Local-iQ Smart List 2012

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Local-iQ Smart List 2012

Posted March 9, 2012

Each year, the readers of Local-iQ vote on their favorites in many categories. Polls such as these are often suspect: We don’t know the size or makeup of the voter distribution. To call the winners of this poll “best of” is not justifiable by any statistacal measures. 

That being said, they are fun to read and there are always some surprises. This year, I agree with eight of the readers’ choices and disagree with many more. What follows below are strictly the opinions of a food blogger with a perspicacious palate. No harm intended. 

I have a lot of respect for Local-iQ, and look forward eagerly to each issue. Kevin Hopper and his staff do a bang-up job. Thanks, Kevin

Here we go. Read the  poll results at Smart List 2012


    • Best Breakfast: The Grove Café & Market
    • Best Italian Food: Torino’s @ Home ♥
    • Best Mexican Food: Los Equipales
    • Best Diner: Route 66 Diner
    • Best Restaurant with a View: Bien Shur
    • Best Seafood: Desert Fish
    • Best Tea Shop: NM Tea Co.
    • Best Vietnamese Restaurant: May Café ♥

I think that there is a tie for best Vietnamese restaurant between May Café and Saigon/Saigon 2.  


    • Best Chinese Food: Streetfood Asia
      Nope. Budai Gourmet Chinese is superior.  
    • Best Coffee Shop: Satellite
      Very popular, but certainly not even close to the best.  Golden Crown Panaderia, Cafe Giuseppe Espresso, and Napoli are all great. 
    • Best Deli: Jason’s Deli
      Nope. Good, with really fresh food, but Times Square Deli Mart is far superior. 
    • Best Fine Dining Restaurant: Blades’ Bistro
      Blafe’s is truly outstanding, and ranks #6 on my Top Ten List, bur Bien Shur is better, and ranks #3 on my Top Ten List. Tough call. 
    • Best Indian Food (tie): India Palace and Taj Mahal
      Namaste and India Kitchen are better.  
    •  Best Milkshake: Route 66 Diner
      Try the shakes at Golden Crown Panaderia. The Morales family’s shakes will drive you insane.  
    • Best New Mexican Food: Sadie’s
      Sadie’s is a tourist trap joke. For dives, try Mary & Tito’s ot Cecilia’s, and for fancier digs try El Bruno’s on Fourth.  
    • Best Pizza: Farina Pizzeria
      Nicky V’s gourmet pizzas are my absolute favorites in town.  
    • Best Sandwich: Cubano (Relish)
      The Cubano at Guava Tree is the best that I have ever had. Anyplace. 
    • Best Steakhouse: Vernon’s Steakhouse
      A popular gimmick restaurant. Monte Carlo Steakhouse and Paul’s Monterey Inn are much better (and cheaper).  
    • Best Tasting Coffee: Satellite
      No it isn’t, by far. Very popular, but certainly not even close to the best. Golden Crown Panaderia, Cafe Giuseppe Espresso, and Napoli are all great.
    • Best Thai Food Restaurant: Orchid Thai
      Siam Cafe is by far the best in town. 
    • Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Streetfood Asia
      Annapurna. Both of them. 
    • Best Winery: Gruet Winery
      Milagro Vineyards & Winery in Corrales and Casa Rondeña Winery in Los  Ranchos are my faves  


Here is what the users of Urbanspoon think are the most popular Albuquerque restaurants. I disagree with some of this, too. 

Best? In a pigs eye. Since when is Frontier better that Jennifer James 101? Sheesh.  JJ101 is #42 on this list, and Torinos’ @ Homes #32. Don’t pay any attention to these rankings—they are nonsense. 

The numbers in parentheses are the percentage of voters who voted “I like it.”

  1. Frontier Restaurant 80%
  2. Il Vicino 87%
  3. Saggio’s 78%
  4. Viet Taste 88%
  5. Two Fools Tavern 84%
  6. Shogun Japanese 82%
  7. Grove Café & Market 87%
  8. Siam Cafe 91%
  9. Lumpy’s Burgers 82%
  10. El Modelo Mexican Foods 94%
  11. Dion’s 84%
  12. Thai Tip 89%
  13. Turtle Mountain Brewing… 86%
  14. Little Red Hamburger Hut 91%
  15. Five Guys Burgers and Fries 81%
  16. Sadie’s 76%
  17. San Pedro Mart Middle East… 94%
  18. Thai Vegan 94%
  19. P’Tit Louis Bistro 93%
  20. Tucanos Brazilian Grill 77%
  21. Sakura Sushi and Grill 88%
  22. Thai Cuisine II 94%
  23. Farina Pizzeria & Wine Bar 90%
  24. Sophia’s Place 87%
  25. Range Café 84%
  26. Kokoro Japanese 92%
  27. Ezra’s Place 93%
  28. Chama River Brewing Co. 84%
  29. Artichoke Cafe 82%
  30. Slate Street Café  87%



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