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.
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.
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
Eating in History
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.
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.
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.
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
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.