Traditional New Mexican Food at its Finest
La Salita is a family-run business serving traditional New Mexican fare since the mid 1960s. Its very name suggests a warm ambience—sala, indicating a living room where intimate dining and conversation await friends both old and new.
Locals come here so frequently and seem to make up the preponderance of customers that menus are sometimes forgotten by servers. That wasn’t a problem, because, on this occasion, we were greeted as if we were local customers, and treated with the utmost of kindness and respect. There’s a family atmosphere here, both among staff members (of five generations) and La Salita’s customers, who seem to feel right at home. Shortly after our name was taken by the hostess, a couple walked in and was recognized by name, with the promise that their table would be ready momentarily. As a customer, your needs, questions, and concerns occupy every waitperson serving at your table.
Warm tortilla chips and a spicy salsa were brought to our table right away. Within moments, a fine Chile con Queso was also served, described in the menu simply as “our green chile with a blend of melted cheeses.” I have tasted various styles of warm Queso before, but I have never tasted one as excellent as this. I would return to this restaurant just for appetizers on a whim if I drove by this area of town again. It was that good!
After a brief introduction of a few of the restaurant’s favorites, we settled in to order our meal. “Fred,” our server, (her last name was Fredericksen) who worked here 37 years, suggested the “Burrito de Eduardo,” one of her favorites. The menu called it a “one of a kind burrito, made with turkey and fresh sour cream, wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with melted Swiss cheese. I wanted a sample of that, but I wanted to sample some of La Salita’s other offerings. After surveying a number of choices, both of us opted for the “Build Your Own Meal” selection, allowing 3, 4 or 5 items of the following: Enchiladas, tacos, half burritos, rellenos, tamales, and half-stuffed sopaipillas. I chose a half “Burrito de Eduardo,” because of our server’s recommendation, along with a red chile pork tamale and a cheddar cheese relleno filled and topped with avocado. Refried beans and rice were considered a fourth item and lettuce and tomato garnish were included upon request. My wife chose an enchilada and relleno along with beans and rice. In this way, we could share some of the items with each other that we had not ordered on our own plates.
The Hatch chili within our rellenos was the hit of the evening for both of us. The previous evening, we dined at another well-known New Mexican restaurant on another side of town, and the relleno there, also deep-fried, didn’t hold a candle to the La Salita relleno. I also loved the red chile pork tamale I was served, full of flavorful shredded pork. The red and the green chile sauce poured over the selections allowed one to enjoy a slightly different chile flavor that didn’t overpower the cooked items.
We asked that our sopaipillas, a part of the meal, be served for dessert, a wise idea, we discovered later. The warm, freshly baked creations were a welcome treat, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or topped with honey.
La Salita serves over a dozen gluten free items that do not contain flour. There are a number of vegetarian and vegan items as well. Choice of a dozen bottled beers includes domestic and a wide assortment of imported brews, including the traditional Mexican favorites. Wine is served by the glass and the Sangria is made from a restaurant recipe.
The prices are extraordinarily reasonable, the portions are ample, the service is flawless, and the taste is out of this world. If you’re ever in Albuquerque, don’t pass up the opportunity to dine here!
1217 Eubank Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87112