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Mesilla - New Mexico

This charming, historic community is now a mere outskirt of Las Cruces, in the south-central part of the state. In earlier days, it was the important town in this whole region, founded by the Spanish in 1598 as a major stopover on the famed Camino Real -- the Spanish highroad that came north from Mexico City.

While the larger Las Cruces is a modern American city, Mesilla retains much of its original Spanish colonial ambience with a town square fronted by the mission church and many old adobe buildings. Some of the latter are now occupied by shops and restaurants.

Mesilla was the Confederate capital of the region during the Civil War. As a tourist town, the town boasts art galleries, a fine museum and several bed and breakfast inns. As a place to eat, this little town is close to the top of our list of Southwest culinary adventure places.

Eating in History

While the town is a small one, there are several fascinating restaurants which offer a warm Spanish atmosphere along with great food. One of the most historical of these is La Posta de Mesilla, 2410 Calle de San Albino, located on the southeast corner of the Plaza. This is a large, spread-out adobe building that was originally an inn serving passengers on the stagecoaches that came through town. There are several dining rooms in the restaurant, one with an atrium, and a gift shop is attached. The house specializes in contemporary cuisine including red and green pepper enchiladas and other New-Mex dishes. the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner except on the weekend when it opens at 8 a.m.

Another fine restaurant is in a B&B inn, Meson de Mesilla (1891 Avenida de Mesilla). Open to the public (reservations required), the restaurant serves extremely fresh food with a menu that changes often. The focus here is on continental cuisine. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Saturday. For reservations, call 575-652-4953.

Back on the Plaza, El Patio Cantina is located on the southwest corner, serving New Mexican dishes as well as traditional Mexican food. There's a shaded patio for outdoor dining and a cantina-style bar. This historic restaurant has been open for more than 75 years.

For fine dining, the Double Eagle (2355 Calle De Guadalupe) offers French cuisine in an historic adobe building on the east side of the Plaza. There's a wonderful saloon complete with chandeliers and a fancy old backbar. The Maximilian Room is a large and stunningly appointed dining room. Matching the decor, the food here is fancy, as are the prices.

There's a bonus here—Inside the Double Eahle is Peppers, a Mexican cafe, open for lunch and dinner and specializing in green chile recipes and margaritas.

Where to Stay

Meson de Mesilla
1891 Avenida de Mesilla, 575-652-4953
A lovely adobe Bed and Breakfast inn, Meson de Mesilla has 13 rooms, all with private bath. Bicycles are available to guests, as is a pool. A full gourmet breakfast is served and there is a restaurant on the premises that serves French cuisine at lunch and dinner most days and boasts a large wine list. Reservations are recommended for rooms and meals.

New Mexico Destinations

Alamogordo

Albuquerque

Aztec

Bandelier National Monument

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Chama

Cloudcroft

Las Cruces

Los Alamos

Mesilla

Ruidoso

Santa Fe

Silver City

Taos

 


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