Have one of the top breakfasts in town at Café Pasqual’s, named for San Pasqual, folk saint of kitchens and cooks, where Mexican tiles and murals adorn the festive dining room. The huevos rancheros are traditional but exemplary ($13); also try chef-owner Katharine Kagel’s smoked trout hash ($16), a justifiably famous dish among locals.
Be prepared to line up for the city’s best southwestern fare at The Shed, a Spanish/Mexican fusion spot that’s earned multiple "Best of Santa Fe" awards from the Santa Fe Reporter. Don’t be put off by the restaurant’s tourist-heavy central location—dishes like carne adovada (marinated slow-cooked pork with red chile; $11) and the blue corn burrito ($9.50 to $11.25) are worth the wait.
Make a reservation in advance for dinner at The Compound, a Santa Fe institution on world-famous Canyon Road, the city’s original gallery strip. Once an artists’ hangout, the restaurant has shaken off its sixties vibe and traded it for James Beard Award–winning chef Mark Kiffin’s contemporary American cuisine, including indulgences like grilled tenderloin served with foie gras hollandaise ($40) and tuna tartare topped with Osetra caviar ($16).