My trip to Santa Fe Cafe
Approaching the modest building, home to Santa Fe Cafe, one would not be tipped off about the authentic New Mexico experience they were about to partake in. The smoky overtones from the mesquite wood oven, antique wood plank floors, woven chairs with cushions and bench seating with Aztec throw pillows decorate the main dining area. Animal horns, wall art, a fireplace and clay pots are the finishing touches that transport you to warm, sunny and the culturally-rich city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The main dining is casual and is sectioned into larger and smaller rooms, both with a similar ambiance. The larger room features chef’s counters, where the chefs prepare food in plain view throughout the evening.
A wooden staircase dominates the entrance and leads to a hidden gem-a cozy rooftop bar with dinner seating. This could certainly be the perfect way to experience al fresco dining on Hilton Head Island. The deck space is anchored with the ginormous clay pot. Nine tables and a comfortable couch vignette provide ample seating for small or large groups. On the weekends, a Spanish guitar/vocalist, Remundo performs for an evening out trifecta – delicious food, entertainment, and atmosphere.
Would the food live up to the high expectations? Both the host and server were bright-eyed, attentive and friendly, After some recommendations and brief Q&A, I proceeded to browse the extensive menu with an array of seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes to please every palette. Chips and salsa paired with margaritas was the only way to proceed. The drinks were poured perfectly, light and refreshing with hints of sweet and tart flavors and salted on the rim. The chips were fresh and crispy, not over-salted and seemingly just right when married to the fresh salsa.The salsa had a balance of jalapeño, cilantro, onion and fresh chopped tomatoes. Delivered next was a massive art-relic resembling serving dish that proudly displayed the freshly made guacamole. It was not prepared table-side, however, its’ arrival was unforgettable, and the guacamole did not disappoint.
With menu favorites such as pork, tenderloin, and ribeye burritos, Santa Fe Salad and Painted Dessert soup, I spent a few extra moments with eyes lingering on the menu before settling on the spicy shrimp tacos.They came in a generous portion, steaming hot and with a side of Spanish rice and refried black beans . My dinner guests enjoyed Chimichangas and fish tacos and raved at how delicious they were. Churros lightly sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon for dessert, and we were off to enjoy our tickets to a show at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, which is conveniently located across the street.
Santa Fe Cafe over delivered and I can honestly say, I can’t wait to return and spend a hot summer evening with some girlfriends on the rooftop. Perhaps the positive dining experience can be tethered back to a happy staff. My server, Allison has been with Santa Fe for 11 years and her husband Bill, 14 years. She spoke fondly of the restaurant, and it’s owner, her boss, and friend, Andrew Carmine This spot is perfect for any special occasion, a romantic dinner date, lunch with friends or family dinner. If you have not yet been to Santa Fe Cafe- go! It is a truly a local treat
Contact Us: (843) 785-3838