The lighter side of real estate

These 15 Albuquerque Restaurants Will Blow Your Taste Buds Out Of Your Mouth

15 restaurants in Albuquerque that are people's favorite just for the only reason of their taste. Even these are most recommended restaurants over Yelp.

Sam Bertken

10 articles, 0 comments

1. You Can’t Leave Without Trying Mary & Tito’s

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Yelp

Mary & Tito’s Café
2711 4th St NW
Yelp: 4 Stars, 90 Reviews

Alright, when you first step into the café, you might do a quick double-take.

Is this really the restaurant all of your friends said you had to—had to—try the moment you sit foot into the 505?  Well, take a seat, hombre, and prepare for the heat.

The dish everyone swears by is the sopapilla—basically a New Mexican turnover with delicious, spicy meat stuffed inside and drowned in the chile you’ll soon be putting on everything.  Maybe this is the dish that keeps that trend going, huh?

Be warned if your taste buds are on the wimpy side: this is a hot dish.  But the “flavor fiesta” is one that you’ll want to savor and again and again.  I don’t even need to tell you to, in turn, tell your friends. Odds are, you’re already texting everyone know about this need-to-eat spot.

2. Can’t “Complantain” About The Food At Guava Tree Café

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Guava Tree Café via Facebook

Guava Tree Café
216 Yale Blvd SE
Yelp: 4.5 Stars, 51 Reviews

Another spot that’s sketchy on the outside, tasty on the inside, this little spot in University Heights has a comfortable homestead feel. The place is bright, bursting with color, and the food is bursting with as much flavor. Even standing downwind of this spot is a culinary experience.  And—it’s cheap.

Your mouth will be astounded that a dish as simple as rice and beans can suddenly make so much sense.  If you don’t get it, you have to try it.  Every frijole you’ve eaten until now has been underwhelming.

But for the more exotic palette, there are the delicious plantains, of course, and the opportunity to add Cuban Sandwiches to your Things-To-Eat-Out-Of-A-Bucket List.

3. Arrivederci, All Other Albquerque Pizza Places, I’m Going To Giovanni’s

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Yelp

Giovanni’s Pizza & Subs
921 San Pedro Dr SE
Yelp: 4.5 Stars, 61 Reviews

Many a transplant from any of the big pizza cities will be glad to be get something different with the burritos on basically every corner, but every now and then you’re bound to get a hankering for something crusty, something saucy, something pizza-y. That’s a real word, right?

But you know what is real? How legit the pizza is here. Of course, you’re never going to escape green chile wherever you eat out in ABQ, and Giovanni’s is no exception. Green chile pepperoni—bite the bullet, order a large, eat like a king for tonight and tomorrow.

Also, this place isn’t too impressive from the outside either.There seems to be a direct correlation between how unwelcoming the outside is and how jaw-droppingly good the food inside is. More money for primo ingredients, I guess?

4. Chinese Food “Budai” For At Budai.  Get It?

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source:  Budai Gourmet Chinese

Budai Gourmet Chinese
6300 San Mateo Blvd NE
Yelp: 4 Stars, 70 Reviews

Another authentic staple of any American cuisine is, of course, Chinese food! Ha. You may find it generally lacking out here in the shadow of the Sandias. But Budai is more authentic than some spots in San Francisco, which has an actual Chinatown.

Delicious Exhibit A: The pork stomach (or dong bo, if you don’t want to get weirded out by the visual). Budai is a seriously rewarding adventure for any foodie looking to check off outlandish things on their international cuisine bucket list.

And then, if you want something nice and reliable, get anything with noodles.

5. The Model of New Mexico Comfort Food Is At El Modelo

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: El Modelo Mexican Foods via Facebook

El Modelo Mexican Foods
1715 2nd St SW
Yelp: 4 Stars, 71 Reviews

Just as everyone needs their high-class foreign flavors, they need their go-to greasy spoon. The New Mexico edition of that is El Modelo. Come hungry—it’s the guaranteed way to leave happy.

Tuck into the green chile burrito (surprise!) with your buds outside. You’ll be realizing pretty quick why all the locals pick up dinner from this spot. Affordable balanced with scrumptious comfort food have made this spot an Albquerque institution.

6. JJ101 Is Worth Every Cent

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: jennifer james 101 via Facebook

Jennifer James 101
4614-A Menaul Blvd NE
Yelp: 4.5 Stars, 55 Reviews

Of course, cheap, delicious comfort food will only go so far. Luckily, Jennifer James’ award-winning high cuisine experience is there in a pinch (just make sure you make a reservation).

Added perk: it’s an open kitchen so you can feel like you’re a part of the action, or at least watching a dull episode of some reality television show.

With a menu that rotates with the seasons and has wild approaches to traditional New Mexican cuisine, the only downside is the price. But well worth it for the tongue-shattering experience of the mandatory chickpea fries appetizer, spicy seafood, American cuisine, and chocolate burrito.  Dessert is sort of where it’s at in this place, but the journey there is just as good.

7. It’s Called The Stumbling Steer For Good Reason…

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: The Stumbling Steer via Facebook

The Stumbling Steer
3700 Ellison Dr NW
Yelp: 4 Stars, 40 Reviews

It’s a given that no matter where you go in this world, you’re going to want a nice gastropub.  Why would you seek any other option? Welcome to The Stumbling Steer.

With a tremendous selection of beers—some of them brewed in-house—your craft brew sensibilities will be tickled nicely. Go for the IPAs. As far as food goes, disconcertingly hip brussel sprouts serve as a nice opener for the solid Southwest Poutine or the basic Steer Burger.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bar with this balance of cool, cozy and crazy-good comestibles out in this part of ABQ.  Mark it on your GPS.

8. A Square Meal Can Always Be Found In Albuquerque

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Hartford Square via Facebook

Hartford Square
300 Broadway Blvd NE
Yelp: 4.5 Stars, 21 Reviews

Slow-food. There is so much to be said for something that actually resembles a home-cooked meal.  Once you’re out on your own, they don’t come around too often. So, in the immortal words of Parks and Rec, “treat yo’ self” at Hartford Square.

So, what’s good? The fact that they serve Michael Thomas coffee is a nice nod to locals, as is and the fact that all the ingredients featured in the ever-changing chalkboard menu are locally grown.

Nothing sticks around long enough to ever get boring here so you’ll have to let your taste buds guide you (but just picture this: Baked orange-vanilla-nutmeg French toast) but do yourself a favor and pair your order with some sweet, sweet, lemonade.

9. Not A Far Trip As The Crow Flies…

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Indigo Crow Cafe

Indigo Crow Cafe
4515 Corrales Rd
Corrales, NM 87048
Yelp: 4 Stars, 42 Reviews

But if you can get to Indigo Crow Cafe, it’s worth it.  If you hear this oasis of farm-to-table food calling down from Corrales, you had best heed it and make a reservation. The service is nice and casual, but the food belongs in a five-star hotel.

You’ll find your “regular” order (regular here meaning “food you’d expect of any celebrity chef’s restaurant) becoming the lobster risotto, strip steak, or clams. Any of the salads will satisfy a hungry vegetarian, too.

10. Baguette Out Of Here With This Crepe

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Flickr user Klardrommar

La Crêpe Michel
400 San Felipe St NW
Yelp: 4 Stars, 60 Reviews

Most other lists about fantastic French restaurants would normally write here something along the lines of “Tres bien!” or “Absolument delicieux!”  but let’s make this one simple:

What do you usually get on a crêpe? An artichoke spinach spread? Pork dijonnaise? Artisan chocolate? No? Get yourself to La Crepe Michel.

11. Good Cantonese In ABQ Is Easy As ABC

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Flickr user Jason Lam

ABC Chinese Restaurant
8720 Menaul Blvd NE
Yelp: 3.5 Stars, 23 Reviews

Sure, you can order as much General Tsao’s chicken as you want at ABC Chinese.  Nobody’s going to judge you for that. But you might get a sidewise glance if you don’t get something off the blue menu.

Dip into a gigantic bowl of wonton soup or the beef chow fun. There are some secret menus running around on the Internet, too, so once you’ve penciled in your second trip you can come with a little more expertise to try and top the first.

12. It’s All About The Patio… At El Patio

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Flickr user Eugene Kim

El Patio De Albuquerque
142 Harvard Dr SE
Yelp: 4 Stars, 129 Reviews

Maybe you want to chill with some cold beers. Maybe you’re feeling lazy and want some hot, spicy food delivered right to you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a 17th-generation Albuquerquian or new to town, you’ll love the down-home feel of El Patio de Albuquerque.

You’ll find similar cuisine here to what you’d see on other ABQ Mexican restaurants, from the sopapillas to the enchiladas to, of course, the green chile. But don’t think that fact makes this place ordinary. Everything still rocks.

13. Duran Central Pharmacy Has Prescription-Strength Deliciousness

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Duran Central Pharmacy via Facebook

Duran Central Pharmacy
1815 Central Ave NW
Yelp: 4 Stars, 47 Reviews

You might stop by to pick up your allergy medication, but you’ll stay for the diner tucked inside of this pharmacy/general store.  You’ll never have to worry about having someone perform the Heimlich again!

Not that you’ll be wolfing down the delectable red chile or the humongous tortillas slathered in butter.  Honestly, I should just leave it up to the fantastic wait staff at this location, too.  Like your favorite physician, they’re easy to talk to and they can offer up any (culinary) remedy for what ails your stomach.

14. The Standard Diner Is Anything But Standard

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: Standard Diner via Facebook

Standard Diner
320 Central Ave SE
Yelp: 3.5 Stars, 193 Reviews

“Oh, wow, what do you call that delicacy?  A bourbon butter burger, you say?  I guess I’ll have to try it, considering I have two eyes and a stomach.

But first I need to try the bacon wrapped jalapeños, thus ruining all other appetizers I have had and will have in the future?  Well, if you insist.

And, you’re right, I think will have to wash all that tastiness down with a cold, bitter IPA.  Thanks, Standard Diner!”

– This will be you, whenever you stop in here. They even got on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2009. Why aren’t you there now?

15. Yes, This Is The Grove From “Breaking Bad”

Best Restaurants in ABQ

Source: The Grove Cafe & Market

The Grove Café & Market
600 Central Ave SE
Yelp: 4.5 Stars, 265 Reviews

More Stevia?
Sorry. Had to.
Don’t worry—-the food at The Grove will do anything but make you the victim of a cunning scheme laid out by the world’s most famous meth cooker.

Don’t take my word for it, though—dig in! The croque madame is highly recommended for breakfast, and try pairing it with the Intelligentsia coffee. It’s pretty much the only non-local item you’ll find on the menu.

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posted on: April 24, 2014
99,856 views, 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Mike leathers

    This is a add the top restraunts are not listed here they are. 1. Artichoke cafe 2. El pinto 3. Vernon’s hidden valley 4. Elaine’s 5. Zinc


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