The 10 Best Places for Appetizers in New Mexico!

When your stomach is growling right as you’ve arrived at a restaurant, appetizers are there to help. Sometimes, appetizers make the perfect main course, too. They’re a great dish to share with friends and a good way to eat lighter. While they’re often the small accompaniment to the main event, appetizers can some-times be the star of a meal. Here are the 10 best places to get appetizers in New Mexico. 

1. Groundstone, Albuquerque, NM

Sometimes the best part of a meal is the appetizer because it’s just the right amount of food. The flatbread nachos here is one of those meals that is just enough. The flatbread is fresh-baked, topped with Akaushi beef, house-made queso, Monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo and green onions. The beef is 100 percent source-verified from Japan and other ingredients are locally-sourced, all natural and preservative free.

2. Maria’s New Mexican Restaurant, Santa Fe, NM

It wouldn’t be a New Mexico appetizer without green chile in it. The green chile meatballs here burst on the scene at the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta when the taste wowed judges. They’re made with lean ground beef, green chile, a few secret ingredients and served with a green chile dipping sauce. Maria’s has been a city landmark since 1950 and is known for authentic, home-style dishes, handmade tortillas and green … and red … chile sauces.

3. Frank and Lupes, Socorro, NM

Certain ingredients capture the flavors of a region and this Santa Fe Fresco Caprese appetizer is a perfect example. It’s fire-roasted corn with green chile, queso fresco, cilantro, ripe tomatoes and a hint of Mexican chile oil. It’s spicy good and sets just the right tone for the rest of the authentic dishes on the menu, from entree to dessert. Twenty-five years of family recipes have made this restaurant a favorite.

4. Chili Hills Restaurant, Edgewood, NM

Quite often, the simplest dishes are the hardest to master. If you want to start a meal with a great basket of fresh tortilla chips and a healthy portion of salsa, gua-camole and queso … also known as the three amigos … this is the place. This location was named one of the top nine restaurants and one of the best mom and pops in the state. Next time you’re hankering for an appetizing appetizer, remember to  “Head for the “Hills” where the Chili is hot and the people are cool.” 

5. Pasta Cafe Italian Bistro, Roswell, NM

When you want to take a walk on the wild side and have something other than authentic New Mexican food, try some authentic Italian. Everything is made fresh daily, including the creamy horseradish and marinara dipping sauce served with the Calamari Pepperonata appetizer—hand-breaded calamari with cherry peppers, pepperoncini and black olives. Get a half order if you truly just want an appetizer or a full order as a meal.

6. El Gamal, Taos, NM

Middle Eastern food isn’t always just for vegetarians, but this restaurant caters to that crowd. The healthy, made-from-scratch food is full-bodied, flavored with the spices and products of the regions it represents. So, what’s not to like about a delicious plate of Brussels sprouts served with a house habañero miso mustard and cilantro. Nothing! The rest of the fare is just as appetizing and you’ll leave feeling good about your choices.

7. Pecan Grill and Brewery, Las Cruces, NM

If you’re just looking for a drink and a snack, you couldn’t find a better place. The brewmaster specially crafts 12 different brews, one of which they use in a popular appetizer … beer cheese fondue. It’s a blend of Gruyere and Swiss cheese, diced green chile and the Brewery’s own Aggie Amber ale. The fondue comes with sliced beef, apple slices and bread, all for dipping. A fun and delicious way to spend an evening with friends.

8. Badlands Grill, Gallup, NM

This steak and seafood supper club is a throwback to the glory days of Route 66. That highway has lost a little traction, but this restaurant has maintained its grip on providing really good food. The appetizer menu has as many choices as the full menu—many of them just as filling. You won’t be sorry with the Badlands BBQ sliders—smoked pork served with a honey barbecue on a brioche bun and topped with house-made slaw. 

9. Marion’s Restaurant, Carlsbad, NM

You’ll find new American cuisine here, a trend that mixes and matches ingredients from a broad spectrum of cultures. The chef grabbed a piece of Southern comfort and put it on the menu as an appetizer … fried green tomatoes with a twist. They’re served with Ricotta cheese, a marinara sauce and basil emulsion. This elevated version of a traditional dish captures the essence of how to redefine a classic and kick it up a notch.

10. Sadie’s of New Mexico, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM

For more than 60 years, Sadie’s has been a place to come for authentic New Mexican food. Dishes from recipes passed down for generations fill the menu. One that’ll have you asking for more are the fried green chile strips with green chile ranch dipping sauce. They’re light, airy and spicy with just the right heat in the sauce. They’re so good, you’ll want a basket before dinner, as well as with dinner.

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