Farther Afield

El Farolito Restaurant is both simple and sublime

By Michael Tashji

If your travels take you west to Ojo Caliente or Abiquiu, you might pass through the village of El Rito — on NM 554 about an hour’s drive from Taos. The unincorporated community, originally name El Rito Colorado (after the creek that runs through town), is home to art galleries, a historic church and a campus of Northern New Mexico College.

At its center is El Farolito Restaurant, a tiny roadside joint with an outsized reputation for outstanding New Mexican food. The family-run restaurant offers chile rellenos, tacos, enchiladas and other crowd-pleasers.

The dining room (which also serves as an ad-hoc pantry) sports a few picnic tables for family-style dining — it’s walls adorned with awards and trophies from green and red chile competitions won over the years.  

The restaurant is now run by sister and brother Christina Sanchez and Dominic Trujillo. The two took over the operation from their parents, Carmen and Dennis Trujillo, who started the business 40 years ago.


“My brother started working here when he was a teenager — helping in the back,” said Sanchez. “My mom would be right here where I’m standing, gossiping with everybody. People would be going into the kitchen to talk to my dad.”

Today, it remains a destination for locals and tourists to enjoy authentic New Mexican cuisine. As the saying goes — go west — to El Rito. 

El Farolito Restaurant
1212 Main St, El Rito