Authentic New Mexico Cuisine

Where to find local flavor

A mural in Santa Fe's historic La Fonda on the Plaza depicting Pueblo life. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Oh, that cuisine! With all that chili, blue corn, squash, range-fed meat, sage, and mesquite to work with, New Mexico’s chefs have created one of the country’s tastiest and most imaginable cuisines. Following are four of our favorites.

La Plazuela at La Fonda Hotel

Location: 100 East San Francisco Street, Santa Fe

Information and dinner reservations: (505) 995-2334

Operating Hours: Breakfast, 7:00 a.m.-1:30 a.m. daily; Lunch, Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner, 5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. daily

Where can you dine on sophisticated fare at surprisingly reasonable prices in the most beautiful Santa Fe style?

La Fonda on the Plaza is Santa Fe’s most historic and authentic hotel and restaurant experience. This charming, landmark hotel has delighted travelers since the early 1920s when the original hotel was built on the oldest hotel corner in America. Indeed, early records show a fonda, or inn, on the historic corner of San Francisco and Water Streets since the founding of Santa Fe in 1607.

La Fonda on the Plaza is Santa Fe’s most historic and authentic hotel and restaurant experience. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But, it wasn’t until two centuries later, when Captain William Becknell completed the first successful trading expedition from Missouri to Santa Fe—which came to be known as The Santa Fe Trail—that the original adobe hotel, literally “at the end of the trail,” came into its own.

Lane Warner, Executive Chef since 1993, innovates with savory cuisine and recently won gold and bronze medals at the international hotel and restaurant show in Las Vegas.

We’ve had several memorable meals at La Plazuela at La Fonda. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere incomparable with friendly, helpful, and efficient staff.

It’s truly one of Santa Fe’s treasures.

La Posta de Mesilla

Location: On the Plaza in Historic Old Mesilla at 2410 Calle de San Albino

Information and dinner reservations: (575) 524-3524

Operating Hours: Open 7 days a week at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner

Visiting Historic Mesilla is like stepping back in time. With its territorial style buildings, the town square looks much like it did back in the 1850s when it was home to Pancho Villa, Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, and Judge Roy Bean.

Mesilla also offers some of the finest New Mexican cuisine, including that of the nationally renowned La Postas de Mesilla, with an atmosphere that’s an experience in itself.

Judge Bean and his brother Sam operated a freight and passenger service line from the building in the 1850s. Following the Civil War the La Posta compound served as an important stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line. In the 1870s and 1880s the Corn Exchange Hotel, one of the Southwest’s finest, occupied the space. The hotelier’s widow continued to operate a hotel, restaurant, and other businesses here until the early 1900s.

La Fonda was literally "at the end of the trail" in the early 1920s. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The restaurant’s current history began in 1939 when Katy Griggs, a larger than life renaissance woman, opened La Posta.

Today the La Posta compound includes fascinating little shops along with the famous restaurant which is still run by Katy’s family. With so much history and so many colorful characters roaming in and out of the La Posta complex, it’s no wonder that staff and customers alike have had experience with ghosts here. Furniture and bar glasses move by unseen hands and shadow figures have been seen in the entrance hall.

The menu at La Posta does not change seasonally. In fact, the menu and the recipes that create its savory New Mexico style dishes are exactly the same as they were when the restaurant opened back in 1939.

New Mexican cuisine relies heavily on chiles and the food served at La Posta is no exception. The dishes we’ve had during our two visits were excellent.

In addition to traditional New Mexican favorites, La Posta is also known for its steaks. They serve over 300,000 meals a year so you know they’re doing something right.
There are many reasons to visit La Posta—the history, the ghosts, the ambiance, and the authentic New Mexico cuisine. Come for all of the above. You’re guaranteed not to be disappointed!

To be continued tomorrow…

Worth Pondering…

Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.

—last words of Kit Carson (1809-1868)

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