UPDATE: La Salita moved from their original location (mentioned in this post) to 1950 Juan Tabo Blvd NE Suite H, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87112
Do you know what’s a crying shame? That I’ve never shared my absolute favorite restaurants with you guys. I say I love New Mexican food, but I’ve never written a proper post about what I think are the best places to eat in Albuquerque. Well, that’s about to change. I have a few weeks left out here, and I’m going to make it my mission to share my favorite Albuquerque restaurants. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it!
Photo of their original location:
I’m starting with La Salita Restaurant—a staple in our life for so many years I literally think my parents were eating here before I was born; it’s been around since 1965, so it’s totally possible.
La Salita is Spanish for “little room,” but at this New Mexican restaurant in the Northeast Heights it’s always a very full house. This tiny brick building is somewhat short on parking space (I believe there are places to park in the back), but once you nab a spot, you’re in luck. Also, don’t let the line out the door scare you, because the food and service is worth it; I promise.
They’re now in a more spacious location, but the only thing that changed about them was a change of address. Their new spot is still just as charming as ever…you can just gobble the food down faster since you don’t have to wait longer for a seat!
photo of their new location:
As with any Mexican-food restaurant in the state, you’re greeted with chips and salsa on your table. But at La Salita, they take things up a notch, because you get their homemade warm green chile salsa, and it’s seriously addicting. A word of warning: you’ll want to just keep eating them, and eating them, and eating them, but pace yourself, because then you won’t have room for your meal (and you really want to save room for that).
The La Salita menu is extensive, but it has all of the staples on there, and they’re more than happy to accommodate your dining desires. I always get the exact same thing no matter what New Mexican restaurant I go to: rolled cheese enchiladas with “Christmas” (red and green chile), and La Salita’s plate is one of my favorites.
This will probably sound strange to anyone who hasn’t experienced a meal out here, but the messier your plate is, the better it probably is. Chile in New Mexico is served smothered over your actual food (you can certainly ask for it on the side, so don’t be afraid to do so), so when I can’t even see my enchiladas, because of the chile, I know I’m in for a treat. The chile at La Salita, by the way, is flavorful without being overly spicy, so you can enjoy your food without needing to gulp down a glass of milk.
Oh, and the portions a La Salita are pretty substantial, which is one of my favorite things about the place, because then I get to eat their food again later. Leftovers rock.
My mom, my partner in crime when I ate at La Salita this time, got her “usual,” which was the Combo #3: a giant, overly stuffed sopaipilla smothered with green chile, and a beef taco on the side.
I asked her why she likes her meal and her eyes seriously lit up…and then she literally became speechless. I managed to get her to tell me that La Salita tacos are her favorite in the city, and that she loves biting into the crispy fried sopaipilla, and then tasting all the delicious flavors inside.
For what it’s worth, even though they weren’t here this time, this is what the rest of my family typically orders: my dad and brother get beef burritos (dad gets it with red chile on the side, and my bro gets it smothered with Christmas), my sister-in-law likes their enchiladas and taco salad, and my husband digs their carne adovada burrito smothered in Christmas. In other words, pour that chile on our food, and we’re happy campers. And if you’re looking for something else wonderful to eat, try their shredded beef (served on Wednesdays and Saturdays), because it’s so popular they typically run out before the night is over.
La Salita loves kids!
One of the coolest things about La Salita is how they cater to children. They have this thing called a “finger plate,” and it’s free for kids under 6 years old. FREE. And it’s awesome. One of the worst parts about eating out with toddlers is that you never know if they’re actually going to eat.
There’s nothing I hate more than paying $5 for a meal where my daughter doesn’t touch her food. Then of course, the time I don’t get her anything, she’s somehow starving.
The finger plate at La Salita nips that problem in the bud. It comes with cheese, whole pinto beans, rice, and tortilla strips. For free. (Did I mention that already? So amazing.)
Saving the best for last
Oh, and one more (delicious) thing about their food…
Their sopaipillas are basically perfect. They’re thick enough to hold their own if you stuff it, but still fluffy enough to maintain that classic cloud-like airiness. The best part about them, though, is that if you have kids (or maybe if you ask really, really, really nicely), they make them in fun shapes.
The one in this picture is of a road runner, which is the New Mexico state bird, but we’ve seen them do all sorts of shapes (hearts, Christmas trees, balloons, etc.) It’s the attention to detail that makes me love this place.
As far as Albuquerque restaurants go, this one is always at the top of my list for places I must eat at when I’m in town. If you’re in Albuquerque, I highly recommend you try it out—you won’t be sorry! If you’re looking for a little more about La Salita, check out this great video:
1950 Juan Tabo Blvd NE Suite H,
Albuquerque, NM 87112
Monday—Thursday; 11am to 8pm
Friday and Saturday; 11am to 9pm
Have you eaten at La Salita? Tell me about your favorite dish from there!
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