With the options of whole-wheat crust and green chile as a topping, the pies at Upper Crust Pizza (329 Old Santa Fe Tr., 505/982-0000, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $12), next to San Miguel Chapel, are actually more Santa Fean than Italian. Hot deli sandwiches and big, superfresh salads round out the menu. Delivery is free, but then you’d be missing the live music on the little front deck.
Of all of the opportunities in Santa Fe to blow your rent money on a decadent dinner, Trattoria Nostrani (304 Johnson St., 505/983-3800, 5:30–10 p.m. Tues.–Sat., $32) is one of the most worthy—even though it incorporates none of its Southwestern surroundings. The cuisine in this four-room house with glossy wood floors and white tablecloths is pure northern Italian, executed flawlessly: delicate fried squash blossoms to start, perhaps, then rich ravioli filled with salt cod and potato and topped with lump crab. An ethereal panna cotta or biscotti served with sweet vin santo makes the perfect finishing touch.
Locals head to amber-lit Il Piatto (95 W. Marcy St., 505/984-1091, 5:30–9:30 p.m. daily, $16) for casual Italian and a neighborly welcome from the staff, who seem to be on a first-name basis with everyone in the place. Hearty pastas such as pappardelle with duck are served in generous portions—a half order will more than satisfy lighter eaters. This is a great place to take a breather from enchiladas and burritos without breaking the bank. It’s also open 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. for lunch on weekdays.
Rooftop Pizza (60 E. San Francisco St., 505/984-0008, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $13) is a good place to enjoy a view along with your meal. This is Santa Fe, so you have the option of a crust with a hint of blue-corn meal, and toppings vary from plain old onions to duck and crab, and they come in combinations such as the BLT (the lettuce is added after the pie comes out of the oven, luckily). It also has a good selection of wines by the glass.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition