Where to Eat in Santa Fe
Chiles define the cuisine of New Mexico. To sample signature New Mexican-style dishes, make a reservation at The Shed. Located just east of the plaza, this family-owned restaurant serves classic dishes like carne adovada (pork chunks roasted in red chile), tacos made with blue corn tortillas, and enchiladas drenched in your choice of red or green chile sauce.
Insider’s Tip: Do yourself a favor and order yours "Christmas style," half red and half green chile sauce.
Near the Santa Fe Railyard, Cowgirl BBQ smokes brisket, ribs, and chicken, but it’s famous for the nachos and the "mother of all green chile cheese burgers": a patty made of beef, local buffalo, and applewood smoked bacon topped with melted brie, green chile, and a slice of heirloom tomato all served on a cheddar and green chile bun. It’s so good that it’s a past Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown champion. As you eat, keep an eye on the bar—author George R.R. Martin, of “Game of Thrones” fame, occasionally dines here.
Before or after visiting Meow Wolf, grab a bite at nearby Dr. Field Goods Kitchen. The menu runs the gamut from wood fired pizza and pho to carne adovada egg rolls. Everything is homemade—including the sodas—and local, down to the meat butchered next door at Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop and Bakery.
Need some guidance navigating the city’s culinary scene? Sign up for a food tour with the Santa Fe School of Cooking. The acclaimed institution offers three walking tour options, each with three or four stops at downtown establishments.
Nightlife in Santa Fe
Evenings in the City Different are a good time to sip your way along the 30-plus offerings on the Santa Fe Margarita Trail through downtown. Pick up your passport at any Tourism Santa Fe Visitor Center or participating restaurant or bar. The smoked sage margarita—crafted at Secreto Lounge, the award-winning, garden-to-glass craft cocktail bar inside Hotel St. Francis—is not to be missed due to its unique flavor imparted by burned sage.
For an Instagram-worthy experience, reserve a table at El Farol, one of Santa Fe’s oldest restaurants. Every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night at 6:30 the restaurant puts on a flamenco dinner show, while other performances ranging from live blues and jazz to indie and rock are slotted in throughout the year.
During the summer, the place to be is the Santa Fe Opera. Bring your own picnic to elegantly tailgate in the parking lot before performances begin. On stage, the performers and rich sets captivate into the night.
Insider's Tip: The venue is outdoors, and temperatures can drop by as much as 15 degrees after the sun sets, so bring layers and dress appropriately.