Breakfast in Santa Fe is worth eating. In many Santa Fe restaurants it’s a special meal; way more than eggs, meat, potatoes and toast. There are truly wonderful dishes to be found. The big thing that makes breakfast here is chile, New Mexico’s food staple. The peppers are made into a sauce, green uses fresh or frozen chiles and red is made from either dried chiles or chile powder. To be authentic, it’s got to be from NM grown chiles; after all, it’s the official State Vegetable. You’ll always be asked “Red or green?” If you want to try both, ask for “Christmas.” If you’re not a fan of heat, ask to taste the chile before having your food smothered with it. Too hot is not considered an excuse to return food here. And if you err, remember, sour cream will go a long way to cooling that heat. There are lots of great and unusual dishes on restaurant menus and eat one has its own specialties. Dig in.
This popular eatery has been lauded for years and it should be. Chef/owner Katherine Kagel has long supported fresh and local in her small corner café in downtown Santa Fe. Breakfast here is a tradition with locals and a destination for visitors because it’s gotten a lot of press. If you’re dining alone or want to meet people, try the community table. By the time you’ve finished breakfast, you’ll know your table-mates. I know people who’ve started friendships here. The breakfast menu is diverse. They have the usuals like breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros. If you’re adventurous, try something different. The Huevos Barbacoa , a delicious combination of marinated, slow-cooked shredded beef with eggs served on corn tortillas with chile d’arbol salsa is a great choice. Or order the Huevos Motuleños ;
eggs over easy on a corn tortilla topped with sautéed banana, feta cheese, green peas, roasted tomato/jalapeño salsa served with green or red chile or tomatillo salsa . Bet you’ve rarely seen this on a menu. If spice is not your thing, try the smoked trout hash (they also offer the corned-beef variety), pancakes or brioche French toast. Portions are HUGE. Many dishes are available as half-orders. Plan to arrive when they open the doors in the morning or be prepared to wait.
This bustling joint, popular with locals and visitors alike, seems to be busy no matter what time of day you go. Be prepared to wait for a table unless you arrive early in the morning. On weekends, the rush never seems to ebb. The quirky interior offers four distinct dining areas, each with its own character and one its got one of the best dining patios in town. The large breakfast menu ranges from house-baked goods to New Mexican fare and Mexican fare. If you want to go beyond the items like burritos and huevos rancheros found on most local breakfast menus here, try the Migas (scrambled eggs with onion, green pepper, tomato, pickled jalapeno, tortilla chips and cheese) or Chilaquiles (eggs any style with tomatillo salsa and Asadero and cotija cheeses and tortilla chips. If you aren’t ready for spice in the morning, try the lemon ricotta pancakes, waffles, French toast or that beloved American breakfast: eggs, meat and home fries.
If you want to mix a bit of history with breakfast, eat at Plaza Cafe, on the west side of Santa Fe’s historic Plaza. The owners say it’s the oldest restaurant in town. Originally opened in 19o5, it’s been owned by the Razatos family since 1947. Inside, it feels like an old 50s diner. Check out the vintage photos of the café in earlier days on the walls. This bustling spot serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to locals and tourists alike. A few of the more unusual breakfast offerings are 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. Here it’s offered with a choice of pork or menudo (tripe). As with many of the traditional New Mexican dishes found around town you get a choice of red or green chile. A few breakfast dishes are served all day. Be prepared to wait. They get really busy.
Plaza Café Southside
This sister eatery to the Plaza Café in downtown Santa Fe (see above). The Plaza Cafe Southside is run by members of the Razatos family, but the too restaurants remain separate entities. The Southside, located in a cluster of restaurants in the mall that houses the Regal Stadium 14 Theater on Zafarano Drive, has become a popular place for people living on the south end of town or staying in the chain motels on Cerrillos Road. If you are a fan of breakfast for lunch or dinner- they serve it from opening to closing here. The breakfast menu has an entire section devoted to Platos Nativos (Native Plates). There are the usual suspects like the Breakfast Burrito and Huevos Ranchos and then a few more unusual offerings. Try the Huevos Divorciados, two eggs on corn tortillas served with chipotle and tomatillo salsas, guacamole, sour cream, beans, hash browns and a tortilla. Portions, as in a lot of local breakfast joints, are large and guaranteed to fill most people up and then some!
The motto at Tecolote Cafe since they opened in 1980 has been “Great Breakfasts, No Toast.” This Cerrillos Road hotspot is popular with locals and on weekends there’s often a line out the door. The wait is worth it. The restaurant’s motto is but don’t despair. All breakfasts come with a choice of their bread basket or tortillas. Go for the basket! It features a selection of their house made freshly baked muffins and biscuits; cinnamon rolls are added on Sundays. The breakfast burritos, smothered in green (our favorite), red of Christmas, are wonderful. If you like your potatoes inside your burrito as we do, ask; they served them on the side here. They serve cottage fries here and they may be the best breakfast potatoes in town. A dish I’ve only seen here is Huevos Yucatecos, a corn tortilla layered with black beans; two eggs any style, green chile, Swiss and feta cheeses and pico de gallo. This is surrounded by fried bananas. For something different, try the nutty Atolé Piñon Hot Cakes made with blue cornmeal. Tecolote is also known for their French toast. There’s always a selection of delicious-sounding breads posted on the wall to choose from. If you’re a fan of real maple syrup, you can order it on the side.
Another Cerrillos Road restaurant that’s busy at breakfast time, The Pantry, is a local fixture. They’ve been feeding hungry Santa Feans since 1948. Originally a breakfast and lunch joint, they added dinner a few years ago. The breakfast burrito smothered in your favorite chile is a winner. Their red is one of the best in town. The breakfast sandwich: a tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and green chile with fresh salsa on the side is one of their top sellers. Try the Huevos Consuelo, a Pantry original named for the cook who invented it. It features eggs with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spicy yellow peppers. Not in the mood for heat? Try an all-American breakfast. Pick from favorites including chicken-fried steak, slow-cooked corned beef, biscuits with country sausage gravy, pancakes or waffles. The choice of breakfast meat goes beyond the usual bacon and ham offering carne adovado, corned beef or chorizo.
Located a few blocks off the Plaza at 210 West San Francisco Street, Tia Sophia has been luring locals for breakfast for years. One of the most written about (and televised) breakfast spots in town, it also attracts flocks of tourists. If you know who to look for, you’ll see local movers and shakers here both from the world of business and politics. Probably, many a deals has been struck here during a power breakfast. Owner Alex Maryol says the breakfast burrito is their claim to fame. Family lore has it that Alex’s dad, Jim came up with it the delicious concoction and it caught on around town.
More about Santa Fe breakfast burritos.