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We loved our visit to Santa Fe. Not only were we captivated by all its art and charm, but as restaurants buffs, we immersed ourselves in the pleasures of dining out. Two of our faves: La Plazuela/La Fiesta at La Fonda Hotel and Cafe Cafe.

La Fonda

La Plazuela Restaurant at La Fonda Hotel

Natural light, open spaces, and  hand painted decor, define this restaurant’s ambiance. Not to mention the delicious New Mexican cuisine.

Pan roasted Dungeness Crab Cakes with lemon cilantro vinaigrette and grilled corn salsa. Be prepared to not share this appetizer.  Be sure to order the patron favorite, Tableside Guacamole, served with corn tortilla chips prepared fresh with your choice of ingredients. Appetizers, soups, or salads in the restaurant range from 6 to 15 dollars.

La Fiesta Lounge at La Fonda

Chipotle Barbeque Pork Ribs – messy but tasty.

BBQ Pork Sliders roasted in a chipolte – barbeque sauce. One order and you’ll crave more before leaving Santa Fe. The La Fiesta Lounge menu boasts a great selection of starters, sandwiches, Fiesta specialties, a lunch buffet, 14 different Margaritas, and 16 beer varieties.

La Fonda

La Plazuela Restaurant

Grilled Mahi Mahi. I’m a fish junky and this dinner definitely appeased my appetite. Served with a beautiful presentation of fresh lime wrapped neatly in yellow mesh. No seeds on this mahi mahi.

Braised Lamb served with fresh avocado. I wish I could find avocado this tasty in Saskatoon.

La Plazuela Restaurant serves Northern New Mexico specialties and Chef specialties priced from 14 to 35 dollars. My husband enjoyed the Pan-seared Salmon with a toasted Piñon-garlic sauce. As usual it made Jay’s “this is the best ____ I’ve ever had”, and he said it for years, even before Food Network began airing its series.

La Plazuela Restaurant received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine in 2011.

Menu is seasonal.

La Fonda Ernest Martinez, an employee at La Fonda for more than 50 years, painted over 400 windows in the styles of architect and designer Mary Jane Colter, and illustrator and muralist Olive Rush.

La Fonda

My favorite breakfast at La Plazuela consisted of one perfect poached egg with zesty hollandaise sauce, and pan-fried potatoes and peppers.

Cafe Cafe

I stumbled across Cafe Cafe while exploring the downtown area of Santa Fe. I love Italian food so I reserved a table for two.  Visit Cafe Cafe @ http://www.cafecafesantafe.com/home.html .

I treated myself to the Grilled Norwegian Salmon Caesar with tomato basil salsa; a perfect lunch for a hot afternoon on the patio. I’ve heard raves about Cafe Cafe pizzas, a must eat for another visit.

Dinner menu items range from 13 to 25 dollars. Next time, I’d like to try the Grilled Eggplant Rolls with the spaghetti squash and house marinara or the Veal Marsala with sautéed forest mushrooms.

Cafe Cafe

 On the top of my list for pasta dishes, Fresh linguini with white clams and served with shells. A definite order on my again list.

Cafe Cafe Forget the ‘white’ with the seafood, the dark cherry and earthy chocolate with an herbal aroma beckoned for more sips and bites. Cafe Cafe boasts an extensive wine list.

Cafe Cafe

The patio area of Cafe Cafe provides umbrellas and natural shade for patrons who enjoy meals and wine in an outdoor setting. Note the brightly painted red door; in Santa Fe you’ll see many doors painted in shades of turquoise, a New Mexico tradition meant to deter evil spirits.

Stay stewed for more Santa Fe treasures.

Check out Trip Advis0r for more great Cafe Cafe reviews, and La Plazuela at La Fonda reviews .

Dedicated to Jay