During a long walk hand-in-hand through the quaint historic streets of Santa Fe New Mexico, my husband and I stepped into a small cozy eatery called Il Piatto Farmhouse Kitchen & Enoteca just one block north of historic Santa Fe Plaza. We initially took a break from our site seeing for a cocktail or two, then realized we entered this intimate establishment during its Happy Hour. Even better!
Having been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award, Executive Chef Matthew Yahalem has much to be proud of. Nationally acclaimed culinary magazines such as Gourmet, Bon Appetite, and even Travel + Leisure have followed the culinary accomplishments of Chef Matthew and Il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen. The Open Table Diners’ Choice Award was rendered to the restaurant for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and this year as well. The eatery was voted one of the Top 20 Best New Restaurants by Esquire Magazine, and was also the recipient of Four Stars awarded by the Albuquerque Journal. Since 1996, Il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen has led the pack in the “farm-to-table” category, and they continue to grow and prosper.
The building itself is adorned with cobalt blue trim and strings of tiny white lights lining the cozy sidewalk patio, while indoors numerous dining areas invite with their warm tones and eclectic farmhouse decor. One dining room is filled with tables made from large wooden wine barrels, while another is inclusive of white linen draped cafe tables, which lead to the restaurant’s wine bar complete with a skilled mixologist, romantic lighting, plastered walls, and a large chalkboard highlighting the daily specials.
The wine & cocktail list was extensive as we perused the menu after taking seats at the intimate bar. Italian touches graced the area such as huge braids of dried garlic, bottles of colorful jade-hued extra virgin olive oils, and intensely rich vinegars. My husband selected a simple chilled glass of Lillet, while I ordered the Pompelmo Rosa made with Vya Blanco, blackberry, cherries, cucumber, grapefruit, and an ample spritz of bubbly Sprite. Both cocktails were refreshing on a rather warm Santa Fe afternoon, and held our attention with their flavorful dispositions.
We agreed to go beyond our libations and try a couple of the appetizers from the menus that were presented to us earlier. We started with the Rabbit Cannelloni, in which arugula, creamy ricotta cheese, and wild earthy-flavored mushrooms were encased in an elongated pasta sleeve, then topped with a phenomenal pistachio pesto. The contrast of the flavors between the rich meat and creamy ricotta filling was quite satisfactory, while the pistachio pesto finished this dish off with a hint of sweetness from the nuts and added a vibrant green hue to the finished product.
Pappardelle With Braised Duckling
Another scrumptious item we chose was the Pappardelle With Braised Duckling. House made pappardelle pasta was covered in a braised duck preparation with shallots and a savory red wine mascarpone jus. We couldn’t decide which of the two offerings we enjoyed better, as they were both so different. However, we did concur that we would make plans to return to Il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen for dinner on another evening after enjoying our experience so much.
We were pleasantly taken aback by the flavors, presentations, and meticulous attention to detail that we witnessed at this eatery. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to return in the near future to indulge in that dinner on our next trip to Santa Fe.
ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Upscale farmhouse decor throughout the establishment allows for a comforting refuge from the day. A comfortable and eclectic dining environment spans throughout the interior rooms, while the wine bar invites those ready for refreshing libations to soothe the day’s cares away and compliment any meal from the kitchen. The building also houses a private banquet facility for larger parties or groups seeking to entertain or involve themselves in functions. Don’t forget to ask about the custom wine cave!
- FOOD / DRINK: House made pastas, creative dishes encompassing the restaurant’s “farm-to-table” philosophy, freshly muddledingredients in the eatery’s Farmhouse Cocktails, and exquisite flavor and texture in very bite. Ingredients come straight from local dairies, farms, and ranches and you can really taste the difference that makes.
- LOCATION: Il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen & Enoteca is located one block north of Santa Fe Plaza at 95 West Marcy Street in Santa Fe, NM 87501.
- HOURS: The restaurant is available for lunch Monday through Saturday between 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM, while dinner is served nightly from 5:00 PM until 10:30 PM. Two Happy Hour occasions reign supreme in the lounge offering 1/2-off appetizers and glasses of wine. The Afternoon Happy Hour exists from 4:30 Pm until 6:00 PM, while the Late Night Happy Hour starts at 9:00 PM and extends until closing.
- SERVICE / STAFF: We encountered only kindness and sincerity from the employees who cared for us during our visit. Our bartender was cordial and helpful in making suggestions, and our server was prompt and seemed happy to have us patronize the establishment.
- PRICE / VALUE: One could easily make a meal out of the 1/2-off appetizers while sampling all things delightful and savory from Chef Matthew. Exceptionally reasonably priced during Happy Hour, while the 1/2-off Happy Hour prices appeared fair as well. Take a look at the Prix Fixe options the eatery offers as well!
- CORKAGE FEE: No outside alcohol is permitted inside of the restaurant.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (505) 984-1091, Website: www.ilpiattosantafe.com
- PARKING: We simply walked in from sightseeing in Santa Fe Plaza a block away. However, street parking is available, and we learned that most downtown hotels offer shuttle service to and from the restaurant for your convenience.
- PRICING: My husband’s glass of Lillet came in at a simple $12, while my Pompelmo Rosa was priced at $11. The Rabbit Cannelloni was priced at $12.79 for the appetizer portion, and the Pappardelle With Braised Duckling sold for $11.79. Of course, all of these items were 1/2-off during the Afternoon Happy Hour, so we were quite pleased with the final bill almost as much as we were with our culinary experience at this incredible eatery.
*Menu and prices subject to change without notice.