Best Places to Eat in Albuquerque, NM

By Laura Hill on Tue, 04/26/2011 - 06:17

Got a hankering for hot Kung Pao chicken? A penchant for pumpkin ravioli? OK‚ maybe you’d just like a big ole steak.

Though it boasts a well-earned repu tation for its unique‚ chile-inspired New Mexican cuisine‚ Albuquerque is a mecca for diners yearning for nearly every kind of treat.

“Of course New Mexican food is king‚ but you can find every taste imaginable here‚” says Terry Keene‚ owner of The Artichoke Café on the corner of Central and Edith.

“Sushi is big here‚ Thai and Vietnamese are becoming more and more popular in town‚ and so are Greek and Middle Eastern.”

A common thread‚ he says‚ is that discriminating local diners tend to choose independently owned restaurants over chains when they eat out – and they have many from which to choose. Keene’s restaurant specializes in New American contemporary cuisine‚ with French- and Italian-influenced entrees. Its menu and new wine bar have made it a hit with locals and visitors alike.

Another Central Avenue eatery‚ Frontier Restaurant‚ open 24 hours a day‚ has been a haven for hungry students‚ families out for lunch or late-night breakfasters since 1971. Its reasonably priced menu offers every thing from scrambled eggs to bulk‚ 56-ounce containers of tortilla soup‚ while over at 1502 Fourth St. S.W.‚ diners at Barelas Coffee House chow down on good‚ old-fashioned chile.

On the opposite end of the culinary scale‚ Green Light Bistro offers a wide array of organic/vegan/vegetarian soups‚ salads‚ sandwiches‚ pasta‚ pastries and coffees.

Thinking Italian? Trombino’s is a trip to Tuscany‚ complete with arched doorways‚ antique brick walls‚ and strol­ling singers. On the menu are dozens of Italian dishes‚ including steaks‚ seafood‚ pasta‚ pizza and veal.

And if you’re in the mood for pan-Asian food‚ Jinja Bar & Bistro is hard to beat for variety and quality‚ with entrees from six different countries.

“It’s hard to pick your favorite Asian food‚ so our owners‚ who have traveled throughout Asia‚ chose what they thought was the best of the dishes they ate there‚” says General Manager Nik Fioretti. “We serve Indonesian‚ Thai‚ Chinese‚ Japanese‚ Indian and Vietnamese food.”

With its diverse menu – and wall murals painted by actor Gene Hackman (he’s an investor) – Jinja has become a popular spot for lunch and dinner‚ a tribute to Albuquerque diners’ increas ingly sophisticated tastes.

“It’s nice when you have a culture that’s so bonded to one type of cuisine‚” Fioretti says‚ “but we have a lot of well-traveled people here – and they are reaching out for more.”

Discover more great places to eat in Albuquerque, NM.


Laura Hill is a former reporter/columnist for the Tennessean and a contributor to Journal Communications publications since 1996. She enjoys travel, food, jazz, Titans football, her grown kids and the...

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