Whether you are in town for a too-short weekend, a week or if you live here, we all need a night on the town to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Or no occasion at all. Even though I am kind of done with “fine dining” restaurants, these are a few of the restaurants we treasure and hope you, too, will find them equally remarkable.
Imagine dining in an adobe home built in 1756 filled with kiva fireplaces and stunning interiors and the luxury of highly-capable wait staff taking care of your every whim while the talented chefs prepare a meal that will last with you forever.
This is Geronimo.
Located on the highly-prized address of Canyon Road, we have been frequenting this restaurant as long as we have been visiting Santa Fe. It’s always the first reservation we make when we were headed west as it is a spectacular experience–both culinary and palpable hospitality–and we absolutely looked forward to this special night with great anticipation.
Voted one of the top 100 restaurants in the country by OpenTable and always named a finalist as a James Beard Award winner, in one visit, you will see why this restaurant remains at the top of everyone’s culinary lists.
Speaking of James Beard award nominees, La Boca‘s chef James Campbell Caruso has been nominated 8 times for his contemporary spin on traditional Spanish tapas. For years, we have heard people rave about La Boca, but with so many options to choose from on vacation and only so many meals, we never made it here as tourists.
But we finally scooted in the door when we were house hunting (as almost residents) and had a magical night of wine, tapas and chocolate pot de creme. Located on my favorite street, Marcy Street, this intimate space is always packed and feels like a European wine bar with laughter and joy emanating from every table.
Maybe it’s the impressive wine list, the adept staff or the savory and well-prepared tapas, but there is something about La Boca that makes everyone happy and that is a sure sign of a superior restaurant.
Nestled in a beautiful building off Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo is Restaurant Martin, where head chef and owner, Martin Rios creates delectable dishes that inspire you to make another reservation even before you leave. His approach to cooking is to let the ingredients do the heavy lifting and this simple strategy has helped him achieve a fierce following of both locals and tourists, along with numerous James Beard nominations and awards and a cookbook.
Trained at the CIA, Chef Martin weaves his classic French culinary techniques with the the Southwestern flavors Santa Fe is known for and adds a sprinkling of Asian influences. This trifecta provides even more layers of flavor and will cement your affection for everything that comes out of the kitchen.
Whether you want to experience weekend brunch, lunch or dinner, Restaurant Martin can be a romantic meal for two or a lively and vibrant celebration for many. During warm weather, you will want to dine outside on the extensive covered patio and, when it’s cold, snuggle up inside the cozy abode or larger private dining room.
No matter the time of year or where you choose to sit, you will be surrounded by happy customers celebrating life at Restaurant Martin with friends and family. The setting is neither stuffy nor sedate, predictable nor pretentious. These realities make it more than approachable and comforting, offering a refined dining experience in a casual environment where the food and the service are on par with each other. This nuanced combination is a rarity that makes Restaurant Martin a place we return to time and again.
What started in 2015 as a farm-to-table restaurant has, in a few short years, blossomed into a well-oiled and mature restaurant with serious culinary skills, a world-class whiskey program and an adoring following of grateful patrons. If you are looking for creative dishes that celebrate Southern flavors using local ingredients, Radish & Rye is a stand-out in The City Different.
Success is not surprising when the team includes restaurateur Quinn Stephenson, part owner of two Santa Fe culinary institutions, Geronimo’s and Coyote Cafe. Playing double-duty as the mixologist, he also brings his cocktail skills and the city’s (and the state’s) unparalleled selection of whiskeys.
If you are into whiskeys, let the Radish & Rye team booze you up with their seasonal shrub drink made with one of three rye whiskeys or dive deep into their impressive selection of bourbons and whiskeys. A winter cranberry sage shrub stole the show and made us all secretly long for the recipe.
Their menu is eye-candy to carnivores and a welcome mat to vegetarians and thoughtfully leaves no one behind. The consistency from the kitchen means you can count on Radish & Rye to deliver a serious dinner for a special occasion or stop by the buzzing bar for an array of appetizers on a week night just because.
In a town full of green and red chile and sopaipillas, it’s easy to see why Radish & Rye has risen to–and remained at–the top of everyone’s list.