Green chiles are as essential to New Mexican cooking as tomato sauce is to Italian food. Everywhere you go, you'll find green chiles on the menu. And that's a good thing. These spicy, tangy roasted peppers add a special kick to everything you eat. Whether you smother them on a burger or enjoy them in a hearty stew, you'll fall in love with this special ingredient. Here's a list of the best restaurants to enjoy green chile dishes in Santa Fe.
1. Bobcat Bite
Little more than a tiny shack off the side of Old Las Vegas Highway just outside of Santa Fe’s downtown, Bobcat Bite serves up the most delicious green chile cheeseburgers in the country. Served steaming hot and dripping with melted cheese and hot green chiles, these burgers are absolute perfection. There’s also a chicken sandwich and a ham and cheese sandwich on the menu, but I’d stick to the burger. You’ll be craving it long after you return home. Plan your visit carefully, however. The restaurant is only open Wednesday-Saturday.
A staple of New Mexican cuisine is green chile stew, which is frequently made with chopped green chiles, pork, onions and potatoes. To sample some of the best in town, visit the Blue Corn Café and Brewery, which serves up one of the most flavorful (read: spicy) stews anywhere. They also have a full menu with other local staples such as tamales, chalupas and stuffed sopaipillas. Make sure you order a beer with your meal – the restaurant also makes its suds in house.
3. The Shed
The motto here is “creative cooking,” and that’s just what you’ll find on this interesting, diverse menu infused with green chile offerings such as green chile chicken corn chowder, green chile chicken enchiladas and green chile huevos rancheros, to name a few. They also have a well-rounded lunch, dinner and dessert menu, should a member of your group feel a little overloaded on chiles.
4. Cowgirl BBQ
In addition to being kitschy, fun and interesting, Cowgirl BBQ, a longtime Santa Fe institution, also serves up a host of delicious food. Green-chile inspired favorites here include chile cheddar fries (topped with chiles and melted cheese), green-chile-topped macaroni and cheese, green-chile-topped chile rellenos and a smoked chicken short stack. Come for the food, but stick around for the atmosphere, which is family friendly and welcoming.
5. Plaza Cafe
Located in the heart of Santa Fe on the town plaza, the Plaza Café is a favorite among locals for its satisfying fare. Green chile options are varied here – don’t miss the chile rellenos omelet – as is the rest of the menu, which includes scrambled eggs with cactus, blue corn pinon pancakes, menudo and chilaquiles. Just please make sure you save room for dessert. The heaping, fresh apple pie here is world famous.
6. La Plazuela
You’d be hard pressed to find a finer hotel in Santa Fe than the La Fonda Hotel, one of the city’s most historic and most beautiful accommodations. Whether you stay there or just stop by to look around, don’t miss the opportunity to have a meal at La Plazuela, the hotel’s charming on-site restaurant. Offerings here include bacon-wrapped green chile shrimp, green chile enchiladas with filet mignon and green chile tamales.
OK, so it’s not technically a restaurant, but every Saturday morning the foodies of Santa Fe meet at the Santa Fe Railyard to pick up the latest fresh goods. The anchor of the whole thing? Roasted green chiles. Watch as they sizzle over flames, then take a package of them with you as a souvenir. This is also a good place to find other local goods, such as fresh pastries, flowers and handmade soaps.