Chef Fernando Olea, a mainstay in the Santa Fe dining scene, suggested some of his favorite spots to spend time in town.

Fireplace and Cow Skull at Inn at Loretto
Inn at Loretto. Photo courtesy of Heritage Hotels & Resorts.
Chef Fernando Olea
Chef Fernando Olea
Photo by Anton Brkić

Sunset’s Insider Guide series highlights seasonal diversions and secret travel tips from local experts. Follow along as we learn where to eat, drink, stay, and shop.

Meet the insider: Fernando Olea, chef at Sazón

Chef Fernando Olea is a mainstay in the Santa Fe dining scene. He’s been serving up a highly curated menu of Mexican dishes since 1991, including a wide variety of specially made moles. On the heels of a 2022 James Beard award for Best Chef: Southwest, we asked Olea for his favorite spots to spend time in town.


Restaurant Martin in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Restaurant Martín

Gabriella Marks Photography

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For casual fare, head to Tomasita’s for “classic Northern New Mexican cuisine,” including “the best frozen margaritas and swirls” (or a margarita with sangria). Keep the party going at Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, where you’ll find 150 different margaritas. More formal options abound at Geronimo Restaurant, a landmark with “elegant decor and romantic ambiance.” Stop by Restaurant Martín to experience James Beard nominated chef Martin Rios’ “progressive American cuisine.”


Georgia O’Keefe Museum

Courtesy of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum

Purchase tickets ahead of time to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Other worthy stops are the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and Museum of International Folk Art.


The Inn of the Five Graces hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Inn of the Five Graces

David Marlow

The Inn of The Five Graces is “a beautiful boutique hotel” just blocks from the plaza where each room is “uniquely decorated.” The newly remodeled Inn and Spa at Loretto hotel is “located next to the historical Loretto Chapel, and the staff offers “great personal attention to guests. La Fonda on the Plaza is among the oldest hotels in America and the “only hotel on the plaza.”


Rocki Gorman Gallery
Rocki Gorman Gallery

Rob Lang Photography

There are more than 100 art galleries at Canyon Road, or stop by The Palace of the Governors and its portal on the plaza for “authentic Native American jewelry.” Nearby, you can find jewelry at Eternity, Bella, and Rocki Gorman Gallery. If Western wear is more your speed, head to Maverick’s.

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