It’s pleasantly surprising to discover that there are a number of top-notch seafood restaurants in the land-locked state of New Mexico. When you’ve had your fill of green chile everything, take a step off the pepper trail for some fresh seafood. Here are 10 places around the state that are serving the best of the bounty from the ocean.
Tucked inside the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course is this upscale restaurant that is absolutely not a fish out of water. The menu boasts a wide-range of delights from the sea including crab cakes, salmon, mussels, swordfish, scallops, Chilean sea bass and a ceviche appetizer, a blend of lobster, tomato, cucumber, onion, jala-peño, avocado and cilantro on blue corn tostadas. A fine-dining experience that doesn’t involve grass-fed anything.
The menu focus here is seafood-centric for both lunch and dinner. Shellfish, fresh water and saltwater fish are served in a variety of styles. Crispy shrimp, ahi tuna sashimi, mussels in wine sauce, fried calamari and Maryland crab cakes top the list of appetizers. Specialties include crab-crusted Alaskan cod, pecan parmesan crusted rainbow trout and tilapia stuffed with shrimp, scallops and crab meat. There are other options on the menu, but eating seafood in a seafood-centric restaurant is the best choice.
Quite often, classic steakhouses offer a surf ’n turf option that combines a steak and lobster. This is one such classic restaurant. Order the surf ’n turf and you’ll get a choice of prime rib or a ribeye and either lobster or king crab. Other menu items for the seafood lover include scallops, jumbo shrimp, salmon and a fresh catch of the day option when available. Wednesday night specials showcase seafood.
Just two blocks from the historic downtown plaza, this Santa Fe landmark restau-rant is the epitome of southwest hospitality. The charming and elegant atmosphere is a harbinger of the meals to come. Sea bass in miso sauce, shrimp fettucine in pesto cream and herb marinated shrimp tapas are just a few of the tempting offerings. Live music from world-renowned performers at the piano bar add to this fashionable restaurant’s ambience.
The Feast Buffet is a smorgasbord of food choices. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite. A highlight is the seafood and prime rib special on Friday that pairs the meat with crab legs, shrimp and oysters. Throughout the week, you’ll find a variety of shellfish and fresh fish at this all-you-can-eat buffet. If you like a lot of selection, this is the place to go.
This is an interactive restaurant. You buy the type of seafood you want by the pound (at market price), pick a level of spiciness, add some flavor like the Down N Dirty Blend, throw in some sides and it gets boiled up. It comes served in a bag that you just dig in to. Yes, it makes a huge mess, and your hands get dirty—thus the name—but all meals come with plenty of napkins and bibs! It’s so good you might just think you’re in NOLA.
A great seafood meal is possible at 7,000 feet above sea level. Regularly named “Best of Santa Fe” in the seafood category, you’ll find fresh fish of the day here, every day. The staff knows where the seafood was caught, when it was delivered and whether it came from the wild or was farm-raised. The specialties of the house are mouthwateringly good. You can’t go wrong ordering Pescado Relleno, a 10-ounce trout wrapped in foil and stuffed with scallops, shrimp, octopus and cheese or Pescado Posteado, fried red snapper smothered in chipotle sauce.
Look for a bright blue beacon in the middle of the desert near this town and that’s the Pacific Grill. Step inside and you’ll think you were beamed to a South Sea is-land. The menu supports that feeling. The orange encrusted Mahi Mahi has an Asian flair that’s delightfully delicious. Fresh halibut is cooked three different ways: with lemon pepper, in a coconut lime sauce or smothered with red chile. This fun place is an unexpected road trip find.
Put on your boat shoes for a trip to this casual nautical restaurant. Fresh seafood is flown-in daily, which is why Pelican’s has been voted “Best Seafood in Albu-querque” for four years running. They do note on the menu that some fish is fresh-frozen at sea to maintain its freshness and flavor. In addition to an extensive selection of seafood that includes the catch-of-day specials, there’s surf ’n turf, king crab, scallops, lobster and jumbo shrimps. Plus, the bottomless salad bowl is awesome.