This is part one of a three-part series on outdoor dining in Santa Fe. Price-wise, these restaurants are all on the higher end, for more reasonable options, read part two, and part three for Santa Fe casual outdoor dining options.
When temperatures warm up, people love to dine al fresco. Santa Fe offers some excellent outdoor dining options ranging from a front porch to a lush courtyard with a fountain and lots of great options in between. Whether you’re having a cup of coffee, an afternoon drink or an elegant four-course dinner, The City Different has an outdoor spot perfect for you.
The inviting patio at 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar on historic Old Santa Fe Trail is separated from the street by plantings and shaded by big green umbrellas. The newly expanded restaurant started out as a French bistro and some of that influence remains. Now, the seasonally changing menu is more eclectic. Two summer menu favorites: Squash Blossom Beignets and soft-shell crabs. Dinner is served nightly.
The peaceful, stucco-wall enclosed patio at The Compound on historic Canyon Road feels like it’s somewhere in the Mediterranean. Dine under fruit trees, amidst pot of ivy and colorful flowers artfully places around the intimate space. Enjoy chef/owner Mark Kiffen’s James Beard Award-winning food for either lunch or dinner.
If you want to get out of the city, Las Fuentes at historic Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa offers outdoor dining on a balcony overlooking the idyllic grounds of the secluded resort. It feels like a private world here. The restaurant, serving three meals daily, is known locally for its lush Sunday brunch buffet. If you want to take outdoor dining to the limit, Bishop’s Lodge holds three cowboy cookouts during the summer. Really want to get into the spirit? You can ride one of their horses up to the mesa where the grub is served. Reserve early, they can only accommodate a limited number of riders. You can also get to the cookout via hay wagon or a van.
The casually elegant, four-star, four-diamond Geronimo on Canyon Road offers outdoor dining on their portal, a New Mexico way of saying “covered porch”. The portal, located at the front of the historic building is a great place to people watch. Friday nights are especially fun. Canyon Road, the primary gallery area in Santa Fe is hopping with people going to art openings, strolling or shopping. Dinner is served nightly.
La Casa Sena has what may be the best courtyard dining spot in town. Don Juan Sena bought a small building on Palace Avenue in1796 and by the 1830s had built a family compound (44 rooms), which surrounds this beautiful courtyard with its stately trees, lush plantings and bubbling fountain. Enjoy lunch, brunch or dinner daily in this tranquil oasis.
The patio at Luminaria, the restaurant at the Inn and Spa at Loretto makes you feel as if you are dining on a Caribbean Island. It’s the perfect place for a romantic dinner au deux or to dine with six or eight of your closest friends. Enjoy a tropical drink or a Margarita and relax while you savor the perfect ambiance. On cooler evenings they light a wood fire in their outdoor fireplace. They also serve breakfast and lunch on the patio. It’s the perfect spot no matter which meal you choose to eat there.
Martin Rios, the multi-talented chef/owner of Restaurant Martín, built and planted most of the large, inviting patio and garden with his own hands. There are two distinct dining areas; the back one is shaded by a portal and the side has huge umbrellas to protect diners from the sun. If you keep watch on the kitchen door, you may see the chef pop out to pick herbs for his “progressive American cuisine. They serve lunch, brunch and dinner.
The courtyard at Santacafe is a perfect spot for al fresco dining. The restaurant, located in the Padre Gallegos House built between 1857 and 1862, is famous for the glassed-over well in the bar. According to Bobby Morean, one of the restaurant’s owners, Gallegos had so many enemies he didn’t trust the outside well to provide safe, potable water. Santacafe’s tented courtyard and covered portal offer a shady respite at lunch and protection from the summer monsoons at dinner.
Terra, the four-diamond restaurant at Four Seasons Resorts Rancho Encantado, is about 20 minutes north of Santa Fe just outside the small village of Tesuque. Views from the patio are fabulous any time of day; the sunset views are superb. If you don’t want to have dinner, go for drinks and enjoy Mother Nature’s show. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Check with the restaurants for days and hours of service. Santa Fe is a tourist town and can get busy, especially in summer; reservations are highly recommended, especially on weekends.
What are your favorite outdoor dining spots at Santa Fe restaurants?
Authors’ note: As a former hotel concierges and owners of a travel concierge and trip-planning business in Santa Fe, the writers may have been guests of business or services mentioned in posts on this site. While these experiences have not influenced us in any way, this information is provided in the spirit of full disclosure.