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Bargain Dining in Santa Fe

You can count on friendly service at Café Pink.

By Sharon Niederman
Sharon Niederman photo
Book Cover photo Ken Gallard

The completely updated Great Destinations Series Seventh Edition of The Santa Fe & Taos Book: A Complete Guide, written and photographed by Sharon Niederman, with 100 new photos, is due out from The Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton, in Spring, 2006.

Drawn from her extensive knowledge of the Santa Fe dining scene, the author presents below her top ten picks for bargain dining in Santa Fe, in no particular order.

“Santa Fe justifiably has a reputation as a high-end restaurant town. While it’s always fun to splurge at the Compound for dinner, visitors in the know can navigate the restaurant scene and discover a delightful variety of excellent little spots that will not bust the budget.”

  1. Café Pink (505-983-7712; 406 Old Santa Fe Tr.) is where you can find bargain priced excellent soups, salads and specials, often the same fare served at the legendary Pink Adobe next door.

  2. For a quick budget lunch while out and about, try Cleopatra’s Café (505-820-7381; 418 Cerrillos Rd.) in the Design Center for delicious moussaka, felafel, baba ganoush and baklava.

  3. El Teosoro Café (505-988-3886; 500 Montezuma Ave.) in the Sanbusco mall has tasty warm spinach salad, sandwiches and enchiladas.

  4. Back Street Bistro (505-982-3500; 513 Camino de los Marquez) serves up a variety of homemade gourmet soups daily.

  5. Ramblin’ Café (505-989-1272; 1420 2nd St. has fantastic quesadillas and sandwiches with fresh-roasted turkey in an out of the way location locals know very well.

  6. At Del Charro Saloon (505-954-0320; 101 W. Alameda), you get an unbelievable lunch for under $5.00, including homemade fries, creamy green chile chicken soup, burgers and enchiladas, that taste far more costly. You can also sip a Margarita or Guinness on tap.

  7. At Upper Crust Pizza (505-982-0000; 329 Old Santa Fe Tr.), you can have delicious pizza and salads for under $5.00. And you can dine on the patio.

  8. Santa Fe Baking Co. & Café (505-988-4292; 504 W. Cordova Rd.) — here you’ll find standard American breakfasts and a variety of tasty coffees and juices, along with a case of freshly baked, irresistible croissants, scones and pastries. Wonderful spot to read the papers and plan the weekend with a superb latte and a chocolate croissant. Lunches include an assortment of delicious sandwiches both hot and cold, as well as a variety of salads and soups.

  9. The Bobcat Bite Restaurant (505-983-5319; 420 Old Las Vegas Hwy — just South of Santa Fe) is a small adobe that once served as a trading store and gun shop. Today they serve a premier hamburger, and not much else. But there are many who swear this is the best burger available.

  10. For continental cuisine, try French Pastry Shop (505-983-6697.100 E. San Francisco St.). George Zadeyan and his brother started their first French Pastry Shop in Santa Fe in 1972. Two years later, they moved to La Fonda Hotel on the plaza. The location has made this little café a tourist mecca in the summertime and a year-round destination for many locals. The reasons are obvious: authentic croissants, raisin rolls, apple turnovers, Napoleons, strawberry tarts, eclairs, quiches, sandwiches, crepes, coffees, cappuccinos.

Bon Appetít!

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