New Mexico is home to one of America’s most unique, delicious, and cherished regional cuisines. So, it’s no wonder Albuquerque is becoming one of the nation’s most popular foodie destinations.

Beyond our famous New Mexican cuisine, which incorporates Mexican, Native American and Spanish flavors – we’re at the forefront of one of the most unique food trends in the country right here in ABQ: Pre-contact cuisine and Native American-inspired menus.                                                                                                        

Pueblo Harvest, the onsite restaurant at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, is among the first restaurants in the United States to offer pre-contact dishes – making Albuquerque a must on your next foodie-vacation list. For even more uniquely-Albuquerque dining, Level 5 rooftop restaurant and lounge at Hotel Chaco offers Native-inspired dishes, using only fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients.

Pueblo Harvest’s pre-contact menu, featuring several dishes using only ingredients present in North America prior to European contact and colonization, serves as a meaningful insight into the wealth of flavors of an indigenous diet that are lesser-known to mainstream culinary audiences, while highlighting Native cuisine and tradition.

"I want to not only use the indigenous ingredients, but also start using more of the indigenous techniques. It’s amazing how proud everybody is of who they are and where they’re from. That to me is what the Cultural Center is about, and that’s something we can do through the food, too, and get everyone really excited about what’s going on here,”  Executive Chef Brent Moore said in an article on the restaurant’s website.

Native American Cuisine Pueblo Harvest Cafe

Photo by Caitlin Cano/Pueblo Harvest

Just a few examples of dishes from the pre-contact menu include Hazruquive Stew (pictured above), made with an earthy corn broth seasoned with herbs and cedar, filled with local white hominy, bean sprouts, roasted yellow corn, and served with piki bread—a paper-thin Hopi bread made from finely ground blue corn; game meats that were originally hunted by Native peoples, including bison, rabbit, duck (pictured below), and trout; and many plant varieties either cultivated or gathered during pre-contact times, including Anasazi beans, wild greens, prickly pears, yams, squash blossoms, blue corn, and manoomin wild rice.

Indigenous Duck Pueblo Harvest

Photo by Caitlin Cano/Pueblo Harvest

According to Pueblo Harvest, this pre-contact menu also opens a cultural and educational dialogue about the origins of the foods that Americans do or do not consume on a regular basis, and why.

The menu at Level 5 features culturally alive, community-fused and environmentally sound cuisine. Their dishes are always seasonal and created around a core of native New Mexican and Latin American ingredients, with international flair and flavors.

Dishes are carefully crafted with ingredients that are regionally and responsibly sourced and/or in support of community cooperatives. According to Level 5, “the cultures celebrated at Chaco understand humanity’s role as Earth's stewards; we strive to maintain that in our restaurant.”

Level 5 Food House Made Pasta

Photo by Level 5 | Pictured: House Made Pasta

A few of the Native-inspired dishes on Level 5's menu include Blue Corn Bison Tenders with a chipotle apricot glaze; Chicken Tomatillo Chowder with queso fresco and blue corn crisps; and Rabbit Albondigas with salsa verde and manchego. Their entrée specials rotate and change weekly, as they feature only fresh, seasonal ingredients. 

Level 5 Food Venison

Photo by Level 5 | Pictured: Venison Carpaccio

Make sure Albuquerque is at the top of your foodie destination list! Find more dining options in ABQ right here.