North From Santa Fe

5 STOPS | 206 MILES | 4 hr 3 min

North and Northwest

With famously good restaurants serving local and exotic meals, Santa Fe is such a powerful magnet for the appetite that it can be hard to leave. But we highly recommend a drive north and northwest of the city into the breathtaking beauty of Jemez Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo foothills of the Rockies, where you’ll find some lesser-known but worthwhile culinary destinations. A first stop on the way out of town would be Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon for buffalo burgers and vintage saloon ambience or El Brunos for stacked blue corn enchiladas. Stop and Eat Drive In is worth a visit less for its classic New-Mex fare (green chile cheeseburgers, tacos, and tamales) than for drive-in ambience that seems not to have changed in decades. Up in Embudo along the northern reaches of the Rio Grande, Sugar’s serves up memorably yummy barbecue burritos; and beyond that in the tiny town of El Rito, El Farolito has become famous for its Frito pie and green chile stew.


Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon

The buffalo burger with Swiss cheese and black olives is a best bet in Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon. Chile Charley is a great chili-cheese-fries plate.


El Bruno’s

El Bruno's spicy salsa whets appetite for New Mexico favorites such as stuffed sopaipillas and stacked enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas.


Stop and Eat Drive In

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.



Tender beef brisket, rolled with green chile and cheese inside a soft flour tortilla makes Sugar's a best bet in Rio Arriba County.


El Farolito

In the tiny New Mexico town of El Rito, El Farolito offers chiles rellenos, enchiladas, green chile and green chile cheeseburgers, plus fine Frito pie.