Jonathan Sims is a media producer and former appointed official at the Pueblo of Acoma. He covers news and writes a column on Indigenous People's issues for The Paper.

You can tell a lot about an area by its food and New Mexican food is unlike anywhere else in the world. It isn’t old-style Mexican, it isn’t Texas, California or Arizona. New Mexican food takes from the cultural influences of our lands and places them on your plate smothered in love and chile. We don’t play games. We are dead serious about our food and our chile. So for these places to be named is a testament to their cuisine. If you want that heat, NM and these establishments will bring it.

BEST NEW MEXICAN FOOD

This is like asking ABQ which kid it likes better. We all know there is one favorite. This year that favorite child of NM food in the city is Duran’s Central Pharmacy. This is possibly the hardest list to top in this town. So many great establishments. But Duran’s red chile, homemade tortillas and small-town feel make this place one of the best in town – that is, if you can find a seat! Huevos Rancheros here are killer and so are the tamales. If you’re feeling “all crazy” (Burqueno speak) and want something different, go with the Frito pie.

  1. Duran’s Central Pharmacy
  2. Sadie’s of New Mexico
  3. Casa de Benavides

BEST ENCHILADAS

Stacked or rolled, your gonna have to be rolled out of the place after eating the generous plate you are served at Sadie’s. The longtime local favorite in many categories serves up the best enchiladas in town according to our readers. And this town grew up on enchiladas, so it must be good! Chicken and green, red and beef, cheese or carne adovada, the combinations are endless. Sadie’s has multiple locations in the city, so go and get your Enchilada fix!

  1. Sadie’s of New Mexico
  2. Los Cuates
  3. El Patio De Albuquerque and Duran’s Station (tie)

BEST CHILE

Red or Green? This NM birthright is officially what sets us apart from all others. Often imitated but never duplicated, Sadie’s restaurant’s kitchen is whom readers said served up the best chile. Their salsa ships worldwide and ordering xmas style (red and green) is how the pros do it. Sadie’s is the first stop for many a visitor wanting that authentic NM taste. Big tables and big appetites can be found here. Never a disappointment. 

  1. Sadie’s of New Mexico
  2. Duran Station’s
  3. Mary & Tito’s Cafe
  4. Garcia’s Kitchen

BEST BREAKFAST BURRITOS

A way of life around these parts, the breakfast burrito takes many forms and Golden Pride has a version for everyone. I almost always go #8, the egg, bacon, green chile, and cheese. The tortillas here make the burrito and you can even buy them by the dozen. These guys are always busy in the early morning, so get in line quickly. You will not be disappointed. Even the pickiest of eaters (5-year-olds) will devour these burritos.

  1. Golden Pride Bar B-Q Chicken and Ribs
  2. Stripes
  3. Blake’s Lotaburger

BEST TACOS

How can you re-imagine the taco? Well, Tako Ten did just that and continues to wow its customers. You have the usual suspects, the el pastor, the ground beef and even the fish. But these guys come out of left field with a sweet potato taco, fried chicken taco and the life-changing battered avocado vegetarian Tako. If you have had every taco in town, it is now time to try Tako Ten!

  1. Tako Ten
  2. El Paisa Taqueria
  3. El Cotorro and El Patio De Albuquerque (tie)

BEST GREEN CHILE CHEESEBURGER

This may be the most continuous award here next to chile. There are quite a few titles out there, but this is one for ABQ’s bragging rights. If you’re new to NM, know that TV news literally covers this as subject matter here. Laguna Burger wins The Paper.’s readers’ poll this year. This monster hand-formed-an-smashed patty is loaded with fresh, hot green chile and topped with a slice of cheese. Manna of the gods, add the hand-cut fries and make it a meal! There is a spot in town and now about 15 min. west at Rte. 66 Casino, but the originals will always be at the Pueblo of Laguna’s gas station in Rio Puerco and further west at the Pueblo of Laguna itself. Winner of this category on a state level before, these burgers are legit. Ask Benicio Del Toro if you need convincing! Google it.

  1. Laguna Burger
  2. Blake’s Lotaburger
  3. Monte Carlo Liquors & Steak House