The Top Ten

Introduction

Last updated: February 27, 2012

I am often asked “What is the best restaurant in Albuquerque?” This is not a well-posed question — it has no definitive answer. Best what? New Mexican? Fine dining? Greek? Seafood? Best according to whom? You get the idea.

This, then, is a list of my top ten favorite restaurants in the Albuquerque area. I think that they are among the best that Albuquerque has to offer. Perhaps the best unknown restaurant in Albuquerque is Los Eqipales, a superb mariscos place. Go there quickly before it shuts down. This list represents just my opinion, and therefore not subject to argument. It is difficult to choose just ten, and many great places do not make the list. For example, anything by Denis Apodaca is among my favorites, but they don’t make the list. Sophia’s Place comes really close.

Mary & Tito’s: Antoinette Knight & Mary Gonzales wearing their James Beard Medals.

The numbers on the Urbanspoon image are a measure of a restaurant’s popularity among the readers who care to vote “I like it” on the place’s Urbanspoon data page. Mary & Tito’s, for instance, is ranked number 87 (today) according to this scheme. I rank it number 1 because it is my favorite restaurant in New Mexico. If you look at the Urbanspoon Albuquerque page, you will notice that Frontier is ranked number 1, reflecting its huge following. I like it a lot, but it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of cracking my list. Does being Urbanspoon’s number 1 make it better than, say, Jennifer James 101? In a pig’s eye. Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Don’t trust the reader’s polls published annually by Alibi and Local-iQ. The source of the data does not seem to be trustworthy.

All of the places on my list are great, and many gastronome and foodie friends agree with me to some extent. Don’t bother to tell me that El Pinto and Sadies are great. They are not; they are tourist places and for this trade, deservedly popular. I live here and I eat here and I know better. So should you.

  1. Mary & Tito’s Cafe
  2. Jennifer James 101
  3. Bien Shur
  4. Corn Maiden (Tamaya)
  5. Torinos’ @ Home
  6. Blade’s Bistro
  7. Bouche
  8. Budai Gourmet Chinese
  9. Namaste
  10. Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria
  11. Los Equipales

Honorable Mention (in no particular order)

Were I to write an ABQ Honorable Mention List, it would contain such favorites as (in no particular order):

all of which I have reviewed on Urbanspoon. Most are also reviewed here on this blog. 

New Mexico Top Ten

Were I to list my Top Ten from outside the Albuquerque area, it would contain (in order):

  1. Sparky’s Burgers & BBQ (Hatch),
  2. Plaza Cafe Downtown (Santa Fe),
  3. Lambert’s Restaurant and Bar (Taos),
  4. Dragonfly Cafe & Bakery (Taos) (Closed),
  5. ACEQ (Arroyo Seco),
  6. Rancho de Chimayó Restauranté (Chimayó),
  7. Owl Bar & Cafe (San Antonio),
  8. Bobcat Bite Restaurant (Santa Fe) [Closed]
  9. Pink Adobe (Santa Fe), and
  10. The Artesian Restaurant (Ojo Caliente).

The No Scum Allowed Saloon would surely make the list if they served food.

5 Responses to The Top Ten

  1. Los Ranchos Curmudgeon says:

    Hmmm….Yanking The Larry’s Chain: While I can appreciate Y’all must be dancing as fast as you can to see…well actually eat…everything, I’m surprized Y’all haven’t visited Antiquity in Olde Town, given its been around for 60ish years http://tinyurl.com/4optjq !! Stretching things a bit, given most references to ABQ’s population includes Los Lunas (LOL), hopefully Y’all might drive 22 minutes from The Big I to try out Luna Mansion http://www.lunamansion.com/ if at least for a NM ranking (Can see biased Comments here as well http://nmgastronome.com/blog/?p=161)
    Back to the Big 10 or Honorable mention: I’ve made quality/price comparisons for Shrimp Tempura of long time, family owned Mr. Tokyo (JT & Montgomery) with Azuma, the Bennigan’s Japanese replacement at San Mateo/Academy, and Ichiban Corrales/528. For $9.95 Mr. Tokyo can’t be beat, IMHO.
    “Chow”

    • Thanks, Bob. Nice to see that you found me. Welcome aboard.

      I don’t eat Japanese.

      Someday when I have reached my diet target weight (8 lbs to go), you, Gil, and I should break bread together.

      • Los Ranchos Curmudgeon says:

        Aaah Sooo! 8 lbs to go….I’d say piece of cake, but that would seem tacky under the circumstances. Keep up the good work on the diet which ‘I hear’ is supposed to be a challenge per the ginormous calories/sodium hidden in restaurant offerings! On the other hand, some say the Japanese diet is pretty healthy.
        Yes, breaking bread or sopapillas is good.
        “Chow”

  2. Maria B says:

    Hi Larry,
    I recently moved to Albuquerque (NE area) I wonder if you know a great and non expensive place to eat seafood and also a place for great barbacue! and how about a nice buffet restaurant?
    Thank you,

  3. inma says:

    I will stay on Albuquerque on October… Many thanks for the list!! It is nice to have a really Top 10 restaurants from a local. Cool!!

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