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. Couple this setting with the luxury of a 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 made when we were headed west. It is a spectacular experience–both culinary and palpable hospitality–and we absolutely look 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 “must” lists.
Speaking of James Beard award nominees, La Boca‘s chef James Campbell Caruso has been nominated eight 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.
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. The intimacy makes it feel 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. You will be inspired to make another reservation even before you leave. His approach to cooking is lets the ingredients do the heavy lifting. 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 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 covered patio. When it’s cold, snuggle up inside the cozy abode or a 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 again and again.
When you are ready to dine somewhere that has zero green chile on the menu, but a menu so packed with exceptional dishes, it will make ordering hard, head directly to TerraCotta. Nestled just off the Plaza along Johnson street between the Santa Fe Cooking School and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, you’ll stop in your tracks when you are greeted with this stunning garden out front.
If they care this much for their garden, imagine how much they care for you and the food they serve.
Led by Catharine and Glenda, these two hospitality pros know what they are doing and they do it well. In a charming 19th-century adobe building with a delightful patio that abuts the spectacular garden, they serve food they love to eat. With only three hours in the day to get your fill, and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you’ll want to make a reservation as the intimate space fills up quickly.
Start with their signature onion rings which will wow the table. Thick-cut, tempura battered onions are fried until golden brown and served with chipotle mayo. These onion rings are so good, you may not even want the dipping sauce.
With a well-rounded menu, there is something for vegetarians, carnivores and pescatarians. David loved the fish and chips which features grouper and I had the salmon with vegetables and air-fried Yukon gold potatoes.
Whatever you decide to have at TerraCotta, I know you’ll be happy and ready to return for more the next time you are in town.