This Southern US City Is An Incredible Fall Foodie Destination

Typical foodie destinations in the U.S. are places like New York City or Los Angeles — big-name cities with millions bustling in their streets. While they do have wondrous food scenes, they aren't the only places where foodies can thrive. Albuquerque, New Mexico proves this. The city of just over 560,000 people harbors some diners and restaurants that serve delectable food that makes visiting the city worthwhile — especially during the fall. 

Albuquerque is an underrated city you need to add to your bucket list. It's famous for its annual hot air balloon fiesta each October, as well as its collections of Indigenous art. But when it comes to its food scene, that's a hidden gem ready for exposure. You'll find a variety of restaurants featuring all kinds of delicious cuisine.

One common ingredient you'll come across is the chimayó chile. Given the fact that these chiles are native to New Mexico, it makes total sense. The fall is an especially great time to visit since temperatures aren't as hot as they are in the summer, and it's harvest season for a variety of fruits and vegetables — especially chiles — meaning restaurants will be flooded with the freshest ingredients.

Fall is Albuquerque's chile harvesting season

If you visit Albuquerque, New Mexico for its food, you'll quickly find that red and green chiles are a beloved staple. You'll find them in traditional dishes like chile relleno, but you'll also see them in foods like cheeseburgers. If you visit in the fall, they're all the more abundant since it's roasting season (aka harvest season). During this time, which happens between August and October, the distinct, mouthwatering smell of roasting chiles wafts through the city.

Duran's Central Pharmacy, which has a pharmacy and gift shop in addition to the restaurant, is known for its red chiles. "Hands down- best New Mexican food in Albuquerque," wrote one happy reviewer on Yelp. "Their tortillas are fresh and the red chile is delicious." Their menu has options like huevos rancheros and enchiladas; you can even get a bottle of Albuquerque's beloved red or green chile sauce to take home.

If you're not a fan of the heat chiles bring, that's okay — you'll still find a myriad of options like Coda Bakery, which is a Vietnamese spot known for its banh mi, or Scalo, an Italian restaurant that serves large portions and hosts live music. No matter what flavors you're looking for, you'll find something to satisfy your cravings.

Finding a meal in Albuquerque

If you find yourself hungry in Albuquerque, know that a delicious meal is not far away. The Nob Hill neighborhood is a popular area for diverse restaurants, but if you venture out into different parts of the city, you'll be sure to find something as well. Some of Albuquerque's top-rated restaurants include Antiquity Kitchen, which serves an array of dishes ranging from cashew chicken to shrimp scampi to filet mignon.

Then there's Indian Pueblo Kitchen, whose menu features Indigenous cuisine and local ingredients; be sure to try their blue corn onion rings or bison ribs. Padillas Mexican Food and Restaurant, a cash-only establishment that offers traditional Mexican and Southwestern fares like tamales and sopapillas, is also a must-visit restaurant — especially if you're in town for the fresh fall chiles. 

The list of places to eat in Albuquerque goes on. If you're interested in having a food tourism experience, you'll have to pack your bags and come check them out for yourself and determine which is the best (although you'll definitely want to hit up the New Mexico Flavors Tour of Old Town Albuquerque, which has a five-star rating on Tripadvisor.) Visit in the fall to maximize the cool weather and rich flavors of freshly harvested red and green chiles.