Best Value: The Plaza Café, opened in 1905, has been run by the same family since 1947. It's a Santa Fe institution. The retro diner-like ambiance will have your feeling like you're in a time-warp. The large menu also offers something for everyone, so it will please a lot of eaters. Diners will find anything from traditional New Mexican foods to sandwiches to comfort food s like turkey dinner and chicken fried steak. There are also salads and lighter fare. Remember the old Blue Plate specials? They're alive and well here. The no-frills spot, right on the historic Plaza, offers big portions at reasonable prices. They can be busy at prime meal times. Arrive either before or after the rush and you won't have to wait to be seated.
Homestyle: The Razatos family has run the Plaza Café (opened in 1905) since 1947. Comfort food has been on the menu here since day-one. It's the 'bread and butter' for the diner-like eatery. They even offer a daily Blue Plate Special, a holdover from the early days. Regulars love to see what's on tap for the day. The three most popular comfort food items are Green Chile Meatloaf, Turkey Dinner and Spaghetti and Meatballs. There are many other dishes that will make many think of mom or grandma, such as an open-faced roast turkey sandwich with all the fixins', chicken fried steak and the Pork Loin Dinner. There's also a wide selection of traditional New Mexican foods on offer. Finish with the Carmel Apple Pecan Pie. "We love food here," said owner Daniel Ratzos. "Food is our life." And it has been for over 60 years ago.
Breakfast: The Plaza Café, on the west side of the historic Santa Fe Plaza, claims to be the oldest restaurant in town. Originally opened in 1905, it's been owned by the Razatos family since 1947. Décor is 50s diner and you can see the original 50s eatery in the vintage photos hanging on the walls. While they have the usual burritos and huevos rancheros, there are a few more unusual breakfast offerings including Huevos con Nopalito (scrambled eggs with cactus, chopped steak, tomatillo salsa, cheese and Mexican sour cream) and posole, a traditional New Mexican stew made with hominy with a choice of pork or menudo (tripe). A few breakfast dishes are served all day. Be prepared to wait as the get really busy. Also try the newer Plaza Café Southside owned by a different branch of the family. There's usually no wait there and the food is just as good.
54 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Map / Directions
Best Value: "If you're staying downtown and want a restaurant in walking distance with good-sized portions and reasonable pricing head for The Plaza. Santa Feans have been doing just that for over a century."
Homestyle: "For an interesting twist, turn any of the comfort foods on the menu into a New Mexican treat. Instead of the traditional gravy or sauce, ask to have the dish smothered in red or green chile and have rice and beans on the side."
Breakfast: "Ask your server about the "secret menu"; locals know about it and now you do, too. Made up of favorites no longer on the menu that loyal customers still want, like the chicken fried steak, New Mexican-style, which comes with red and green chile."
Recommended as Best Value Because: The Plaza is a long-standing tradition in Santa Fe. Couple that with ample portions and reasonable pricing; it's a must for the list.
Best for Homestyle Because: The Plaza is a long-standing tradition in Santa Fe. Couple that with extensive comfort food offerings and it's a must for the list.
Best for Breakfast Because: Breakfast at the Plaza Café is a Santa Fe tradition. The Razatos family has been feeding hungry Santa Feans for over 60 years.