In search of the perfect Santa Fe breakfast burrito

 Breakfast burritos rock! The New Mexico Tourism Department must agree. They’ve launched the New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway. The Land of Enchantment claims that this delicious way to start the day originated here. True or not, the local version is eggs, cheese usually potatoes, and for carnivores. breakfast meat all rolled into a flour tortilla with the chile of your choice. Choose between red or green; if you can’t make up your mind, ask for “Christmas” and you’ll be a bit of both. For hand-held burritos, a great option when you’re on the go, the chile goes inside. If you have time to sit and eat your breakfast, get it smothered with your choice of NM’s official state vegetable. What makes one better than the others? You’ll have to taste them and figure it out for yourself.

Searching for the perfect Santa Fe 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.

El Chile Tireado Santa Fe photo Cheryl Jamison

El Chile Toreado’s breakfast burrito, photo/Cheryl Jamison

The search started with El Chile Toreado, the stand across the road from the café. Good, but I still liked 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., They looked pretty good, but chile can be HOT. Was I really ready for one of these? One morning at Over Easy, I did it and became a big fan. 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; some of these places are all popular- the word’s been out on them a long time. Be prepared to wait or go early.

Cafe Pasqual’s

Cafe Pasqual's Santa Fe, photo Steve Collins

Cafe Pasqual’s, 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 Cafe

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! Opt for the bread baskets that come with your meal. They’re filled with house-made biscuits and muffins. The other choice is tortillas- no toast ever served here- it even ssys so on the servers’ tee shirts.

The Pantry

The Pantry Santa Fe photo The Pantry

The Pantry’s breakfast burrito can be ordered with red or green chile photo/courtesy The Pantry

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 Cafe

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.

Tia Sophia’s

Working their magic in Tia Sophia's kitchen, photo/courtesy Tia Sophia

Working their magic in Tia Sophia’s kitchen, photo/courtesy Tia Sophia

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?

Read about our picks for the Santa Fe Breakfast Burrito Trail
































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5 Responses to “In search of the perfect Santa Fe breakfast burrito”

  1. Karen
    April 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    Hidden gem for breakfast burritos: Salazar’s Cafe in the Bataan Building. Billie or Steve, have you been?

    • Steve Collins
      April 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      Hi Karen,
      Funny you should mention that. When I ran the cafe in the Montoya building. I took it over from them. Glad to hear they’re still going strong. That family has a phenomenal work ethic. I’ll have to stop in. That may be the last of the state office building cafeterias. Thanks for the tip. Steve

  2. deb
    April 8, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    Best vegan hand held burritos, Treehouse Bakery and Cafe and Aztec Cafe. Yum!

    • Steve Collins
      April 8, 2011 at 7:17 am #

      Thanks for these great tips, Deb.

  3. Ted Nelson
    April 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    I really love trails. Ones that have breakfast burritos on it are even better. The picture of El Chile Toreado’s burrito looks pretty darn appetizing.

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