Dining Santa Fe: Raaga

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“Fresh” and “light” are two words I never thought I would associate with the gram flour coated, fried vegetable appetizer known as a “pakora.” But Raaga, the newest addition to Santa Fe’s generously endowed culinary scene, is a standout for its clean, bright flavors and delicate touch with fried food.  The daily buffet includes a soup, rice, vegan, vegetarian and meat entrees, Naan, a salad bar and dessert. On the day we went, the soup was tomato-fennel (vigorously enjoyed by a seven year old at the adjacent table) and the dessert a lusciously creamy Mango Kulfi. Its flavor was so vibrant and sense-satisfying that my partner and I comfortably split a small cup between us. The crisp pakora tasted like a flash-fried vegetable, not breading and oil.

Praise for Raaga has been rolling through the social media and consumer driven review sites, such as Yelp, and I haven’t read a negative word yet. Cynics could peg this enthusiasm to Santa Fe’s hunger for dining novelty, but in truth, more newcomer eateries limp out the gate than gallop. Raaga rockets.

If there’s a complaint in the wings, it could arise from the extremely limited seating that may lead to long waits and turnaways once the word of Raaga’s excellence gets around. The restaurant also lacks a liquor license (although has started the process toward obtaining one) which may be a deterrent for evening diners.  That said, the building is beautiful, the service warm and attentive and the food a savory standout. “Raaga” means “sweet melody.” Downtown Santa Fe is lucky to be hearing its song.

HOURS: Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 5:00-9:30 PM.  Friday and Saturday, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 5:00-10:00 PM

Tel: 505.820.6440 email: raagacuisine@gmail.com

LOCATED at 544 Agua Fria Street, in Downtown Santa Fe, a block west of the Santuario de Guadalupe.

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