Gourmet Girl: Where to Eat During Santa Fe Restaurant Week
We're smack in the middle of what must be Santa Fe's most popular week for dining out—the annual Santa Fe Restaurant Week, which wraps up Sunday, March 1. More than 50 restaurants across the city offer three-course prix-fixe meals at discounted prices and some offer lunch in addition to dinner. Restaurant Week provides the chance to dine at a restaurant you normally can't afford, check out a new restaurant or try a restaurant that's new to you. Enticing events are on tap this week, too, from margarita making and wine and mezcal tasting to an exploration of using CBD in your kitchen.
Reservations are practically required for this wildly popular event, now in its 11th year, but if you haven't made yours yet, don't give up. You can still find tables at plenty of places, whether you're looking for fine dining or a laid-back cafe or diner experience. Check the Restaurant Week website to see which restaurants are participating and to browse their Restaurant Week menus. Below, find our recommendations for a few top spots to dine at during the 2020 Santa Fe Restaurant. If you miss the Santa Fe Restaurant Week, you can still enjoy discounted dining during the Los Alamos/Northern New Mexico Restaurant Week, March 1-8, followed by Albuquerque Restaurant Week, March 8-15.
I'd tell you more about this event—which launched in New York City in 1992 when Tim Zagat of Zagat Survey and well-known New York restaurateur Joe Baum thought it would be a great way to provide dining options for reporters and others in town for the Democratic Convention—but I don't have time. I don't want to be late for my Restaurant Week reservation!
Estevan at Hotel Chimayo
For eclectic northern New Mexico fare infused with a French flair, celebrate Restaurant Week at Estevan at Hotel Chimayó. In a handsome, second-story setting with traditional northern New Mexico décor, acclaimed executive chef Estevan Garcia creates mouth-watering dishes, including his signature chile relleno, an elegant appetizer on the Restaurant Week menu that you should not miss. This mushroom-stuffed Anaheim green chile comes with a pinto bean and garlic demi-glace, but if you're not a fan of fungi, try the pork posole in red chile broth or avocado mousse with corn and tomato, with chips for dipping. Moving on to entrées, the pan-fried rainbow trout in a milk and corn meal breading is another Estevan bestseller, along with the asadero and onion-stuffed poblano chile in an ethereal tomato sauce, one of my favorite dishes here. Carnivores will flip for the aged, grilled Niman Ranch Black Angus ribeye with a demi-glace. Estevan regulars like to end their meal with the organic goat milk flan in a crème caramel sauce, but the chocolate almond cake with crème Anglaise will do you right, too.
il Piatto Farmhouse Kitchen
You could travel to Italy this Restaurant Week through the authentic and long-loved Italian cuisine at il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen, where chef/owner Matt Yohalem's delectable pasta, seafood, steaks and other fare brings diners back for more. Reserve a table in bistro-style rooms abuzz with happy eaters or in a room that replicates an Italian farmhouse. il Piatto's full menu is available during Restaurant Week, an offer you don't find elsewhere as most restaurants put up a limited menu. Start your feast with baked mushrooms stuffed with prosciutto, Gorgonzola and sherry wine, or New Mexico beef carpaccio, accompanied by arugula, capers, mustard aioli, red onion and a grilled crostini. Maybe you're hankering instead for il Piatto's famous grilled calamari and grilled fennel salad drizzled with an audacious aioli, or Bay Scallops Rockefeller, served with arugula, besciamella, lemon and gremolata.
More than a dozen signature entrées await your selection here, from il Piatto's popular pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and gorgonzola and walnut ravioli with sun-dried tomato pesto to hearty spaghetti Bolognese, made with pork, prosciutto and beef. Seafood fans will love prosciutto-wrapped trout, served with grilled polenta and wild mushrooms, while those who prefer poultry will eat up the crazy-good chicken breast saltimbocca. You could go all out with the pork belly porchetta "Alla Marsala" with grilled polenta and crimini mushrooms. Dessert is included so try and save some room for the Piatto cannoli, a traditional Italian sweet treat that is hard to find in these parts. I order it every time I dine here, but you can't ever go wrong with zabaglione or warm bread pudding.
Amaya at Hotel Santa Fe
Savor the flavors of native and New Mexico culinary traditions at Amaya at Hotel Santa Fe, where the seasonal dishes fuse ancient and contemporary techniques and ingredients. You could start with red chile tortilla soup, a longtime signature dish here, then dig into Skuna Salmon dressed up with a honey Dijon glaze, alongside roasted fingerling potatoes and a melange of vegetables—pearl onions, carrots and sautéed bok choy. Perhaps you'd prefer pan-seared duck breast for an entrée, accompanied by medallions of maple-glazed sweet potato, sautéed spinach, baby carrots and an orange veal reduction. Then end your with a crazy-good creme brûlée or bread pudding, because eating either of these desserts is worth every calorie.
This is only a few of the dozens of places you can try this week. Check out the full list here.