Native cuisine is New Mexico’s lifeblood. Most dishes that are labeled “New Mexican” carry on traditions that were practiced by the region’s First People, then shared with the Spanish and later arrivals.
Corn, beans, and squash—the Three Sisters—remain the mainstay of Native American cooking. Deer, rabbit, trout, and piñon supplemented those nutritious crops. Spanish settlers brought chile, along with sheep and cattle from Mexico, and they quickly became important staples in the Pueblo diet. The Spanish also introduced hornos—domed adobe ovens—for bread-baking.
These foods and agricultural techniques have defined New Mexican cuisine for centuries. At the heart of Indigenous cuisine is a deep respect for the land that provides the food and an appreciation for New Mexico’s First People.
Native fare continues to evolve, adding new ingredients to create tasty dishes and to expand its audience. The following restaurants offer a range of meals, from traditional plates enjoyed at family gatherings to fusion items that have put New Mexico on the world’s culinary map.