Dining Santa Fe

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Dining Santa Fe: Five Good Places to Eat in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a city abundant with great places to eat. If you are overwhelmed by choice and don’t know where to start, here are five reliable spots for a good meal. Presented in alphabetical order. Watch for more to come.

Atrisco Café & Bar

“We are your neighborhood café,” reads the greeting on the website. And it feels that way. You can count on Atrisco for quality food, speedy service and a light-filled, lively atmosphere.  The New Mexican offerings are of good quality. The Green Chile stew and Carne Adovada are full of deep flavor with just enough heat. I like the Veggie Especial Enchilada with an over-easy egg on top. Pumpkin seeds and the light, citrus vinaigrette make the Southwestern Chicken Salad a standout. Bright Pico de Gallo and tasty guacamole make the taco plate one of my perennial favorites. $-$$ 193 Paseo de Peralta (DeVargas Mall) * 505-983-7401

Clafoutis

The owners hail from Dijon, so it’s only right that they should make the best French bread in town. The lemon bread has a perfect hint of sour citrus, and the mildly sweet brioche are meltingly soft.  The Salad Charlotte is my lunch preference; Joshua favors the Cubano sandwich. The Croque Monsieur is a more voluptuous version of the classic sandwich than any I ever sampled across the pond. For breakfast, I like the salty, herb-strewn omelette provençale.  Generous amounts of berries dress add festive appeal to the waffles and French toast. Order the large coffee if you tend to drink your first cup quickly as the refill process can be painfully slow. Overall, Clafoutis is one of our favorite restaurants for food quality, panache and the bright charm of its owners.$-$$ 402 N. Guadalupe * 988.1809

Cowgirl Hall of Fame AKA Cowgirl Santa Fe

If you’re hankering for good barbeque in a lively, no fuss atmosphere, the Cowgirl’s your ticket. Known for its heaping plates of mesquite smoked ribs, brisket and chicken, the Cowgirl also offers tasty and filing meatless fare. You must try the luscious, butternut squash casserole with its substantial side salad. Fish-eaters should check out the bourbon salmon platter. As for appetizers, the best value is the nacho plate: a gargantuan nest of color, texture and flavor. The Texas Sized sodas are two-fisted monsters of abundance. Even Arnold Palmer lovers are generously entitled to refills at no extra charge. There’s a full bar with a good selection of tasty margaritas and tequilas. Note that the bar can be slow. But if you have the time and patience to drop your spurs for a spell, the Cowgirl delivers. Kid friendly; nice outdoor patio; live entertainment. $-$$ 319 S. Guadalupe * 982.2565

Pyramid Cafe

This nondescript storefront houses a bastion of fresh flavors. We have dug deep ruts with the same 2-3 offerings: Joshua tends to get the Gyro Sandwich and I am wed to the Roasted Leg of Lamb Salad, but any excursion off the path has been equally rewarding.  Meat is nicely seared: juicy with a hint of charing.  Salads are crisp and well-seasoned.  And while daytime ordering takes place at the counter, the man who usually greets us, takes our order and brings it to the table has a warmth and presence amidst the bustle that make us feel like genuinely honored guests.  For good value and reasonable prices, Pyramid  Café is a staple. North African, Mediterranean and Greek Cuisine. $$ 505 Cordova Rd. * 505.989.1378, Open 7 days a week, 11-9 PM continuously

Tune-Up Café

With its broad menu, reasonable prices and seasonal patio, this neighborhood hot spot draws a crowd for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food suits a range of palates from fussy three year olds to those looking for something more sophisticated. We like the soft, salmon tacos with yogurt dill sauce, and order the lamb barbacoa tacos when they’re on special. The organic chicken piccata is ground-zero for old-fashioned comfort food.  For a bigger appetite, the flank steak with pico, guacamole and pinto beans is excellent. Soups are top notch as is the house salad. The gluten free desserts are above par. Prepare for a wait. Tune Up Café can be busy at peak times. (If you’re wondering, “Dave’s Not Here.” But he used to be. This is the old location of the eponymous restaurant.)  $-$$ 1115 Hickox Street 505-983-7060

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