Rancho de Chimayo

New Mexican
Worth driving from anywhere!

In the 1970s when Jane and I pondered the feasibility of a guide to restaurants that serve great regional food around America, our first dinner at Rancho de Chimayo was strong persuasion to proceed. Here was – and continues to be – a fount of New Mexican fare at its finest, served in a setting that is nothing less than magical. Candlelit tables are arrayed on a stepped patio outdoors, strolling guitarists strum, and the air smells of sagebrush and native cooking.

Understand that New Mexico is one of two states that prides itself on having a cuisine unlike anywhere else. (Louisiana is the other.) Yes, many places around the country have signature dishes, from Florida’s Key lime pie to Minnesota’s whitefish and from Buffalo’s beef on weck to Tucson’s Sonoran hot dog; but New Mexico’s style of preparing and serving food is unique. What you eat here is not Mexican; it is not Texan; it is not Spanish; and it is not Southwestern, although it is, to some degree, a taste of all of them.

New Mexicans seldom sit down for a “bowl of chili,” but there are few dishes here in which the chile pepper (spelled with an e at the end) doesn’t play a vital role. Foremost among them is carne adovada, a house specialty for which is pork marinated in chile puree and sizzled until it glistens red. The marinade turns it tender; and its pepper heat is balanced by servings of posole (hominy corn) and Spanish rice.

For something less incendiary, consider sopaipillas rellenos, in which the triangular fried breads are stuffed with beef, beans, tomatoes, and Spanish rice, and topped with red or green chile sauce. There are flautas, too – rolled corn tortillas filled with chicken or pork and fried crisp, topped with cool sour cream. Rancho de Chimayo’s green chile stew is a New Mexico classic; Roadfood’s Buffetbuster (who took the pictures accompanying this review) calls it “The Gold Standard.”

The drive to the village of Chimayo through the foothills of the Sangre de Christo mountains in the cool of an autumn evening is a Roadfood trip to remember. Chile ristras (wreaths) decorate adobe homes and late-day light makes sagebrush shimmer.

What to Eat
Rancho de Chimayo, Carne Adovada
Carne Adovada
House specialty: carne adovada
Rancho de Chimayo, Pork Tamales, Christmas
Pork Tamales, Christmas
Pork tamales, served Christmas (red & green chile)
Rancho de Chimayo, Green Chile Stew
Green Chile Stew
Green chile stew: intensely flavorful with serious bite: Buffetbuster's "Gold Standard"
Rancho de Chimayo, Flan
Caramel custard flan for dessert
Rancho de Chimayo, Burrell Tortilla
Burrell Tortilla
Burrell tortilla: cheddar & vegetarian green chili on a flour tortilla
Rancho de Chimayo, Sopaipillas
Sopaipillas with every meal
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11:30am - 7:30pm
Tuesday11:30am - 7:30pm
Wednesday11:30am - 7:30pm
Thursday11:30am - 7:30pm
Friday11:30am - 7:30pm
Saturday11:30am - 7:30pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Stop and Eat Drive In

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    At Stop & Eat north of Santa Fe, the cuisine is New Mexico drive-in fare, ranging from tamale plates and green chile cheeseburgers to a fine Frito pie.

  • Tesuque Village Market

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    Casual eats north of Santa Fe. Tesuque Village Market is a grocery, restaurant, & town square. Best bets: tortilla soup, enchiladas, Frito pie, hefty burgers.

  • The Range

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    For downhome food in Bernalillo, New Mexico, the Range is best. Breakfast: huevos con queso; lunch: the Rio Grande Gorge chile-smothered burger on a tortilla.

  • Harry’s Roadhouse

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    Harry’s Roadhouse is a colorful Santa Fe, New Mexico, restaurant with a three-meal-a-day repertoire from lemon ricotta hotcakes to cool margaritas.

  • Shake Foundation

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    Shake Foundation serves up a spicy green chile cheeseburger, swoon-worthy French fries, and a legendary cinnamon milkshake.

  • 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.