Looking to get away for a few days but don’t have time or money to travel too far? Santa Fe is the perfect destination for an impulsive vacation. But the natural beauty of the American Southwest isn’t the only attraction that’ll leave a lasting impression—the awesome New Mexican food and drink will stay with you, too. In between visits to museums and galleries, desert hikes and filling your carry-on with Native American crafts, these are the spots to be sure to hit for the best local flavors:
Start your day at Iconik Coffee, which has two locations in Santa Fe and serves bold, savory roasts from Burundi, Mexico and beyond. It’s also got great daytime menu items like a grain bowl and breakfast tacos and burritos as well as lighter fare like a salad of two poached eggs atop a bed of spinach, apples, dried cranberries, bacon and candied almonds with a maple-balsamic vinaigrette. For Saturday brunch, don’t go anywhere but the Farmers Market at the Railyard to sample hyper-local delicacies like tamales, breads and made-to-order egg dishes sourced by the local farms and bakeries.
The City Different boasts solid open all-day options, the most notable being Pasqual’s, just a block from the Santa Fe Plaza, or main square. No matter when you go, make sure to order a dish that includes the barbacoa, like the huevos barbacoa con chile d’arbol for breakfast and the two quesadillas barbacoa available for dinner. Around the corner, the historic and cute AF diner, Plaza Café offers New Mexican delicacies like Huevos Divorciados alongside Greek diner mainstays like the Cobb salad.
Then it’s taco time. Don’t miss out on the tacos at El Parasol or The Shed. Each are nationally ranked, but offer different experiences. Parasol is fast-concept with counter service and a few locations. There’s just one Shed and it’s a sit-down joint with Margaritas and friendly staff. It’s a tough choice that risks #FOMO either way. But remember: there’s always time for tacos and bring #whynotboth into play. For a special dinner, make a reservation at the Anasazi Restaurant at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. Executive Chef Edgar Beas’ tasting menu of dishes mixes old world flavors and recipes with New World techniques. It will blow your mind.
The Anasazi Bar and seasonal patio are great locations for enjoying well-mixed cocktail, but the best high-end hotel bar in town is Secreto Lounge at Hotel St. Francis. Specializing in “garden-to-glass” drinks, like their signature Sage Margarita, cocktail connoisseurs can geek out over mixed drinks the Jerry Thomas Smash, an early iteration of the Mint Julep. Sazón is another must-visit drink spot for the agave-obsessed as it’s both a mezcaleria and tequileria (pro tip: order a flight!), but clear liquor drinkers won’t feel forgotten as they sip the gin- and brut rosé-based Frida Kahlo. Saunter in for happy hour and the homemade corn tortillas and moles might convince you to stay for dinner, so end your night at the Second Street Brewery and start planning your next trip to The City Different over a pint or two of brewed-on-the-spot beers with the kind citizens of Santa Fe.