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Looking for a restaurant for a special celetration in Sante Fe. Would appreciate comments on these choices.

Looking for a restaurant for a special celetration in Sante Fe. Would appreciate comments on these choices.

Old Aug 9th, 2001, 08:58 AM
  #1  
elizabeth
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Looking for a restaurant for a special celetration in Sante Fe. Would appreciate comments on these choices.

Hi - I'm looking for input re several Sante Fe restaurants for a friend. It's a very special occasion (3 business partners plus spouses celebrating the company's 5th anniversary and best year ever - obviously it's not a dot.com!). They have already booked Rancho di Chimayo for one evening, but are looking for a very special place for the "major" celebration. "Special" can be defined as great food and atmosphere - a celebratory-type of restaurant.

I've searched through past postings here, looked at Epicurious, Chowhound and other sites, (plus have personal, although somewhat dated, experience at two of the choices). From that I've developed the following long list of restaurants and would appreciate comments/observations:

1. Tulips
2. Santacafe - I had a wonderful meal there about 9 years ago. In the absence of any other research it would be my recommendation, but worry that my experience might be out of date
3. Geronimo - same as above. Although when we ate there 9 years ago (admittedly for lunch) I didn't find the food as adventuresome as Santacafe - more along the lines of an interesting 'take' on SW cuisine. However looking at Geronimo's menus it seems the cuisine has evolved - true?
4. La Casa Sena - it sounds interesting, although I read something about the waiters breaking into Broadway songs?? Actually, maybe that qualifies as "special"!
5. Ristra
6. Vista Clara Ranch
7. Restaurant at the Inn of the Anasazi

Notable by its absence is the Coyote Café. We ate there when we were there and felt it was overrated - perhaps that's wrong? Also, I've tended to steer away from strictly Italian or French restaurants (i.e. Pranzo) in favour of restaurants that reflect Sante Fe or SW cuisine. Comments?

Any comments (or additions to the above list!) would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 09:00 AM
  #2  
elizabeth
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Note to self: Proof read FIRST, then hit SEND, not the other way around. That should be 'celebration' in the title!
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 09:12 AM
  #3  
James
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I can only comment on Santacafe, which, as recently as 2 years ago was still in top form. You know what it's about, having been there before.
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 09:40 AM
  #4  
texasgirl
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I really liked Tulips when I was there this spring _ young husband-and-wife chef team who used to be at geronimo several years ago; the menu is southwest-flavored and food was very good, fresh and imaginitive. Small space, better suited to a quiet dinner than a raucous celebration. The only other one on your list I've been to recently is Ristra, which I liked but not as much as Tulips. Also, you didn't ask, but I have to add that I am not crazy about Rancho de Chimayo. The setting is very pretty, and I like the little square of Chimayo itself, but found the restaurant too big and impersonal, and the food very average. Personally I would choose one of the other restaurants on your list for the other night....
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 09:48 AM
  #5  
Ms Ghost
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Sorry to say that our recent experiences at Santacafe were disappointing, especially compared to our first visits ten-plus years ago. I think you'll find that sentiment echoed on "Chowhound" also, plus many friends of ours don't even go there anymore! On the other hand, in the last two years Casa Sena and Geronimo have both continued to impress us! The "singing" part of Casa Sena is the more casual, cafe side so be sure and go to the "regular" restaurant part of it where they don't sing! It's much more elegant! As far as Chimayo, it's always seemed to me more of a lunch spot than for a special dinner but this is just a personal observation. It seems so much more commercial now that they have all the large tables out back and terraced up the hillside, plus the food has never seemed exceptional. I always love to visit the Sanctuary while there! And the scenery is beautiful, especially if you take the "back" road.
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 10:57 AM
  #6  
elizabeth
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Thanks James, TexasGirl and Ms. Ghost - very helpful comments.

Santacafe is a bit of a conundrum - as I said we really enjoyed it, as did James, but as Ms Ghost said, her experience and some of the reports on Chowhound are less than complimentary. Thanks for the clarification on Casa Sena - it's back in the 'contender' category!

Also just read about a place called "The Compound" - it was just a brief reference but it sounded quite interesting - any observations?

Texasgirl - I don't think it will be a raucous celebration (we're all getting too old for that!) just fine food, wine and possibly a cigar afterwards (is smoking legal in restaurants in Sante Fe?). I didn't state it clearly enough in my original posting - my friend's interest is first and foremost food - so based on your description Tulips sounds very interesting.

I agree with the comments regarding Rancho de Chimayo (we had a fun lunch there but I wouldn't recommend it for one of only two dinners) and hopefully once they see this list they'll revise their plans and go for lunch!

Also, meant to ask about the Pink Adobe. When we were there we spent (altogether too much) time in the bar - but didn't eat there - should I consider it as well?

Thanks again for all your help!
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 02:20 PM
  #7  
elizabeth
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ttt
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 02:52 PM
  #8  
Howard
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Oh, say it isn't so about Santacafe, one of our all-time favorites!
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 03:25 PM
  #9  
David
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Restaurant at the "Inn of the Anasazi" is fabulous. Wonderful southwestern atmosphere (perhaps the most elegant in town) and superb food featuring imaginatively prepared game, pasta and fish. Nice intimate bar area as well with killer appetizers! This is definitely a special place. If you're looking for a little livelier atmosphere, however, there's a wonderful Spanish restaurant (Spain Spanish) on the outskirts of downtown. I can't remember the name but they serve paella as well as a fabulous assortment of tapas and other wonderful Mediterranean foods. Very lively/casual place with nightly Flamenco dancing in a fun atmosphere. To find it just call any concierge at any hotel in Sante Fe and ask what the name of the oldest and most famous "Spain" Spanish restaurant in town is (or perhaps a fodorite will know this one). By the way, there is another Spanish restaurant in town that serves tapas and paella and features Flamenco dancing but I don't recommend it (it's in town near Santa Cafe). Ask for the one in the canyon. Hope this helps
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 03:43 PM
  #10  
Sal
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Elizabeth, I'm curious. Are you by any chance Betty Seibert who owned the PR firm in Sarasota--it's not a name you hear every day.

I'm sorry to say that I'm also hearing some disappointing reports about Santacafe, as recently as a few weeks ago when we were in NC and talking to a Gallery owner who just moved from Santa Fe. She still spends her winters there, and I was asking her for a restaurant update. She recommended Casa Sena and Julian's (strictly Italian, but it's wonderful Italian). As a matter of fact the night we ate there, a large party was having a lively celebration! I agree with you about Geranimo, however, we also have only eaten lunch there. The last time we were in town, we finally went to Coyote Cafe out of curiosity. We were very pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our evening.

 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 03:58 PM
  #11  
Ms Ghost
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I absolutely forgot to mention the Anasazi as well! I concur with the above post that it has always been terrific, I guess I just give a slight edge to Casa Sena and Geronimo because they are in old buildings which, simply to me, mind you, gives them a bit more "atmo".
 
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 04:53 PM
  #12  
Jen Ratta
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How about Steaksmith at El Gancho? My husband and I ate there a few years ago and really enjoyed it. We had a great candlelit dinner in a beautiful and elegant environment. Their phone number is (505) 988-3333 and the restaurant is located on Old Las Vegas Blvd.
 
Old Aug 10th, 2001, 07:42 AM
  #13  
elizabeth
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Thanks to all - if I were the proprietor of Santacafe I'd be more than a little nervous.

So far Casa Sena, Inn/Anasazi are good choices, with Tulips and Geronimo as considerations as well.

Sal - no, I'm not Betty Seibert. You're right it is an uncommon name - I haven't ever met another Seibert.

Thanks again to all for your help - any other comments would be appreciated.
 
Old Aug 12th, 2001, 06:37 AM
  #14  
elizabeth
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To the top one last time for any other comments - thanks again for everyone's help.
 
Old Aug 12th, 2001, 10:42 AM
  #15  
xx
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The hotel Santa Fe has a teepee you can reserve for dinner. It holds quite a few people. They also have a flute player who can provide music during dinner.
 
Old Aug 13th, 2001, 09:23 AM
  #16  
Ruth
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Unless the Hotel Santa Fe has greatly improved both its food and service from last October, I would strongly discourage it for a special celebration. A group of 7 of us stayed at the hotel and ate there our first night. They brought out only 6 dinners at the same time. By the time the last dinner arrived, the rest of us had finished our meals. And the food was only so-so. We did have an excellent meal at Santa Cafe, though.
 
Old Aug 19th, 2001, 08:49 PM
  #17  
Sheila
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We go to Santa Fe 3-5x/year -last there in June. Santa Cafe is still good but found it is hit/miss these days. Anasazi is very nice and beautiful decor. Casa Sena, for us, has not been at the same level - bad waiters/food varies. Geronimo comes out as our favorite restaurant for fine dining. Only had dinner and has been top notch -excellent food and beautiful presentation w/great service. Never had lunch. I would definately consider Geronimo. One suggestion would be to make your reservations as early as you can.
 

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