For those of you who may be seeking alternative eats–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 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 (and now closed as of 2019) 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 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.
Perched on a hill off of Hyde Park Road heading towards Santa Fe ski area sits a nationally recognized and revered Japanese wellness mecca, Ten Thousand Waves. This spa has a rich history and is adored by locals and tourists who make their pilgrimages for self-care, massages, skincare and solitary hot tubs nestled among the piñon and juniper trees.
While I have been to the spa countless times over the years, enjoyed their traditional Japanese spa services and reveled in the serenity of the space, I had only heard and read about the restaurant, Izanami. Being that we live less than two miles away, we were long overdue for a visit to the restaurant we had heard so much about.
The stunning visual and the sound of the welcoming waterfall sets the tone for the peace and calmness the restaurant exudes once you pass through the front door. The restaurant’s vestibule is home to a small gift shop of Japanese-inspired culinary items including cookbooks, teas, spices, chopsticks, ceramic bowls and cups and other items available for purchase for those who want to recreate the Zen-like experience at home.
The lure of the housemade pickles was too much to resist and the pickled lotus root, kimchi and radishes happily prepared our palate for the global flavors that were to follow.
We came for the ramen and it did not disappoint, though I opted for the vegetarian bibimbap since they did not offer a vegetarian ramen option which was served with a side of miso and hot chile paste that added a welcome punch of flavor to the 500 degree bibimbap dish.
As a tea lover, I chose the hojicha, a roasted green tea variety that offered a smooth and mellow flavor featuring less caffeine. The tea arrived in a square cast iron teapot that weighed at least three pounds and made me wish I could sit there all day and sip my thoughts away.
Now that we have been inculcated into the Japanese ways of Izanami and the explosive flavors it provides in a mostly healthy way, we are smitten and determined to make more frequent pilgrimages to satisfy our need for bright and spicy flavors that won’t weigh us down.
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. (Note: Opuntia relocated in 2021 to the Railyard.)
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.
What started as a pop-up has become one of Santa Fe’s most adored restaurants. Inspired by Chef Paulraj Karuppasamy’s home cooking, you’ll want to order everything on the menu that centers on South Indian cuisine. From tasty chutneys to vadas, and plenty of dosas to choose from, the Paper Dosa culinary team is not short on flavor. The entire menu is gluten-free making this welcome comfort food for those eschewing gluten. The menu also has lots of vegetarian options and dishes for carnivores. This restaurant hits all of the buttons and does so in an authentic way that makes it easy to love. Choose dine-in, take-out or purchase a DIY dosa kit and have fun cooking something brand new at home.
This is one of my favorite bakeries in the world. It originally opened on San Felipe in 2012 and closed in 2016. This 2013 blog post proves my love for this 100% gluten-free bakery. After permanently relocating to Santa Fe, I was giddy with joy when I learned in the spring of 2019 that this bakery was rising like a phoenix.
Master gluten-free baker Dionne Christian has all the tricks and talent to produce wholesome breads and pastries that are entirely gluten-free, many of which are also vegan.
Whether you are gluten-free or not, you will want to check out this amazing bakery. I bet you won’t even believe it’s all gluten-free. The texture of the breads are so on point, this may be the gluten-free bakery you need to believe that gluten-free baked goods can be as good–if not better–than their gluten-filled counterparts.
And, to validate this bakery even more, Dionne is the inventor of The Teahouse, which she sold in 2011 to launch Revolution Bakery.
Whether you are with a big group, your best friend, partner or alone, treat yourself to a favorite 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 inside 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, though I have been known to order the equally sensational beet salad with the requisite Brussels sprouts. These hearty salads are surprisingly intoxicating and fuels me to a state of happiness. Because they are a bit scarce with their salad dressing, which is better than overdressing a salad, I request a little extra on the side.
For the more manly-meat customer, David approves of the Italian meatloaf, which is served over polenta and with minimally dressed mixed greens. He also sings the praises of the braised brisket and the gluten-free chicken pot pie. But, honestly, we have never been disappointed with anything on the menu.
If you have any room left, please order the gluten-free key lime pie. Considering I make the best key lime pie, this is one I would return to when I am craving this perfectly balanced tangy and sweet concoction and don’t want the ordeal of making (and eating) an entire key lime pie.
No matter what time of day, who you are with 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–and that’s fine by me.