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Brief Reviews of Mexican Restaurants in New Mexico

New Mexico
Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
El Modelo
1715 2nd St. SW
Albuquerque, NM
21 NM 1990 Takeout only. Stuffed sopaipillas are excellent. Tamales are the specialty.
El Pinto
10500 4th St. NW
Albuquerque, NM
17 NM 1990 The same family started this restaurant, La Posta in Mesilla, and Griggs in El Paso, Texas. The food here has become more toned down and "Americanized" than the original recipes call for, and is not my choice for New Mexican food. It's in a large hacienda-type building, and the setting is really much of the enjoyment of eating here. Despite the fact that I don't care much for the salsa at El Pinto, La Posta, or Griggs, the El Pinto salsa sold in grocery stores is one of the best, and I use it at home frequently.
La Salita
1217 Eubank NE
Albuquerque, NM
17 NM 1990 This was a neighborhood favorite of my cousins so I ate there quite a bit, and had quite a bit of La Salita's take-out. If it were not so convenient, though, I probably would not have eaten here, since this is not a "destination" restaurant with great New Mexican food. I always felt that if you had the time to drive to other places, better food was available in a number of other restaurants.
1520 Lomas Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM
18 NM 1981 I think I ate twice at this location near Old Town, and felt that the food was too "touristy" and "toned down." I was surprised when I ate at the Osuna location and thought the food was much better.
5801 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM
22 NM 1981 Not to be confused with the more famous Perea's Tijuana Bar & Restaurant in Corrales, this Perea's is a 1950's style greasy spoon place (it was probably in its heyday when Central Ave. was still part of US 66). What sets Perea's apart, though, is the breakfast menu. It may have some of the best huevos rancheros anywhere--they are plenty spicy, but the emphasis is on flavor rather than the spiciness.
508 S. Canal
Carlsbad, NM
13 NM 1989 From the outside, this looks like the Mexican restaurant in Carlsbad, but I was not impressed--it's better to go to Lucy's down the street.
Lucy's Mexicali
701 S. Canal
Carlsbad, NM
20 NM 2002 Stuffed sopaipillas are best.
Chris & Di's 4 Winds
US 54 & US 380 Intersection
Carrizozo, NM
23 NM 2000 One of the best places I've tried. I love the red chile enchiladas.
El Caballero
210 W. Marland
Hobbs, NM
19 NM 2001 Pretty much a hole-in-the-wall place. Specializes in tacos and other meats, soups, and Mexican dishes found in the more authentic, border places. Enchiladas are not as good as at Goncho's, but the other dishes make up for it.
1226 W. Hadley Ave.
Las Cruces, NM
24 NM 2002 Stuffed sopaipillas are my favorite--it's like a burrito but using a sopaipilla instead of a flour tortilla. You can get it stuffed with red or green chile, along with beans, lettuce, and meat (or you can order it vegetarian). Enchiladas are also very good--stacked is best. I have always considered Nellie's to be the best New Mexican restaurant in Las Cruces--it's too bad it's not open for dinner.
El Charro Cafe
209 S.P. Blvd.
Lordsburg, NM
18 NM 1998 They seem to be afraid of using the undiluted hot chile found along the Rio Grande, but the food has a good flavor.
El Rancho
101 S. Chicago
Portales, NM
17 NM 1999 Would have a higher score if more spicy

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Restaurant Rating Type Last Tried Heat Index Comments
3311 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM
24 NM 1981 In a city that had too many disappointing Mexican restaurants, this was one of the ones that was always exceptional.
Casa Grande
2424 Central SW
Albuquerque, NM
23 NM 1992 Red enchiladas are excellent. They serve sopaipillas and honey with the meal, and I remember being glad I had this to cut the fire from the enchiladas.
Garduņo's of Mexico
2200 Sunport Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM
20 NM 2000 While "airport food" has always had a bad reputation, one of my best experiences was at Garduņo's in the Albuquerque airport. In fact, it was so good I tried to eat there again when I was at the airport, but since 9/11 it has been placed outside the security perimeter and it is no longer possible to eat there while changing planes unless you have a lot of time. If you are able to try it, though, you will get genuine New Mexican food, although with plastic forks. It would be worth planning connecting flights through ABQ at meal time with enough layover to try Garduņo's.
Matilda's Cafe
424 Corlett Rd.
Espaņola, NM
23 NM 1978 I went a long time ago. I remember that it was hot and that it's a good example of northern New Mexico style cooking.
Rio Grande Cafe
100 Los Alamos Hwy.
Espaņola, NM
21 NM 1973 Probably the hottest green chile in New Mexico.
801 W. Bender
Hobbs, NM
17 NM 2002 A little more Tex-Mex than most food in New Mexico, but very good and flavorful. This is a sit-down, family-style restaurant that specializes in combination plates and typical Mexican fare.
La Tertulia
416 Agua Fria
Santa Fe, NM
25 NM 1987 Located in a historic home, the surroundings probably contributed to the enjoyment of the meal. Nevertheless, I thought it had some of the best blue corn enchiladas and posole ever served in a restaurant. I have had a hard time trying to find anything in Albuquerque or Las Cruces that typified New Mexican food as well as La Tertulia.

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