Albuquerque’s Best World Cuisine – The Paper.
Here in New Mexico we’re one of the few states lucky enough to have our own, unique category of food. People all over the world crave New Mexican food. We here in the Land of Enchantment are rightfully proud of our carne adovada burritos smothered in Christmas chile. And it’s sometimes hard to remember, with so many great New Mexican restaurants to choose from, that there are other cuisines out there. But when we’ve finally had our fill of red and green chile, we go looking for food from around the world. Albuquerque boasts some top-notch choices.
Frenchish, popular local chef Jennifer James’ most recent Nob Hill outlet, is currently closed until Oct. 11 while the owners are off on a well-deserved vacation in Europe. So you’ll have to wait until then to score a nice Salad Niçoise. Fortunately, our readers chose an alternate tie for Best French Restaurant. La Quiche Parisienne Bistro is a longtime favorite dating back to the early 2000s and currently buried inside the Mountain Run Shopping Center in Albuquerque’s Far Northeast Heights. Omelettes, quiches, mussels and tasty French sandwiches fill the menu. Stick with the classics (Quiche Lorraine, Croque Madame) and you can’t go wrong.
- Frenchish and La Quiche Parisienne Bistro
- Le Troquet
Nob Hill’s Fan Tang serves up simple, modern, pan-Asian dishes, and folks in Albuquerque dig it the most. Whether you have a hankering for noodles from Singapore, Mongolia, Sichuan, Vietnam, Canton or Hong Kong, Fan Tang is ready to toss them in a wok for you. Like crab wontons? Of course you do. Everybody likes crab wontons. Head over to Fan Tang and get yourself an order or two.
- Fan Tang
- Rose Garden
- Chen’s and Lucky Wok (tie)
The oldest Indian restaurant in Albuquerque has long been home to the city’s favorite all-you-can-eat buffet. COVID put the breaks on that roll. Since reopening in February of last year, Taj Majal has kept busy serving customers items from its massive menu. If you get lost somewhere between the murg ke pakore and the channa pindiwala, just keep in mind that you can’t go wrong with a perfectly cooked tandoori chicken and some garlic naan.
- Taj Majal Cuisine of India
- Tikka Spice Food Truck
- Curry Leaf
Located inside the elegant Hotel Andaluz, this buzzy wine-and-small-bite restaurant has been the perfect place to hang with friends (or a date) for a reassuringly long time. No need to decide on a full plate of food (although they have those, and they’re amazing). Just order a nice glass of wine and ponder the possibilities of tiny plates dolloped with honey bacon wrapped dates, Iberian black pig secreto, Sweet Mercy Farms sticky pork ribs, Hatch green chile duck breast, blistered shishito peppers, cod fish fritter “bacalaitos,” asparagus calabacitas. … We could go on. But we’ll spare you the hunger pangs.
- MÁS Taps y Vino
- VARA Winery and Distillery
More sophisticated than your average bahn mi shop, this classy eatery on Eubank features Vietnamese spring rolls, papaya salads and grilled pork sandwiches alongside other Asian delights like teriyaki chicken, green curry and pad thai. If you’re the sort of person who has a hard time making up their mind, good luck.
- Basil Leaf
- Viet Taste
- Coda Bakery
- Pho Linh
This longstanding Japanese steakhouse in Park Square offers up steaks, teppanyaki and sushi. Also, it’s a bar. They have it all, basically. It used to be two stand-alone buildings next door to one another, but the separate sushi bar closed down last year, yet another victim of COVID. Rest assured, though, you can still get your favorite nigiri and maki in Japanese Kitchen’s newly condensed sushi bar area.
- Japanese Kitchen
- Crazy Fish
- Shogun Japanese Restaurant and Far East Fuzion (tie)
This popular food-truck-turned-Nob-Hill-storefront has long been sought after for its addictive bibimbap. You can get it vegetarian, spicy or even “New Mexico”-style (with green chile, of course). But if you can manage to tear yourself away from the bowl for a meal, may we suggest the sriracha-filled kimchi fire balls and the savory Korean ribs (when they’re not sold out).
- Soo Bak Seoul Bowl
- Asian Pear
Everything chef Mark Quinones makes at MÁS Tapas sounds like a poem. A delicious poem that needs to be resting in your belly right now. Throw your eyes around his menu and you’ll be stopped by intriguing adjectives like blistered, blackened and Bolognese. Tell me you can resist dishes made of bone marrow, cooked in cast iron skillets or drenched in “New Mexico spiced duck fat.” The Hokkaido Japanese A-5 Wagyu New York Strip comes with “organic Native American blue corn sourdough toast?” Just give us one of everything, Mark!
- Marc Quinones at MÁS Tapas y Vino in Hotel Andaluz
- Jennifer James at Frenchish
- Shawn Cronin at M’Tucci’s and Marie Yniquez at Bocadillos (tie)
Best Middle Eastern
Albuquerque’s Middle Eastern restaurants tend to be unassuming strip mall affairs. Cafe Istanbul is no exception. The draw is not so much in the atmosphere, which combines ethnic restaurant with Mediterranean grocery store, but in the perfectly prepared food. Baklava, gyros, dolmas, hummus, falafel, taboouleh: all freshly prepared and served up quickly by enthusiastic owners. As a bonus, you can ask what somethings made of, and they’ll gladly point you toward the ingredients!
- Cafe Istanbul
- Sahara Middle Eastern Eatery
- Alquds Mediterranean Grill & Grocery
No big surprise here. M’Tucci’s continues to take over Albuquerque. M’Tucci’s Italian, M’Tucci’s Twenty-Five, M’Tucci’s Moderno and M’Tucci’s Bar Roma all feature slightly different menus inspired by different regions of Italy. Each one features its own special delights—covering all the favorites like spaghettini & meatballs, cacio e pepe, pork Bolonese and chicken Milanese. Also, word on the street is that their cocktails are the bomb.
- Mario’s and Trombino’s (tie)