For those of you who may be seeking alternative eats, such as vegetarian, vegan, Paleo and gluten-free options, the city is primed and ready for your visit. In addition to the recommendations on this page, consider one of our favorite spots, Vinaigrette, which offers a full range of creative and tasty salads, soups and sandwiches and is featured on Best Eats. If gluten-free pizza is your thing, add Pizza Centro, also included on Best Eats, to your list. Please check back often for new healthy alternatives.
When you have seemingly had your fill of red and green chile laced dishes or an overload of carbs and sugar, your body may be telling you to take a day off the hard stuff and give your belly a rest. Or maybe you are a strict vegetarian or vegan? if so, head straight to Annapurna’s for a world of healing Ayurvedic flavors that is crowded with sensational options for vegetarians, vegans as well as those that are gluten-free.
Having heard about this restaurant for years, we finally made it for a visit to Santa Fe’s only Ayurvedic restaurant–they have a sister location in Albuquerque. Plopped in the same lifeless strip center off of St. Michael’s where the famous Tecolote Cafe is located (FYI: we have been but it didn’t dazzle us like The Pantry or Plaza Cafe did), don’t judge the book by the cover.
The inside is colorful and clean and filled with glass jars or loose tea, buddhas hanging on the walls, ribbons hanging from the ceiling and happy people eating and drinking foods that heal and make you feel good.
Definitely start the experience with the lemon-ginger drink that is chock full of grated ginger, tart lemon juice and a touch of sweetener. A cross between tea and a lemonade, all of these ingredients aid in digestion and the taste is sensational. When the liquid is gone, scoop up the ginger that settles on the bottom of the glass with a spoon and eat it.
Known as India’s national dish, I ordered the Thaali plate which features copious cups and varieties of freshly cooked vegetables of the day, along with dal, brown rice and a gluten-free dosa to scoop and sop up the goods. Each vegetable cup was packed with flavor and I felt amazing after eating this food.
Ending on a sweet note, we gave in to a gorgeous slice of coconut cream pie that is both gluten-free and vegan. Woo-hoo! Being coconut fans, we couldn’t pass this up and it was just enough to share and send us on our way with a smile on our face knowing we ate something grounding and good for us. I anticipate this becoming one of my go-to places when I feel the need for a truly balanced meal that heals and makes me feel great.
If you happen to be here on a Sunday, consider yourself warned and head straight to the Railyard Artisan’s Market (where the farmers market is held on Saturdays). The doors open at 10 am, so get ready for a vegan and gluten-free celebration that lasts until 4 pm–or until sell-out which occurs sooner. In the corner of the market you will find Drift & Porter, a vegan and gluten-free food company. Or maybe it’s easier to just tell you to look for the gathering and listen for the oohs and aahs?
The duo behind this culinary wizardry are Matthew Spano and John Partazana, who came here on vacation from New York and New Jersey and decided–on a lark–to make the adobe city their new home. Previously, both worked as hairstylists and, clearly, both are tuned into the fashion world as their attention to detail is superior. But it was John’s background as a vegan chef that helped drive this new venture that captivates loyal vegan and gluten-free fans every week. With serious creativity and passion, the Drift & Porter original recipes are as precise and distinctive as they are filled with love and flavor.
Whether you are a sweet seeker (look at that cake, available by the slice) or tend to vote savory, the choices are immense and so are the serving sizes. I find that most of the individual items I buy can be made into several servings, which helps offset the caloric realities and budgetary issues. The prices aren’t cheap, but neither are the ingredients they use and the taste is proof.
As a baker who eats and cooks gluten-free and vegan, Drift & Porter’s creations are impressive even to me, which is why I keep returning every few weeks to explore more of their sweet and savory creations. Nothing is too sweet, which really has value, so trust these guys haven’t merely replaced the missing gluten and animal products with sugar. Their small-bath approach keeps their offerings varied enough but well curated, which makes choosing quite a challenge. If I can do it, I bet you can, too.
Having spent a bit of time in LA, the epicenter of wellness, I felt transported to LA when I entered Opuntia for the first time. And every time since, I have had the same magical feeling of being somewhere else. Perhaps it’s the immense light that floods in from the mostly glass building. Or the copious array of plants throughout the space. Maybe it’s the light sound of music that plays over the speakers and lulls customers into a Zen-like state. Whatever it is, it works for me and many others who flock to Opuntia for healthy fare, global teas and assorted coffee offerings.
I have had the kale salad, which was plentiful with fresh kale, roasted beets, dried cranberries and assorted chopped nuts that is more like a dukkah. The addition of avocado, reggiano and a lemon vinaigrette reminds me of the first kale salad that stole my heart in 2007.
Being a lover of food in “bowls,” I recently tried the Japanese bowl that includes rice, kale, edamame, carrots and roasted sweet potatoes laced with a mushroom broth. It was savory and subtle in flavor but with a little kick that must come from the togarashi.
Consisting of seven spices, togarashi is to Japan what salt and pepper is to us. It includes Korean chile, seaweed, orange peel, ginger, poppy seeds and sesame seeds and this combination of flavors really brought the Japanese bowl to life. I felt soothed after eating it and wanted for nothing else.
My husband ordered the bacon and egg toast, which didn’t quite live up to the expectation of what we would have created at home. Unfortunately, the “toast” was too thin and definitely not toasted enough. This made the “toast” wet and mushy instead of sturdy enough to support the weight of spinach, scrambled eggs and bacon.
David picked it apart leaving the soggy bread behind but said, after reviewing the menu again, he thinks he will go with the Moroccan lamb sandwich or the huevos rancheros Opuntia style next time. I am grateful there will be a “next time” because Opuntia is my kind of place.
Whether you are with a big group, your best friend, partner or alone, treat yourself to a favorite local haunt where you can relax on the expansive and relaxing patio (70% of the year) with an esoteric and nurturing pot of tea, a dirty chai with almond milk or a good + good for you meal.
Months ago, some friends visiting town suggested we meet up at The Teahouse and it has been on the top of our list ever since. Whether you choose to sit in the cozy house or outside on the well-shaded but sunny patio, get ready to kick back and enjoy the chill vibe, supreme teas and creative, global bites.
If you are in search of a healthy way to start your day, fuel up with a variety of egg dishes featuring poached eggs, housemade granola or their daily quiche special. I love the mixed greens that accompany most breakfast dishes. It makes me feel so European and virtuous.
My standard lunch order is the Brussels sprout salad with roasted pears, pistachios, pecorino toscana cheese and mixed greens. This hearty salad is intoxicating and fuels and fills me to a state of happiness. Because they are a bit scarce with their salad dressing, which is better than over dressing a salad, I request a little extra on the side.
David ordered the Italian meatloaf, which was served over polenta with a side salad. Before we were even finished eating, he was already thinking about when we could return so he can try the braised brisket or the gluten-free chicken pot pie.
Luckily, we both had just enough room to test out their gluten-free key lime pie. Considering I make the best key lime pie, this was definitely one I would return to when I am craving this perfectly balanced tangy and sweet concoction.
No matter what time of day or occasion, the Teahouse fits the bill, satisfies all palates and is consistently a restaurant we return to as often as possible, which ends up being pretty often.