Plaza Café

Diner | Greek | New Mexican | Southwestern
Memorable
One of the best
Save

Opened in 1918, The Plaza is the oldest restaurant in Santa Fe, but it seems not to be impressed by itself as a piece of history or an example of classic counter culture. It is an easy-going kind of café, one of the last vestiges of the Santa Fe Plaza as a town gathering place. The menu is an appetizing combination of Americana (burgers, chicken-fried steak, hot turkey sandwich), Greek diner standards (lamb meat loaf, souvlaki, Greek salad) and New Mexico specialties including chiles relleños, posole with pork, menudo, and pure red chile or green chile stew. Every day starting at 11am, the Plaza kitchen turns out excellent sopaipillas. Fresh and hot and cloud-soft, these golden pillows of quick-fried bread are served with a squeeze bottle of honey to sweeten them, and they are simply wonderful to eat plain or on the side of red or green chile. The Plaza’s green chile is a viscous stew with chunky vegetables; red is thicker and hotter.

Anne Ritchings | February 01, 2008

The Plaza Cafe is Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant and one of its best for consistent, beautifully prepared, traditional New Mexican dishes.

One of the “must eats” here is the carnitos Platon. This is slow-stewed pork which has been steeped in a citrus and beer marinade and topped with caramelized onions and green chile, served with two eggs and pinto beans. The pork is extremely tender, with just the right combination of sweet, sour and salt. This dish is unique to The Plaza and should probably be on your list of “100 Things You Must Eat Before You Die.”

There are many versions of chilaquiles (sometimes called the original Frito pie) in New Mexico, but the one offered at the Plaza is among the best I have ever had. Fried eggs are served with tortilla chips, sauteed greens, cheese, sweet guajillo salsa and Mexican sour cream. The crispy tortilla chips are just beginning to be softened by the bright, slightly sweet salsa. They are topped with perfectly melted cheese and a drizzle of Mexican sour cream (Mexican sour cream has a slightly tangy taste, more like creme fraiche than commercial sour cream). The collards are sauteed with just a splash of vinegar. The combination is a wonderful blend of crispy, creamy, sweet and sour.

Another breakfast delight is the blue corn pinon pancake. The blue cornmeal combined with the crunchy pinon nuts gives these pancakes a dense and slightly chewy texture. If this is your breakfast choice, you’re set for the day. Huevos rancheros are another New Mexican breakfast staple. Again, the Plaza’s rendition is one to be savored. Two eggs are served on blue corn tortillas, smothered with red chile and topped with jack cheese. The chile is smoky with just the right amount of heat and a deep, rich flavor.

By now you might be thinking that you can’t go wrong with anything you order at The Plaza and you would be right. Don’t miss this favorite spot of locals and tourists when you are next visiting Santa Fe.

What to Eat
Plaza Café, Sopaipillas
Sopaipillas
Must-Try
You can get your sopaipilla stuffed with The Plaza’s excellent red or green chile, and that’s fine. But it’s essential to savor one of these hot from the fry kettle and absolutely plain, or maybe with a drizzle of honey. It may be the best sopaipilla in the West.
Plaza Café, Quesadilla
Quesadilla
Must-Try
A close-up view of the Plaza's superb quesadilla, filled with tender shreds of pork and big, soft hunks of roasted garlic.
Plaza Café, Chopped Salad
Chopped Salad
Must-Try
What makes this chopped salad New Mexican is its inclusion of corn, green chilies, pine nuts, and apples ... and a brilliant cumin-lemon vinaigrette.
Plaza Café, Guacamole
Guacamole
Must-Try
Here is true gourmet guacamole, served in the old town lunchroom. The high level of the Plaza’s food is one reason Santa Fe is an eater’s paradise.
Plaza Café, Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Rancheros
Fried eggs never had it so good. This red chile is the perfect blend of smoke, heat and deep, rich chile flavor.
Plaza Café, Carnitos Platon
Carnitos Platon
The pork in this dish is ultra-tender.
Plaza Café, Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles
The Plaza's breakfast version of the original Frito pie is not to be missed.
Plaza Café, Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes
Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes
These are delectable and hearty with a lovely dense and chewy texture.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday7am - 9pm
Monday7am - 9pm
Tuesday7am - 9pm
Wednesday7am - 9pm
Thursday7am - 9pm
Friday7am - 9pm
Saturday7am - 9pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
11 stops | 306 MILES | 5 hr

A visit to New Mexico during the height of chile season takes us from Albuquerque, where the State Fair is underway, north to magical city of Santa Fe, then finally south to the chile-growing country of the Mesilla Valley, where we will be hosted by Dr. Paul Bosland, the world's foremost chile expert.

7 stops | 786 MILES | 12 hr 24 min

Sopaipillas are are made from dough that is rolled out very thin, cut into small sections, then tossed into boiling oil, preferably lard. The lard makes the pieces of dough puff up into little pillows (the meaning of sopaipilla) and become slightly crisp at the edges but mostly soft and airy. Restaurants that serve baskets…

3 stops | 1 MILE | 8 min

Santa Fe's bounty of good food merits at least a week of eating ... or two or three weeks, or more. But let's say you have just one day and four meals to taste what is known as "The City Different." You'll want breakfast of huevos motulenos or corned beef hash at Pasqual's and late…

Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Pasqual’s

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Pasqual’s is Santa Fe’s favorite corner eatery, serving bright, modern versions of New Mexico classics. Corned beef hash is some of the best in the West.

  • Rancho de Chimayo

    Chimayo, New Mexico

    The ultimate New Mexico dining experience, Rancho de Chimayo is a landmark for authentic regional flavors & dreamy village setting in mountain foothills.

  • Duran Central Pharmacy

    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    The lunch counter of a full-service Albuquerque drug store, Duran Central Pharmacy serves New Mexico fare at its best, including magnificent tortillas.

  • Santa Fe Bite

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Santa Fe Bite serves what many consider to be the best green chile cheeseburger in New Mexico. It might be the best hamburger of any kind, anywhere!

  • Model Pharmacy

    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    A vintage lunch counter serving true New-Mex green chile stew, warm fruit cobblers, and soda fountain specialties, Model Pharmacy is a taste of old Route 66.

  • Tecolote

    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Tecolote, Santa Fe’s premier breakfast restaurant, is a southwest treasure offering creative New Mexican fare and a grand bakery basket. Lunch is served, too.