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To mark a special occasion, you want just the right 
restaurant to show your guests how much you care 
about them and their anniversary / graduation / promotion / birthday / rodeo win. But picking that 
right restaurant can prove a challenge. Readers to the rescue.

SANTA FE

Arroyo Vino
Crowds drive out to Las Campanas for the farm-to-table menu (think duck breast with charred radicchio, pomegranate, celery root, Asian pear, and walnuts) and the option to pair dinner with a bottle from the many hundreds for sale in the attached wine shop.

State Capital Kitchen
This near-the-Roundhouse spot is popular for simple-sounding dishes that surprise with clever touches of molecular gastronomy (exploding passion-fruit balls, for example). The dim-sum-style cart that wheels through the relaxed dining room also offers can’t-miss delights.

Joseph’s of Santa Fe

This “culinary pub” serves an adventurous, global menu with New Mexico accents in what one reader described as an “atmosphere that was warm, friendly, and unpretentious despite the extraordinary quality.”

Restaurant Martín
Chef Martín Rios has earned New Mexicans’ affection for his imaginative combinations of local ingredients, classic techniques, and hints of Asian flavors. This is also one of the rare top-tier restaurants in Santa Fe that serves lunch—a surprisingly affordable one, too.

Geronimo
A Canyon Road favorite for ages, Geronimo still sets the bar for pampering service and luxurious New American food, like a Wellington of Kurobuta pork with Burgundy peppercorn sauce and apple béarnaise.

 

ALBUQUERQUE

Los Poblanos Historic Inn
Nestled in the gloriously pastoral village of Los Ranchos, the restaurant offers a taste of Río Grande terroir with meals crafted from fruit and vegetables grown on the property, honey from bees that feed on the lavender field, and house-made bacon from the farm’s pigs.

Corn Maiden
The atmosphere throughout the Hyatt Regency Tamaya is nearly unbeatable. Its stately Southwestern dining room is full of windows that face the lush bosque of Santa Ana Pueblo and frame spectacular views of the sun setting on the Sandía Mountains. The menu is just as showy, with entrées like gorgonzola-crusted buffalo tenderloin.

Farm and Table
The stunning view overlooks 11 acres of land that supply chef Carrie Eagle with inspiration for locavore show-offs such as a kale and apple salad with toasted pecans, Tucumcari feta, shallots from Chispas Farm, and a pomegranate vinaigrette.

Vernon’s Speakeasy
Hidden behind the facade of a small liquor store 
is a diverting experience: 
You must find the pass-word and deliver it through a grated window. Inside, the shiny black-plastered walls reveal a traditional steakhouse menu with jazz emanating from the bar.

 

TAOS

Sabroso
Tucked under a lush canopy in Arroyo Seco, on the way to Taos Ski Valley, Sabroso’s menu ranges from affordable small plates to big, formal plates of wood-fired rack of lamb or Cornish game hen marinated in East Indian curry. Meet in the lively bar or the shady patio.

Love Apple
Expect exuberant farmers’ market fare that celebrates local ingredients and indulges omnivores but also finds room for vegans and the gluten-free. With a charming center-of-town setting in a historic former Catholic chapel.

El Meze
With the unbeatable atmosphere of a 19th-century hacienda in El Prado—and a picture-perfect view of Taos Mountain—El Meze wows the senses. The menu highlights Spanish–New Mexican heritage with shareable 
plates of chicharrones, 
bolita beans, and fried 
green olives.

 

THE BUZZ
 AROUND 
THE STATE

The Double Eagle in Mesilla serves house-aged steaks in an ornate Territorial-era mansion. You never know what will be on the menu at the irreverently hip 1zero6 in Silver City because it changes every night. Extravagance = USDA Prime steak and lobster tail at Wendell’s at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero. Try the “Emperor’s Dinner” of filet mignon and scallops from the teppanyaki table at Tomo Sushi and Steakhouse in Farmington. Go to Badlands Grill in Gallup for a dry-aged T-bone, buffalo sirloin, or bacon-wrapped elk filet.

Cheap Date

Family Night Out