Classic Homestyle New Mexican Cuisine
321 Rio Grande NW
Breakfast . Lunch . Dinner
Established in 1978El Portal means frontdoor, entry, gateway and...
Come on in at Monica's El Portal!
Enjoy home cooking flavored with tradition,
classic New Mexican cuisine and family legend.
A welcoming HUB of ABQ locals who know
the importance of family and enjoy delicious
NEW MEXICAN FOOD.
For 41 years Monica
has been accumulating regulars.
Many don't need a menu and sometimes
the waitress puts their order in before they're seated.
Mr. and Mrs. Chavez,
(featured in photo above, sitting behind Monica)
come to eat at the restaurant every other Sunday
and have been doing it for over ten years.
They order the same thing every time.
Cora orders chile rellenos with green chile
and Jimmie orders them with red chile.
They knew Monica's dad, Rudy,
and told me a quick story about him
at the restaurant from years ago.
A lot of people knew Monica's dad,
they knew her mom and grandfather
AND they know her entire family -
The Baca Family.The Bacas were founding fathers
of Albuquerque - A multi-generational hard
working ambitious family - owning real estate,
restaurants and other businesses
for hundreds of years.
Monica has inherited that Baca pioneering
spirit and work ethic and proved it when
she opened El Portal at 17 with no fear.
The restaurant has always been a hub
for the Baca family and many others too.
Consistently good home cooking and
friendly atmosphere keeps them coming
back generation after generation.
Monica proudly and rightfully boasts
that she does all the cooking from scratch,
by hand, and still uses her grandfather's pot.
She roasts and peels all of her own chile,
close to 100 bushel bags per season!
The food is hearty, perfectly seasoned,
thoroughly smothered and has not changed
much over the years, because you don't mess
with family tradition or 4 decades of experience.
Monica does all the classics to perfection
including: baked goods, handmade tortillas,
fresh tamales, natillas (pictured below)
and so much more...
The natillas are Bill's job, Monica's husband
and WOW are they good!
El Portal offers many vegetarian dishes.
Both of their chile sauces are vegetarian
and because they don't add any flour,
gluten free too. Monica's offers daily specials,
an a la carte menu, desserts, salads, steak
and mucho mucho mas.
See menu for details.
Beer . Mimosas . Margaritas.
Imports . domestics . local crafts
wine and wine margaritas.
See menu for details.
Monica purchases locally grown produce and meats.
The sauces are all made with locally grown
chile from Limitar, NM. The farmer is a friend
of the family. ha. True.
The salsa has a perfect kick!
You know those New Mexican farmers (magicians)
and then Monica adds her touch. Spot on!
Lots of seperate dining rooms
for small private parties.
They don't really cater, but call ahead
and Monica will accomodate large
take out/pick-up orders.
Outdoor SeatingThey have lots of outdoor patio dining space.
Sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous New Mexican weather.
CLOSED MONDAYTues/Wed 7am - 3pm
Thurs/Fri 7am - 8pm