Filled with contemporary artwork (for sale) and generally packed to the gills, Pasqual's is one of those restaurants that locals brave only during off-hours. You can make a reservation for dinner, but for lunch or the insanely popular breakfasts, plan to stand in line (there’s some consolation in the fact that the breakfast menu is available till 3 p.m.). Chef Katharine Kagel sources organic, local food when dreaming up such eclectic southwestern fare as fried blue-and-yellow cornmeal mush with two eggs and pure maple syrup, and free-range chicken-mole enchiladas with cilantro rice and cojita cheese.
Tip: Even when there's a line out the door, check inside to see if you can snag a seat at the first-come, first-served communal table in the center of the room.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.