As Pasatiempo wrote in its recent feature “Welcome to Normal-ish,” on July 2, locals and tourists alike are venturing forth as pandemic fears ease. That includes satisfying a yearning for casual and fine dining. But, whether you’re still uncomfortable eating indoors at area restaurants or just want savor the experience of outdoor dining, there’s no need to risk close proximity when so many wonderful patios are available for you — and, in some cases, even your dog. The following list includes patios that are off the beaten track and some that are right off the Plaza downtown. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these area restaurants offer eclectic menus featuring a variety of regional and international cuisines. And regardless of your tastes, one thing we can all agree on is that food always seems to taste better outdoors.
With a burnt orange exterior dominated by a large blue wall, Café Fina’s outdoor patio practically screams “Southwest.” Included at brunch are ricotta pancakes with fresh berries and real maple syrup, Spanish migas, or a green chile cheeseburger at the former Fina gas station turned eatery. Soak up the summer sun under the wide canvas tarp. Bring your dog along (well-mannered pets welcome), and keep an eye out for Tiger, the café cat. “It’s actually the owner’s cat now, so he’s less of a wanderer,” says Manager Rory O’Brien. “But he does make an appearance around the patio every now and then.” Café Fina’s patio has 13 tables that can accommodate up to 50 patrons and is open for brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Pastries and beverages are served from 3 to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (takeout only) and diner is available for takeout only from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
624 Old Las Vegas Hwy., 505-466-3886, cafefinasantafe.com
At eight tables, Fiesta Oaxaca’s patio, right off the entrance on Grant Avenue, may not be the largest patio in town, but it’s the good spot for
people-watching around the nearby Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. On the menu: enchiladas suizas smothered in tomatillo salsa, an al pastor burrito (pork sautéed with tomatoes, guajillo and chipotle peppers, garlic, onion, and pineapple), and a chile en nogada (a pork and beef-stuffed poblano pepper with a mix of plantains, tomatoes, garlic, onions, apples, pears, peaches, and raisins). Many of the menu items can be prepared as vegan or vegetarian. The patio is decked out with brightly colored chairs under green umbrellas surrounded by decorative Mexican papel picado. Fiesta Oaxaca is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Sunday (11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and is closed on Wednesdays.
135 W. Palace Ave., 505-982-9525, fiestaoaxacasf.com
The patio at Harry’s might remind you of the being in an English garden, although one with more decidedly regional plant life. “We feel like it’s pretty special, and I think of it as a little wilder than an English garden,” says owner Harry Shapiro. “But I just love the fact that we have it.” In an outdoor patio with a capacity of about 50, its nine tables are situated among an array of juniper and pink-blossomed hollyhocks, which offer some privacy from nearby tables. On the breakfast menu: traditional Mexican chilaquiles, lemon ricotta pancakes, or tres leches French toast smothered in dulce de leche and berries. Harry’s is open for breakfast at 8 a.m., Friday through Sunday, lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Monday
96-B Old Las Vegas Hwy., 505-989-4629, harrysroadhousesantafe.com
Masterpiece Grill at The Drury Plaza Hotel
Having taken over the space, in May, that was formerly occupied by Eloisa, Masterpiece Grill offers handheld items like grilled garden wraps, fork-and-knife entrées such as pistachio-dusted salmon, and small plates, including Pacific Rim steamed dumplings, on its ground floor patio. The patio holds about 58 diners when its 16 tables are at capacity. For a city that loves its canine friends, nothing beats a dog-friendly patio, and Masterpiece Grill ups the ante by offering canine guests their own menu options, including kibble, doggie burgers, and chicken breasts. Masterpiece Grill is the first sit-down restaurant for the Las Vegas, Nevada-based catering company Masterpiece Cuisine, and it offers a casual atmosphere and specializes in all-American fare.
228 E. Palace Ave., 505-428-4545, masterpiecegrill.com
Few spots in Santa Fe are as romantic as sitting beneath the warm glow of the lit vigas of Restaurant Martín’s portal or white lights strung through the trees of its patio. Restaurant Martín’s patio accommodates up to 75 guests on a patio of 17 tables. Another 18 tables are available in the annex, an interior space with three large glass doors that can be opened during the warmer months, making it into a quasi outdoor space as well. The restaurant is open for dinner starting at 5 p.m., and same-day reservations are accepted until 8:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. “People love our duck and love our lamb, and we have one of the best vegetarian plates in town,” says General Manager Jennifer Rios, co-owner with her husband, Chef Martín Rios. “But the menu changes at least once a week entirely. The vegetarian plate is a true tasting plate with four separate dishes. Many non-vegetarians order it because it’s always so interesting.”
526 Galisteo St., 505-820-0919, restaurantmartin.com/1478-2