Above: The Acre always puts freshness first. Photograph courtesy of The Acre.
I am a vegetarian and I know full well that finding satisfying plant-based food is not straightforward. It’s taken some time, but I’ve sorted through plenty of tasteless offerings to present the best vegetarian eats in Albuquerque.
An Hy Quan Vegetarian Restaurant
An Hy Quan is an unassuming family-run restaurant in the foothills that offers meatless Vietnamese food. My favorites are the Vietnamese-style BBQ plate, the pho, the mock-chicken steamed buns, and the chow mein bird’s nest, known to “get better as it sits.” Finish it off with an avocado shake for dessert.
The Acre serves comfort vegetarian with a changing farm-to-table menu, which means there is always something new. My favorites here are the Comfort Club, with house-made carrot bacon (yes, I said it), and the Acre Enchilada. Craving a New Mexican classic? Try the vegan posole.
El Patio de Albuquerque
El Patio is a cozy crowd-pleaser near the University of New Mexico. On a menu of traditional New Mexican fare, you’ll find tons of vegetarian options. The enchiladas with chile pequin–spiced spinach and beans might even turn meat lovers into vegetarians. Other strong recommendations? The bean tacos and chile relleno vegetarian plate.
Olympia Café, also in the UNM area, offers fast, casual Greek cuisine. The falafel sandwich and salad with house-made tahini dressing only makes me dream of ordering more Greek staples all at once, which can be done in one fell swoop with the vegetarian plate.
Plus, One Great One in Santa Fe
The Kitchen, in the Village of Agua Fria, in Santa Fe, is a vegetarian gem. At the Kitchen, a lovely lunch-only restaurant on the grounds of the dreamy Plants of the Southwest nursery, Olive Tyrrell does pretty much everything in the homey open-space kitchen, with five-gallon colanders and pots dangling above a huge wooden island. She preps and cooks all the food for the fixed (and delicious) vegetarian menu. On a warm afternoon in April, Tyrrell baked flat, stacked red enchiladas with sweet potatoes, mixed beans, Tucumcari cheese, cilantro, peppers, radish, and a sweet, tangy red chile with a touch of heat. She also makes all the pottery on which the food is served and greets each guest warmly.
I like to think that Tyrrell also mudded the walls, laid the red tiles, and placed each of the six finished wall-to-wall beams running across the ceiling. —John Clary Davies
Summer only, 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., or until sold out. Text ahead to make a reservation; $13.50 for salad and lunch.
Read more: The Most Beautiful Pasta in New Mexico.