We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but who among us has time to make, let alone eat, a square meal every day of the work week? Many people simply gulp down a cup of coffee or two to fuel them in their way, skipping food altogether, which isn’t an ideal way to start the day for your body, mind, or spirit.
The good news is that Santa Fe has plenty of great spots serving breakfasts that are worth getting up for, no matter where you live in town. From hearty breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros to blue corn pancakes, New Orleans-style beignets, and dozens of other dishes, you’ll find plenty of delicious ways to start your day. So read on, then get ready to rise and shine and head out to restaurants that stand ready to help you start your day.
The Pantry has been “Santa Fe’s meeting place since 1948, where business deals have been closed, political agreements sealed and relationships launched, all within these dining rooms. The food is hearty and filling, from the traditional huevos rancheros served with Pantry fries and beans to the breakfast burrito and Buenos Dias, a hearty dish of Pantry fries smothered with chile, cheese and two eggs. There’s also an array of omelettes, and the Pantry’s take on the proverbial steak and eggs — a Ranchero steak sauteed with jalapeño, tomato and onions and served with refried beans, Pantry fries and a flour tortilla. Or go for the famous chicken fried steak, smothered in country gravy with a side of flaky biscuits. Order that and you probably won’t need to eat dinner.
If you have a sweet tooth, The Pantry will fill it with Belgian waffles, Corn Flake-coated French toast stuffed with cream cheese, blueberries AND strawberries, stuffed pancakes, blue corn cinnamon cakes and other choices. This is rewarding place to start your day, but beware… you may need a nap before lunchtime.
Plaza Cafe Southside
Plaza Cafe Southside is devoted to using quality ingredients — cage-free eggs, locally made corn and flour tortillas, and local grass-fed beef. Breakfast tacos are made with scrambled eggs and calabacitas, avocado, cheese, and your choice of meat or a veggie sausage. For a sweet treat try the Blue Corn Piñon Pancakes drenched with orange butter and cinnamon syrup, or the signature challah French Toast with maple and mascarpone frosting. For a combo of sweet and savory, the South Side Breakfast is a feast of hot cakes, two eggs, hash browns and your choice of meat — thick-cut sugar-cured bacon, link sausage, cured ham, house-made chorizo or veggie sausage. Isn’t that worth rolling out of bed for?
35° North Coffee
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, then you’ve likely tried beignets, those fried dough delights that are dusted with confectioner’s sugar and served with jam. What a way to start the day, especially paired with an excellent pour over. This you can do in downtown Santa Fe at 35° North Coffee, a sweet little spot that specializes in sourcing, roasting and brewing coffee that people love. You could also pair a cup of Joe with cinnamon-battered French toast, a breakfast burrito, delectable homemade pastries or scrambled egg tartines with spinach or bacon. On a crazy hot day like the ones we’ve recently endured, order a nitro cold brew, which should cool you down and amp you up for the day ahead.
In Santa Fe, you don’t have to travel far to feel like you’re in Paris. Simply walk through the door of Madame Matisse, a new French bakery and restaurant, when you’re in search of petit dejeuner. Breathe in the enticing aroma of fresh-baked chocolate and almond croissants, brioche and other French pastries and you’ll find yourself believing that you’ve strolled into a patisserie in a Parisian neighborhood. Take a seat in this intimate room and continue your French experience by ordering one of the flaky pastries perfectly prepared by chef Eric De Margerie, a Parisian native with a pedigreed career as a French pastry chef.
Be sure to leave room for delectable crêpes, a classic French dish made here with seasonal berries or Nutella; pain perdu (French toast); orgauffres (waffles) served plain or with fraise (strawberries). A selection of omelets, light and fluffy, in the true French fashion, include one with Paris ham and Swiss cheese and another with salmon and goat cheese. Madame Matisse’s menu doesn’t strictly focus on French fare, so if you’re in the mood for huevos rancheros, you’ll find that here, as well as a Morning Wrap, a breakfast burrito filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar, tomato, and avocado, served with red or green chile. Madame Matisse serves dejeuner, too, an equally delicious blend of French and non-French fare.
Atrisco Cafe & Bar
Atrisco Bar & Cafe, a third-generation family restaurant owned by George Gundrey, is a favorite with locals, a neighborhood restaurant known for its traditional New Mexican cuisine and friendly ambience. Atrisco’s combo plate – roast leg of lamb burrito and flan – are justly famous for lunch or dinner, but drop by for the weekend breakfast and you won’t regret it. The Breakfast Enchilada, for instance, is a plateful of New Mexico love, featuring two rolled enchiladas filled with bacon and eggs, along with hash browns and melted cheese, smothered in red or green chile. Ask for “Christmas,” though, to make it extra good. Montaña de Papas will delight anyone with a hearty appetite. This big ol’ pile of potatoes is topped with ham strips, cheese, red or green chile and an egg, cooked any way you like. Fancy some green chile stew to start your day? Atrisco’s version features a bowl of the beloved stew cooked with local grass-fed beef, potatoes, tomatoes, herbs and spices, served alongside two eggs cooked to your liking, and a tortilla. Your sweet tooth will love the Belgian waffle, topped with butter and pure maple syrup or whipped cream and fruit syrup. And while it’s not for everyone, menudo’s on the menu here, described as “Santa Fe’s scientifically proven hangover cure.” Atrisco’s makes theirs with red or green chile, and a side of oregano, lime and onion, but you don’t have to suffer from a hangover to savor this dish.
Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen
Start your day the healthful way with breakfast at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, which also serves lunch, afternoon bites, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The fresh foods here are not only good, they’re good for you, and they reflect a smorgasbord of international cuisines. Co-owners Soma Franks and Fiona Wong carefully designed their menu for an array of modern-day diets. The Paleo Burrito, for instance, features a “tortilla” made of spinach and egg and filled with scrambled eggs, sweet potato and avocado, covered with red chile and served with bacon or sausage, adhering to a meal that early hunters and gatherers might have eaten. Salad for breakfast? Why not, when it’s B.E.A.utiful Salad, a combo of Crispy Beeler’s Bacon (B), scrambled eggs (E) and arugula (A), all tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette. It’s even more beautiful because it’s served with avocado toast, a trend that has persisted because it tastes good and does good things for your body. Gluten-free Shrimp & Grits, served Southern-style with bacon and a New Mexican twist of green chile, is another delicious way to begin the day. It’s topped with a fried egg, in honor of breakfast. For a sweeter note, try buckwheat banana pancakes or orange cardamon spelt pancakes served with maple syrup that originated from a tree, not inside a factory.