A romantic dinner by a roaring fire is best enjoyed in a restaurant and not around the neighbor's emblazoned wicker man. Retain your amorous appetite with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Mediterranean fare at Lucia and cover for two at Casablanca (a $10 value per person on Fridays and Saturdays). Both establishments are located in the recently renovated Hotel Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque. A food purchase is required with this Groupon.
Lucia serves artfully assembled Mediterranean cuisine, accompanied by a wine list drawing from global grape sources. Let Lucia's well-palated wait staff suggest a glass of wine to go with your meal, such as the Argentinean Terra Buena chardonnay and its notes of ripe apple ($9), or the truffle-hinting Willa Kenzie pinot noir from Oregon ($15). The dinner menu commences with starters such as pan-roasted crimini mushrooms garnished on hard-crust bread ($9), with main courses such as the bear-baiting roasted salmon enhanced with lobster succotash ($24) or the double-cut pork chop, served with tamarind barbecue sauce, potatoes, bacon, onions, brussel sprouts, and a carnivorous swagger ($26). For dessert, you and Mr. Rogers can split the root-beer float for two while sharing stories of your respective pet cardigans ($8). Other dishes include pizzas, pastas, and salads.
Casablanca is Hotel Andaluz's new 2,400-square-foot entertainment venue. The space's high-tech acoustics, fiber-optic lighting, custom arches, and banquette seating provide an appropriate stage for reenacting the 2004 Oscars and hosting live entertainment, which rotates between jazz, blues, and salsa.
Lucia at the Andaluz Hotel received an excellent review from Ari LeVaux of the Weekly Alibi. OpenTable reviewers give the restaurant an average of 3.8 stars, and 82% of more than 115 Urbanspooners recommend it. Though the recently opened Casablanca venue has yet to receive many online reviews, nearly 140 TripAdvisors give the Hotel Andaluz a 4.5-owl-eye average.
- Then the highlight of the meal, if not my life, arrived. Before us was a plate of grilled oysters with smoked chile-chive-oil mojo (a kind of Caribbean mayo) and pancetta, nesting on a bed of pea greens. Grilling the oysters rendered them cooked on the bottom and raw on top, an intriguing contrast of textures. – Ari LeVaux, Weekly Alibi
- Lucia had great food with portions that were perfect and such great flavors and a mixture that was very pleasing and tasteful! We will be back for sure! – OpenTable reviewer who dined on 11/27/2010
Every day, the chefs at Lucia create a special vegetarian entree using local, regional ingredients. It’s their way of offering a healthful alternative to the heavier steak and seafood dishes on the main menu. It’s also an example of how the restaurant emphasizes environmentally friendly practices; in addition to using local and regional grown foods whenever possible, they serve purified water to reduce the use of plastic bottles and the mess of bringing your own handfuls of water from home. They also donate all unused food to the Roadrunner Food Bank or compost it into fertilizer for local gardening projects.
Lucia’s menus are updated each season with internationally-inspired dishes such as hazelnut dusted chilean bass with truffle mashed potatoes, pistachio crusted tofu steak, and grilled Atlantic salmon. The restaurant, which was crowned Best Downtown Restaurant 2012 by Weekly Alibi, also has a full bar, where you can order hand-mixed cocktails and 14 wines by the glass. Feel free to enjoy your meals and libations in the plush dining room or take them out to the pet-friendly outdoor patio.