Insider Guide: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chef Fernando Olea, a mainstay in the Santa Fe dining scene, suggested some of his favorite spots to spend time in town.
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.
WHERE TO EAT:
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.”
WHAT TO DO:
WHERE TO STAY:
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.”
WHERE TO SHOP:
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.