10 Best Fried Food Places in New Mexico

It’s been said that everything tastes better fried. While that could be debated, it is true that some of the most delightful foods ever made are of the fried variety. Who doesn't love fried chicken? Shrimp? Mac and cheese bites? Is your stomach rumbling? Here are the best places for fried food in New Mexico. 

Nexus Brewery, Albuquerque, NM

This restaurant bills itself as the city’s soul food connection. What’s more soulful than fried chicken?! Not much. The meal here has chicken (marinated in a special sauce overnight) seasoned to perfection with a light batter that crunches up nicely and locks in all of the juices. If chicken is not your thing, there are plenty of other fried choices: okra, pickles, zucchini, catfish nuggets and fried swai fish. Dozens of beers to choose from, both craft and local.

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The Hollar, Madrid, NM

A hollar, or hollow, is a southern expression for a secluded spot nestled between two hills. You’ll find this restaurant in a town that is indeed in a narrow canyon in the Ortiz Mountains. The menu showcases the chef’s love of southern cuisine. The house specialty is fried green tomatoes, served with a lavender bechamel sauce. That’s not all—fried okra, fried pickles, fried shrimp and crispy chicken and grits round out the options. Local ingredients are used as available.

Kiva Cafe, Milan, NM

Don’t be shy about heading into a truck stop to eat. This family-owned and operated diner is worth a travel stop. Chicken fried steak, which isn’t actually beef, tops the list of best fried food here. It’s tender and smothered in a hearty sauce. Have it with two eggs for breakfast. Order a basket of fried okra if you just need to whet your fried food taste buds.

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Lincoln County Grill, Ruidoso, NM

The laid-back atmosphere at this small restaurant makes eating here comfortable and relaxing. Order at the counter and the food is brought to you. Don’t miss the green chile chicken fried steak, it’s their wheelhouse and comes smothered in jack cheese and green sauce. If chile is on your mind, get an order of green chile strips, lightly battered with a fried jalapeno ranch side sauce, too. Outdoor patio for when the weather is warm.

Zebs Restaurant & Bar, Angel Fire, NM

This restaurant isn’t too far from Eagle Nest Lake where fishing rules the waters. So, the dish to try here is the “famous” fried catfish. The portion is large. Two lightly battered filets are crispy, crunchy good and come with fresh vegetables. It wouldn’t be a mountain town restaurant without fried chicken, fried okra and the, ever present, chicken fried steak. Full bar with a wide-range of beer and wine.

McCarty’s Cafe, Portales, NM

This classic small-town cafe is famous for its steak-in-a-basket dinner. So well-known, in fact, that it’s right under the name on the sign. The hand-breaded and hand-dipped steak fingers are a taste sensation and unique to this restaurant. Strips of cube steak are deep fried and served with a creamy gravy, coleslaw and French fries. Other basket dinners come with fried chicken strips, batter-dipped fish, fried shrimp and, fried chicken livers. Wash it all down with lemonade, the best in town.

Jinja Bar & Bistro, Santa Fe, NM

If you’ve never tasted the flavors of the Pacific Islands, have a meal here. Without question try the citrus avocado tempura. Fresh avocado slices are dipped in a citrus tempura batter, flash fried until crispy perfection and served with a mint cilantro sauce. You’ll taste buds will think they are in the Islands. So much more to try—crispy tofu, lightly fried and garnished with fresh ginger and a Japanese sauce, spicy Sriracha-battered shrimp and flash-fried baby calamari with a lime and mint sauce. Be adventurous, embrace the Jinga traveler experience.

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Clancy’s Irish Cantina, Farmington, NM

What do you get when you combine Irish, Mexican, Japanese and American food? Clancy’s! The menu is obviously eclectic so everyone is sure to find something to eat. No doubt about it, order the breaded and deep-fried mac & cheese bites. They come with carrot and celery sticks and a creamy ranch dressing. For the fried food fanatic, add deep fried zucchini, mushrooms, cheese sticks, chicken strips or catfish.

Danny’s Place, Carlsbad, NM

Make no mistake, this is a barbecue pit house that has just good ol’ boy traditional spit-roasted and smoked cooking. That’s ok, because along with brisket or ribs or pulled pork, you can order a fry basket. That’s a combo of okra and French fries and it is the perfect accompaniment to barbecue. The chicken fried steak, battered and cooked to a golden perfection, is another Southern favorite done well here.

Hillcrest Restaurant, Las Vegas, NM

Established in 1949, it’s still encouraging travelers to “meet your friends here” at this 50s-style diner. The jukeboxes are original. What began as a hamburger and shake joint has, throughout the years, branched out into new culinary territory. Today, the specialty is a “Burnt Cheese Taco.” Don’t be scared, they’re really not burnt, they are fried. It’s a corn tortilla coated with cheddar cheese and then deep fried. If that doesn’t just sound fabulous as is, it also comes with shredded chicken, spiced tomatoes and more cheese. Order more than one!

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