James Campbell Caruso's foray into Santa Fe's dining scene - the much raved about La Boca, perfectly captures the essence of European-style dining. The menu introduces Spanish tapas, both traditional and modern, with stellar dishes like the Mariscada de Manolo, Gambas Fritas, Pincho de Puerco and Bocadillo de Jamon. Wine and sherry pairings along with Latin music guarantee delightful romantic evenings. The restaurant is upscale and intimate, and service adheres to a high level. Happy hour deals are worth watching out for; reserve ahead to make the most.
The Matador is a funky and unpretentious bar that is popular with locals and distinctly atypical for Santa Fe. It is as close as a downtown establishment gets to a dive bar, although it is clean and safe. Enter the tiny, underground space via a sheer blink-and-you'll-miss-it staircase. The walls are adorned with framed cult movie posters and band fliers, and the large flat screen TV shows movies. Service is friendly and the tiny space is intimate and fun. This place gets packed on the weekends and seating is hard to come by, so prepare for the crowds.
The Dragon Room Lounge is located adjacent to the renowned Pink Adobe Restaurant and is under the same management. Not only has it been declared best bar in Santa Fe by the Santa Fe Reporter, but International Newsweek named it as one of the top 19 bars in the world. A tree grows right through the roof, and the colorful furnishings and artwork are worth a look. The lounge hosts tourists and locals alike; it's not to be missed.
Maria's began as a simple take-out place in Maria and Gilbert Lopez's home. Maria's home cooking was so popular that the house was eventually converted into the current restaurant. The menu offers a variety of steaks, Mexican entrees, and local favorites. The Blue Corn Enchiladas and the Chile Rellenos are both outstanding, and also come with Spanish rice and beans. If you cannot decide what to order, try the combination plate; it has a little of everything. The cantina offers beer, wine and cocktails.
This multi-award winning cafe quickly became popular after opening its doors in the early 1990s. The festive decor, capable wait staff and wonderful food have contributed to this popularity. Coyote Cafe has made a name for itself by combining the flavors of the local area with international flare. The Black Truffle Risotto and Lacquered Beijing Duck are two of its menu stars. This is a busy place that often hosts private parties and is packed with tourists, so reservations are highly recommended.
The Ranch House is the perfect place to spend an afternoon chowing down on a casual and delicious meal. This American restaurant and sports bar specializes in barbecue. The pork ribs and brisket are popular dishes, but there are some non-barbecue surprises on the menu as well, including tender salmon on a bed of butternut squash puree.
Upon entering Luminaria, guests are greeted by traditional decor inspired by the Anasazi tribe, setting the scene for their meal at hand. This restaurant serves up new American cuisine with a local, Southwestern twist, offering items such as steak, fried oysters, seafood paella and a famous tortilla soup. A number of dishes using game meat are also served here. A long list of wines is available, so that diners can pick out the perfect wine to complement the meal. The patio garden has quaint lawn furniture, umbrellas earth tones, lush, leafy trees and a trellis with flowering climbers. All in all, this restaurant with its classy and intimate vibe is perfect for both dates and business meetings.
Del Charro Saloon, located in the Inn of the Governors, is the perfect pick for a light meal and a drink. It is a well-known meeting spot for both tourists and locals alike. They offer bar food and drinks and a full bar menu. While at this restaurant, don't forget to try their renowned house signature Margaritas. Another crowd favorite is the burger. Dine either in the saloon or outside on the patio, near the cozy fireplace.
Secreto Bar & Loggia is the bar of the beautiful Hotel St. Francis, a National Trust historic building which has been a Santa Fe landmark since 1880. Despite it being a hotel bar, Secreto is actually a favorite among the locals. Cozy up in its upscale interior in the winter and congregate on the outdoor patio during the summer. Unwind with a few appetizers and a fresh cocktail.
The Gruet name is known in France and around the world for its champagne, however the family produces wines here in New Mexico as well. In 1983, the Gruet family purchased some land in nearby Elephant Butte and started planting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The tasting room is located inside the Hotel St. Francis, where you will find the family's Rosé, the 100% Chardonnay as well as some excellent Demi Sec and Brut blends.
La Fiesta Lounge and Bell Tower Bar is known as being one of the best places in Santa Fe to catch the sunset. Located in the luxurious La Fonda Hotel, this spot will definitely start to fill up around dusk, so be sure to get there early to secure a clear view of the Southern sky. The cuisine here consists of a variety of local delicacies, each cooked to perfection and served along with drinks from an impressive list of cocktails. Each evening sees live musical performances by local musicians, attracting music lovers, couples on dates and tourists alike.