When we had a national show of feminist art several of the artists flew to Albuquerque for the reception. One is now Associate Director of an art museum, another was then (still is) a V.P. at Paramount Pictures. As we discussed places to dine, I asked if they wanted ambiance or good food. Good food was the easy winner.
That was years ago, but then as now The Frontier, on Central Avenue (2400 Central SE 87106) across from the University of New Mexico serves some of the finest and, subsequently, is, as it has been over the decades, still the hub of the universe for artists of all types, politicians, and, of course, students. Their roasted green chili is the best in town (available for take-home in 8 and 16 oz containers) and their fresh-squeezed orange and/or grapefruit juices are non-pareil. The steak dinner competes with any you'll find elsewhere and their enchilada plate and huevos rancheros set the standard for the rest of the nation.
Another restaurant that helps redeem the town is The Kasbah. Tucked a few feet back from Central Ave on the East side of Monroe, it's easy to miss. Dad cooks and at least one of the daughters waitresses. They're from Tunisia so you're getting the real thing. Awesome doesn't begin to describe the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
Two others are: Los Cuates -- we frequent the Lomas or Menaul Blvd locations -- and a new vegetarian place that is, like the above, outstanding...An Hy Quan Vegetarian at 1404 Juan Tabo NE. Hy Quan is the proprietor's mother's maiden name. She is the chef.
Once you're taken the tram to the top of the Sandias and seen The River, you'd do well to mosey on. The place is rife with criminals and other than the Guild Cinema, there's so little culture it's not worth the risks.
So why, you may ask, do I go there at all? I return to paint the pickets in the fence of an LTR; I leave as soon as possible.