Traditional recipes

A Foodie's Delight: Eating Your Way Through the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta

A Foodie's Delight: Eating Your Way Through the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta

Santa Fe, New Mexico is the oldest capital in the US, its a place where the earth and sky defy description, it has an abode of never-ending adobe architecture, and is a wonderful culinary destination. All of these descriptors and more define this 400-year-old, yet still totally hip, town of Santa Fe.

Located 7,000 feet above sea level, Santa Fe is surrounded by majestic mountains and the Rio Grande River. Santa Fe stops and steals hearts with its breathtaking beauty. Look up, down, sideways, in and out and you’ll find wonders in every direction marinated in charm and character. There is always a reason to be in this city, but one that calls to epicureans is the annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. This four day gathering of gourmet glitterati which took place from September 24-28 this year celebrates fine food and wine through a series of events sure to tempt any foodie.

Photo Courtesy of Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta

The opening auction luncheon of the fiesta honors the 25th anniversary of New Mexico’s own Gruet Champagne. Each course—prepared by five culinary celebs—sets the stage for lively bidding on irresistible lifestyle experiences with the proceeds going to local charities. In addition the event features wine seminars, cooking demos, a bicycle ride and Sunday brunch which rounds out the roster of activities interspersed between celebrity chef luncheons and vintner-hosted, wine-paired dinners offered by the town’s most coveted restaurants.

The Fiesta’s Grand Tasting, held at the iconic Santa Fe Opera House, is the tour de force of the weekend. In a walk-around format, 100 world class wineries and 80 renowned Santa Fe restaurants all aim to outdo each other to capture the hearts and stomachs of hungry enthusiasts. Three thousand attendees have been coming for over a quarter of a century.

Photo Courtesy of Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta

Come for the Fiesta but stay for the endless activities that make this town a connoisseur’s delight. The Santa Fe School of Cooking offers both demonstration and hands-on classes, which cover many aspects of Native American and Southwest cuisine. Their philosophy is to combine rich traditions and indigenous ingredients with seasonally available products to maximize the nutrition and flavor of well-honed recipes.

In the hands-on class named Taco Making, participants at the Santa Fe School of Cooking were divided into groups of four and worked on various components of the menu so that the meal in total was prepared by students with the guidance of the class instructors. While the meal was being devoured, the chef/instructor reviewed the finer points of each recipe so that you could leave with a thorough understanding of how to prepare each item. In the demonstration class Contemporary Southwest, the instructors prepared recipes and added their stories, wisdom and “tricks of the trade,” while participants took notes, asked questions and waited for the moment when the meal was served to experience the fruits of their labor.

Photo Credit: Michael Reiss

Whether you are an enthusiastic novice or experienced cook, a class at The Santa Fe School of Cooking will enhance your cultural, as well as culinary acumen. One of the things you can experience while there as well is a Great Southwest Adventure to the Pueblos and Taos for an in depth understanding of the history, geography, and cultures that have shaped this area. Our guide, Bruce, was an enthusiastic fount of knowledge and appreciation of the area. From Georgia O’Keefe’s much-painted skyline—pierced by volcanic mountain peaks—to the Rio Grande and from the sacred pilgrimage town of Chimayo to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Pueblo of Taos, this day-long excursion will enlighten and enhance your appreciation of the terrain and its people.

During the fest, we participated in a Food Tour New Mexico walking excursion of five top food spots in a town of hundreds of great restaurants. What a way to sample some of Santa Fe’s finest fares and get tons of great local and historical info thrown in for good measure. You can do the tour daily and will get a new five restaurants to savor. Throw in a New Mexican Wine Tour as well to really discover the wonders of the oldest vineyards in the United States!

Photo Credit: Michael Reiss

When not dining at the fiesta, one of the restaurants to explore is La Plazuela at La Fonda Hotel. Located in the oldest hotel on the Plaza, the ambience is quintessential old Santa Fe. The food is modern with hints of the old Southwest. The tortilla soup is deservedly legendary, the deconstructed heirloom tomato salad is delectable, and the Northern New Mexico Filet and Enchiladas with green and red salsa are worth ordering. Wine pairings include local Gruet Sparkling and Gruet Pinot Noir, as well as luscious California zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon.

Photo Credit: Michael Reiss

If you want a restaurant a bit more exotic, try L’Olivier, a French restaurant with Southwest influences. The ambience at L’Olivier is cozy, the reception warm, and the food and wine brings you right back to France. The Foie Gras Torchon, Duck Confit Salad, and the escargot are purely French.

Any way you choose to do your Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, you’ll have no shortage of delectable selections to fill your foodie cravings. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s event, you won’t want to miss it.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Best Restaurants in Santa Fe | The Artistry of Restaurant Martín

In a city renowned for award-winning cuisine, Restaurant Martín stands out, celebrated for its progressive American cuisine and its incredibly creative chef, Martín Rios.

The only chef in New Mexico to earn the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence and a multiple James Beard award nominee who’s been named Chef of the Year twice by the state of New Mexico, Rios is famous for innovative dishes spotlighting local, seasonal produce and organic meat and poultry. Just one bite of his Heritage Duroc Pork Ribeye with Sweet Potato-Mustard Dumplings, Prune-Sunflower See Chutney, Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, and Shallot-Bourbon Reduction or Pan-Seared Salmon with Warm Blue Lump Crab Salad, Cauliflower and Jasmine Rice, Daikon Radish Ribbons and Mizuna and Tangy Citrus Broth and it’s obvious—there’s magic at work in this kitchen.

Restaurant Martín opened in 2009, a labor of love for Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who transformed a vacant historic adobe near downtown into a stylish yet comfortable and inviting eatery, with three interior dining rooms, a covered patio, and an annex, enclosed in winter months and open into the courtyard during summer. Inside, contemporary art hangs on the walls, a perfect tribute to the artistry of the chef and his staff. Outside, when in season, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens provide fresh ingredients and garnishes for the food. With Jennifer as the general manager and Rios in kitchen, often stepping in to work the line, Restaurant Martín has become one of Santa Fe’s most beloved restaurants.

Rios has a long and storied history as a chef in Santa Fe. He moved here in 1979, at age 15, with his family from Guadalajara, Mexico, where he grew up as one of eight children in a working-class family. As a kid, he loved playing with food, whether he was rolling out tortillas or helping his grandparents, and later his mother, make and sell traditional flautas, pozole, menudo and handmade candy at the daily market. In high school, he started washing dishes at the Sheraton Hotel, where his brother was a line cook. Soon he was helping to prep in the kitchen and within a year, he dropped out of high school and became sous chef. He worked closely with the executive chef, who gave Rios a copy of Auguste Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire, which became a touchstone for him, providing inspiration for recipes and techniques.

When Rios’ mentor left the Sheraton, the kitchen went downhill, so Rios got a job at the new, upscale Eldorado Hotel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive chef at just age 28. Here, he met his future wife, who was finishing an apprenticeship at the Eldorado while earning her MBA at Georgetown University. She spent two weeks in the kitchen to learn about the hotel food and beverage management and they had their first date over a meal of green chile enchiladas.

The rest is history. To fulfill his dream of becoming a major chef, Rios went off to the country’s top culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and then to apprenticeships at top restaurants—David Burke’s Park Avenue Café in New York and the legendary three-star Georges Blanc, in the village of Vonnas in eastern France. When the couple returned to Santa Fe, they had a baby on the way and a job secured for Rios at The Old House in the Eldorado Hotel. In the near-decade the chef spent there, The Old House was named the best place to eat in New Mexico by Zagat and the Rios’ two daughters were born, Emma and Anneliese.

Rios went on seeking new challenges, as executive chef at the Inn of the Anasazi and Geronimo. But the desire to have a place of their own was strong. When they found the property at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Galisteo Street, they knew it was the perfect spot. They made the purchase in March of 2009 and after intense months of major renovations, opened just in time for their Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta wine dinner in 2009.

Since then, Restaurant Martín has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News, and Rios is featured regularly in Saveur and Bon Appetit. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in the U.S. and Rios has been nominated multiple times for a James Beard Best Chef Southwest award. He was a guest chef at the James Beard Awards Gala in 2011 and has appeared on two popular Food Network shows, “Iron Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”

A few years ago, the Rios collaborated with James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison to create a gorgeous cookbook, The Restaurant Martín Cookbook: Sophisticated Home Cooking from the Celebrated Santa Fe Restaurant, published in 2015. The book provides a fascinating window into Rios’ techniques and philosophy about food.

“My culinary goal has remained the same for almost my entire career,” writes Rios in the book’s introduction. “From my earliest days as a line cook, I’ve wanted to prepare and serve the most delicious and intriguing dishes appropriate to the setting and clientele. What has changed over time are the last two factors, the worldliness of restaurants where I’ve cooked and the sophistication of their customers. The two together have inspired a major evolution of my cooking, multiplying dimensions of tastes and textures, even though the vision remains the same.”

Restaurant Martín’s cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classic French technique. “I’m solidly grounded in French fundamentals, but I use a global array of seasonings, spices, and ingredients,” he writes in the cookbook. “I’m in awe, for instance, of classic French-style reduction sauces, but not so in awe that I can’t add my own twists to the pot, such as star anise, cinnamon, a sprinkle of ancho chile, or maybe a local Nut Brown Ale.”

Although Restaurant Martín is one of Santa Fe’s very best restaurants, it’s a neighborhood spot, popular with locals who visit regularly for the incredible food and the relaxed ambiance. And though Rios is one of the city’s most decorated chefs, he’s humble about his success, down to earth and quick to credit the restaurant staff—team players who have become family to the chef and his wife.

The couple is rooted in the community, with Rios volunteering at Cooking with Kids and Jennifer serving as president of The Horse Shelter, a sanctuary for the state’s abandoned and abused horses founded by her mother, Jan Bandler, in 2000. It’s impressive how the couple has handled fame, raising a family and running a demanding business. Unlike many other top restaurants, Restaurant Martín serves lunch and dinner as well as Sunday brunch, offering Bananas Foster Brioche French Toast, Maple Leaf Farm Duck Leg Confit Hash, and other delectable dishes. And every meal is delicious.

We’re lucky to have the Rios family and Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe and now that spring is here, it won’t be long before the garden is blooming and the patio filled with happy diners, enjoying the artistry of Rios and his wife.


Watch the video: A GRAPE TRADITION:: Crown Expeditions Romantic Chilean Wine Adventure (November 2021).