New Mexico’s Best Tacos and Breakfast Burritos at El Parasol
If the hunger bug hits when visiting Santa Fe, I highly recommend you stop into El Parasol. This fast-casual eatery has New Mexico’s best tacos ever. There are actually 6 locations within a 50 mile radius of Santa Fe, so there’s no excuse not to stop in to one of them for a delicious bite.
The original restaurant started from humble beginnings over 50 years ago when two brother decided to sell their mamma’s tacos and tamales at a roadside stand they sat up close to their home. Their father set up a beach umbrella to shade them from the New Mexico sun. They acquired a loyal following of customers who wanted more than just tacos, so in 1966 the Atencio boys opened a restaurant, El Paragua, in the former tack room of their family home. They did so good the first year that the next year they added a bar to the restaurant. The restaurant has changed over the years but the one constant was always the quality and deliciousness of the food. Customers knew that this was the Atencio family business and they could always count on the consistency of the dishes. Their northern New Mexico fare has always been excellent and has caught the eye of many food writers, publications and travelers alike.
In the 1980’s there was a need for a quick-fix to the Atencio food so they renamed the “original stand” El Parasol and made it a walk up to the window and take out place. This location still stands next to the original restaurant. Since that time, 5 other fast-casual El Parasol’s have been franchised to family members. Each still makes the food the way their mamma made it years ago. Why change a good thing, right!
Today, we stopped into the Pojoaque location to try their highly recommended food. Just look for the bright umbrella and you will know you are at the right place!
Of course we had to try the famous tacos. These tacos are made according to the original recipe that started it all. These signature Shredded Beef tacos were spot on filled with beef, cheese, lettuce and tomato, all in a crispy shell. This shell makes all the difference. Not sure how they do it, but these are the best tacos I have ever eaten.
Pork Tamales Smothered in Red Chile with Guacamole is another signature dish. Just let me say, “Yes, please”! I do so love the New Mexico red chile sauce and the tamales under it were pretty darn good filled with lots of pork.
The Enchiladas rolled in corn tortillas and stuffed with ground beef were also very tasty. Smothered in both the red and green chile “Christmas Sauce” gave them the New Mexico flavors. The green chiles add a little more spice to the dish, so if you like spicy, be sure to ask for both red and green. Add some New Mexico rice and refried beans to this one.
You don’t have to be a carnivore to eat here as you can also get vegetarian tacos, burritos and quesadillas at El Parasol.
For the gringos, there are hamburgers and dogs. They even make their own chips and salsa and everyone loves chips and salsa, especially if they’re homemade. And for the cold days here in Santa Fe, they have caldos to warm you up. You can even get Menudo all day, so keep that in mind after a late night.
There are even a few dessert picks in case your sweet tooth is bugging you.
Next time I’m in town, I’m ordering the Frito Pie. Bet it will be heavenly with that Christmas chile sauce!
Location: 30 Cities of Gold Rd, Pojoaque, NM 87506
Phone: (505) 455-7185
Monday – Saturday, 8am to 9pm
Sunday, 9am to 5pm
603 Santa Cruz Road, Española, NM 87532
Located just 24 miles north of Santa Fe in historic Española, El Paragua has received national recognition for its Mexican dishes.
Phone: 505-753-3211 | 800-929-8226
Monday through Thursday, 11am to 9pm
Friday, 11am to 9:30pm
Saturday, 10am to 9:30pm
Sunday, 10am to 8pm
Need help finding places to stay, eat and play in the Santa Fe area, go to santafe.org.