Mexican, Southwestern, New Mexican - Whatever you call it, Albuquerque's got it!

There are literally hundreds of restaurants in the Albuquerque area serving Mexican, or more specifically for this region, New Mexican food.   If you've never had spicy food, then prep your taste buds now!  "Red or green?" is the standard question here.  Most restaurants do not offer you a choice of having hot or mild, but they do offer to put the red or green chile accompanying your meal on the side.  If you'd like to try both, just say "Christmas, please!"  You can also ask which is hotter, because it can vary from season to season.  Green is not always the hottest.

There are many tried and true Albuquerque favorite haunts for eating Mexican food and locals will probably be staunch defenders of their hangouts - who has the best salsa, sopaipillas or margueritas.  Read on for a sampling of this critic's Top Ten places to grab great Mexican food.



Guests dining here at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe (located inside the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center), will be pleasantly surprised to not only find Mexican dishes, but also what the Cafe likes to call "Native Fusion" cuisine, inspired by New...  Read More



Winner of the 2011 Best New Mexican restaurant and best red chile by Alibi the Magazine, Los Cuates has been an Albuquerque institution since 1985. The original owner named the restaurant for his twin chidren (Cuates is Spanish for twins). The...  Read More



Who says Mexican food can't have a little frutti di mare involved in the action to give things a little twist? Marisco's Altamar Restaurant thinks so, and they do it well. Owner Hector Hernandez, originially from Durango, Mexico is responsible...  Read More



El Modelo restaurant, in operation since 1929 with only two different owners, has a long history of serving great Mexican food to Albuquerque residents. The original owner used to get up at 2 AM to hand make the flour tortillas that were used...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren


The newly opened Zacatecas in Nob Hill has really caught on. It's always full. People love the open air feel to this place, with its interior blending right in to its patio area on Central Ave., the old Route 66. The decor is hip and its...  Read More



Easy to miss, Charlie's Front Door is one of those places that you have to learn about through a local. They have been frequenting Charlie's for years, located in Hoffmantown Shopping Center in the NE Heights. When a restaurant doesn't have a...  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


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



The newly opened El Patron (in the former Garduno's building on Montgomery NE) is a pleasant surprise. The decor is somewhat the same, with the Mexican hacienda feel to it, figurines and planters up above, with pseudo windows, flowers and...  Read More



El Pinto is the largest restaurant in the state of New Mexico, but its rambling indoor rooms and sprawling lush patio will make you feel quite cozy. Talk about ambience. Everyone who lives in Albuquerque takes their guests here for the beauty...  Read More


Meet Jennifer Boren

A native of Oklahoma, by way of New Mexico and now Utah, Jennifer Boren makes her home in Salt Lake City.  A total lover of Park City, she spends many weekends there, especially in the...  More About Jennifer