Best Restaurants Close to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Like the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta itself, Albuquerque's New Mexico cuisine is colorful and adventurous. From simple dishes that have been enjoyed for centuries to Southwest fusion tastes that have created their own genre, New Mexico’s distinct culinary legacy is known throughout the world. After an early morning of watching the greatest ballooning show of earth, you'll be hungry and inspired to enjoy an authentic New Mexican meal. Fortunately, there are several great restaurants that fit that bill near the Balloon Fiesta grounds. This list is 10 of our favorites that won't disappoint. Chile is the foundation for most of New Mexico’s classic dishes. Technically a fruit, this pepper has been cultivated into several varieties to vary heat and size. Green and red chile are made from the same peppers; greens are younger and reds are fully ripe. Green chile tends to be meatier; red chiles are dried, usually in colorful ristras, then crushed into a powder to make the sauce. Which one is hotter? That varies year-to-year, depending on how much water and sun the crops received, and other factors. The main difference is in texture; red tends to have a smokier flavor. A good chile dish shouldn’t set your mouth on fire; it’ll have a zip, but most importantly you should be able to savor its flavor. 

Perea's Tijuana Bar and Restaurant first opened in 1936, and is still housed in the 300 year old torreon (sod, as opposed to adobe) building. The Perea family prepares their traditional New Mexico recipes that include green chile chicken...  Read More

Sandiago's Mexican Grill at the Tram
Photo courtesy of Sandiago's Mexican Grill at the Tram

Sandiago's carne adovada taco platter would be reason enough to visit, but the view overlooking the city lights and sunset from the Sandia foothills is the scene stealer. The menu is solid New Mexico fare with good chile, and Sandiago's prides...  Read More

The Flying Star Cafe is a casual, yet hip and trendy place to go to read your morning paper, indulge in a fabulous breakfast and people watch. You'll see locals at the breakfast bar, surfing away, and the neighborhood folks out on the patio...  Read More

Taking over the north valley location of the former Garduno's, El Bruno's proves to be a worthy occupant. This is a great location amongst the tall cottonwoods and quiet nature of the neighborhood. With their original El Bruno's in Cuba, NM...  Read More

North Valley

Cherie Montoya Austin, who grew up in the North Valley of Albuquerque, the greenest and most fertile part of the city, started Farm and Table restaurant, an obvious culmination and continuation of her values and traditions. Chefs prepare...  Read More

Sadie's Cocinita

This perennial Albuquerque favorite is 4.7 miles from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta grounds on 4th Street (6230 4th St NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM 87107). Family owned for half a century, Sadie's is known for its chile,...  Read More

North Valley

Around 50 years ago, the Benevidez couple, Paul and Rita, started their dream of running a restaurant. Originally in a smaller space named El Mexicano, they moved to their present location in a 100 year old house and haven't looked back. The...  Read More

Indigo Crow
Photo courtesy of Regina Raber

Indigo Crow is the epitome of "Corrales cool." Rustic, charming and Southwestern relaxed can describe this restaurant in an old adobe, serving scrumptious contemporary American cuisine with a taste of the Southwest added to some dishes. Choose...  Read More

Bien Shur
Photo courtesy of Libby McMillan

Dine in Southwestern elegance on the 9th floor of the Sandia Resort and Casino at the Bien Shur Restaurant, with incredible views of the Sandia Mountains. Bien Shur offers a beautiful dining room and top notch service, open Tuesday through...  Read More

El Pinto has long been a local favorite and the place to take out of town guests to treat them to New Mexican ambience and flavor. Owned today by the "Salsa Twins" Jim and John Thomas, whose parents opened El Pinto in 1962, El Pinto can sit...  Read More


Meet Steve Larese Travel Expert Steve Larese tackles adventure worldwide, from being one of the first people to careen down the world's tallest waterslide to exploring haunted castles-turned posh...  More About Steve

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