Restaurant Guide–Las Cruces

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New Mexico

Albuquerque Metro


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

 

La Mesa

Chope’s–16165 S. Hwy 28 (New Mexican) Open Thu-Sun. Best all-around New Mexican style rest. in southern NM that I have found. Standout item here is chile relleno (they are grown locally).  I recommend green enchiladas in harvest season (late July to late Sep.) and red enchiladas any time of the year. I think right now only the bar is open and they are planning to reopen the main dining room soon. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Las Cruces

Aqua Reef–141 Roadrunner Pkwy. (Japanese) Closed Mon evening & Tue. I believe this has some of the food from the old Tatsu (my favorites from Tatsu were some of the traditional cooked dishes). What I had here was very delicious and well executed. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Bite of Belgium–741 N. Alameda St. (Belgian) Open daily 7 am to 2 pm.  Waffles, omelettes, Bavarian cream. Map (Dining room is open 8-31-20)

Caliche’s Frozen Custard–590 S. Valley Dr. (Ice Cream) Open Daily.  I became a fan of the custard during the short time they had a branch in El Paso. They are also known for their hot dogs but I am not as much of a fan of them as I am of Andele’s Dog House. Map (Takeout and drive-through only 4-9-22)

Cha Chi’s–2460 S. Locust St. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  Runner-up in the Reader’s Choice poll for best green chile, and reviews on Yelp say both the red and green chile are good. Also in Dona Ana, NM at the I-25 interchange. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

DH Lescombes Winery & Bistro–1720 Avenida de Mesilla (Southwest) Open Daily. A winery that serves food. Reviewers say the food is excellent. Burgers, sandwiches, meat loaf, and New Mexico pasta are popular. Bread pudding is recommended. They also take special orders (items not on the menu but that they can prepare). Has a large covered patio, and atmosphere both inside and out seem to be a large reason for its popularity. Note: formerly was St. Clair Winery & Bistro. Map (Dining room is open 1-29-22)

El Patron–1103 S. Solano Dr. (Mexican) Lunch only (closed Sun).  A small hole-in-the-wall place that is very popular with the locals. Serves traditional Mexican food as opposed to New Mexican. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Farley’s–3499 Foothills Rd. (American) Dinner Wed-Sun; Lunch Sat & Sun.  Burgers, sandwiches, chicken fried steak, and pizza, but some of the most popular items are more Southwestern such as a green chile cheeseburger. The most popular item at the restaurant seems to be the green chile wontons. (Also in Ruidoso and Roswell). Map (Dining room is open 1-29-22)

Forghedaboudit–1338 Picacho HIlls Dr. (Pizza) Closed Mon; Lunch Wed-Sat, Dinner Wed-Sun.  Has award winning pizza that is recognized as one of the best in the US. Ingredients are shipped from the east coast and the sauce is made in house every day. People also recommend their other dishes, such as the green chile shrimp fettuccine.Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Web Site presents such a glowing review of this restaurant that I had to include it, lest I omit one of the hidden gems that I am striving to incorporate into this list. The restaurant started in Deming and has now moved to LC (located just off US 70 west near the I-10 interchange). Gil lists an array of “best bets” so I think you can just pick anything from the menu and it would be great. I noticed he did not list the pizza, but I think this is because he had already included it in his review of the (now closed) Deming restaurant. One thing I noticed from the restaurant’s web site is that reservations are mandatory after 4:00 p.m. (so apparently a large portion of Las Cruces agrees with Gil about the food). Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Genghis Grill–840 S. Telshor Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  With the lack of Asian restaurants here compared to other cities the same size, I feel that even chains should be considered for good dining experiences. In this case it has good reviews, and I like the concept of a Mongolian grill (I have had good luck with it in other restaurants). Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Habaneros–600 E. Amador Ave. (Mexican) Open until 8 pm (9 pm Fri & Sat)–closed Sun & Mon.  Highly rated. Chicken mole is very popular. Called “Fresh Mex” food (with a number of vegetarian dishes). My interpretation from the reviews is that it is not traditional Mexican food, but it has elements of both New Mexican and south of the border style and is so good that nobody is concerned about the style. People also stress that it is affordable. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

India Hut–1605 S. Solano Dr. (Indian) Closed Sun.  Good reviews, saying they have authentic food. Some say they do not have chutney and pickles (but I do not know if this is always true or only occasionally). Normally they have a buffet but it is not available in 2021. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

La Nueva Casita–195 N. Mesquite St. (New Mexican) Closed for dinner Sun & Mon; closed Tue.  Reviewers say the food tastes like Grandma’s home cooking. Seems to be the highest rated New Mexican restaurant out of the ones I have not yet tried. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Las Trancas–1008 S. Solano Dr. (New Mexican) Open daily (serves breakfast).  This is a favorite of mine despite quite a few negative reviews that I see. They cook with canola oil (I really liked it but others may not). Also the chile is not as spicy as many other places (I do not mind this because the flavor is good).  Red and green enchiladas are both good. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Los Mariachis–754 N. Motel Blvd. (New Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Stuffed sopapilla was very good. I thought the green chile was particularly good. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Mi Pueblito–1355 E. Idaho Ave. (New Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Reviewers say it serves old style Mexican food that tastes like home cooking. Map (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Nellie’s–1226 W. Hadley Ave. (New Mexican) Open Tue-Fri 8 am to 3 pm.  My favorite New Mexican style rest. in LC. I have always especially liked the sopapilla compuesta. Also a great place for red enchiladas (I think Chope’s is best for green enchiladas and chiles rellenos). Note: Nellie’s is closed for vacation every year at Christmas and the first two weeks in January, and also in the summer (I believe around the beginning of August). Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Nopalito–310 S. Mesquite St. (New Mexican) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Wed).  In business since 1964. Red enchiladas are either my favorite in Las Cruces or very close to it. The warmed green chile salsa is also especially notable here. Has an outdoor patio that is surrounded by grass (definitely looks good for dogs). Note: also at 2605 Missouri Ave. that is open for lunch only. Map (Dining room is open 1-29-22)

Pho A Dong–504 E. Amador Ave. (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Mon).  Varied menu, including clay pot dishes. Pho is the restaurant’s specialty. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Pho Zero Degree–1305 E. University Ave. (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  Family owned restaurant–pho and noodle dishes are popular. Also has Korean ribs, pad thai, and ramen. Reviewers say the pho is better at Pho A Dong but all the other dishes here are excellent and recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Salud de Mesilla–1800 Avenida de Mesilla (New American) Closed Sun evening; closed Mon & Tue.  Yelp describes it as a tapas restaurants. New Mexico Magazine describes it as a haven for paleo, gluten-free and gourmand. Either way they say it is excellent. I don’t think there is any recommended dish (everything is good). Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Si Senor–1551 E. Amador Ave. (New Mexican) Open Daily.  Popular with locals, with part of the reason being that they do not have the limited hours that many local places do and the menu is pretty extensive. From the reviews I gather that the red chile may not be the best in the city but it is good, and the green may be better. Stuffed sopapillas are recommended (with beef). Everyone seems to like the chips and salsa. (Also in Chandler, AZ). Map (Dining room is open 1-29-22)

Teriyaki Chicken House–805 El Paseo Rd. (Japanese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  Fast food style Asian food that is said to have a good flavor. Map (Dining room is open 11-22-21)

The Shed–810 S. Valley Dr. (American) 7:30 am to 2:00 pm Thu-Sun.  Popular for breakfast, and serves Mexican favorites such as huevos rancheros. Voted best breakfast place in the Readers’ Choice poll. Map (Dining room is open 6-19-21)

Wok’n World–519 E. Boutz Rd. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  Beyond the standard offerings is an authentic Chinese menu with mainly Sichuan style dishes (but apparently it is the real deal). Map (Dining room is open 7-25-21)

Mesilla

Andele–1950 Calle del Norte (Mexican) Open daily except Mon evening (serves breakfast). Tacos al carbon are the best item, and this is one of the best restaurants in the borderland for them. Note: Andele’s Dog House across the street has mostly outdoor seating on a dog friendly patio, and has a second dog reference in that it serves Chihuahua style hot dogs in additional to the regular menu that is also served at Andele. When I ate here I thought the green enchiladas and the hot dogs were very good choices. Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Double Eagle–2355 Calle de Guadalupe (Southwest) Open Daily.  I can only report from my experiences about 20 years ago, but it still gets good reviews. Sunday brunches offered great food at a good price. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Note: New Mexico Magazine reports that Double Eagle’s casual restaurant Peppers (located in the courtyard) has very good food that is not in the fine dining category (or its price range). (3-11-17)

La Posta–2410 Calle de San Albino (New Mexican) Open Daily.  Reviews saying this is the best New Mexican food ever IMO are greatly exaggerated. However, it does have moments of brilliance (this too varies from many reviews I read). Sopapillas, slaw, chile con queso, and tostada compuesta are generally very good. Chips and salsa are good (but mild). Green enchilada and chile relleno are usually good (but are inconsistent). Tour the historic building even if you don’t eat here. It is also worth taking home a jar of their salsa. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

Thai Delight–2184 Avenida de Mesilla (Thai) Open daily except Mon evening.  Has a somewhat limited menu. Will serve it Thai spicy if you want. Pad thai, green curry, red curry, Panang curry, and drunken noodles are recommended. I liked the ginger stir fry dish. Runner-up in the Best of the Mesilla Valley poll (behind Aqua Reef). Map (Dining room is open 4-9-22)

Organ

Renoo’s Thai–16151 US 70 (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 2-4 pm).  This is the “other” Thai restaurant that started out in Organ (e. of Las Cruces), then moved to Las Cruces, and as of 2021 is back in Organ. Reviews indicate that people drive from Las Cruces to eat there. Curry and pad thai are popular–seems like everything is good based on the reviews. Map (Dining room is open 11-14-21)

 


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Note About Las Cruces:

New Mexican food is Las Cruces’ claim to fame, with the famous Hatch chiles and the less famous (but possibly better) Mesilla Valley chiles being grown here. I think the best place for green chiles is Chope’s in La Mesa (chile relleno or green enchiladas). Red chiles (the dried version) in my opinion are a better choice from October to early July. For these I like Nellie’s (only open breakfast & lunch), and Nopalito the best, but other places in town are excellent as well. La Posta in Mesilla is the best New Mexican restaurant for a combination of food and atmosphere, but just based on food I usually do not think of La Posta.

***Chile Heat: Some people want the flavor of New Mexican food but not the chile heat, and for these La Posta is a good choice. Many restaurants in town are a little spicier than La Posta but still within most people’s comfort range. Chope’s is probably best for those who know they like spicy New Mexican food (or who can take Thai or Indian spice). The one that I think is off the charts spicy is Roberto’s (I have not encountered any others as spicy as this one except in Hatch, NM such as the Pepper Pot).


Pecans:

South of Las Cruces are some very large pecan farms, including the famous Stahmann Farms along NM 28. The Stahmann Farms store is at 22500 NM-28 and sells pecans to the public. Map (Open Mon-Fri 7 am to 4 pm. 11-14-21)


Sources:

City Data “Favorite Las Cruces Restaurants”

Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Web Site

Google Maps

Las Cruces Sun-News, “Readers’ 2017 Best of the Mesilla Valley Choice”

New Mexico Magazine “2016 Readers’ Poll Winners” (Mar. 2016)

New Mexico Magazine “Readers’ Choice Dining Awards 2017” (Mar. 2017)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Las Cruces)

Zomato (Las Cruces)

2 thoughts on “Restaurant Guide–Las Cruces

  1. Couple notes:
    Bite of Belgium is now open for dinner service.
    Cafe A Go Go is closed since earlier this year, can’t remember exact date.

    One of my go-to places is Si Senor. It’s not “the best” but it’s certainly good. For tourists, it’s an easy location to find as it is right off Lohman. The prices are good and the food is always consistent and not too spicy. They also have a great selection of margaritas!
    Farley’s is another good one. Fun decor, relaxed atmosphere, great food always. Everything I’ve tried there has been great. Try the green chile wontons!!

    • Thank you very much for the updates and the suggestions. I think I had heard that Bite of Belgium was open for dinner but I forgot to note it on the web site.

      In February I was in the area where I thought Cafe A Go Go was located but I did not see it. I think now that it must have been closed by then, but since I was not specifically looking to eat there I assumed at the time that I was just looking in the wrong place.

      It is always hard to know what to include on the list of Mexican restaurants, and there are many that I would still like to try including Si Senor. I know what you mean about finding the right amount of spiciness. I think most restaurants in Las Cruces hit this mark pretty well but some such as Roberto’s have been so spicy they are not on my preferred list any more. Others, such as La Posta, are not spicy enough for my taste. For those who look at my reviews, I include a chile scale (one to five chiles) indicating spiciness. I generally like four the best and can sometimes enjoy a higher or lower level, but at least it will inform readers about what I encounter at the various restaurants.

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