7 great Santa Fe breakfast places

This post on Santa Fe breakfast places was originally published in 2012. We updated it on April 18, 2019. Not much has changed!

Breakfast in Santa Fe  is special; way more than eggs, meat, and potatoes. There are truly wonderful dishes to be found. The big thing that makes breakfast special is chile. While you’ll find chopped green chile in handheld dishes have your dish smothered in either red or green.  This spicy sauce is made from either red or green chiles.  Green uses fresh or frozen chile and red is made from either dried chile or caribe (chile powder). Your server will always asl “Red or green?” If you want to try both, and want to sound like a local, ask for “Christmas.” Not a fan of heat?  Ask for a taste of the chile before having food smothered in 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.  Or, ask to have your chile on the side. There are lots of great and unusual dishes on restaurant menus  and eat one has its own specialties.  Start your day at some of the best Santa Fe breakfast places.

Favorite Santa Fe breakfast places

Cafe Pasqual’s

Santa Fe dining

Cafe Pasquals, photo/Steve Collins

Cafe Pasqual’s, a 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 (my favorite), a delicious combination of marinated, slow-cooked shredded beef with eggs served on corn tortillas with chile d’arbol salsa is a great choice. I ask for a side of the tomatillo salsa with it. I love the tart taste mixed with the chile d’arbol. Another popular breakfast dish is 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). 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. Like a late breakfast or breakfast for lunch? You’re in luck, it’s served until 3pm. Plan to arrive when they open the doors in the morning or be prepared to wait.

Harry’s Roadhouse

Santa Fe breakfast places - Harry's Roadhouse

Harrys Roadhouse, photo/Steve Collins

Harry’s Roadhouse seems to be busy no matter what time of day you go. The quirky joint offers four distinct dining areas, each with it own character and one of the best ourdoor dining areas in town.  Breakfast here ranges from house-baked goods to New Mexican and Mexican fare including burritos, Migas, Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles. There are pancakes (including lemon ricotta), waffles, French toast and the simple, beloved American breakfast (eggs, meat and home fries.

Plaza Cafe

Santaq Fe's historic Plaza Cafe has been serving Santa Fe for almost 100 years photo Steve Collins

Plaza Cafe has recently re-opened, photo/Steve Collins

Plaza Café 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

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!

Tecolote Cafe

Huevos Rancheros at Tecolote Samta Fe institution, photo Steve Collins

Huevos Rancheros at Tecolote, photo/Steve Collins

Tecolote Cafe started out on Cerrillos Road in 1980. After losing their lease, they reopened in much larger digs at 1616 St Michaels Drive in 2015. This now expanded hotspot is popular with locals and on weekends there’s often a wait for a table. It’s worth the wait!. The restaurant’s motto is “Great Breakfasts, No Toast,” 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 chile), red of Christmas, are wonderful.  If you like your potatoes inside your burrito as we do, ask; otherwise they’re served them on the side here. Their cottage fries  may be the best breakfast potatoes in town (but that may be me- my dad used to make these and I get nostalgic). We love their ham steak and egg special and if that’s on the menu we both order it. For something different, try the nutty Atolé Piñon Hot Cakes made with blue cornmeal. Tecolote is also known for their French toast and there’s always a selection of delicious-sounding breads, posted on the menu board, to choose from. If you’re a fan of real maple syrup, you can order it for an extra charge.

The Pantry

The Pantry on Cerrillos Rd. is a Santa Fe breakfast favorite, photo Steve Collins

The Pantry on Cerrillos Road is a local favorite, photo/Steve Collins

The Pantry, a local fixture is almost always busy at breakfast time. They’ve been feeding hungry Santa Feans since 1948. Originally a breakfast and lunch joint, they added dinner a few years ago. W e love the house-made corned beef hash.The breakfast burrito smothered in your favorite chile is a winner. Their red is one of the best in town.  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.

Tia Sofia

Breakfast at Tia Sophia's is a Santa Fe brealfast tradition courtesy Tia Sophia's

Breakfast at Tia Sophia’s, photo/courtesy Tia Sophia’s

Tia Sophia, 210 West San Francisco Street (just a few blocks west of the Santa Fe Plaza), 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, both from the world of business and politics, here. Many a deals have been struck here over a power breakfast. Owner Nick Maryol says the breakfast burrito is their claim to fame. Family lore has it that Nick’s dad Jim came up with thus delicious concoction and it caught on around town. Maybe it’s true.

What are your favorite Santa Fe breakfast places?

Read about our search for the best Santa Fe breakfast burritos.

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7 Responses to “7 great Santa Fe breakfast places”

  1. Payje
    July 16, 2019 at 2:15 pm #

    You guys make me so stinking hungry all the time! I miss green chile so so much! I bought some anaheims from the grocery store here the other day and roasted them in the oven, it was not a good experience. I’m going to have to order some to be sent here! Those breakfasts looked so good, especially the huevos motulenos!
    Payje recently posted..Otter Cove, Alaska and “The Luck of the Draw”My Profile

  2. Alex Gildzen
    July 17, 2019 at 8:48 am #

    & then there’s the cinnamon roll at Counter Culture
    Alex Gildzen recently posted..William Asher (1921-2012)My Profile

    • Billie Frank
      July 17, 2019 at 2:36 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. We didn’t even scratch the surface. Counter Culture is definitely on our list for future breakfast posts.

  3. Edwin Roman
    July 17, 2019 at 8:49 am #

    I first visited Santa Fe five years ago, dined at the Plaza Cafe and just loved it. I returned for my 45th birthday earlier this month, on July 4th, and they were closed for renovations! I was so disappointed. I plan on returning for my 50th birthday—-take note Plaza Cafe: July 4, 2019! Please be open!

    • Billie Frank
      July 17, 2019 at 2:38 pm #

      Good news for you. The Plaza reopened on Joly 9th. It’s going into our Tidbits to be posted later. They’ve been here over

      years and God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, they;ll be here in 2017. It’s a LONG time to wait to come back to our great city! Happy belated birthday!

  4. Leslie (Downtown Traveler)
    July 22, 2019 at 8:45 am #

    The breakfast in Santa Fe looks amazing! I’m glad you warned me about asking to taste the chile first- that would be embarrassing if you try to return a dish for bring too spicy and they say no 😉
    Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..PHOTOS: Exploring New York City by bicycle - from Wall Street to DUMBOMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      July 23, 2019 at 7:06 am #

      Breakfast is definitely worth eating here! And be warned, they won’t take a dish back for being too hot. Many of the restaurants warn you on the menu and I think I’ve seen signs on the wall. Years ago when we were visiting in NM, we ate in a famous Albuquerque restaurant. When I ordered green chile w/ something he asked, “Mild, Medium or hot.” Being a total wuss I ordered mild. It was the hottest thing I never ate. Even sour cream, known to go a long way to cooling things off didn’t make it edible. In NM, there is no mild, depending on the chile itself, you may get medium. Most of it’s pretty hot for many Gringo palates.

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