• The Compound (653 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe; tel. 505/982-4353; This reincarnation of one of Santa Fe's classic restaurants serves daring contemporary American food in a soulful setting. Such delicacies as the grilled beef tenderloin with Italian potatoes and foie gras hollandaise will please sophisticated palates -- and probably simpler ones too.
  • Santacaf√© (231 Washington Ave., Santa Fe; tel. 505/984-1788; The food here borrows from an international menu of preparations and offerings. The minimalist decor accentuates the graceful architecture of the 18th-century Padre Gallegos House. One of my favorite dishes is the grilled rack of lamb with potato-leek gratin.
  • Geronimo (724 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe; tel. 505/982-1500; Set in the 1756 Borrego House on Canyon Road, this restaurant offers brilliant flavors in a serene adobe atmosphere. The elk tenderloin here is Santa Fe's most prized entree.
  • The Shed (113 1/2 E. Palace Ave., Santa Fe; tel. 505/982-9030; The Shed, a Santa Fe luncheon institution since 1953, occupies several rooms in part of a rambling hacienda that was built in 1692. The sauces here have been refined over the years, creating amazing flavors in basic dishes like enchiladas, burritos, and stuffed sopaipillas. The mocha cake is renowned. Sister restaurant La Choza is just as good, with a similar menu.
  • De La Tierra (317 Kit Carson Rd., Taos; tel. 800/828-TAOS [8267] or 575/758-3502; Located at the new eco-resort El Monte Sagrado, this elegant restaurant serves imaginative regional American food and other delights such as wild game. The pan roasted East Coast cod served with truffle Persian potatoes is excellent. An expansive wine list completes the experience.
  • Joseph's Table (108-A S. Taos Plaza, Taos; tel. 575/751-4512; Now in new digs on Taos Plaza, this font of creativity serves delightful dishes with plenty of flair. Try the steak au poivre over mashed potatoes with a Madeira mushroom sauce. Delectable.
  • With views overlooking Albuquerque's city lights and the mountains, Bien Shur (30 Rainbow Rd. NE, at Sandia Resort & Casino, Albuquerque; tel. 800/526-9366; offers inventive food with a hint of Native America. The rack of lamb with a garlic mint au jus is excellent.
  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.