Restaurant Guide–Las Cruces

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New Mexico

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  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

La Mesa

Chope’s–16165 S. Hwy 28 (New Mexican) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 1:30 to 5:30 pm).  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.). (3-11-17)

Las Cruces

Aqua Reef–141 Roadrunner Pkwy. (Japanese) Open Daily.  I believe this has some of the food from the old Tatsu (my favorites from Tatsu were some of the traditional cooked dishes). (10-6-18)

Bite of Belgium–741 N. Alameda St. (Belgian) Breakfast & lunch daily; dinner Wed-Sun.  Waffles, omelettes, Bavarian cream. (10-6-18)

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. (3-11-17)

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. (6-13-18)

El Patron–1103 S. Solano Dr. (Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (open to 7 pm on Fri)–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. (7-29-17)

Habaneros–600 E. Amador Ave. (Mexican) Open until 8 pm (9 pm Fri & Sat)–closed Sun.  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’s so good that nobody cares. People also stress that it is affordable. (7-29-17)

International Delights–1245 El Paseo Rd. (Mediterranean) Open daily (breakfast Fri-Sun).  Shawarma, gyro, falafel are good here. For some items, though, a number of reviewers say you should try Santorini or Tiffany’s. (3-29-18)

Las Trancas–1008 S. Solano Dr. (New Mexican).  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. (7-29-17)

Los Mariachis–754 N. Motel Blvd. (New Mexican) Open 8 am to 9 pm (closed Sun evening).  Stuffed sopapilla was very good. I thought the green chile was particularly good. (10-6-18)

Mi Pueblito–1355 E. Idaho Ave. (New Mexican) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Reviewers say it serves old style Mexican food that tastes like home cooking. (7-29-17)

Nellie’s–1226 W. Hadley Ave. (New Mexican) Open 8 am to 2 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  My favorite New Mexican style rest. in LC. I have always especially liked the stuffed sopapilla. Maybe also the best 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 also in the summer (I believe around the beginning of August). (3-29-18)

Nopalito–310 S. Mesquite St. (New Mexican) Open Daily.  Red enchiladas are one of my favorites in Las Cruces. The warmed green chile salsa is also especially notable here. (10-6-18)

Pho A Dong–504 E. Amador Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Varied menu, including clay pot dishes. Pho is the restaurant’s specialty. (7-29-17)

Pho Saigon–1160 El Paseo Rd. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Large menu that includes “Vietnamese pancakes.” (7-29-17)

St. Clair Bistro–1720 Avenida de Mesilla (Southwest) Open Daily.  A winery that serves food, but people say the food is excellent. Sandwiches, meat loaf, and New Mexico pasta are popular. Bread pudding is recommended. (7-29-17)

Salud de Mesilla–1800 Avenida de Mesilla (New American) Closed Sun evening; closed 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). (7-29-17)

Teriyaki Chicken House–805 El Paseo Rd. (Japanese) Closed Sat & Sun.  Fast food style Asian food with a good flavor. (7-29-17)

The Shed–810 S. Valley Dr. (American) 7:30 am to 2:00 pm Wed-Sun.  Popular for breakfast, and serves Mexican favorites such as huevos rancheros. Voted best breakfast place in the Readers’ Choice poll. (6-13-18)

Wok’n World–519 E. Boutz Rd. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Beyond the standard offerings is an authentic Chinese menu with mainly Sichuan style dishes (but apparently it is the real deal). (6-13-18)

Note: 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) or Los Mariachis the best, but many 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).

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. (7-29-17)

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. (7-29-17)

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. (7-29-17)

Thai Delight–2184 Avenida de Mesilla (Thai) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Good food. May have a limited menu (according to some reviewers). Will serve it Thai spicy if you want. Pad thai, green curry, red curry, Panang curry, and drunken noodles are recommended. This is the restaurant that used to be located in Organ, NM. Runner-up in the Best of the Mesilla Valley poll (behind Aqua Reef). (6-13-18)

Note: South of Mesilla are some very large pecan farms, including the famous Stahmann Farms along NM 28.  According to New Mexico Magazine (Nov. 2015) local pecans are sold at the Mesilla Valley Store at 2350 Calle Principal on the Plaza in Mesilla (the former Stahmann Farms store on Hwy 28 south of town is now closed).

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

City Data “Favorite Las Cruces Restaurants”

        Google Maps (Reviews)

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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