Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Best Restaurants Featuring Authentic Cuisine in Chimayo, NM

Chimayó has got to be one of the most authentically unique communities in the USA. What other town can boast its own heirloom chile pepper, its own healing sanctuary that’s been designated a National Historical Landmark, and its own craft traditions of weaving, tin-smithing, and woodcarving? It comes as no surprise that Chimayó also has some of the most authentic New Mexican restaurants in the country. Here are just a few of the most popular.

Rancho de Chimayó
For the past 50 years the Rancho de Chimayó has been delighting its customers with dishes that are locally sourced and inspired. Owner and manager Florence Jaramillo has garnered a number of prestigious awards for excellence, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Restaurant Association. Rancho de Chimayó is open for lunch and dinner, and offers vegetarian options along with a wine list of local favorites. To start out, try the fried stuff jalapeño peppers, followed perhaps by the colorful blue corn enchiladas with a prickly pear margarita.

Leona’s Restaurante de Chimayó
Devout visitors flock to the Holy Shrine of Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas; it’s one of the holiest places in the USA. Next to the shrine is a huge catalpa tree the trunk of which grows literally through Leona’s Restaurante. The place may be small, but it makes up for size with its extraordinarily delicious and refreshing cuisine. Leona’s is particularly known for its authentic tamales, but there are plenty of other selections too: frito pies, burritos and other snacks, and deliciously fresh baked goods. Leona’s Restaurante is perfectly located for refreshing tired visitors to El Santuario, but well deserves a visit in its own right. It’s open Thursday through Monday, from ten to five.

El Paragua
To reach El Paragua, you’ll need to drive about 9 miles toward Espanola, just west from Chimayó. But the trip is definitely worth it. El Paragua has been serving authentic New Mexican cuisine since 1966. Given rave reviews in magazines such as Gourmet, owners Luis and Frances Atnecio have created a leisurely but elegant ambience that provides the perfect setting for their excellent cuisine. There are lunch and dinner menus, with vegetarian options on each. Start out your dinner with carnitas, sirloins cubes with salsa, followed by Camarones Borrachos (“drunk shrimp”), shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico fried in a beer batter. The dessert menu is extraordinary: the homemade Mexican flan will top off any meal in excellent fashion. El Paragua’s dinner menu also features a huge selection of items for children, so bring the whole family to try their authentic and delicious cuisine.

This post is a guest contribution from Casa Escondida Bed & Breakfast, an inn in Chimayo, NM.

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