I was Born In Santa Rita NM my Mother Sofia taught me how to cook Tamales, Mole, Enchiladas. Menudo, Posole. I could go on and on and yes Her Sopaipillas Mmmmmmmmmmm! i am hoping to open soon. i will keep eveyone posted. I was In Santa Fe Cafe years ago and I enjoyed what i had.
Pros: Real New Mexico Hatch Chile Grn/Red and Mi Madres Cooking!
Cons: You have to drive to Everett, Wa.
I love the neighborhood feel, the friendliness of the staff, the good margueritas AND the great food. We love to have family gatherings here as well as evenings for just the two of us.
Pros: Just so comfortable
Cons: Parking sometimes a problem
Yo Drew (owner)! What's the deal? My girlfriend and I have been loyal customers for years now and love your curry mussels but our repeated presence is equally due to your bartender extrodinaire (Chris). I've noticed a lot of turnover lately with the staff and am wondering what the deal is?
Pros: Bartendender with mussels!
Cons: Uh...no more bartender?
Santa Fe Cafe is the closest you are going to get to Northern New Mexican cuisine in Seattle. It reminds me of more of a gourmet santa fe style, and not mom and pop style. They use real New Mexico Chile in their sauce. I believe they order the Fresh Frozen stuff from Bueno Chile out of Hatch NM . The red enchiladas and green baked chicken enchilada are supreme. Me sure to get an egg on top of the red ones. They do need to invest in a fryer and stop serving tostitos for their chips. I was also upset that they dont do sopillas. They say it is because of elevation and moisture in the NW, but I have made them here and if this gringo can do it they can too. I think they just dont want to get a fryer. The food is great and so is the wait staff. If you are expecting what you get in the southern area of New Mexico that has been influenced by Texas you will be a little disappointed. Overall Santa Fe Cafe keeps this New Mexican from being completely home sick for New Mexican Cuisine.
Pros: great New Mexican Food
Cons: parking, and little pricy
It's so funny to me (and sad) how close minded people in SEATTLE are! Seriously! First off, it's NOT Mexican food- no where does it claim to be Mexican food. It is NEW MEXICAN food. There is a difference, people. Do your homework. If you go to New Mexico you will find the same sort of fare that makes the state so famous for it's cuisine. To the people who were complaining about the spice of the food- that's what makes it so unique! The chilis! Again, it is NOT your run of the mill, we cater to Americans who can't take the heat, Mexican restaurant. Also, for the people who were complaining that the green chilis were not from Hatch...keep in mind that you can't even get fresh green chilis from Hatch in New Mexico this time of year, therefor they are most likely canned but are still HATCH green chilis. I have been to many New Mexican restaurants, and am married to a New Mexican, and this restaurant is very authentic, The drinks, food, atmosphere, and service are excellent. If you're open mided, like chilis, and realize that this is not a mexican restaurant but an authentic new mexican restaurant...you will be in for a treat! Delicious!
My date and I ordered the "to die for" guacamole and the clams in red chile as appetizers, the latter being the highlight of our experience. We were able to save the absolutely unimpressive and bland guacamole by mixing in some of the salsa provided. The apparently store bought tortilla chips provided with the dish were also a huge disappointment. For our entree my date ordered the enchiladas in red chili and I the green chili burrito . When our meals were served I could tell immediately that there was absolutely no time or care given to the presentation of the dishes. My date's meal appeared to have been left in the oven a little too long giving it the overall appearance of having been burned. The sauce had a congealed appearance and the side dishes were dry and unappealing. My entree wasn't any better...... the side dishes appeared to be of the same quality as my dates and this high priced burrito contained a couple of ounces of beef at best and was stuffed the rest of the way with tomatoes!! The chilie verde appeared to have been prepared by chopping up some green chilies and throwing them on the plate, additionally there apparently was no care given to actually peeling the chilies, I ended up with a small mountain of chili skins on the side of my plate. Overall it was as bland and unappealing. I suspect that this is where my rant begins!! Both my date and I are from the Southwest and had been looking forward to dining here all week. There green chili is champion and the Hatch is the champagne of chilies. When I lived there I would buy, roast, PEEL and freeze a couple of bushels of Hatch chilies each Fall. I can only make guesses as to what went wrong here, the chilies used were driven within 100 miles of Hatch, NM, therefore branded as real Hatch, the cook went to four corners as a child and placed a foot in NM's corner therefore their NM experience, they used a cookbook on NM written by Grahm Kerr...It was horrid, most of our food was left on the plate, DON'TGO
Pros: Good appetizer, good flour tortillas.
Cons: Everything else, certainly not NM cuisine!!! Not even close
I've been going here for 10 years, and I have to recommend it - it is a fave spot for the things they do best.
It is NOT baked-on-a-plate Mexican! Have the house salad - the butter lettuce is always fresh and the roquefort tarragon dressing is divine. The Mussels are always awesome when they are in season (most months) - try the Thai curry version. The Queso dip + an awesome Margarita is the main reason I keep coming back. When I want a heavy, comfort-food item, I always go for the chicken enchiladas. Yes - there is a lot of spice. Delicioso! I would not order the "standard" Mexican items, b/c nothing here is standard. BTW - Wed. is the night for discount margys...(Also - it's NOT overpriced. If you want cheap baked-on-a -plate Mexican with no spice, then go to Azteca or Jalisco's or Mama's.)
This is my favorite restaurant in Phinney Ridge and one of the more interesting "ethnic" restaurants in this part of Seattle.
To those who see all the reviews comparing it unfavorably to other Mexican restaurants, please be aware that this is New Mexican cuisine, not Mexican. If you go expecting Mexican it won't be what you expect and you may be disappointed.
Some of the dishes are fairly hot. If you're sensitive to heat, ask first. Not sure why some people give negative reviews for that though. It's supposed to be hot!
Prices aren't cheap, but I always find the food to be well crafted and carefully prepared. Definitely worth it in my mind. Service can be spotty at times.
Overall, I thouroughly enjoy this restaurant.
Pros: Great food
Cons: Spotty service
In a city awash with mediocre Tex Mex restaurants, The Santa Fe has always stood alone with reasonably authentic New Mexican cuisine. For the unititated, New Mexican cuisine means hot, hot, hot! Hot means hatch or habanero chilies in abundance. Sadly, the Santa Fe now uses chilies much milder and their salsa is as bland as what you would get in a Tex Mex chain. Their decision to back off on the heat impacts every dish they make. My family has enjoyed the The Santa Fe for many years, but I doubt we will return any time soon. Instead, we will enjoy true New Mexican fare in the Southwest.
Pros: Nice atmosphere
Cons: Tame chilies
One of the best margarita i have had in a long while!!! I had not been at the Santa Fe Cafe in years and although the place was packed that night, the service was prompt and very courteous. Louis, the bartender on duty, made sure that my husband and I were taken care of from the time we got in -we were, by the way, early but they let us in anyway. Our meals were tasty and fresh.
This nice little neighborhood restaurant was very enjoyable that night and we certainly will be back.
Pros: Margaritas, service, food
Cons: None that night
I've been going to the Santa Fe Cafe since I was in utero. I sampled my first quesadilla at the old Ravenna location, and love the Chili con Queso since I could eat solid foods.
Granted, I may be slightly impartial, considering that this fabulous restaurant has been a family favorite for going on 26 years .The Santa Fe Cafe is one of the best restaurants in Seattle.
If you're expecting standard Mexican or Tex-Mex food, this isn't the place for you. If you enjoy innovative cooking with unique ingredients and can dine with an open mind, you must try this place. If not, stay away - you're taking my table!
One more thing - the mocha cake is one of the best desserts in Seattle. If you're there, it is a must-try.
PLEASE someone at City Search change the rating...read the reviews and go there...it is a JOKE.
My girlfriend and I went last night, we live 2 blocks away and the only reason I have never been is that ever time I walk/drive by it is empty...now we know why.
We showed up around 8:30pm last night (7/11/06). The place was empty, we were seated and a few mins later we were brought water.
It was 6-7 mins before the waitress even came over for a drink order, and that was from my "louder than whisper" comment wondering why we had not been asked about drinks.
We ordered two margaritas; they were OK...although it took 7 mins to receive the drinks.
We then ordered chip and salsa...it took at least 10 min to get the chips...10 mins to put some chips on a plate and salsa in a bowl. We ate one chip and sent them back...they tasted like they were from a bag and the salsa was from a can...turns out that the chips are in fact from a bag and although the salsa is 'homemade" it was runny and bland.
We ordered dinner...I ordered a Chile Relleno Tart...it was outstanding...but $15.50 for a glorified Quiche...with a small salad and some bad Tortilla Soup...my girlfriend had some sort of burrito...BLAND and the meat was dry, I have had better burritos from 7-11.
OK, now about the service....there were 5 tables of customers, so maybe 12 people eating and 4 waitresses and a bartender...Our waitress was the SLOWEST waitress I have EVER had...slow and no personality...we both waited tables when we were younger and we eat out at least 3-4 night a week.
It was a bad experience all around....The total before tip was $55.00...a complete waste of money...PLEASE DO NOT GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My boyfriend and I recently ate at Santa Fe Cafe - he used to LOVE it and was excited to come back. Now - not so much. It was a Saturday evening, but it was not packed at all - we were seated promptly. At no point were we offered an explanation as to the delay.
The food was also disappointing - while I agreed that I was fine with "Spicy", I didn't realize that it would be "hot beyond belief". And I'm no whimp - I grew up in the New Mexico area. I can handle "heat". But there's a point where you stop tasting the food and all you taste is the heat. I see a lot of reviews reminding people that this is NEW MEXICAN cuisine, but maybe they mean NEW New Mexican cuisine - because I don't know anyone in New Mexico who cooks like this.
Pros: atmosphere, potential
Cons: service, taste
Why does this restaurant have an 8.9 rating, when most of the reviews are of disappointment?? seriously - read ALL of them before you waste your money on this place. I recently visited the Santa Fe, hoping that my memory of the not so good food from the 1st time I went, 7 years ago, was wrong. The food (veggie enchiladas) was completely void of any flavor, and totally lacking in ANY vegetables (cheese is NOT a vegetable!!). Please trust all the reviews about plates of bland sauce mixed with gobs of cheesy goo. When my waitress asked how my meal was, I told her it was disappointing. Instead of asking why? she said "oh, that's unusual - we never hear that" and walked away. I would have been nice to see that she actually cared a inch about customer satisfaction. Go somewhere else to satisfy your cravings.
Cons: bad food, poor service, over priced
The Santa Fe Cafe has been one of my favorites for years. Everything I have had there, from the bean soup, salads, appetizers, and my personal favorite, the vegie tamales, has always been a cut above. If you have taste buds, you can actually taste the different ingredients in the food- the dishes are not cheesey globs of tortilla and indistinguishable meat products, like so many other, Southwest/Tex-Mex restaurants. I always leave satisfied with the service and quality of the food. It is certainly fairly priced, and has remained in my top 3 restaurants for many years.
Pros: Qualtiy of food, service, margaritas
Cons: Too far from my house
Santa Fe is NOT Mexican food!! It's New Mexico Food aka from New Mexico (the state)..Southwest American Food!
The restuarant is small and intimate to some degree, the staff are friendly and prompt.. the food -- is delicious!! If you like large portions and good spirits.. but I must admit to one thing.. we always order the same item.. My son orders the Chicken Enchilada and I always order their Santa Fe Plate..
Hmm.. But I love their Santa Fe Plate.. with Tortillas too..
So let me adjust my rating.. and I might be looking for a new favorite restuarant too..
Pros: food, spicy, not crowded
I just got done eating at Santa Fe Cafe wit my sister, and was very disapointed at the whole experience. We ordered chips and salsa for $4, which didnt come out until the meal. When the server brought them she said, " oops I forgot". The chips came out of the bag and we guessed that they were tostitos,or some other brand from the store. The food was horrible, and extremely over priced. I was surprised to learn they had been open for so long. Did I mention they are way over priced!!!! I ordered the tamales, For $15, which was more like a bad cassarole. To top it off the service was bad. The only part we enjoyed was making jokes about the whole experience, and the andes mints we recieved at the end of the meal. restaurants like this dont desearve to stay open.
Cons: food, service, price
I've been going to the Santa Fe for about 20 years (when they used to have a location in Ravenna). It is not Mexican food; it is NEW Mexican food, so it's different. I cannot get away from ordering the chicken enchiladas which I just love; before I discovered them, it was the Santa Fe Crepes. I gotta admit, I've tried some other dishes and they just don't appeal to my palate; doesn't mean they aren't good, but not my taste. The margaritas (we order them blended) are tasty. My husband lives for their guac. The cheese dip is good. They regularly have good unique desserts. The service has always been attentive, low-key/friendly. I love this little neighborhood place.
Pros: chicken enchiladas!, margaritas, guacamole
Cons: can't think of any
the food is just not good. my $14 dish was completely buried in red sauce and was way to pricey for below average food. they serve bread instead of tortilla chips...the food is so heavy, why would i want to add bread? so far i have had no great mexican food or sushi in seattle. bummer. the servers are very nice, though, but i would never go back.
Pros: great service, cozy ambience, friendly
Cons: bad food, way too expensive
I'm not a big fan of mexican food, but that doesn't matter because Santa Fe Cafe serves the Best NEW Mexican cuise outside of New Mexico, there's a huge difference. The red sauce is incredible, fresh flour tortillas so light and fluffy, home-made guacamole and if you're lucky enough to have some Sandia soup (usually made once/ year, usually after Christmas) you'll be in heaven. We've been going for years and the staff is always friendly and the food is always consistant. My husband, who grew up in New Mexico, says the red sauce is just like his grandmother used to make. Plus they have fresh Hatch green chili's (in season) and will put an egg on top of your burrito - for those who know authentic SW cooking. Save room for dessert, they're all great but Mocha Cake is my favorite.
Don't go here if you think you know what southwest food is. I relocated here from the southwest and New Mexican food was one of the hard things to leave behind. However, if I had to eat this stuff everday I would have moved away a long time ago.
"Real" New Mexican cooking? I can't drink enough to enjoy what they called tacos - a sloppy plate of red sauce with hominy and tomatoes on blue flour tortillas. (Blue flour?) With one beer it was 23 bucks. I'd rather save for a plane ticket.
I'm from Texas and have had great Mexican, Tex-Mex and Southwest cuisine. This food was none of the above. I got a vegetarian dish and for $15 all I got was a huge plate of red sauce. I couldn't find my taco and my veggie enchilada was just cheese. No veggies to be found! The margs were OK. The service was slow, but it was super crowded. Had my waitress not been so busy I would've complained. I felt like I threw $20 away. Not going back.
After reading the editorial review here I was excited to try out what sounded like a fantastic restaurant. Instead I was disappointed by mediocre food and high prices. The artichoke appetizer (apparently a bestseller) was okay, nothing spectacular. We ordered a Sante Fe plate (enchilada & taco) which was garlicky but otherwise bland. My mediocre dinner came with a soup & salad, both worse than quick & easy soups & salads I routinely whip up at home. The margaritas were okay -- but I still like El Camino's better. Next time I'll stay home and cook my own food -- that way I'll save myself $25/person and get better food.
Pros: decent margaritas
One of the best and most underrated neighborhood restaurants in Seattle. Go if you, unlike most folks in the great bland north, like spicy New Mexican food. If you're looking for Tex-Mex or SoCal Mex, forget it, this ain't it. This is creative, real, interesting food. Pork adobado and green chili beef burritos are the best.
Good (but pricey) margaritas. After a round of passable appetizers, our two entrees were so bitter -- from criminally over-roasted chiles in their sauces -- that they were truly inedible. In fact, it was so bad that we feigned a pressing engagement and went down the block (to Stumbling Goat) for dessert. Even if it was an off night, the food looked like such an unappetizing gloppy mess on the plates that I wouldnt bother returning.
Pros: Good appetizers, Good margaritas, Easy street parking
Cons: Terrible food
I was pleased to find a place offering true "New Mexican" cuisine. That being said, the I was a little disappointed. One word; SOPAIPILLA! I expect sopaipillas at a New Mexican restaurant. Where are the chips and salsa??? I expect to relax with my first margarita, chips and salsa, and sopaipillas. Then the main course is ordered, which arrives in time for margarita number two. The meal came so quickly I didn't have time for a second margarita. I was hoping to try the Lovely Rita, but was quite happy with the house blend. We had the carne avodavo (sp?), which was very spicy with it's hot red sauce. The spice was great, although the pork itself could have used more flavor. The wrap was the thickness of pita bread, which didn't seem right. Overall not bad, but where else can you go for NM cuisine in Seattle?
This restaurant deserves its own category. The best "southwestern" food is not Mexican. It's New Mexican. Eating at Coyote Cafe, or The Shed, or Tomasitas - it's unique to the area. The only Seattle equivalent are the fresh tastes found at Sante Fe Cafe.
Garlic custard & artichoke appetizers, the carne burrito and enchildas - that's all I've ever eaten here, so what? Each dish is a perfect gem. The big carne is served with an amazing pure chile sauce, the heat just on the edge, one of the best sauces I've ever eaten. The bright, rich creamy cheese sauce on the enchilada is also unique. The posole and bean side is well done, a fine compliment to the carne. Consistently excellent over many years of eating at both locations. Classy but casual, pure Seattle. This belongs classified as a southwest restaurant by the way.
Later edit: I'm very puzzled by some of the reviews. This restaurant has a house style to their dishes that apparently didn't fit within the confines of an expected cuisine to some. But I'm especially confused by the reference to the lack of substance to the burrito. My favorite carne is overstuffed with chunks of tender meat, almost more than I can eat, and I've already mentioned the chile sauce is exceptional, although I'll grant you it's two percent from being too hot (but not quite). I've taken many people here, and I've never heard a complaint. I don't think there's anything wrong with my tongue, and it's a happy camper here.
Pros: Sauces, appetizers, locations
This place does have very good Margaritas, but the food is nothing spectacular. Good, not great. The garlic bread and salad were very good, but the entree was average.