Ripe is just what El Paso needs, a restaurant that focuses on innovative recipes and a place where guests rarely run into Tex-Mex ingredients on the menu. If they do, the plates still make this Southwest style shine in a different way. The restaurant is a brother/sister establishment that was founded in 2007 and they present three service times, weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. Each menu has their wonderful burgers with beef sourced from Bakka Ranch along with many other tasty choices. Happy Hour from 3-6pm includes 3USD off appetizers and 1/2 off glasses of wine, overall a nice place to visit off-the-beaten New American path.
Pot au Feu is a nice change of pace in what seems to be a incessant amount of Tex-Mex options in the area. The kitchen here does not necessarily focus on French food despite the name, because there are internationally-inspired dishes as well as Steak Frites and the beef stew or Pot au Feu. During their brunch service, the seasonal menu is always a hit and it's probably the best time to come if you're looking to match price and portion.
El Paso is not necessarily known for its variety of cuisine, however this Korean establishment located near the airport is a welcome addition to the usual routine. Every meal comes with the ubiquitous Ban Chan or small appetizers that range from the spicy, sour Kimchi to the sweet Japchae noodles, so bring your appetite. The prices are reasonable and since the place is usually packed with locals, it usually helps to come in early.
L&J Cafe is considered one of the best Mexican food restaurants on the northern side of the border. Around since the 1920s, its throwback retro sign lets visitors know what's in store for them inside, which is simple, unpretentious Mexican food. They are known for their green chile enchiladas and it has been run by the same family for over three generations, so you know the recipes are authentic. Other items on the menu include tacos, burritos, salads, tortas (sandwiches) and specialties like the Chicken Tampiqueña. If you try the enchiladas and like the salsa atop them, don't forget to ask your server for a can of the stuff in green or red.
It seems that wood-fired pizza is the way-to-go if you want your restaurant to be ultra-successful, and by the looks of the crowded tables at this restaurant, it appears the owners are doing something right. The menu is simple, as there are only a few items per category, but each option is made with care and the best ingredients. In fact, the kitchen even makes its own handmade mozzarella. The pizzas are equally uncomplicated, the Marinara and Margherita have less than four ingredients and the 'Smoked' just has bell pepper, fennel sausage and smoked mozzarella. One other benefit is that the restaurant allows guests to bring-your-own-bottle; this only adds to the reasons why you should come here.
Across the street from the Cielo Vista Mall, Pho Tre Bien brings Vietnam to Old El Paso. Here you order by number off the somewhat overwhelming menu but, you will soon find out that the choices are just variations on a theme. If you're here for pho, the three main categories are Rice, Yellow and Authentic noodles. Each one comes with your choice of steak, seafood or chicken. If you can, try to get a table on the beautiful garden patio, complete with a waterfall and a meditating Buddha.
Located in the historic Anson Mills building, which itself rests upon the 1832 Ponce de Leon ranch, this bistro/fine dining restaurant is actually two in one. On the first floor, the bistro serves light, healthy Californian style dishes alongside impeccable service. On the second floor, the luxurious dining room is where you can enjoy part of the chef's tasting menu filled with items like Sturgeon, Dry Aged Duck Breast and King Salmon. Whether you choose the dining room or bistro, both options allow you to select from more than 250 different wines.
Affectionately known as G2, Geogeske is the place to go when you want comfort food just like mom used to make, albeit with a modern twist in the kitchen. The menu is long, it's four pages of everything but the kitchen sink, from sashimi and guacamole to beef tenderloin and barbecue chicken, there is something for everyone. The wine list is just as varied, with varietals from Argentina to Germany, ask your waiter for pairings when you order your meal. Geogeske is also located in the historic Kern Place district of El Paso, so after or before your dinner, there's the added benefit of taking a tour around the stately homes.
Nour Mediterranean Cafe is a quaint, family-run Lebanese restaurant that serves pita, schwarma, falafel and what locals say is the best hummus in town. The dishes shine on all fronts, from the grape dolmeh appetizers to their 'Family Meal', which is a massive platter of different meats, vegetables, falafel and pita that can feed up to six people. One of the best things about Nour is their signature sauce, it is a delightful melange of garlic, cilantro, lime and raw potato! Overall, it is a great place to bring the family or if you are with a large group.
Kiki's Mexican Restaurant is a no-frills, typical Southwest spot that serves massive portions of mediocre Tex-Mex at great prices. Inside, the decor is a bit dated, however the staff usually makes up for the anachronistic ambiance with their staid charm. Nonetheless, the prices are perfect for groups, try the Crab Enchiladas, the Fajitas or the Machaca (shredded beef) plates, they are big enough for two or three. At Kiki's most people can eat a tremendous amount of food without breaking the bank and since the place is quite small, it tends to fill up pretty quick during lunch and dinner.