Wining and Dining at Santa Fe Café

sante fe cafe hilton headThe Santa Fe Café is known for its unique New Mexican cuisine and Roof Top Cantina. Their wine and beverage menu is one of the best on the Island, with many high-quality tequilas, scrumptious margaritas and nice selection of domestic, imported and local beer: all the drinks one expects with a fine Mexican or Southwestern dining experience.

While wine probably is not the first beverage that comes to mind for Southwestern fare, Santa Fe Café’s wine list is well thought out with high quality, reasonably priced selections. As an added bonus, most of the wines are available by the glass. All the classic wines choices are available (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir,) with a wide selection of each.

First, let’s look at Pinot Noir. This wine offers a whole spectrum of flavors depending on where it is grown and how the winemaker treats it. A Pinot Noir from a cool climate is light, delicate and earthy and works well with the fresh seafood selections. Pinot Noirs from maritime climates, where fog shrouded mornings and hot afternoon sun allow the fruit to more fully ripen and create a fuller, spicier wine, is the perfect accompaniment to pork and chicken dishes.

Many of the interesting red wines perfectly compliment Santa Fe Café’s succulent grilled selections. The robust Spanish Tempranillo or one of the several inky black, yet nuanced, Argentinian Malbecs stand out when paired with the Grilled Cowboy Cut Rib-Eye, Pork Chop Verde or the Mesquite Grilled Lamb Chops. The Sonoma Fumé Blanc enhances the taste of Southwestern-spiced cheese, chicken and seafood dishes.

The outdoor, climate-controlled Roof Top Cantina with its oak-burning adobe chimenea provides the perfect ambience to relax, unwind and enjoy cocktails and live ranchero music.

wine-1Some of the most popular Roof Top drinks come from the wine list. The red and white signature Sangrias are thirst quenching and burst with peach and citrus flavors, while the sparkling wine selections are varied, delicious and many are well priced.

Sangria, either white or the red, is the perfect accompaniment to New Mexican flavors. Have a glass while enjoying the appetizer Sampler Platter. The fruity flavors enhance the taste of the chicken flauta, duck taquito and the cornmeal oysters, while at the same time complimenting the flavors of the smoked corn and chile quesadilla and the crab cake in bell pepper sauce.

While hard to imagine that a high quality Sparkling Wine comes from New Mexico, a bottle of the Gruet Brut-New Mexican Sparkling Wine is a great choice for “the table.” It doesn’t disappoint with crispy bubbles and dry fruit flavor to enhance many of the dishes on the menu and add a celebratory feeling to the meal.

Enjoy an authentic New Mexican wine and food experience right here on Hilton Head Island at Santa Fe Café.

Written by Georgene Mortimer of Island Winery, where the perfect bottle of handcrafted artisan wine awaits at on Cardinal Road. Complimentary tastings, wine by the glass and cheese platters are available Monday-Saturday from 12:30-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12-4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or