It was magical. The romantic ambiance, the meticulously designed patio, the convenient late-night seating beneath a moonlit heaven overhead. A final party of six had just retreated for the evening from a canvas-covered chandelier-lit dining table a few feet from our table for two beneath nearby trees with their branches dancing slowly in a warm late evening breeze. As though it was meant to be, my husband and I soon had the entire outdoor dining area of Luminaria Restaurant & Patio to ourselves.
We had arrived late after checking into the Inn & Spa At Loretto that night. I have to admit, we were somewhat rushed to make it for our reservation downstairs at the restaurant. But that was our own fault, as we kept our tradition of enjoying a few glasses of wine together on our private balcony overlooking the city from our suite. However, upon our arrival to the eatery, we were charmed, enchanted, and swept right off of our feet as though we were in a movie. This exceptionally breathtaking night on the Luminaria patio proved nothing less than flawlessly perfect.
Chef Brett Sparman possesses a plethora of techniques to delight Santa Fe’s locals and travelers from afar. Heading up the exquisite Luminaria Restaurant & Patio at The Inn & Spa At Loretto has proven not only a successful move for his culinary career, but a well-received one at that. Enlightening us with his melody of fine selections from the menu, we soon realized this was where we were destined to be.
Varied Assortment Of Fresh Baked Breads
Our server was cordial and took care of our every request. Fresh oven baked breads of different varieties were immediately delivered with a creamy butter and our menus were quickly opened to explore the evening’s selections.
Serrano Margarita & Pearfection Martini
Ready to take your taste buds for a ride? Then give these sensational tasting adult beverages a whirl. I succumbed to my weakness for pear martinis when I ordered the Pearfection Martini made with Grey Goose Pear, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, fresh squeezed lemon and simple syrup. My husband indulged in the colorful Serrano Margarita crafted with serrano-infused Herradura Tequila, pomegranate, Cointreau, organic lime juice and agave nectar. These libations were not only attractive to the eyes, but delivered multiple levels of flavor that proved memorable and gratifying.
Grilled Romaine Salad
We began our meal with the Grilled Romaine Salad. Inclusions of crispy yucca, Cotija cheese, and house made lemon Caesar dressing surrounded tender grilled Romaine, embracing it in a world of delightful and wholesome taste. A perfect portion for one, or for two to get an ample taste, this selection was a winner from the first bite.
Award Winning Tortilla Soup
We were persuaded to try the Local Award Winning Tortilla Soup next after hearing about it from our server. Customers come from miles away just for Luminaria’s Tortilla Soup, as we were informed. After tasting this hearty bowl of happiness comprised of organic chicken, creamy and cooling avocado, crunchy corn and cilantro, we realized why so many diners make such a fuss about it. It was indeed pretty spectacular. Not too spicy, with the proper amount of seasoning meant to just enhance the ingredients and the steaming broth…at that moment in time, nothing could have been better.
As our readers are well aware, one of my favorite dishes is a well made seafood paella. When I chose this entrée from the menu for my main course of the evening, I had the distinctive feeling that I would be happy with it. What I realized after diving right in after receiving it was that this Seafood Paella had to be one of the BEST paellas I’d ever had the privilege of enjoying. I know that’s quite a compliment for me to express my thoughts this way about such a dish, however I wouldn’t do so if I didn’t truly feel this way. Between the tender prawns, the sizable scallops, the local smoked chicken, the Spanish chorizo and the bold saffron rice, I was in culinary heaven. The hot broth that contained all of these amazing flavors into each spoonful I consumed was surely an exhilarating experience.
Boneless Beef Short Ribs & Diver Scallops
Beef short ribs revealed themselves to my husband when he perused the dinner menu, thus ending up as his main course for the night. These tender, nearly fall-off-the-bone meaty beef ribs were so succulent. The roasted pepper ranchero sauce that the culinary staff delicately bathed the ribs in carried over to the expertly-prepared diver scallops accentuated with simple crispy parsnip and baby carrots. Both a hearty and fulfilling choice, this item was exemplary and one to definitely enjoy again in the future.
We passed on dessert, but ordered another round of cocktails to satisfy our cravings for something additional after we were finished with dinner. Having been swept away by Luminaria’s Southwestern fine cuisine and enchanted by the local artistic vibe throughout the area, we found that we had fallen in love with the enlightening city of Santa Fe…again. Sometimes we have to press the PAUSE button of life and just take it all in…the romance…those near perfect moments together…the times when it is as though nothing could be more perfect.
- ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Local Santa Fe artisanal style accompanied by the intriguing elegance of a stunning outdoor patio beneath a star-filled New Mexico sky. Bold fabrics and detailed table set-ups add to the alluring feel this location offers its patrons. Soothing intonations of trickling water from a nearby fountain supply a relaxing ambiance, while meticulous service is seamlessly performed by a well-trained professional staff.
- FOOD / DRINK: Southwestern favorites with an upscale flair bring visitors and locals alike into this restaurant. From the local award winning Tortilla Soup crafted by Chef Sparman to the variety of succulent hand-shaken libations from the bar to the memorable flavors of local and organic ingredients, there won’t be a bite remaining on any plate at Luminaria. The restaurant also serves fine bites during “Happy Hour & A Half” in the resort’s Living Room lounge from 5 PM through 6:30 PM. The lounge’s “Reverse Food Happy Hour” continues the flavorful fun nightly from 9 PM until 11 PM. Luminaria Restaurant & Patio is the proud recipient of he Wine Spectator Award from 2009 to 2012, and also received the “Certification of Excellence” award from Trip Advisor for 2013.
- LOCATION: Luminaria Restaurant & Patio is located at 211 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 inside The Inn & Spa At Loretto.
- HOURS: Serving meals throughout the day, customers can enjoy flavorsome treats for breakfast daily from 7 AM until 11 AM, brunch on Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM, lunch each day from 11:30 AM through 2 PM, as well as dinner each evening from 5 PM until 9 PM. Additionally, the restaurant features an “Early Evening” menu daily from 5 PM until 6:30 PM, when patrons can take advantage of culinary specials.
- SERVICE / STAFF: The attention to detail, timing between courses, and professional and caring demeanor shown by the Luminaria staff was well appreciated. We were extremely impressed by what we observed.
- PRICE / VALUE: Appropriately priced in our opinion for the area, Luminaria offers an expansive array of Southwestern delicacies at reasonable prices that will not be forgotten any time soon.
- CORKAGE FEE: Unfortunately, no outside alcohol is allowed inside this establishment.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (505) 984-7915, Website: www.innatloretto.com/new-mexico-dining
- PARKING: Valet service is available at the main entrance to the Inn. When guests of the property, a minimal charge each evening is applied and vehicles are parked in an uncovered secured lot beside the building.
- PRICING: The Serrano Margaritas and Pearfection Martinis were fairly priced at $13 each (we had a few!), while the Local Award Winning Tortilla Soup was registered at an easy $10. The Grilled Romaine Salad was a satisfying $10 as well. The Seafood Paella came in at a solid $38, and the Beef Short Ribs & Diver Scallops arrived at $35.
* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.