Five new restaurants make the scene —here are the reviews
By Will Hooper
The local restaurant scene has seen some changes recently, with a few new eateries we wanted to highlight here — including a Texas BBQ joint, an elegant prix fixe in Ojo, the next best thing to the old Taos Diner, a colorful coffee and breakfast bar and a Native-owned real-deal New Mexican restaurant. Bon Appetit!
For being so close to the barbeque capitol of the world (Texas), Taos has been relatively lacking in the smoked meat department in recent years. But worry no more — true Texas barbecue has made its way to Taos in the form of Blue Deer Barbeque, which features Texas-style smoke brisket, pork, ribs and more.
Don’t expect to order a regular barbecue sandwich, however. Blue Deer has brought a typical Texas barbeque menu to Northern New Mexico, with meats ordered by the pound, and sides — like coleslaw, potato salad and freshly made desserts — available upon request.
All the sauces are made in house (the blueberry BBQ sauce is one to try!) and owners Antonio and Megan Narro acknowledge their native heritage by serving the meat alongside fluffy, traditional Native fry bread.
Keeping in tradition with their home state of Texas, the food is done when it’s done, so make sure to get there early!
Blue Deer Barbeque 832 Paseo de Pueblo Sur, Taos 575-240-1567 taosfoodhall.com
For those up for a short drive to Rio Arriba County, NOSA Restaurant and Inn awaits visitors with an eclectic fine-dining menu — and a place to hang one’s hat. Chef Graham Dodds found himself in Ojo Caliente after leaving the Dallas restaurant scene, where he spent years in fine dining.
Settling for a more relaxed lifestyle, Dodds decided to open NOSA, which is a restaurant featuring locally sourced ingredients paired with a relaxing atmosphere and laid-back vibe (fireplaces serve as the televisions in the four rentable rooms).
If you plan to make the trip, also plan on making a reservation, as NOSA caters to a select number of guests during the three days per week they are open. NOSA is currently serving five-course prix fixe dinners on Fridays and Saturdays, lunch on Sundays and a daily breakfast for guests of the inn. All seatings require reservations.
NOSA Restaurant and Inn 49 Rancho de San Juan, Ojo Caliente 505-753-0881 nosanm.com
After the longtime and well-loved Taos Diner shut its doors in September 2022, many tourists and regulars wondered where they could find the Northern New Mexico breakfast staples they have come to know and love. Luckily for diners seeking a familiar and comforting meal akin to the former diner’s classics, they can now find similar menu items just a few miles north of the diner’s previous location.
Chef and owner Jaime Saenz, who worked for over 15 years running the kitchen of Taos Diner, has opened his own establishment just north of the Old Blinking Light, in the complex that houses Quail Ridge Taos. Patrons can find menu items like corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy, omelets smothered in green chile and more.
A testimonial from Matt B. on the restaurant’s website reads “This was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had anywhere. Scratch chicken fried steak, implausibly huge breakfast burritos, maybe the friendliest service I’ve had anywhere this year. I’d move to New Mexico just to make this a weekly stop.”
Golden Piñon 88 NM 150, El Prado 575-776-3202 golden-pinon.business.site
While there is no shortage of New Mexican restaurants in Taos, finding one that has authentic red and green chile (an often-heated debate) can be hard. But look no further than Sabor Real, which opened its doors to the public in November 2022.
Chef and owner Jose Real is no stranger to Northern New Mexican and Mexican cuisine. He operated Rita’s Mexican Food — which later became Toribio’s — before selling the business. Now, Rael finds himself back in the kitchen with his family by his side. The cozy streetside restaurant is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Sabor Real Restaurante 226 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos 575-758-4910
Taos Cafe Up Front
Locals and frequent visitors of Taos are likely familiar with Taos Pizza Out Back, a popular pizza and pasta restaurant that has served the community since 1990. As of November, however, customers can expect to get their pizza out back and their breakfast up front, with the addition of Taos Cafe Up Front, which serves coffee and breakfast in front of the eponymous pizza joint.
The streetside building has been through several iterations over the past decade and has finally found its place serving pastries and coffee to locals and tourists alike. Property Manager John Arnold said the idea had been in the works for some time, but that it finally came together in November 2022.
Taos Cafe Up Front is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Taos Cafe Up Front 714 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos 575-758-7023