SANTA FE DINING GUIDE

Courtesy of THE Magazine

Maria's Restaurant
If you are looking for the "real deal" when it comes to Mexican food, go to the Guadalajara Grill at 3877 Cerrillos Road where you will find generous portions and friendly service.

Andiamo!
322 Garfield St. 995-9595.
Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$.
Cuisine: Italian. Atmosphere: Cozy interior with Tuscan yellows and reds. House specialties: Prosciutto with endive, crispy polenta with Gorgonzola cream sauce, chicken Parmesan, baked herb risotto, salmon, and veal scaloppine. Comments: Consistently good food with a smart wait staff makes this the place to eat Italian. Celebrities mingle with the locals.

Bistro 315
315 Old Santa Fe Trail. 986-9190
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free inside. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: French Atmosphere: Three intimate rooms-reminiscent of a small inn in the French countryside. Patio dining from spring to fall. House Specialties: Earthy French onion soup made with a duck stock; smooth and rich Foie Gras terrine with poached cranberries; generous portions of flavorful black mussels with white wine, garlic, parsley, and lemon; and steak frites au poivre with bernaise or herb butter. Comments: Owner and chef Louis Moskow has assembled an elegant and delectable menu.

Bobcat Bite Restaurant
Old Las Vegas Hwy. South of Santa Fe. 983-5319.
Lunch/Dinner
No alcohol. Smoking.
Cash. $
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: A neon bobcat sign above a small, low-slung building, a parking lot full of potholes and four-wheelers, stripped-down decor with five tables, and nine seats at a counter made out of logs. House specialties: No contest-the huge inch-and-a-half-thick green chile cheeseburger (juice-down-the-elbow kind) is the top burger in Santa Fe. A thin 13-ounce ribeye steak is juicy and flavorful. Comments: No dessert, no fancy-shmancy stuff here. And no one ever leaves Bobcat Bite unhappy or hungry. This is one road eatery that is forever locked into a 1950s space/time warp.

Cafe Pasqual's
121 Don Gaspar. 983-9340.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Sunday Brunch
Beer/Wine. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: American/multi-ethnic. Atmosphere: Small café adorned with lots of Mexican streamers, Indian maiden posters, rustic wooden furniture, and a community table. House specialties: Hotcakes get a nod from Gourmet magazine. Huevos motulenos, a Yucatan breakfast, is one you'll never forget. Lunch: grilled chicken breast sandwich with Manchego cheese or the cilantro pesto quesadilla. Dinner: Plato supremo with shrimp taco and chicken mole or grilled New Mexico rack of lamb with pomegranate glaze. Comments: There's always a line outside the screen door, but it's well worth the wait. Try going at an off time-around 3 or 4 pm.

Café San Estevan
428 Agua Fria at Montezuma St. 995-1996.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$.
Cuisine: New Mexican. Atmosphere: Old adobe, rustic wooden tables. House specialties: Enchiladas de la Casa de Estevan, Anna's poblano chile, watercress salad with poached egg and bacon, and probably the best flan you'll ever have-it's more like a crême brulée. Comments: Chef and owner Estevan Garcia has taken his favorite New Mexican foods and given them refinement with French influences.

Carlos's Gosp'l Cafe
125 Lincoln Ave., in the plaza at the Interstate Bank Building. 983-1841.
Lunch
No alcohol. Smoking. Patio.
Cash. $
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Continuously playing gospel music and casual seating set the stage for this happy-go-lucky café. House specialties: Carlos's famous hangover stew, lip-smacking fat sandwiches with sassy names like the Miles Standish-fresh turkey breast, cranberries, and cream cheese. Or the Jack Dempsey-roast beef, cheddar, and horseradish. Have a wedge of the baked-fresh-daily lemon meringue pie. Comments: Boogie on in for a down-home treat and do what you're told-say Amen.

Chocolate Maven Bakery & Café
821 W. San Mateo. 984-1980
Lunch
Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Industrial chic. House specialties: Flavorful soups, grilled sandwiches, salads, pizza, freshly baked quiche, and wonderful desserts-try the Belgian chocolate fudge brownie. Comments: While you're having lunch you can look through the large window and watch the "chocolate mavens" preparing desserts.

Cloud Cliff Bakery & Artspace
1805 Second St. 983-6254
Breakfast/Lunch/Brunch/Bakery
Beer/wine. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: American/Southwest. Atmosphere: Long bar facing an open grill, a community table, and a bakery with a real hearth oven that fills the room with heady aromas. House specialties: Great daily specials and salads. Nativo breads are made from organic wheat grown by New Mexico farmers. Try the black bean chile and any breakfast on the menu. Comments: Continues to be the hot spot for the "real" Santa Fe locals.

The Compound
653 Canyon Rd. 982-4353
Dinner: Mon.-Sat./Lunch:Thurs. & Fri.
Full-bar. Smoke-free. Patio
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: Contemporary American food. Atmosphere: Beautiful, serene, 150-year-old adobe with private dining rooms and patio. House specialties: The menu changes with the seasons. Made-to-order soups, baked pacific oysters in a creamy broth with herbs.are perfect. Signature dishes like the cast iron skillet veal sirloin, buttermilk roast chicken with foie gras gravy, and the slow-baked salmon. Other recommendations: The warm and scrumptious bittersweet liquid chocolate cake with crêmè fraîche and cocoa (baked to order). Comments: Bravo! to Mark Kiffin and Brett Kemmerer for creating a brilliant masterpiece of world-class, first-class
dining. Dinner at the bar can be very social and a lot of fun.

Counterculture
930 Baca St. 995-1105.
Breakfast/Lunch
No alcohol. Smoke-free. Patio.
Cash. $$
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Fast food café. Very informal. House specialties: Breakfast burrito; grilled prosciutto, provolone cheese, and roasted pepper sandwich; spring rolls with sweet-and-spicy sauce are favorites among locals. Comments: Counterculture is the place to go for a quick, inexpensive lunch.

Cowgirl Hall of Fame
319 S. Guadalupe St. 982-2565.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoking/nonsmoking. Patio
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: American/Barbecue. Atmosphere: Popular patio shaded with big cottonwoods. Very informal and down-home. The bar is cozy and rustic, the crowd friendly, and the music can be great. House specialties: Smoked brisket and ribs, homemade potato salad (with skins), a knockout Texas onion loaf, buffalo burgers, strawberry shortcake. Comments: Wash it all down with anything from a Bud to a Negra Modelo, or one of Santa Fe Brewery's wheat ales.

Coyote Cafe
132 W. Water St. 983-1615.
Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining room.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: Southwestern. Atmosphere: Bright, contemporary space and an open kitchen Saddle up a barstool covered in, yes, real cowhide. House specialties: Brazilian daiquiri or Chile-tini to go with Coyote's famous red chile onion rings. Do not deny yourself-get the chipotle shrimp on buttermilk corn cakes for an appetizer. Entrée: try the 22-ounce, bone-in, aged prime rib cowboy steak-enough beef here to satisfy most armchair buckaroos. Comments: Mark Miller, the high priest of Southwestern cuisine, has created a restaurant legend.

Dave's Not Here
1115 Hickox St. 983-7060.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free.
Cash. $$
Cuisine: American/New Mexican. Atmosphere: One simple room with open kitchen. Friendly, and casual. Shared tables. House specialties: Thick, perfectly cooked chile-cheeseburgers, just-the-right-amount-of-fat french fries, and housemade chile rellenos have kept the locals dropping by for over 10 years. Large portions and low prices. Comments: Without a doubt, one of the top burgers in Santa Fe.

Downtown Subscription
376 Garcia St. 983-3085.
Breakfast/Lunch
No alcohol. Smoke-free. Patio.
Cash. $
Cuisine: American coffeehouse and newsstand. Atmosphere: Café society. Over 1,600 magazine titles to buy or peruse. Big room with small tables. No frills. House specialties: Espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and pastries. Comments: Local writers are here chatting about their latest screenplays, novels, or book deals over coffee. A large, lovely patio continues to attract a major segment of the coffeehouse crowd that likes to enjoy New Mexico's 300+ days of glorious sunshine.

El Farol
808 Canyon Rd. 983-9912.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoking/nonsmoking. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Spanish. Atmosphere: The western-style bar is old and decrepit with wood
plank floors and thick adobe walls. There's a postage stamp-size dance floor for cheek-to-cheek dancing. Wall murals painted by Alfred Morang still exist. Dining rooms are intimate. House specialties: 35 tapas, fresh garlic soup, and authentic paella. Comments: El Farol once had the notoriety of being one of the rowdiest bars this side of the Pecos River. Rumor has it that thirsty cowhands used to ride their horses right into the bar! Live entertainment nightly at 9:30 pm.

El Mesón
213 Washington Ave. 983-6756.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Spanish. Atmosphere: Former coffee shop transformed into a Spanish café.
House specialties: 14 tapas including shrimp in garlic sauce, fried calamari, spicy
lamb brochettes, and Manchego cheese in olive oil. Try the pickled pheasant salad,
saffron-infused Spanish paellas, and an outstanding housemade chorizo. The thick, Spanish hot chocolate you can drink with a spoon is perfect for dessert or for thawing
out winter-frozen bones. Comments: El Mesón has been recently renovated and
added many new items to their menu.

Felipe's Tacos
1711 Llano St., in St. Michael's Village. 473-9397.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
No alcohol. Smoke free. Patio.
Cash. $
Cuisine: Mexican. Atmosphere: Very casual, tiny taqueria in a strip mall. House specialties: Soft tacos the way you get 'em in Mexico with a salsa bar to pick up red/green chile salsas, pico de gallo, limes, radishes, chopped onions, and cilantro. Comments: Felipe's is definately health-conscious: No lard is used, beans and rice are cooked up fresh, salsas are prepared daily, and there are lots of vegetarian dishes.

Geronimo
724 Canyon Rd. 982-1500.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining room. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$$.
Cuisine: Very Southwestern. Atmosphere:
Two-century-old building, fireplaces, portal
dining, thick adobe walls,and bancos. House specialties: The fresh water lobster tail with angel hair pasta appetizer should win an award. There's also Caesar salad with grilled shrimp, grilled pepper-crusted elk tenderloin,Grilled Amish veal lamb tenderloin,, and many wonderful seafood dishes, including the fresh herb rubbed Chilean sea bass with roasted garlic. Comments: A vey professional waitstaff. Chef Eric DiStefano's menu continues win awards, pleasing locals and tourists alike.

Guadalajara Grill
3877 Cerrillos Rd. 424-3544.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoking.
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: Mexican. Atmosphere: Funky storefront in a strip mall with simple booths and tables. House specialties: Birria estila (kid goat), camaron al mojo de ajo, shrimp cocktail, and chilaquiles. Comments: The cheese enchiladas and tacos are excellent and the free salsa and chips are addictive. And you will find some of the best service in town here.

Harry's Roadhouse
Old Las Vegas Highway. 989-4629.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Beer/wine. Smoke-free. Patio.
Visa/MasterCard. $$
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Roadhouse charm makes you feel like family-a quality that endures in New Mexico. The small, front room with the counter and bar stools is way cool. House specialties: Hearty breakfasts, a darn good burger with fries, and a smokey chicken quesadilla that is one of the best in Santa Fe. Comments: All of the tasty pies are housemade: lemon meringue, coconut cream, apple, and pecan. Generous portions, budget prices, and a casual but friendly waitstaff make this a very popular place with locals.

Il Piatto
95 W. Marcy St. 984-1091.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Italian. Atmosphere: Intimate but informal Italian bistro has customers practically hanging out the door in summer. House specialties: Fresh arugula salad with pine nuts, raisins, and Parmesan; rigatoni with eggplant, olives, tomatoes, and goat cheese; pumpkin ravioli with browned butter and sage; baked salmon with fennel; roast chicken peppernato. Comments: Pannetone bread pudding is blissful and the tiramisú irresistible. So, sin a little. You deserve it.

Julian's
221 Shelby St. 988-2355.
Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Italian. Atmosphere: Soft, piped-in jazz, Art Deco stained glass, twinkling lights, enormous mirrors, glowing ochre walls, and several fireplaces make this one of the most romantic restaurants in Santa Fe. House specialties: Eggplant grilled with olive oil, roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar; boneless breast of chicken sautéed with raisins, shallots, and capers in a sweet-and-sour wine sauce are addictive. The sea bass in broth is wonderful. Comments: Tiramisú for dessert. Espresso, cappuccino, and an extensive list of Italian and California wines.

La Casa Sena
125 E. Palace Ave. 988-9232.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: Call it Regional Southwestern. Atmosphere: A stunning example of 19th
century Territorial-style adobe architecture. Ceilings soar to 15 feet with enormous vigas, columns, and four magnificent tin chandeliers. House specialties: Pan-seared molasses duck breast with blackberry Port wine sauce and grilled corn-fed American rack of lamb chops with habanero-papaya fruit salsa and crispy root vegetable chips. Comments: The cantina
features Broadway music sung by the waitstaff.

Maria's New Mexican Kitchen
555 W. Cordova Rd. 983-7929.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoking/nonsmoking. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: New Mexican. Atmosphere: Rough wooden floors, hand-carved chairs and tables, low ceilings, three kiva fireplaces, and used bricks on the walls from the old New Mexico State Penitentiary set the historical tone here. House specialties: Freshly made tortillas, green chile stew. Pork spareribs in a mild red chile barbecue sauce are a 50-year-old tradition. Flan with real burnt-sugar caramel sauce pooled around a creamy smooth custard is the perfect ending. Comments: Dozens of Margaritas to choose from, but the Margarita del Jóven Estéban wins, hands down for smooth, great taste.

Mariscos La Playa
537 . Cordova Rd. 982-2790.
2875 Cerrillos Rd. 473-4594
Lunch/Dinner
Beer. Smoke-free.
Visa/Mastercard. $$
Cuisine: Mexican. Atmosphere: The original Marisco's is a funny little joint that looks out over a parking lot. The decor is turquoise Formica and the room is simple and small. Don't expect any frills or fuss here. House specialties: Shrimp rolled with bacon and Mexican cheese; "come-back-to-life" seafood soup is served in a large mixing bowl; avocado-cream-jalapeño-tomato-onion sauce/ dip is remarkable; shrimp cocktail is served in a large, old-fashioned ice cream sundae dish. Comments: An authentic south-of-the-border seafood eatery.

The Old House
309 W. San Francisco St.,
at the Eldorado Hotel. 988-4455.
Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: New Southwestern. Atmosphere: Clubby and comfortable. House specialties: A trio of chilled vichyssoise, seared sea bass, or grilled veal chop will not disappoint. Warm liquid center chocolate cake with creme anglaise is the only way to end your meal. Comments: Service is very professional and knowledgeable and the wine list offers nearly 30 wines by the glass.

Old Mexico Grill
2434 Cerrillos Rd., in the College Plaza South Shopping Center. 473-0338.
Lunch/Dinner
Full Bar. Smoking/nonsmoking.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Mexican. Atmosphere: Shopping mall location. Comfy booths in the bar and dining room. There's an open grill in the main dining room so you can watch the flames leaping high as your fajitas sizzle. House specialties: Addictive spicy-hot peanuts at the bar, the Caldo tlalpeño, a Mexican chicken soup with chipotle chiles and vegetables, is full of flavor. Tacos with shredded leg of lamb, ancho chile, and mint barbecue sauce at lunch or dinner. Comments: Custard rice pudding with raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum is first-rate.

The Pink Adobe
406 Old Santa Fe Trail. 983-7712.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining rooms.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: American/Creole New Mexican. Atmosphere: Housed in a 300-year-old former military barracks with 36-inch-thick walls, and six fireplaces. The Dragon Room bar is one of the most popular watering holes in Santa Fe. House specialties: Creole Mary-a Bloody Mary made with Stoli and a garden-sink skewer of celery, olives, and pickled okra. Gypsy or green chile stew at lunch. Steak Dunigan, a New York cut smothered with green chile and sautéed mushrooms at dinner. French apple pie served up warm with hot brandy sauce for dessert. Comments: You're in the presence of a time-honored Santa Fe tradition.

Pizzeria Espiritu
1722-A St. Michael's Dr. 424-8000.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/Wine. Smoke-free. Delivery available.
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: Italian Atmosphere: A shoe-box of a restaurant with a knock-off painting on the ceiling of Michelangelo's God creating Adam, only it's pizza He's creating this time. House specialties: House salad, made-to-order deep-dish and crisp-crust pizzas. Comments: A little bit of heaven because God created pizza! A second location on Canyon Road is huge in comparison, with jazz nightly.

Pranzo Italian Grill
540 Montezuma St. (Sanbusco Ctr.). 984-2645.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining room
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Italian. Atmosphere: Stylish gray booths, snazzy bar, and rooftop patio. House specialties: Spaghettini with baby shrimp, shaved garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, peas, provolone, and red pepper flakes, the rosemary beef sandwich with caramelized onions on grilled focaccia, pan-roasted salmon with olive tapenade, sauteed fennel and grilled polenta. Great pizzas and fab deserts. Comments: Generous portions and fast, friendly service. Sit at the bar for lunch and try the oven-roasted mussels with fresh herbs, garlic butter, and gremolata. Ask for a "finger" of parmesan cheese to accompany your double espresso and dessert. They'll understand.

Pyramid Cafe
505 W. Cordova Rd. 989-1378.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: Greek. Atmosphere: Nondescript storefront in a mall parking lot. Call it Formica casual. House specialties: Gyro plates or sandwiches-lamb or chicken, falafels, moussaka, and the Pyramid Pinnacle Platter. Comments: Generous portions and fast service.

Ristra
548 Agua Fria St. 982-8608.
Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: Southwestern/French. Atmosphere: Small dining rooms in old cottage. with a lovely tented patio. House specialties: The black Mediterranean mussels in aromatic chipotle and mint broth, housemade country pâté with cornichons; brandade of salt cod with basil, roasted fennel, and sweet peppers; halibut in cilantro and herb broth. Comments: Adjectives like high-spirited, bouncy, dashing, pert, and peppery describe one of the bright jewels in Santa Fe's restaurant crown.

Rociada
304 Johnson Street. 983-3800
Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining rooms.
Major credit cards. $$$$.
Cuisine: French country bistro. Atmosphere: Renovated 1857 adobe with a great bar and a nice "buzz" in the rooms. House specialities: For an appetizer try the Hudson Bay seared fois gras with figs and balsamic reduction. Entrees not-to-miss are the tilapia meuniere and traditional steak frites. Desserts are perfect classics like the lavender creme brulee. Other recommendations: The Monday night prix fixe is a must-do. Great wine list and over 15 champagnes to choose from. Comments: Rociada received the Mobil 4-Star Award in January 2001.

Santacafé
231 Washington Ave. 984-1788.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoking/nonsmoking. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$$
Cuisine: Modern American. Atmosphere: One of the finest examples of Placita-style architecture in Santa Fe. Minimal, quiet white keeps the Zen-like ambience at full tilt. House specialties: Menu changes seasonally. Green chile-studded brioche; pan seared filet mignon with tarragon-foie gras butter; shiitake and cactus spring rolls with green chile dipping sauce; rack of lamb with rosted garlic mashed potatoes; oven-roasted chile relleno stuffed with three-mushroom quinoa and pooled with chipotle cream; the warm chocolate upside-down cake. Comments: High praise from important food publications. Very popular-celebrities are known to make reservations months in advance.

Saveur
204 Montezuma St. 989-4200.
Breakfast/Lunch
No alcohol. Smoke-free. Patio.
Visa/MasterCard. $$
Cuisine: French/American. Atmosphere: Cafeteria service for salad bar and soups. Deli case with meats and desserts. Sit down at small tables in very casual rooms, elbow to elbow. Bustling with locals every day. House specialties: Excellent salad bar with celeriac root, asparagus, pasta, potato, shredded carrot, cabbage, tomato with basil and mozzarella; custom-made sandwiches-try the smoked turkey with pesto. Comments: The setup can be confusing the first time here, but once you get the hang of it, voilà!

The Shed
1131/2 E. Palace Ave. 982-9030.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$
Cuisine: New Mexican. Atmosphere: The Shed is housed in a 17th-century adobe hacienda-a local institution. House specialties: Legendary, stacked, red or green chile cheese enchiladas using blue corn tortillas. Try the posole. Comments: If you want to avoid the tourist crowds and long lines during the summer, drive over to The Shed's sister restaurant, La Choza, where you can stretch out and get the same classic New Mexican food.

Steaksmith at El Gancho
Old Las Vegas Highway. 988-3333
Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining room.
Major credit cards $$$
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Family restaurant with full bar and lounge. House specialties: Choice aged steaks and lobster. Try the pepper steak with dijon cream sauce-it's a real winner!. Comments: After 23+ years of serving steaks in Santa Fe, one thing is certain-they know their business at The Steaksmith.

Tia Sophia's
210 W. San Francisco St. 983-9880.
Breakfast/Lunch
No alcohol. Smoking/nonsmoking.
Major credit cards. $
Cuisine: New Mexican. Atmosphere: This place is such a local favorite you will almost always have a short wait to be seated at one of the old wooden booths or tables. House specialties: Green chile stew (known to cure the common cold). Enormous breakfast burritos stuffed with bacon, potatoes, chile, and cheese (they say they were invented here). Sopaipillas are heavenly. Comments: Tia Sophia's is definitely a must for New Mexican authenticity.

Tulips
222 N. Guadalupe. 989-7340
Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free
Major credit cards $$$$
Cuisine: American/Southwest. Atmosphere: Three refined dining rooms in an almost Zen-like contemporary cottage setting. House specialties: Lobster spring rolls with a mango dipping sauce and marinated jicama; aged beef strip steak with onion marmalade and rosemary feta mashed potatoes; achiote pork tenderloin medallions with smoked tomato sauce, roasted vegetables, and penne pasta. Comments: Chef/owners Steven and Kirstin Jarrett have created a calm and delightful restaurant that is well worth your attention.

Vanessie of Santa Fe
434 W. San Francisco St. 982-9966.
Dinner
Full bar. Smoke-free dining room.
Major credit cards. $$$$.
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Grand piano bar and oversize everything thanks to architect Ron Robles. House specialties: Black Angus New York steak, Australian rock lobster tail, and mountain-sized crispy onion ring loaf. Comments: A new owner and a new chef (Eduardo Rios) are offering many new daily specials ranging from ultra-fresh seafood dishes to abby back pork ribs.

Wall Street West
919 West Alameda. 988-2933
Lunch (Tues.-Fri.). Dinner (Tues.-Sat.)
Smoke-free
Visa/MasterCard. $$$$.
Cuisine: Contemporary American food. Atmosphere: Very civilized-tablecloths for lunch and dinner. House specialities: For an appetizer select the smoked Porcini mushroom soup with a crisp potato garlic spring roll and lemon cream or the Caribbean "Sticky" Gulf shrimp with a tamarind glaze. Entrees of choice are the roasted swordfish and wild mushroom potatoes or the caramel and cognac roasted lamb shank. For dessert we recommend the white chocolate mousse with fresh berries and chocolate skewer. Other recommendations: The lemon grass and molasses roasted chicken breast served with whipped and crisped potatoes is perfect. Comments: This is a new restaurant well worth watching. Beer and wine license is pending.

Whistling Moon Café
402 N. Guadalupe St. 983-3093.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: Mediterranean. Atmosphere: A small, unpretentious, down-to-earth, tight, table-to-table café. Locals are fiercely loyal and it's usually crowded. House specialties: Daily chef's specials, vegetarian grape leaves; fresh tuna Niçoise Salad that's talked about as the best in town; pitas filled with grilled lamb or lemon marinated chicken; roasted lamb with prunes and olives, a side order of the irresistible spicy coriander-cumin fries. Order the bittersweet chocolate soufflé cake. Comments: Some of the food here is very spicy.

Zen World Cuisine
7 Avenida Vista Grande at Eldorado Shopping Center. 466-3705.
Lunch/Dinner
Beer/wine. Smoke-free.
Major credit cards. $$.
Cuisine: Thai/global fusion. Atmosphere: Calm and balanced with Zen-style wall art and menus. House specialties: Sansho and orange baby back ribs, sha he fen noodle with spicy lobster broth, Thai vegetable spring roll, and organic greens with mango tamarind dressing. Comments: Chef Peter Zimmer, former chef at The Inn of the Anasazi, has transformed what was a small storefront into a casual but delightful restaurant. His creations are beautiful to behold. Be prepared for very spicy food.

Zia Diner
326 S. Guadalupe St. 988-7008.
Lunch/Dinner
Full bar. Smoking/nonsmoking. Patio.
Major credit cards. $$$
Cuisine: American. Atmosphere: Down home-a curvy '50s bar, booths, and simple tables. House specialties: The Zia's meatloaf, embedded with green chile and pine nuts, served with lumpy, real mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken fried chicken. Blue-plate specials daily. Their hot-fudge sundae features dark, bittersweet, housemade fudge sauce slathered with whipped cream and capped with a bright red cherry. Comments: The fish and chips are the best in town.

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