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Santacafé

231 Washington Ave., Santa Fe, NM - (505) 984-1788
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/20/2014 5:40:00 AM
Far from your typical Roadfood restaurant, Santacafé is very stylish and darn expensive; but for a splurge in Santa Fe, there’s no place we like better. Opened in 1983, before foodies spoke the term fusion, it offers brilliant southwestern flavors cooked and presented in ways that are occasionally Asian, but also Continental. For example: crunchy smoked pheasant spring rolls served with a dipping sauce of mint and four chilies; pan-seared swordfish with saffron couscous; huge tempura tiger prawns presented in a puddle of sweet-and-sour-and hot red chile coulis. Meals begin with chile-spiked brioche, and can conclude with such luxuries as warm toffee pudding or Tahitian vanilla bean crème brulée. Our very favorite meal is an autumn special: an all-vegetable harvest plate – the very image (and flavor) of a utopian harvest, including all sorts of beans and legumes and the sweetest ear of roasted-in-the-husk corn on the cob.

Service is suave and reassuring; décor in the old adobe restaurant is clean and spare (all the better to focus on the beauty of the food). For us, dining here is always romantic. Indoors is cozy, intimate, elegant; the courtyard is festive. With a loved one or with good friends, a meal at Santacafé is a Santa Fe experience to remember.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
autumn harvest meal
smoked pheasant spring rolls
Green Chile Cheeseburger
tempura prawns
Red Chile Onion Rings
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

An aristocratic green chile cheeseburger, enveloped with Asadero cheese and accompanied by rosemary potato chips.
"An aristocratic green chile cheeseburger, enveloped with Asadero cheese and accompanied by rosemary potato chips."
Michael Stern





Impossible-to-stop-eating red chile onion rings are fragile wisps of sweetness, heat and luxury crust.
"Impossible-to-stop-eating red chile onion rings are fragile wisps of sweetness, heat and luxury crust."
Michael Stern


Crisp-skinned spring rolls with chile-mint dipping sauce are one of the dishes that put this restaurant on the culinary map.
"Crisp-skinned spring rolls with chile-mint dipping sauce are one of the dishes that put this restaurant on the culinary map."
Michael Stern


A beautiful hunk of salmon, presented on a bed of Meyer lemon risotto. That's caviar butter on top and a bit of bok choy underneath.
"A beautiful hunk of salmon, presented on a bed of Meyer lemon risotto. That's caviar butter on top and a bit of bok choy underneath."
Michael Stern


Located in a 19th century Placita-style house around the corner from the Palace of the Governers, Santacafé is a unique dining experience.
"Located in a 19th century Placita-style house around the corner from the Palace of the Governers, Santacafé is a unique dining experience."
Michael Stern


The less-is-more decor reminds us of a painting by Georgia O'Keefe.
"The less-is-more decor reminds us of a painting by Georgia O'Keefe."
Michael Stern


We don't normally look for shrimp when we come to New Mexico, but these hefty, crunch-crusted tempura tiger prawns are extraordinary.
"We don't normally look for shrimp when we come to New Mexico, but these hefty, crunch-crusted tempura tiger prawns are extraordinary."
Michael Stern



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