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10 of the most interesting chile dishes in Albuquerque

Chile relleno plateChile relleno plate — Photo courtesy of Getty Images / CampPhoto

To know New Mexican cuisine is to know how intrinsically embedded chile is within the culinary scene. There are two chile varieties, red and green, and they come in a multitude of nuanced flavors ranging from sweet to spicy and crisp to smoky. Chile appears in standalone sauces or salsas and can be served either alongside or on top of many dishes throughout the American Southwest.

The tradition of chile in New Mexico dates back several thousand years with the Pueblo tribes who are indigenous to the region. Today, chefs around Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, continue the chile tradition in a wide range of unique dishes.

El Pinto Restaurant

Red chile ribs

Built in 1962, El Pinto Restaurant is an institution in Albuquerque. The restaurant is housed on a sprawling five acres making it the largest New Mexican restaurant in the state. They’re known for their jarred chile sauces and salsas that can be purchased and taken home.

They’re also particularly known for their behemoth menu offering red chile ribs. Smoky and spicy red chiles coat either a half or full rack of slowly cooked baby back ribs.

Golden Crown Panaderia

New Mexico green chile pizza crust

The owner of Golden Crown Panaderia is a master baker. He and his son work hand-in-hand producing baked goods customers love like biscochitos, sweet empanadas and other yummy treats. The duo translated their love of baking into creating two New Mexican style pizza crusts made of blue corn and green chile.

The chile is made with a whopping 24 ingredients total! You can build your own pizza with toppings to your liking, although the Golden Crown Combination is highly recommended.

Mas: Tapas y Vino

Steak & eggs Benedict with red chile hollandaise

Spanish tapas and wines are the main attractions at this restaurant found inside of the stylish Hotel Andaluz, a hotel that pays tribute to the Spanish historical connection in Albuquerque. Though a typical breakfast or brunch choice, the steak and eggs Benedict at Mas: Tapas y Vino gives the dish a New Mexican twist adding red chile to the hollandaise.

Campo at Los Poblanos

Potato gnocchi in green chile sauce

Los Poblanos, a charmingly rustic guesthouse away from the center of the city, is a tribute to Southwestern agrotourism at its finest. Campo, the restaurant located on site, serves scrumptious meals for breakfast and dinner that are paired with craft cocktails.

The gnocchi, which are mixed with fresh herbs and a creamy green chile sauce, stands out on this menu. The softness of the gnocchi paired with the spice of green chile makes this dish a memorable one.

Church Street Cafe

Carne adovada y huevos

An assuredly New Mexican staple, carne adovada is pork oven-roasted in a red chile sauce. At Church Street Cafe in Albuquerque’s Old Town, a cozy, old school eatery, you can get the carne adovada any time of day. The breakfast version, which comes with eggs any style, whether you like them fried or fluffy scrambled, is a must.

Duran Central Pharmacy

‘Christmas’ huevos rancheros

Duran Central Pharmacy is not what you’d expect from a typical restaurant. In 1942, it started off as a pharmacy under its original owner, Pete Duran. Eventually, he retired and the business was sold to one of the staff pharmacists. Today, the space operates as a pharmacy but also includes a small restaurant where a massive soda fountain used to be.

We recommend the ‘Christmas’ huevos rancheros here, which include fresh corn tortillas and fried eggs topped with both a red and green chile sauce side-by-side.

Golden Pride BBQ Chicken & Ribs

Green chile stew

Although this fast food restaurant is popular for late night eats (and the barbecue chicken and ribs as its name suggests), there are other things worth trying. The green chile stew is perfect for those chilly evenings and mornings in Albuquerque.

It’s a mix of pork, potatoes, green chiles, onions, garlic, oregano and cumin, as well as salt and pepper. The ingredients are cooked low and slow until the pork is tender and the flavors have melded together. At Golden Pride, you can buy the green chile stew in a wide range of sizes, most of which are served with a tortilla.

The Dog House

Hot dogs with chile cheese

The Dog House, an old-fashioned take out restaurant, is known for their burgers, milkshakes and hot dogs. Many might remember this no frills spot from the television show Breaking Bad.

A customer favorite is the chile chili, a spicier version of a classic Tex-Mex chili, which can be served on top of a hot dog. Kick it up a notch with an order of the chile chili topping on cheese fries.

Sharky’s Fish & Shrimp

Chile caribe

Sharky’s is a must if you love seafood, ceviche, tacos or all three. The owner, originally from Sonora, Mexico, wanted to bring a taste of home when he moved to Albuquerque. A New Mexican-inspired must is the chile caribe, a green chile pepper stuffed with shrimp and cheese, then wrapped in bacon and deep fried to a crunchy crisp.

Cocina Azul

Creamy green chile chicken soup

Cocina Azul, which took second place in our 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Green Chile in New Mexico, takes a traditional green chile stew and gives it a comfort food twist.

To give the soup its creaminess, a mushroom soup is added to the green chile stew base. The shredded chicken makes the soup hearty and the green chiles give the soup its signature spicy kick. Each bowl of soup comes with sopapilla, dough fried in oil so hot that the center puffs. It’s perfect for a chilly day or when you’re feeling a little under the weather.




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