Ask most Americans what they know about Albuquerque, New Mexico, and what early memories of Bugs Bunny in Saturday morning cartoons may haunt. The city is one of the most overlooked gems of domestic travel, and Angelenos has the added charm of being just a 90-minute flight away. Last selling point? The food in this city is amazing.
If you’re looking for the next great foodie destination in the country, look no further. From must-see old-school spots to innovative new establishments, here’s where to eat and drink in Albuquerque.
new mexico diner culture
The Frontier Restaurant, just off the University of New Mexico, almost always has a line. They move quickly, serving breakfasts, burritos, and New Mexican fare from dawn to dusk. Frontier is open from 5am to midnight daily, no matter what time your flight arrives, and serves hot burritos and a full salsa bar.
Durand’s Central Pharmacy is a close second when it comes to New Mexican Diner dining, and is a great option for those staying close to the historic Old Town district on the other side of town. Remember, the high altitude can make you dehydrated, so drink plenty of water with Carne her Advada and turn red here. Many locals swear Durand’s has the best red peppers in town. What’s more, when you’re done eating, you can find handcrafted local souvenirs and actual medicines at pharmacies and gift shops.
Cocktails Sunset and Speakeasy
Find out what ‘Watermelon Sky’ means when you visit the Apothecary Lounge on the roof of Hotel Parc Central. The Sandia Mountains turn pink during the best sunsets. The name comes from the Spanish word for “watermelon”. Minerals embedded in the granite are responsible for the color, but it’s more fun to pretend the sky itself is in on the trick. The rooftop becomes a favorite sunset hang for residents and visitors.
The Founders Speakeasy is another well-crafted cocktail option. Patrons of LA’s Davey Waynes and Blake Room 86 are tickled when an unremarkable downtown liquor store makes way down a dark stairway to a subterranean speakeasy. All you have to do to get in is check the bar’s Instagram bio for the current password and use it in a statement with the employee who manages the counter. Even if the wait is ~20 minutes, the extensive menu and huge bar stocked with rare and unique bottles is a must.
Oh, and if you’re craving a drink early in the day, say, around happy hour, move on to another hotel hotspot: Mas Tapas y Vino at Hotel Andalus. Their tapas are so good that ordering a plate or two can lead to an entire dinner on the spot. A great wine list ensures perfect pairings of bacon-wrapped dates and pork ribs, or Manchego his mac and cheese and scallops.
Take a taco tour by bike
This bike-friendly town is a mix of wilderness and urban life, so peddling is a great way to see both. Family-owned Routes Bicycle Tours offers highly customizable bike rentals and tours, from the city’s historic neighborhoods and pedestrian-friendly local farms (complete with his pop-up taco shop, of course), to breaking bad When You should call Seoul. If you want to create your own trails, Routes lets you choose vehicles such as beach cruisers, mountain bikes, tandems, and even e-bikes.
Don’t forget fine dining
Book a meal at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm’s on-site restaurant, Campo. The beautiful and tranquil grounds are just outside the historic downtown district and offer idyllic bungalow rooms with a backdrop of lavender fields. Plan a visit to their dining room without bankrolling at this idyllic establishment.Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in New Mexico. food & wine When bon appetiteven the most meticulous foodie will fall in love with the simple, fresh fare served for brunch and dinner here. Browse lavender-based products such as and start your Christmas and birthday shopping early.
For more sophisticated dining options, Farm & Table is the perfect place to pick up seasonal, vegetable-fronted fare. An elegant service completed by an extensive bottle list, offering a completely off-course meal. Close to the center of town, Hotel Chaco’s rooftop restaurant, Level 5, is another great place to take in the mountain views as the sun sets. Visitors can help understand why this state has earned the nickname ‘Enchanted Land’. Everything on the menu here is great, but you’re in New Mexico, so grab the buffalo short ribs and a glass of dark red while you’re soaking up golden hour.
Food Hall: sawmill market
If you’re staying at one of the town’s two main establishments, Hotel Albuquerque and Hotel Chaco, it’s a great place to explore the city’s promising new food halls. By allowing only local vendors to enter the rustic warehouse-style space, Sawmill Market feels like an expertly curated tasting menu of the best the city has to offer. You’ll find everything from waffles and soft serve to Vietnamese snacks, Mexican nooks and crannies and even freshly made pasta. Located a block or two from either hotel, this market is perfect for breakfast or an air-conditioned snack. It’s also a great place to grab a beer at Paxton’s Taproom, which has 30 craft brews. Turn it into a mini bar tour, including nearby breweries Bow & Arrow and Gravity Bound. If you have a Fruity Pebbles Sour on the latter draft, give it a try.
Green chili isn’t the only specialty in town
Don’t be surprised if you see little burger joints all over town named Blake’s Lotaburger. Local fast food is not, everytime It’s worth stopping by one of the many places to try a green chili cheeseburger. They claim they were the first to put green chili in a cheeseburger. Whether that’s true or not, Blake’s still does its best. Wash off that hint of heat with a chocolate shake that rivals Wendy’s Frosty. Perhaps the perfect pairing for when the heat starts to pick up in the desert. When exploring town heats up, step into local coffee shop Slow Burn.
Another local standout is Rumor Pizza, a fairly new joint serving the best takeout pizza in town. Their New York style pies he comes in one size and is available for pre-order. Enjoy white pie for a smooth, salty poolside snack, or classic pepperoni between meals. If you want to try the green chile and pepperoni combo, Dion’s is the place to go. Order The 505, the name of the ABQ area code. The town also has a winery that serves green Chilean wine, which is just as popular.
Plus, one of the most fun experiences in town is a chocolate tour and tasting at Eldora Chocolates. The small shop and factory are the sum total of love, and a great activity for sober people who like the attention to detail that brewery and vineyard culture fosters and aren’t into alcohol. She takes otherworldly pride in sharing her knowledge of Tu Bar chocolate, the difference between a chocolatier and a chocolate maker (pretty important), and the flavors of chocolate made in different regions. This tour was one of the highlights of my entire trip with him. And go out without grabbing a few bars for future tastings.
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