Black Bean Breakfast Burrito from Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times – from doctors, fitness experts, and, most emphatically, from mom.

Well take heart, mom, Santa Fe, New Mexico not only has recognized the importance of breakfast, we’ve elevated it to a culinary art form. From the vibrant presentation, often featuring red or green chile (or both if you’re a commitment-phobe like me) to the intoxicating aromas, to the savory international culinary combinations, to the hearty comfort foods, breakfast in Santa Fe is a delightful wake-up call for the senses. And in a city already famous for inventive southwestern and global cuisine, breakfast in Santa Fe commands the kind of fan-worship usually reserved for only for the rarest of rock stars.

Tía Sophia’s - Freshly Made Huevos Rancheros

“We pride ourselves on being consistent, efficient, and friendly,” explains Nick Maryol, a proud member of the family locally famous for establishing and operating Tía Sophia’s, Santa Fe’s venerated breakfast icon, located just steps from our historic plaza. “We serve comidas nativas (local food) and that is a formula from which we'll never stray.” Sounds good to me. And looking down on my plate of huevos rancheros, freshly made moments before, I try to restrain the urge to dig in, and take a moment to admire the rustic artistry of the lightly toasted flour tortilla, the fiery temptation of the chile, the plumpness of the local beans. Then I dig in. Breakfast heaven.

Santa Fe Baking Company - Masters of the Breakfast Burrito

Blue Corn Pancakes from Santa Fe Baking Company

Up the road just a few blocks, Santa Fe Baking Company masters the art of the breakfast burrito with modern flair. Updating Santa Fe’s classic breakfast staple, the bustling café offers farm-fresh local vegetables and tofu as burrito options. Color me skeptical. One bite of the popular black bean and tofu burrito, however, and I’m officially a convert. Santa Fe Baking Company is that comfy, reliable, everything’s-gonna-be-alright kind of breakfast spot–one that locals and visitors adore for its authentic flavors, friendly service, hearty portions, and quirky personality.

Tecolote Café - Santa Fe’s Best-Kept Breakfast Secret

Huevos Rancheros from Tecolote Cafe. Photo Courtesy of Steve Collins: Santa Fe Travelers

The Food Network’s popular Diners Drive-ins and Dives may have officially blown the lid off Santa Fe’s best-kept breakfast secret, Tecolote Café. Up until then, we locals were quite content to keep the divine biscuits, huevos, chile, and pancakes all to ourselves–and it’s easy to taste why. This Cerrillos Road standby serves up inventive interpretations of Santa Fe’s traditional breakfast staples. The revered Blue Corn Piñon Pancakes, for example, are a feast for the eyes and the taste buds–combining the good-morning comfort of a fluffy blue corn cake with the nutty goodness of New Mexico piñon seeds. Top with real maple syrup, and prepare for breakfast bliss. Word to the wise, when it comes to Tecolote come early. This popular breakfast landmark gets hoppin’.

The Pantry - Delectable Stuffed Pancakes and Satisfying Carne Adovada

Travel just blocks south on Cerrillos to be transported back in time to a classic Route-66 Santa Fe diner, the Pantry. Here, patrons enjoy traditional favorites like huevos rancheros, burritos, and oatmeal, along with made-to-order specialties including tempting Stuffed Pancakes (as outrageously delicious as they sound) and French Toast. Cross the border into serious breakfast territory by turning to the New Mexico Breakfasts section of the Pantry’s well-worn menu. Here, generations of sleepy-eyed diners have kick started their day with what is arguably Santa Fe’s most satisfying Carne Adovada–a local specialty of red chile marinated pork slow-stewed ‘til tender. Enjoy the Pantry’s famous Carne Adovada in a chile-topped burrito, or with their seriously addictive breakfast potatoes.

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen – Natural Food and Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly

Quality organic ingredients, inventive cooking, soothing ambience, and local art combine to make relative newcomer Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen a bounty of breakfast goodness. Tucked into a rustic adobe farmhouse-style locale on Pacheco Street, Sweetwater satisfies cravings for natural food and soothing vibes. Here vegan and vegetarian selections like Buckwheat Pancakes, artfully made with organic buckwheat flour, delight planet-conscious patrons. I still dream about the Mediterranean Breakfast Quinoa with dates, apricots and local honey. And my Sonoma Sunrise smoothie–a velvety blend of carrots, beets, kale, apple, and ginger made a natural foods believer out of me. Expect delightful surprises from a place that hand-mills its own flour, and infuses global flavor into fresh local ingredients.

Don’t Sleep In — Your Santa Fe Breakfast Is Ready

Suffice it to say, when it comes to dining in Santa Fe, you definitely don’t want to sleep in. From traditional to organic to everything in between, we’re keeping Santa Fe fueled with breakfasts that warm your spirits and nourish your taste for all things delicious.

Buenos Días my friend!