Taos

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For a small town, Taos supports a high number (more than 50 at last count) of inventive restaurants, many of which turn out flavorful Southwestern cuisine (think spicy chiles and fresh tortillas). Of course, there are plenty of low-key, fun eateries doling out hearty portions and comfort foods, but Taos does not lack for the refined or the critically-lauded experimental when it comes to chowing down. Regardless of where you dine, comfort is key – even at the most high-end of dining establishments, it’s not uncommon to see relaxed diners sporting blue jeans (translation: leave the jacket and tie at home). Just keep in mind that many restaurants close at 9pm, so dining late-night is out of the question.

Top Restaurants in Taos

De La Tierra

Located within the swank El Monte Sagrado Resort, De La Tierra's world-class cuisine is matched by its sophisticated space and décor that includes an impressive chandelier dangling from the high ceiling; sleek, yet comfortable, black silk chairs; and stylish Far Eastern accents. Chef John Cox's menu portrays a veritable smorgasbord of global influences prepared with regional ingredients - look for international dishes like the Russian red snapper with caviar; the Italian mushroom risotto with parmesan, herbs, and truffles; or the Thai organic chicken soup with coconut, lime, and ginger. Follow up with the lip-smacking signature El Mundo dessert - a near-sinful serving of a dark chocolate "globe," overflowing with caramel and white chocolate syrup. Chef's tasting menus with optional wine pairings are also on the menu. Reservations are recommended.

317 Kit Carson Rd., at El Monte Sagrado Resort, NM, 800-828-8267; 575-758-3502, www.elmontesagrado.com
Tags: international | expensive

Doc Martin’s Restaurant

Located inside the Taos Inn, a registered historic landmark, Doc Martin's Restaurant earns some much-warranted attention. Serving New American cuisine with Southwestern touches, diners flock here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (even brunch on the weekends) to satisfy their palettes and moods with comfort-producing foods served up in a cozy adobe house setting. It's worth a visit even just to grab a drink - their wine list has won Wine Spectator magazine's "Awards of Excellence" for the past twenty years and they boast a margarita menu with 14 variations of this tequila-filled classic. The live nightly music at the hotel's Adobe Bar invites diners to stick around well after their plates are cleared.

125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, at the Taos Inn, NM, 575-758-2233 reservation line: 888-518-8267, www.taosinn.com
Tags: moderate | southwestern

Gutiz

This innovative Latin/French fusion eatery and bakery, manages to turn out a menu of tapas, pastries, and light entrees with surprisingly little conflict. Only an international foodie like Chef Eduardo Gutiz could successfully pair blue cheese hummus, mushrooms, and beans (among other things), in a tasty vegetarian tartine. Another crowd favorite is the thick and gratifying French toast, a perfect Sunday brunch indulgence. Besides the inventive dishes, there's an array of freshly baked treats, homemade breads, and divine coffees and chai tea. Décor is bright and pleasant. Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday to Saturday; beer and wine are on the menu but if you're hankering for a stiff martini, look elsewhere.

812B Paseo del Pueblo Norte, NM, 575-758-1226, www.gutiztaos.com
Tags: moderate | latin fusion | french fusion

Joseph’s Table

Located on the historic Taos Plaza, inside the Hotel la Fonda de Taos, Joseph's Table is simply, as the New York Times called it, "unmissable." One taste of their duck-fat fries or pan-seared sea scallops with bacon-jalapeño cream sauce, and you'll probably agree. The award-winning eatery features the gourmet handiwork of Chef Joseph Wrede, whose success has come courtesy of a winning combination of locally harvested Southwestern ingredients doled out with an innovative edge - traces of French, Italian, and Asian influences abound. The elegant restaurant interior, marked by rich wood floors and banisters, romantic alcove dining nooks, and flowery morals is simply inspired, and is complimented by a friendly and professional waitstaff. Open for dinner nightly and brunch on Sunday, reservations are highly recommended.

108A South Taos Plaza, NM, 575-751-4512, www.josephstable.com
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | southwestern

Lambert’s of Taos

Launched two decades ago by Zeke Lambert (the former chef at the Taos Inn), and his wife Tina, this fine-dining establishment quickly earned - and maintained - its status as a local favorite. The simple, yet cozy, surroundings unfold in an historic hacienda, and provide little distraction from the contemporary American fare. Sauces are made from scratch, fresh produce is emphasized, and tasty staples like the rib-eye steak are innovatively paired with a garlic chipotle demi-glace and red chili onion rings. A lengthy wine list and knowledgeable long-time local staff add to the appeal. Sit at the bar for some small-dish sampling, as well as to dish on local happenings with the friendly bartenders.

309 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, NM, 575-758-1009, www.lambertsoftaos.com
Tags: expensive | american

Orlando’s New Mexican Cafe

Cheery and laid-back, Orlando's is a local family-friendly favorite for its colorful décor, sizeable portions, and outdoor patio. One of their most popular signature dishes is the Los Colores, featuring three types of enchiladas covered in chili, and accompanied by beans and posole (a traditional New Mexican soup). Hearty sides like chili cheese fries or the nacho chips, guacamole, and salsa combo, are also worthwhile. Come early if you don't like to wait; lines are known to start forming early.

114 Don Juan Valdez La., NM, 575-751-1450
Tags: moderate | southwestern

Taos Pizza Out Back

Located north of town, and tucked inconspicuously behind another business, this low-key eatery, dubbed "the Outback" by locals, is worth seeking out for its hearty portions of pizzas, pastas, salads, and calzones. Pizzas reign supreme on the menu, with topping offerings ranging from The Veggie to The Carnivore to satisfy every hunger - they're coupled particularly well with the microbrews on offer. Outdoor picnic tables and an overall relaxed vibe make this spot particularly popular with families and hungry outdoor enthusiasts heading back from a day rafting the river or hiking the mountains.

712 Paseo del Norte, NM, 575-758-3112
Tags: budget | pizza

Tiwa Kitchen

For regional fare authentic to the local Tiwa Indian tribe, don't miss a chance to sample the intense chili-flavored stews and horno-baked breads at the Native American-run Tiwa Kitchen. Located within Taos Pueblo, diners here can dig into tribe staples like Indian fry bread, blue corn meal, roasted peppers, mountain trout, and buffalo meat - meals are cooked in wood-fired ovens, while the organically-grown ingredients are largely harvested by the proprietors themselves. Note the restaurant (and pueblo) closes annually in late winter.

328 Veterans Hwy., NM, 575-751-1020, www.taospueblo.com
Tags: budget | southwestern

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