(UPDATED OCTOBER 2022) We absolutely loved visiting the beautiful city of Albuquerque. Not only did it fit our snowbird needs for somewhere warm to winter, but also my foodie needs as the restaurant scene is off-the-hook. Here is a look at the best restaurants in Albuquerque where we had a pleasant experience, delicious food, and would readily return. I’ve also thrown in the dishes we tried and what you might like about them.
1. Cocina Azul
In Old Town, Cocina Azul is where you’ll find one of the best green Chile breakfast burritos in all of Albuquerque, maybe even New Mexico. Cocina Azul is a high-brow dining spot with a casual vibe and great locations. Expect top-quality dishes, recipes that harmoniously work for all ingredients, and servers who are eager to not only serve but also make your visit pleasant.
The breakfast burrito is chock full of Hatch Chile peppers, and the gooey mix of melted cheese across the top elevated this to another level. In many places around town, you can share a breakfast burrito due to the sheer size; don’t be tempted here because it is so good you’ll want to eat every last bite.
2. The Owl Cafe
This retro roadside landmark is a hoot, literally and figuratively speaking. My husband and I went to the Owl Cafe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during our stay in Albuquerque. It is a restaurant that keeps delivering a tasty meal, so its dining guests are loyal and repeat customers.
For breakfast, I didn’t want to spend $15+ for my meal, so I had the half-French Toast combo and added one egg. So, for $8.20, I had a slice of French toast, sausage patty, and two eggs cooked to order. My husband chose the Breakfast burrito. Both are excellent choices at The Owl Cafe.
Start your meal with a plate of hand-breaded, deep-fried goodies like zucchini and mushrooms with a zesty ranch dip.
The daily specials (like hot turkey and or hot meatloaf) are pretty tempting for lunch or dinner, so you may not need additional suggestions. But, if you do, the Albuquerque Patty Melt (Swiss, grilled onions, and chilies) with fries is scrumptious. I also splurged on a hand-scooped milkshake on more than one visit.
A special shout out for the delicious complimentary dish of beans with the pepper garnish upon our arrival at dinnertime. My goodness, that is one lip-smacking good freebie.
3. Indian Pueblo Kitchen (One of the Best Restaurants in Albuquerque and Most Interesting)
Start your dining experience at Indian Pueblo Kitchen with the Blue Corn Onion Rings, served with salsa and green chile ranch dressing. I guess I’d never tasted anything breaded in blue cornmeal, and it was a totally new taste for me, and one that I liked immensely.
Excellent lunch choices are either the Monte Cristo made from Pueblo oven bread paired with red Chile-infused raspberry preserves or the Prime Rib Fry Bread Dip. I loved the fry bread, and it was even more delicious with roasted green chiles and grilled onions. You’re in for a real treat when you dunk this tasty sandwich in the Red Chile au jus, the best au jus I’ve ever tried.
Both dishes come with a side of either fries, sweet potato fries, Harvest side salad, or Pueblo potato salad. Indian Pueblo Kitchen is easily one of the best and most authentic restaurants in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Pro Tip: Put your name on the waiting list and browse the incredible Indian Pueblo Cultural Center while you wait. It is guaranteed to please.
4. The Shop
The Shop is one of Albuquerque’s freshest and tastiest places to eat breakfast and lunch dishes. You’ll also find a menu full of scratch-made dishes, each more tantalizing than the next. My husband and I went for breakfast and enjoyed every bite of the breakfast burrito, which comes in your choice of bacon, sausage, ham, or avocado.
I chose a sweet breakfast of Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes with berry jam, fresh berries, and luscious lemon curd. It was light and refreshing, a great choice for something unique. The Shop serves a huge stack of pancakes with pure maple syrup, which is quite fabulous.
FYI: I consider The Shop one of the most foodie-worthy eateries on this list.
5. Sadie’s of New Mexico
One of Albuquerque’s most popular local chain eateries is Sadie’s of New Mexico, founded in 1956. Since I’m naming them one of the best queso dips I’ve had in my whole life (and trust me, I’ve put a lot of queso calories in this 53-year-old vessel), that, to me, is reason enough to give Sadie’s a try, but here is what else.
The relaxed, award-winning eatery has happy hour specials, over-the-top margaritas, and dozens of delicious Tex Mex dishes. Chips and salsa are a given, but how about adding something unique to your appetizer spread like Fried Green Chile strips or Sopaipilla Sliders? And as mentioned above, Sadie’s Chile con queso is a must.
If you’ve never tried pozole, Sadie’s is an excellent place to start. This beloved pork and spice stew is available until they run out and has depth to its hearty taste. Since sopaipillas are the house specialty, I tried the stuffed one and Billy’s Spicy Beef, another unique offering.
They will most likely ask if you want your dish covered with red or green Chile sauce, often for an additional fee at the restaurants around Albuquerque. Always say yes—both are excellent choices though I generally lean toward green.
6. Le Chantilly Fine Pastries
You’ll find everything French-food inspired in this tempting bakery that serves breakfast and lunch. Le Chantilly Fine Pastries is in a non-descriptive strip mall, but once you walk through the doors, you are transported to France through the buttery, flaky doughs and sinful sweet temptations.
I stopped at Le Chantilly at lunch for the house-made Quiche Lorraine, which hit the spot with its top-quality ingredients and flaky crust. The quiche was paired with sliced fresh tomatoes. My husband had a filling sandwich, but there were plenty of soups and salads to pick from.
If you are in a hurry and just need a meal to go, Le Chantilly packages quite a few items that sound so delish. I’m willing to bet you won’t be able to get out without at least one gorgeous cookie, eclair, pastry, or slice of cake. The macarons were to die for!
7. Blake’s LOTaburger
Since my son-in-law is named Blake, I immediately had an affinity for the cute Albuquerque fast food joint with the skinny man neon sign. Blake’s is known for their original green Chile cheeseburger, which I didn’t have the chance to try, but if it is as good as the green Chile breakfast burrito, it must be sensational.
Breakfast burritos come in various ways—with bacon, sausage, chorizo, beef, beans, or the original classic way. I had the bean breakfast burrito and loved it, though keep in mind the fast-food type doesn’t have the sauce across the burrito and makes the mess that the sit-down restaurant version does.
For those not wanting yet another New Mexico breakfast burrito, try Blake’s LOTA breakfast sandwich with two eggs, your choice of sausage or bacon, cheese, and Hatch Green Chile served on a toasted bun.
At lunch or dinner, expect burgers, shakes, chili, Frito pie, and chicken sandwiches to dominate the menu. Blakes offers two kids’ meals, too.
8. Church Street Cafe
Church Street Cafe serves four generations of recipes in the heart of Historic Old Town. One of Albuquerque’s founding families created the popular and landmark eatery. The building is one of the oldest in the entire state of New Mexico.
My husband and I stopped for a pick-me-up after shopping in Old Town. The menu had so many things that sounded good and filling, but we went with the Church Street Cafe’s Queso Dip, which hit the spot.
If you are looking for a solid meal, the sandwich menu has it going on with the Spanish hot Chile dip (Shredded top round roast) and the Grilled Vegetarian croissant. Fajitas, tamales, enchiladas, and a bounty of salads are also good choices. You can also order breakfast all day, minus pancakes or omelets.
When paying our check, I picked up some of the giant sugar cookies to take with us and had a to-go mochaccino. Good choices, and glad I did.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the secret garden out back at Church Street Cafe.
Weck’s is a close runner-up for the most popular chain eateries in Albuquerque, with eight locations. I’ll admit that I found the outside appeal of Week’s very lackluster, but the inside was another story entirely. The waitstaff was super friendly and good at suggesting dishes, while the decor was stylish and welcoming.
Weck’s has a fantastic menu, something for everyone, and the prices are just right. After a month-long breakfast burrito stretch, I wanted something entirely different. I found that with the French toast, eggs, and bacon plate. The syrup was served warm, something I always appreciate when dining out.
My husband stayed true to the breakfast burrito, and I thought it was one of the best in Albuquerque.
Kudos to Wecks for having a full gluten-free menu option.
Pro Tip: You can also build your own omelet at Weck’s or choose one of the four-egg custom choices of omelets already listed on the menu.
10. High Noon Restaurant and Saloon
Sip a glass of Malbec as you ponder the mouth-watering menu choices at High Noon Restaurant and Saloon in the heart of Old Town. Our local Albuquerque friends told us about this delightful dining spot. I recommend it as top billing for date night or place to enjoy a foodie-inspired menu with excellent wine recommendations.
Might I suggest the Tres Amigos to munch on for starters, with small portions of guacamole, fire-roasted salsa, and Queso Blanco? Truffle fries are the most addicting appetizer per how the menu reads and judging by the orders flying out of the kitchen, I would agree.
My Shrimp Pappardelle was a superb choice for dinner, with farm-raised shrimp over pappardelle pasta in a red Chile cream sauce. The rich pasta was accented with garlic, wild mushrooms, spinach, and salty parmesan; it was fantastic.
My husband gave the Enchiladas a thumbs up, while our friends shared the Steak Frites with caramelized onions and chimichurri butter and loved every bite.
High Noon also has daily specials, which may really throw you off with even more tasty-sounding temptations, so be prepared. Reservations are recommended.
11. Taaj Palace Indian Restaurant
Experience authentic Indian food at one of Albuquerque’s ten or more restaurants. I chose dinner at Taaj Palace, which boasts a well-stocked lunch (11-2:30 PM) and dinner (5-8 PM) buffet, or you can order off the menu, as I did.
Taaj Palace Indian restaurant is in a strip mall, but don’t pass on by. Inside you’ll find all your favorite Indian dishes—curries, Biryani rice specialties, Tandoori dishes, Indian breads, plus vegan and vegetarian options.
I loved the Chicken Tikka Masala, which came with basmati rice with peas, and I added a side of garlic naan. Taaj Palace has a nice offering of beer (domestic, Indian, and import) and wines.
FYI: Taaj Palace is closed on Mondays.
12. The Farmacy
My favorite breakfast in Albuquerque was from The Farmacy, along Central Ave along historic Route 66. The Farmacy makes homemade biscuits that are to die for. Try the Lumberjack, a billowy biscuit filled with green chile, cheddar cheese, and eggs, baked, then topped with house-made gravy, a fried egg, and bacon crumbles.
Dear goodness, this is one amazing dish!
Of course, The Farmacy has the New Mexico staple breakfast burritos, available in red, green, or Christmas, a combo of red and green Chile sauces. Other tempting breakfast culinary creations are Croque Maiden, Waffles Rancheros, and the French Underground, a waffle with Brie and berry compote.
13. El Viva Mexico
An inexpensive Mexican eatery is El Viva Mexico, where you’ll find a menu full of affordable choices. While the Carne Asada plate was my original intention, I was easily swayed to this sampler platter, where I could try a few of the best-selling dishes from El Viva. It included beans, rice, guacamole, taquitos, and a few smothered dishes that I can’t remember but were delicious and filling.
Our meal also had a massive bowl of queso dip and chips. El Viva has really good frozen drinks, so if you wish to unwind with a margarita or daiquiri, this is your place.
I love to eat. Check out these other dining guides for cities around the country: