Located about 40 miles south of the small farming town of Hatch, the food scene in New Mexico’s second-largest city is dominated by the flavorful peppers produced in the Chile Capital of the World.
You’ll find green chile-flavored pistachios, diced green chiles sprinkled on pizza, and strips of green chile rolled into sushi. Heck, there’s even green chile wine! New Mexico is so into its chiles that they are incorporated into one of the state’s license plate designs.
Even at nationwide fast-food chains that don’t offer them in any of the 49 other states, you can add green chiles to your cheeseburger in the Land of Enchantment! So what are the best restaurants in Las Cruces to enjoy green chiles (and anything else that tempts your tummy)? Keep reading!
1. Spotted Dog Brewery
For those in search of a thirst-quenching brew and a juicy burger, head to the Spotted Dog Brewery. This family-owned and operated microbrewery offers its suds in tasting flights, as pints, or in a growler to go. The tried-and-true classic ales and stouts on tap are complemented by an ever-changing weekly menu of seasonal brews like honey wheat, pumpkin ale, and winter harvest. Pair your pour with locally inspired dishes like a green chile cheeseburger, green chile Philly, or Mesilla black bean burger. Or stick with a more traditional (and less spicy) brewpub favorite like cheeseburger sliders with a side of beer-battered fries.
Pro Tip: In addition to eating at all of these fantastic restaurants, here are nine of my favorite things to do in Las Cruces.
2. A Bite Of Belgium
Discovering legitimate Belgian waffles in the American Southwest is a delightful surprise, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at A Bite of Belgium. They’re crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and can be enjoyed plain or accented with savory or sweet ingredients. Try the Waffles, Bacon, and Cream that tops two waffles with whipped cream cheese and bacon or the Bavarian Cream Waffles topped with sliced bananas and Bavarian cream with chocolate ganache pooling in the crisp checkerboard squares of two Liege-style waffles. A Bite of Belgium also makes delicious Eggs Benedict if you want to forego a waffle when you visit.
3. Andele Restaurante
Instead of Tex-Mex-inspired ground beef filling cooked in a pan, Andele Restaurante makes its tacos al carbon. Enjoy homemade white corn tortillas filled with tender, slow-cooked chunks of beef, pork, or chicken when you order the house specialty. Everything at Andele is made from scratch daily, including its selection of delicious homemade salsas. And this gringa appreciates that the heat in each dish can be dialed up (or scaled back) to accommodate your taste.
4. Chachi’s Mexican Restaurant
Along with hard shell tacos, nachos, and queso, fajitas originated north of the border (and not Mexico). But that doesn’t make them any less delicious, and Chachi’s Mexican Restaurant serves up marinated strips of beef or chicken in several ways. Try them folded into a burrito or atop a romaine lettuce base in a salad. Or stick with the traditional and order the fajita plate. Chachi’s also serves amazing chile rellenos. Enjoy these cheese-stuffed peppers smothered in green sauce as an entree with rice and beans, or add a single relleno to any dish.
Pro Tip: If you dine at the Locust Street restaurant, you’ll be near the New Mexico State University campus, so stop by the Chile Pepper Institute!
5. D.H. Lescombes Winery And Bistro
Another delicious spot in Las Cruces is the D.H. Lescombes Winery and Bistro. With grapes produced in nearby Deming, the Lescombes Family leverages several generations of French winemaking skills to produce about 200,000 cases of bubbly, white, rose, and red wines. Under impressive New Mexico skies, enjoy your favorites on one of the prettiest patios in Las Cruces, where sunshine streams down during the day and twinkle lights provide the perfect ambiance at night. If you're looking for just a nibble, order the baked brie, drunken mussels, or jalapeno and bacon-wrapped shrimp. If you’re visiting the Lescombes Bistro for dinner, check out the pecan-crusted chicken, with locally grown Mesilla Valley pecans providing an out-of-this-world breading.
Pro Tip: If you visit Las Cruces with a food allergy or dietary restriction, the bistro has a nice variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options on the menu.
6. Double Eagle Restaurant
For an upscale dining experience steeped in history, visit Double Eagle Restaurant in the heart of historic Old Mesilla. Enjoy everything from sensational small plates to elegant entrees under sparkling crystal chandeliers in the oldest building in Mesilla. Make any hour of the day extra happy with nibbles like red chile escargots and crispy calamari. These appetizers are especially delicious when enjoyed by the fountain in the courtyard on a beautiful day. The house specialty is Chicken Mesilla, a bone-in chicken breast with sweet onions, Monterey Jack, and (you guessed it) roasted green chile. You’ll also find a nice selection of foodie-fantastic entrees that include duck, steak, and salmon. And add on delicious sides that include lobster mac and cheese, Mesilla potatoes, and broiled bleu cheese.
Pro Tip: Originally the Maes Family home, Double Eagle’s 150-year-old adobe walls are allegedly haunted by the ghosts of Armando and Inez. So whatever you do, do NOT sit in the armchairs off to the side in the room that used to be Armando’s bedroom!
7. La Posta De Mesilla
The thick adobe walls of La Posta de Mesilla originally housed the Corn Exchange Hotel along the Butterfield Stagecoach Stop more than 150 years ago. Today the zaguan of this large Territorial-style building is filled with exotic birds and a fish tank of piranhas. As you peruse the menu, sip a margarita crafted from smooth tequila, sweet agave nectar, and fresh lime. If you want an exotic twist on the classic cocktail, then try a Chile ‘Rita that blends blackberry-habanero sauce with the classic ingredients. While everything on the menu is amazing, I gravitate toward the La Posta Combination Plate that includes a folded taco, a green chile enchilada, and my favorite chile relleno in the Mesilla Valley. But whatever you choose for dinner, be sure to save room for La Posta’s sopapillas. These square pastry puffs are served warm with plenty of sweet honey.
8. Le Rendez-Vous Cafe And French Pastry
With freshly baked breads, delicious daily specials, and cafe classics, stepping into Le Rendez-Vous Cafe feels like you’ve been teleported to France. And with French-born chef Thierry Marceaux at the helm, in a way you have! Embrace your inner Emily in Paris with a cup of French onion soup, bechamel-smothered croque monsieur, or tuna-topped salad Nicoise. Or order something more this-side-of-the-Atlantic like a turkey sandwich, chicken quesadilla, or Cobb salad. Either way, don’t leave Le Rendez-Vous without tasting the pastries, whether it’s a chocolate-topped eclair, fruit-filled tart, or selection of brightly-colored macarons.
Pro Tip: In addition to the state question, New Mexico also has an official state cookie, biscochitos. These crisp orange and licorice-flavored butter cookies are traditionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and the best place to try them in Las Cruces is at Lujan’s Bakery.
9. Luna Rossa Winery And Pizzeria
Along Avenida de Mesilla, about halfway between Downtown Las Cruces and the historic plaza at the heart of Old Mesilla, is Luna Rossa Winery and Pizzeria. Italian for “red moon,” Luna Rossa is not only my favorite place for pizza in Las Cruces but also a delicious option for fresh salads, toasted Italian sandwiches, and homemade pasta dishes. Whether you go for antipasti, a full meal, or just dessert, pair your food with a glass (or bottle) of Luna Rossa wine. Made from grapes grown on the family’s vineyard near Deming (about an hour west of Las Cruces), Luna Rossa has an assortment of award-winning white, red, and dessert wines. I recommend trying a wide variety of Luna Rossa wines via a tasting before selecting a glass to go with your meal.
10. The Shed Restaurant
While the cumin-spiced ground beef filling for most tacos in the United States originated north of the Rio Grande, huevos rancheros is an authentic Mexican breakfast dish. And one of the best places to enjoy the cooked-to-order eggs over fresh corn tortillas topped with cheese and your answer to the New Mexico state question is at The Shed. Everything on the menu is made from scratch in The Shed’s kitchen using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, so you’re sure to enjoy any of the other breakfast and lunch items on the menu.
Pro Tip: In addition to the huevos rancheros at The Shed, be sure to check out these nine additional ways to eat your way along New Mexico’s delicious green chile trail.
From a cafe run by a French-born chef to a pizzeria established by an Italian-born winemaker and from burgers and steak to all things green chile, these are the best places to eat in Las Cruces, New Mexico.