In The Media

In The Media

Santacafé Wins New Mexico: The Most Romantic Restaurants in Every State

‘GMA’ 40th Anniversary: Most Memorable Food Moments

Featured on Food Network’s Giada’s Weekend Vacation February 2007

Below is a selection of reviews and articles featuring Santacafé.

When in Santa Fe, Eat Where the Santa Feans Eat

When in Santa Fe, Eat Where the Santa Feans Eat

By Anne Hillerman
For the Journal

After a stressful week, most of us don’t want to worry about the possibility of a bad meal, a confused waiter, or a raucous conversation at a nearby table. When I need serious pampering at dinner, and can afford to pay for it, I love the Santacafé.

This well-established downtown restaurant gets it right, time and again. The food and service are close to impeccable. It’s hard to find a more beautiful place to eat, especially when the flagstone patio beneath the big shade tree and white tent is open for dining.

We arrived a little early for our reservation— always a good idea here— and sat inside at the bar briefly while the crew prepared our table. The restaurant occupies the historic Padre Gallegos adobe and the four small dining rooms are pleasantly cozy. Don’t miss the old well, covered and preserved as part of the bar floor.

The host soon seated us at a table for two and the busboy followed, offering us bottled water or Santa Fe tap. Then came a basket with fresh crisp, house-made crackers and two types of mild green chile bread. The Santacafé manages the little details, like butter arriving at a spreadable consistency, with the same ease that it handles the big question: What’s for dinner?.

Our waitress told us everything available was on the menu. When I told her I was in the mood for fish, she recommended both the halibut and the salmon. The entrees also include the venerable roasted poblano relleno, a mild chile stuffed with mushroom quinoa in chipotle cream— a long-time favorite— as well as grilled ribeye steak with Hatch chile, a thick pork chop with warm chipotle sauce and roasted free-range chicken breast with summer squash risotto.

Reading the options made me hungry, so I ordered a starter of Santacafé’s excellent crispy calamari, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Battered and fried into petite golden funnels and small webs of tentacles, this crunchy calamari comes with a dynamite Asian chile dipping sauce ($8.50).

My friend and I also tried the seared tuna appetizer ($16), three slices of deep red fish crusted on the outside with coriander, and balanced atop a serving of sticky rice. The plate was finished with dabs of soy and strikingly orange sriracha chile aioli that had a hint of fire.

Like the other presentations, the tuna was beautiful without being overly fussy. Appetizers also feature spring rolls, tiger prawns, shrimp and spinach dumplings and several salads including mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes.

In keeping with my craving for fish, I ordered the salmon ($28) and enjoyed every bite. The pan seared fish, cooked medium rare to keep the juicy softness, was garnished by plump Prince Edward Island mussels. The soft yellow hue of the shelled mussels matched the beautiful yellow tortellini. About the size of an extra-large marshmallow, the tortellini were filled with ratatouille that had an irresistibly fresh tomato flavor. Elegant, simple and plate-licking good.

My friend ordered the rack of lamb ($34), which came with a delightful tabouli prepared with chopped eggplant, tomatoes and other veggies. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked, presented atop the tabouli with the bones arranged in a tentlike balance resembling folded hands.

From the young man who filled our water glasses without disturbing us to Janet who checked on us unobtrusively and other staff who helped throughout the evening, service was close to flawless. The only minor glitches came late in the meal, a long lag between ordering dessert and its arrival, and a lack of Splenda to sweeten my friend’s latte. The fresh coffee and desserts (each $7.50) were worth the wait, however. The buttermilk sorbet was refreshingly creamy, slightly tart, not too rich and deliciously unusual. The fresh peaches and thin crust of the peach tart made it memorable as well. If you’re in the mood for chocolate, the warm chocolate upside-down cake here, served with a small scoop of house made vanilla ice cream is memorable, too.

Our dinner for two was $109.25 before the tip.

Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review

Pasatiempo  / February 2008
Filled with flat winter light, Santacafé’s minimalist gray-and-white décor creates the feel of barren northern climes, relieved by joy­ous, enthusiastic service and delicious food.

It was our most elegant $10 downtown lunch.

Co-owner Judith Ebbinghaus says she keeps the prices low at lunch to draw a good crowd — and the strategy works. I couldn’t pass up the free-range chicken potpie with an herbed buttermilk biscuit —  soft-cooked chicken in gravy with carrots and mushrooms and plenty of pepper. The biscuit, crisp on the outside and tender inside, combined with the filling to produce the ultimate comfort food.

A French dip on ciabatta — made that day, in-house — soothed and satisfied our cold bellies. The medium-rare roast beef, nestled into the loaf with a little horseradish aioli, came with dipping sauce    sparked with a little red chile and soy sauce. Warm potato salad was tossed in more aioli.

There’s a $9 combo with a half sandwich (yes, the French dip included), cup of soup, and a salad that offers solace and fresh greens in one meal.

Chef Angel Estrada, formerly the sous chef, has been at Santacafé for 14 years.

He worked his way up, learning from every chef he has worked under, starting with Ming Tsai. It looks as if he’s doing a great job, and I salute Santacafé for recognizing his dedication and talent.

Giada’s Weekend Getaway

Giada’s Weekend Getaway

Giadas_Weekend_Getaway “Santa Fe”
In this episode of “Giada’s Weekend Getaway”, host Giada DeLaurentiis gets creative with the perfect three-day, food-filled weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From a nibble of chocolate art to the birthplace of the breakfast burrito, our host has a taste of tantalizing tapas, a bite of the best chile relleno and a turn at spinning some pottery, all before a sweet view of the entire Sangre de Christo Mountains.

Air Dates and Times:

February 09, 2007 9:30 PM ET/PT
February 10, 2007 12:30 AM ET/PT
February 11, 2007 2:00 PM ET/PT

Make a Reservation | Gift Certificates
Make a Reservation | Gift Certificates