As Authentic as it Gets – El Paragua Restaurant

A little bit of historic New Mexico and a lot of authentic tastes – that’s how I’d describe El Paragua Restaurant in Espanola, N.M.

El Paragua's interior features a massive tree whose canopy extends far above the roof

With part of its interior surrounding a massive tree that grows above, below and through the restaurant, it’s a place that has a lot of character, history and a great variety of local flavors.

The restaurant’s exterior is basic and unassuming – an easy drive-by, but inside its rough wood ceiling beams, brick and tile floors and mix-match décor are the perfect backdrop for its welcoming staff and home-style New Mexican menu.

Our large group was seated in a rustic side room and we started our dinner with yummy margaritas, Mexican beers and traditional wines, chips and salsa and lively conversations as we looked over the extensive menu.

I ordered Pollo Mexicano, described as ‘tender Sinaloa style, fresh grilled over mesquite coals, one half chicken

El Paragua Restaurant in Espanola, N.M.

with green onions and tortillas.  It was delicious. Others ordered from among the many Mexican specialties, which include an “award winning’” beef taco plate and Mexican Combination plate that features carne adovada, posole, refritos, rice, plus one taco, one tamale and one enchilada.   Salmon, halibut, trout, various steak and chicken dishes, Menudo, vegetarian tacos, carnitas and more, complete the menu.

Everyone loved their selections and we all oohed, aaahhed and mmmmmm’d over the sopapillas.  These puffy dough side-dish creations are served warm with honey, and are a special treat.

A typical El Paragua meal with sopasillas on the side.

Too full for dessert, we passed on the homemade flan, capirotada (bread pudding), dulces natillas and carrot cake!  And while our laughs and conversations carried well past the removal of our empty plates, we never felt rush or unattended to by the delightful waitstaff.

When visiting Black Mesa Golf Course and staying at the Santa Claran Hotel and Casino , a side trip to nearby El Paragua Restaurant for lunch or dinner is a must.   Located just of the Taos Highway on Santa Cruz Road, it’s 24 miles north of Santa Fe.

For more information, visit, or call 505.753.3211

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