tortilla of choice. Follow that up with mixed cabbage, cilantro, pickled onions, diced tomatoes, cotija cheese and a side of limes, and you’re facing down a solid street taco by any metric. Tacos are easy to do okay, but very hard to do amazingly, and these passed the test of being done amazingly. Dare I say, it’s the most enjoyable Republican I’ve had in the last three years and reminiscent of Jeb! A hopeful, warm and pleasant taco, it’s remarkable because it just exists as it is and doesn’t parade around pretending to be something else. It holds to tradition, and that is where it finds its strength.
Alibi recommends: Death By Taco to get rocked by heat
Vibe: Modern street tacos
315 Alameda Blvd. NE (North Valley)
Albuquerque NM 87113
Albuquerque NM 87113
Sunday Noon-3, Wednesday - Friday 5-8pm (hours can change without notice)
Cuisine: Latin American
The Spanish French Toast ($7) hit the table, and I couldn’t believe the size of it. There were five or six slices coated in cinnamon sugar, surrounded by strawberries and topped with a huge dollop of cava whipped cream. The toast itself was heavenly, with a light crunch on the outside and a soft interior, and the coating of the cinnamon sugar helped accentuate the taste of the bread. Add the huge, fresh strawberries into the mix with the cream all in one bite, and you could find yourself transported to a happy place, free of the cares of the world. It’s not like any other French toast I’ve had before, with the sweetness factor kicked up a notch to something delightful and sublime.