Pizzeria Espiritu's founding chef Tom Berkes formulated his pizza dough recipe around Santa Fe's unique altitude, tweaking each thin crust and thick crust pie to cook just right. In addition to specialty pies and calzones brimming with fresh toppings, Pizzeria Espiritu plates old world favorites including pastas drenched in cream sauce and oven-baked salmon. At lunchtime, sandwiches and individually sized pies make for more satisfying midday meals than anything you could find under your car seat.
Pranzo's kitchen staff tosses, sautes, and grills authentic Italian fare for lunch, dinner, and late-night meals, often amidst live performances by praised Broadway pianist David Geist. Pasta selections wrap around menus and include spaghetti con polpette di carne, whose meatballs are rolled from grass-fed, daisy-tickled beef and tucked in a marinara-mixed bed of the eponymous noodle ($12.95 for a half order; $18.95 for a full order). Mezzaluna con anatra ($21.95) stuffs house-made red-chili pasta with goat cheese and pine nuts before drizzling it with duck confit and a shallot-truffle cream. After basking under the sun of the roaster, the osso buco d'agnello—a house specialty starring lamb shank ($32.95)—takes a dip in a leisure pool of red-wine reduction with polenta floaties. Chefs also slide eight pizzas in and out of a bicycle-powered oven; pies range from the classic margherita ($12.95) to the mushroom-, artichoke-, and truffle-oil-strewn pizza con funghi ($14.95).
In the heart of the Railyard District, Junction harnesses fresh, local ingredients to populate an eclectic menu where Frito pie and baby back ribs are equally at home—making for "better food than any other sports bar in town," according to the Santa Fe Reporter. New Mexico grass-fed beef stampedes through gourmet burger toppings such as green chili, New Mexico cheddar, and jalapeño rajas. Bartenders garnish boutique liquors such as Hendrick's gin with orange-blossom water, maple cherries, and fresh juices and herbs, High ceilings angle above a bright, minimalistic interior set up for communal revelry and hung with nine flat-screen HDTVs, including a massive central 83-inch screen constantly endangered by passing basketball players trying to join the action.
The fare forgers at Aztec Cafe craft fresh international lunch dishes, Boar's Head sandwiches, and a variety of organic café drinks to sate stomachs and fuel conversation. Plate pilers stack doughy foundations with Boar's Head meats, cheeses, and fresh vegetables in a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, such as the italian turkey sandwich, with roasted red peppers, pesto, and provolone cheese, and the smoked turkey with muenster, which stacks green chile, thinly sliced red onions, sunflower sprouts, lettuce, mayonnaise, and mustard. Vegetarian options are also on hand to give meat and dairy the day off. Diners can moisten mouths and amp up energy levels without swallowing bottled lightning by sipping a variety of organic, fair-trade coffees and teas, a hand-crafted organic chai, or a fresh-fruit smoothie. Opt for a cone of organic ice cream ($3.75), available in flavors such as espresso and mint chip.