Best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe

Forgot the bacon and eggs and make your Santa Fe breakfast something special. Just about every breakfast place in the city has Northern New Mexican dishes on their menu. In a state where chile is the official state vegetable it’s not surprising that many breakfast dishes including burritos, huevos rancheros and even more exotic offerings come with a choice of red or green chile. Want both? Just ask for Christmas. Caveat: NM chiles vary in heat. If you have a sensitive palate, ask to taste the chile. They won’t take a dish back because it’s too hot. Here are our picks for the best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe (in alphabetical order).

(In case you want to know what we eat at the best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe we added our favorite menu items below each entry.)

Café Pasqual’s

best breakfast restaurants in Santas Fe - Smoked trout hash with tomatillo salsa at Cafe Pasqual's, photo Steve Collins

Smoked trout hash with tomatillo salsa at Cafe Pasqual’s, photo/Steve Collins

If you like fresh and organic food, Café Pasqual’s is the place for you! Chef/owner Katherine Kagel has been feeding Santa Feans since 1979; she’s even won a prestigious James Beard Award for it. Breakfast here is an occasion. The menu is long; dishes run from American favorites like corned beef hash to New Mexican and Mexican dishes such as the chorizo burrito (you can swap it out for bacon) or Huevos Motuleños. Portions are generous; if you have a smaller appetite many dishes are available as half-orders. The ambiance slants to Mexican. Colorful Café Pasquals calendars and bright Oaxaca murals adorn the walls, papeles picados, piñatas and ristras hang from the ceiling. Because the dining room is small and crowded it  can get loud, but it’s clear everyone is having a great time. Great news if you like a late breakfast: it’s served until 3pm. Arrive early or be prepared to wait. It’s a popular spot!

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: Huevos Barbacoa con Chile d’Arbol Salsa (I order a side of tomatillo salsa with it)
Steve: Smoked Trout Hash

La Plazuela

best breakfast restaurants in Santas Fe - La Plazuela's bright, airy dining room,, photo/courtesy La Fonda

La Plazuela’s bright, airy dining room,, photo/courtesy La Fonda

Breakfast at La Fonda, the oldest hotel in Santa Fe, is an occasion. The hotel’s restaurant, La Plazuela, opened where the current kitchen is in 1922. In 1975 it moved into the newly enclosed courtyard, a bright, airy space. Dining room renovations, completed in 2008, reflect the hotel’s ongoing commitment Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. She was the designer Fred Harvey  selected for the hotel opened in the late 1920s. The dining room’s colorful painted glass door panels (there are over 400) were painted by Ernest Martinez, the hotel’s resident artist for over 50 years. La Plazuela has long been the site for Santa Fe power breakfasts. You sometimes see the mayor or other local movers and shakers breakfasting there. The extensive menu offers a range of dishes, some paying homage to the US and others to New and Old Mexico. Try the Eggs Benedict with smoked tomatillos for a twist, or enjoy a breakfast burrito; our favorite way to eat this is smothered in green chile. Or try one of the hotel’s two signature breakfast dishes: Chile Relleno con Huevos de Cualquier Estilo (chile relleno topped with two eggs, chile sauce and smoky black beans) or Huevos Rancheros. Some dishes like the very American two egg and meat breakfast come with a more exotic name, in this case, Huevos de Cualquier Estilo (which translates to eggs any style). While it’s often crowded the pace is leisurely.

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: I love the ham and eggs; the ham, from a steak has a round hambone in it.
Steve: Also goes for the ham and eggs for the same reason.

Plaza Café

best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe - The historic Plaza Cafe, photo Steve Collins

The historic Plaza Cafe, photo/Steve Collins

The historic Plaza Café on the west side of the historic Santa Fe Plaza has been serving breakfast to Santa Feans since 1905. To add to the feeling of longevity the Razatos family has owned the retro eatery since 1947. The Plaza feels like a 50s diner: red booths, retro-looking tables and round stools at the counter. Sadly, a 2012 fire resulted in an interior redo and some of the original diner feeling is history. The café is a busy hub catering to locals and tourists. Greece, Santa Fe and American comfort food share the extensive menu. American breakfast favorites offered for breakfast include chicken-fried steak and eggs and biscuits with sausage gravy. You can get a Greek omelet or chose from a range of Mexican and New Mexican dishes. Try the Huevos Divorciados topped with chipotle and tomatillo salsas, Chilaquiles (corn chips with red and green salsa, cheese and eggs) or Huevos con Nopalitos (scrambled eggs with cactus, chopped steak, tomatillo salsa, cheese and Mexican sour cream). While breakfast is served from 7 to 11am some breakfast items are available all day. Be prepared to wait. They get really busy!

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: Breakfast burrito with bacon (hold the cheese- the reason I don’t have cheese is I don’t eat any dairy except butter) smothered in green chile
Steve: Sunny-side up eggs with chorizo

Tia Sophia’s

best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe - The breakfast plates are more than ample at Tia Sophia's, photo/courtesy Tia Sophia's

The breakfast plates are more than ample at Tia Sophia’s, photo/courtesy Tia Sophia’s

Tia Sophia’s (210 West San Francisco Street) is another family-owned Santa Fe breakfast tradition. Owner Nick Maryol, now owns and runs the restaurant that was started by his parents in 1975. Another branch of the Maryol family owns the legendary Tomasitas and the newer Atrisco Café.  They are known for their breakfast burritos; in fact Maryol says family lore holds that his father, Jim, invented it. And have it smothered in chile. The restaurant also claims that the term “Christmas” was coined by one of their servers in the 80s. Try the breakfast special; each day of the week has its signature offering. While Tia Sophia’s, a fixture in Santa Fe guidebooks, attracts lots of visitors; it’s also a popular spot for locals including business people and politicians. Many a business deal has sealed at breakfast there.

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: Breakfast burrito smothered in green chile
Steve: Eggs over easy with sausage and a side of green chile

The Pantry

best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe - The retro sign at the Pantry Restaurant, photo Steve Collins

The retro sign at the Pantry Restaurant, photo/Steve Collins

The Pantry, another Santa Fe dining institution has been serving breakfast since 1948. While family-owned and run, it’s been passed down through several owners since it opened. The menu is a mix of American comfort food and New Mexican/Mexican favorites. Try a smothered breakfast burrito. While green is our chile of choice, The Pantry is known for their red. And remember, asking for Christmas will get you a bit of both and you can decide your favorite.  Not in the mood for spicy? Try their chicken fried steak and eggs or fresh corned beef hash. Want an egg and meat breakfast? Skip the usual bacon, ham or sausage and go New Mexican with carne adovada (pork slow-cooked in red chile) or chorizo. It’s always busy and on weekends; the wait is often out the door, but it’s worth it!

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: Either the corned beef hash or carne adovada with sunny side up eggs.
Steve: Corned beef hash

A bit farther afield

Fancy a morning ride? Three of our favorite breakfast spots are out of the city.

Café Fina

best breakfasts in Santa Fe - Cafe Fina sits on Old Las Vegas Highway, photo/Steve Collins

Cafe Fina sits on Old Las Vegas Highway, photo/Steve Collins

Bright, contemporary Café Fina is the neighborhood gathering place for Eldorado, an interesting community southeast of Santa Fe, about a 15-minute drive from the Santa Fe Plaza. While clientele is mostly local, thanks to the magic of the Internet tourists find it as well. Because both breakfast and lunch items are available starting at 7am they call the daily offering “Brunch.” You grab a menu and order at the counter, a server will deliver the food to your table. Breakfast items include breakfast burritos, Cloud Cakes (ricotta pancakes topped with fresh berries served with real maple syrup), Migas and Huevos Motuleños (organic eggs over easy served on a corn tortilla with black beans, NM feta cheese, peas, sautéed bananas and red or green chile). Want something a bit lighter? Go for the house-made granola or some of the house-baked pastries. Weekends can get busy in warmer weather. We frequently encounter groups of bicyclists stopping for something to eat.

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: breakfast burrito smothered in green (no cheese). Love their bacon!
Steve:
Breakfast burrito smothered green or the Eldorado omelet with green

Harry’s Roadhouse

best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe - Harry's Roadhouse is always bustling, photo Steve Collins

Harry’s Roadhouse is always bustling, photo/Steve Collins

No matter when you go, Harry’s Roadhouse, a ten-minute drive from downtown Santa Fe, is busy. If you don’t want to wait for a table, arrive early in the morning. The quirky interior holds four dining rooms, each with a totally different character. The front room with its counter and stools and retro Formica tables feels like a diner, the middle room and porch beyond are colorful and cheerful and the bar which has a bit of a roadhouse feel to it and in summer they have outdoor dining in the landscaped back yard. The large breakfast menu included house-baked pastries, New Mexican and Mexican fare and American classics. Mexican-inspired dishes include Migas (eggs scrambled with onion, green pepper, tomato, pickled jalapeño, tortilla chips and cheese) or Chilaquiles (eggs with tomatillo salsa and Asadero and cotija cheeses and tortilla chips). If you’re not in the mood for a spicy breakfast order the lemon ricotta pancakes.

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: Breakfast burrito (bacon, no cheese) smothered in green chile
Steve: Bagel with smoked salmon

San Marcos Café

best breakfast restairamts in Santa Fe - Corned beef hash at the San Marcos Cafe, photo/ Steve Collins

Corned beef hash at the San Marcos Cafe, photo/ Steve Collins

At a bit over 10 minutes from the southern city limits and almost half hour from the Plaza, San Marcos Café is bit of a drive but worth it. Heading south on NM 14, look for the Feed Store sign and the vintage pick-up truck under an old windmill on the right side of the road. Enter carefully; there may be a peacock in the driveway. The homey restaurant, a bit of a throwback to the hippy days of the 70s, is popular with locals as well as people filming at the nearby Santa Fe Studios. All of the food here is made from scratch. Check the specials board on the back wall before ordering. It lists both breakfast and lunch offerings; both are available all day. The regular menu offers a mix of American favorites including Eggs Benedict and corned beef hash as well as New Mexican fare such as breakfast burritos, Huevos Rancheros or their signature Eggs San Marcos (scrambled eggs wrapped in a flour tortilla, smothered in red or green chile and baked in the oven. Before or after you’ve eaten (or even while waiting for your order) check out the farm birds. Besides the peacocks there are chickens and turkeys. If you’re lucky, a peacock may spread his tail. On weekends, call and reserve a table or be prepared to wait.

Our breakfast favorites:
Billie: Breakfast burrito (bacon, no cheese) or corned beef hash

Steve: Corned beef hash or a breakfast special

What are the best breakfast places in Santa Fe? Best is so subjective! Ask 10 people here that question and you’ll probably get 10 different lists. Even for us this list isn’t etched in stone. There are other breakfast places we like a lot. Breakfast starts the day right in Santa Fe!

What are your picks for the best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe?

We just had to share the peacock!

best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe - A peacock greeting diners at San Marcos Cafe, photo/Billie Frank

A peacock greeting diners at San Marcos Cafe, photo/Billie Frank

 

 

 

 

 

10 Responses to “Best breakfast restaurants in Santa Fe”

  1. Robert H Glaze
    March 27, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

    Just had a great breakfast yesterday at Tecolote Cafe!! My first time at the new location.

  2. Vera Marie Badertscher
    March 28, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    I realize it is a bit too far from Santa Fe, but we never go to Albuquerque OR Santa Fe without a drive to Bernallilo for the Range Cafe. We tried the branch one in Albuquerque, but it lacked an undefinable something that makes Bernalillo’s Range so special.
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Oatmeal Pie: Oats, Coconut, Maple SyrupMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      March 30, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

      We love the Range Cafe in Bernallilo. We had the same experience with the ABQ one. Don’t know what the difference is. We also like the Grove Cafe on Central for breakfast. It’s been a location for Breaking Bad.

  3. Stephanie
    March 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    One of our top favorite places for breakfast in Santa Fe is Tecolote.

  4. Joe E. Jones
    March 31, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Los Amigos, Chocolate Maven, and Tecolote!

    • Billie Frank
      April 2, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      Is Los Amigos the one owned by The Pantry? We’ll have to check them out.

      • Joe E. Jones
        April 2, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

        I have no idea if they are owned by the Pantry. I was once told that the same family that owns Castro Cafe owns Los Amigos, but I have no clue as to the actual ownership, but it is my family’s go-to after church breakfast place! AND, they offer buy one, get one half-off entrees on Tuesdays, and the same deal on Sunday nights if you are over 55.

        • Billie Frank
          April 3, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

          I don’t think Castro’s runs it. That was their former location. They moved years ago. Great to know about the 1/2 price deal.

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