Searching for the perfect Santa Fe breakfast burrito

There’s nothing like a Northern New Mexico breakfast burrito. They are my Santa Fe breakfast of choice- a symphony of eggs, potatoes, cheese and for meat eaters, the decision between bacon and chorizo. Then comes the really big choice; red, green or Christmas. If you’re not from these parts, that’s the chile you want in or on top of your burrito. A request for Christmas gets you a mix of red and green. But it wasn’t always what I ate. When I first arrived here, I was a traditional American breakfast lover. I didn’t like it hot. It took a while before I took the plunge and I’m so glad I did. Here’s the story of my search for the perfect Santa Fe breakfast burrito

Santa Fe food

Tia Sophia’s breatfast burrito, smothered in green chile, photo/Art Wolf

The search for the perfect breakfast burrito:
It all started when Steve had a small café in one of the State office buildings. State workers came for breakfast and many of them, on the run, wanted a hand-held breakfast burrito. The chile goes on top of all the fillings inside the tortilla and then it’s rolled and tucked. I decided to taste one and I was hooked. I wanted to see how his stacked up against the competition around town and the search for the perfect burrito was born.

I started out with El Chile Toreado, the stand across the road from the café. Good, but I still likes Steve’s better. I made my way around town trying burritos at El Parasol, a popular local chain, Baja Tacos out on Cerrillos Road, the Santa Fe Baking Company, and a now defunct place called the Over Easy Café. We were still doing pretty well against all these. I kept noticing the smothered burrito plates people were eating in some of these spots and they looked pretty good, but that chile can be HOT. Was I really ready for one of these? One morning at Over Easy, I did it and never went back. My first choice, except when we’re eating on the run, is a breakfast burrito smothered in green.  Here are some of my favorite places in town to grab a Santa Fe breakfast burrito. Be warned; these places are all popular- the word’s been out on them a long time. Be prepared to wait or go early.

Santa Fe food

Great hand-held breakfast burritos at El Chile Toreado, photo/Steve Collins

Café Pasqual’s is a destination dining spot for both locals and visitors to Santa Fe. The café, in business over 30 years, is committed to sourcing healthy ingredients, using local when possible. Their huge breakfast burrito has a hefty price-tag, but it can be shared. They know they’re big and you can order a half-sized one. The menu offers one with chorizo, but substitute bacon or go meatless if you prefer. They serve breakfast daily.

Tecolote Café is a local favorite and I think they are a serious contender for the best breakfast potatoes in town. But, I may be partial. They remind me of the potatoes my father used to make. They don’t put their potatoes inside the burritos here, but will on request. I just have to have them incorporated. The chile is great and we love the  bread baskets that come with your meal. They’re filled with house-made biscuits and muffins.

The Pantry has been serving breakfast in Santa Fe for over 60 years. The crowd is a local one with visitors mixed in. They also have great potatoes here and serve them on the side of the breakfast burrito. Just aks the server to put them inside and they will.

The Plaza Café on the west side of the historic plaza is one of the oldest restaurants in town.  The restaurant, serving traditional New Mexican food since 1918, was purchased by the Razatos family in 1947. Along the way they incorporated some of the family’s traditional Greek dishes and some Anglo favorites. The restaurant, totally restored after a 2010 fire, reopened in 2012. They have kept the 50’s diner ambiance including the great retro photos on the wall.

Santa Fe food

Get your breakfast burrito fix at the Plaza Cafe, photo/Steve Collins

Tia Sophia’s 210 West San Francisco Street (505) 983-9880, walking distance to the Santa Fe Plaza has been serving up breakfast burritos since 1975, by a branch of the Maryol family. Today, Nick Maryol, son of the original owners, is at the helm. This is one of the places for the Santa Fe version of a power breakfast.

If you’re not a breakfast burrito fan, all of these places offer a wide range of breakfast options, including standard American fare, traditional New Mexican dishes and some Mexican breakfast classics.

These five are a just a start. There are many more places that offer great Santa Fe breakfast burritos. From casual to upscale, from carts to stands, there are delicious breakfast burritos all around town.  What’s your favorite place for a Santa Fe breakfast burrito?

More Santa Fe breakfast options for you.
Searching for the perfect Santa Fe breakfast burrito
Santa Fe Food Finds: Chris’ Cafe


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19 Responses to “Searching for the perfect Santa Fe breakfast burrito”

  1. Leigh
    January 7, 2019 at 6:14 pm #

    You’re making me hungry with your descriptions. I think we ate at Cafe Pasquales years ago but it’s been far too long since I’ve been in Santa Fe. It’s on our list for a fall trip in the next few years. And I would be happy to sample a burrito at each and every one of these places.
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    • Billie Frank
      January 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm #

      You could do a different breakfast burrito every day!

  2. Karen
    January 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

    Dead-even on whether the BB is better at Tecolote or Pantry. Guess I’ll just have to try another round….

    • Billie Frank
      January 7, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

      Tough work! I love them both! There are so many great ones in town- I could have done the top 25 and still have been on a roll.

  3. Karen
    January 8, 2019 at 8:38 am #

    So very true!

  4. City of Santa Fe
    January 8, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

    Great article, Billie! Any native New Mexican will tell you that one of their favorite morning rituals is enjoying a tasty, fiery, savory breakfast burrito. We love ours ‘Christmas’ style! For those of you that don’t know, chile in New Mexico is not just an ingredient, but a way of life.

  5. Kathryn King
    January 8, 2019 at 2:52 pm #

    Cafe Pasqual’s — without a doubt.

  6. Francine
    January 8, 2019 at 4:59 pm #

    Been doing the breakfast burrito for 10 years now in Santa Fe. I love the guy’s in El Chile Toreado trailer. I go there for a special treat. Bert’s Burger Bowl also has good ones along with Tia Sophia’s (another favorite). The Green Owl on St. Michaels is also pretty good.

    • Billie Frank
      January 8, 2019 at 5:13 pm #

      Have had El Chile Toreado’s and Tia’s. Not the Green Owls- had pretzels from there once.

  7. Francine
    January 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm #

    One more place that I found and that my daughter agrees with….you will laugh at this one….Blake’s Lottaburger on St. Michaels. These guys make them right on the grill…fresh eggs, bacon, etc. I get the #1 with green chili. For the price and the convenience, I have gone there a lot and there is always a line each morning. Only discovered this place six months ago and lived by them for two years without going there.

    • Billie Frank
      January 8, 2019 at 7:11 pm #

      We actually eat Blake’s when we’re in a great hurry. They’re okay- there are just so many better ones, but you’re right- you can’t beat the price.

  8. DCJ
    January 10, 2019 at 9:10 am #

    I have a Carne Adovada w/ extra cheese, and red, regularly from Burrito Co.
    It will fix what ails you.

    • Billie Frank
      January 10, 2019 at 9:26 am #

      Everyone has their go-to burrito place it seems and there are sooooo many to choose from in Santa Fe.

  9. Donna Hull
    January 10, 2019 at 9:40 pm #

    Green chile burritos, yum! I’ll be bringing your list of breakfast eateries the next time I visit Santa Fe.
    Donna Hull recently posted..How do you like our new look?My Profile

  10. Glenn
    January 12, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

    When you are near Cuba, try Priciellas (sp?).

    • Billie Frank
      January 12, 2019 at 9:22 pm #

      Googled it- it’s Presciliano’s. Thanks for the heads-up!

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