day twenty-one: a photo of your favorite place to eat

Feb 6, 2011 Leave a Comment

One of the best things about Albuquerque is that it has a very diverse range of food types and restaurants.  In other ways, it can become a challenge to decide where to eat.  Matt and I often resort to listing them, "Okay, do you want Mexican, Italian, Asian, American, Mediterranean....?" And so forth.  But since I don't have all the time and space in the world to list all of our favorite restaurants, I am limiting it to our top 3 Mexican/New Mexican places, which we recently decided upon one day.  So without further ado...

Number 3

The main reason we like Monroe's is because it has a beautiful patio with a fountain and birds fluttering around here and there, so we usually go when the weather is warmer.  Their food is good, but there isn't that one thing on the menu that really makes it stand out from other Mexican restaurants.  One thing I really like is that they have rotating specials, but they don't post them to their website so it's always a gamble as to what they are, although they're usually good.  The service is kind of interesting.  Waiters aren't assigned to a specific table; instead, they all go around finding out who needs refills, their check, etc.  It's a pretty good system because it means there's usually someone around to help you.  The owner is sometimes around as well.  He's really friendly and it's easy to tell he really cares about his restaurant.  During busy times, you can often find him out in the parking lot directing traffic.  He's cool.  The service is usually pretty consistent, especially when he's around, but sometimes it's slacking a little.  If you order Mexican food (they have some other things too), you get complimentary chips and salsa.  It's usually freshly made, but occasionally we've gotten cold chips and salsa that's close to going bad.  Altogether, though, it's pretty good.  Oh, and there's also a fish tank that we like to look at after we pay our bill.  It's always fun to see if there are any new babies swimming around.

Number 2

We had a tie for second runner up, the first is La Salita

La Salita is actually more New Mexican than Mexican.  Everything is always covered with cheese and it always tastes good.  We've ordered in and to-go and it is consistently good quality.  Everything on the menu is great, but the two things that stand out most to me are their tacos and chile rellenos.  The taco meat is seasoned perfectly to give it a distinct flavor, the taco shells are always fresh and crispy, and it's covered in delicious shredded cheddar cheese. MMMMM!!!  So good.  The rellenos are authentic New Mexican style and they're the best of their kind that I've had.  The batter is perfectly crispy and the cheese is oozy gooey goodness.  They also give out complimentary chips and salsa.  Their salsa is served warm and is a mixture of their signature red and green chiles.  This is probably the place we go most often, since it's the closest to where we live.  The manager knows our names.  Haha.

The second, second runner up is Los Cuates

Of all the places mentioned so far, Los Cuates has the best green chile, hands down.  What makes it so good is that it is roasted instead of steamed.  It tastes the best this way and is classic New Mexico.  Roasting green chiles is one of the best smells ever.  Their carne adovada is also really good because it is served in chunks rather than shredded, which is how La Salita does it. (However, their tacos have nothing on La Salita)  They are also the only place I know to get a really good Navajo Taco.  The service is pretty spotty, and it takes a long time to get refills, boxes, and the check.  The last couple times I went there, I was with Matt and his sister and they put us on a high top table, which is small and doesn't have much room for three people to spread out.  It's also a little cold in there.  But we really like the food, which is enough incentive for us to keep coming back. 

Number 1

And the winner is....

This place is a-maz-ing.  The food is a little different from the previous places, since it's more of a Mexican grill style than it is New Mexican.  On their menu is items like steak served with poblano mashed potatoes and calabacitas, a variety of fish (including my favorite, mahi mahi) and chicken dishes.  They have an excellent chile relleno made with a poblano pepper rather than a green chile.  And they make their own margaritas.  Oh my gosh.  So good.  We've only had poor service once or twice, and in those cases I blamed the waiter and not the restaurant.  As you can see, they have a patio with a western view overlooking the city and extending all the way to Mount Taylor.  They're located right next to the mountains and the building is attached to the tram, which takes you to the top of the mountain.  It's a bit pricier than the other restaurants I've mentioned, but honestly, not by that much, and it is so worth it.    

And that's it!  My top three (well, four) Mexican restaurants in Albuquerque (actually, more like in all of New Mexico, because once you get out of Albuquerque, it kind of goes downhill... sorry other NM cities, but it's true).  If you managed to get through all my ramblings, now you know where to go if you are ever to visit our lovely city.  And if you got hungry and gave up halfway through reading this, well, I don't blame you.


  • Chloe said:  

    Interesting list!! ;)
    Oh, love your new background!!

  • Nain @ View From Down Here said:  

    Thanks for stopping by! You have me seriously craving some Mexican food now...sounds delicious! Oh, and the warm patio, too...in the midwest, the snow is making me crave that, too!

  • Wildology said:  

    Has to have good chips and salsa to make me happy!....and I second Nain wanting a WARM patio!!!

  • Rachel @ dreamingofthecountry said:  

    Wow, the view at Sandiagos looks amazing.
    I've never been to a Mexican restaurant!

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