If you are planning to visit Albuquerque for any length of time and are interested in food (since you're reading this, I believe that can be assumed), do not fail to check out Gil's Thrilling (and Filling) Blog. He writes thoroughly and knowledgeably about every restaurant in the area worth going to, and--almost as important for a place like ABQ--a lot of places NOT worth going to. I was quite disappointed that I only found his blog on the last day of my most recent trip there. Still, it led me to Phở #1, so it's all good.
When my friend Thomas told me about Monte Carlo Restaurant, he thought it was my kind of place, and he was absolutely right. I later discovered that it had been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives": while that host is unwatchable (is there anything more irritating than Guy Fieri talking about... well, anything, much less something as important as food? I think not), the show's research team definitely knows what it is about (I wonder if they have any openings?). And finally, I discovered that Gil has written about it much more thoroughly and persuasively than I ever could. So, in brief: go! This place is fabulousness embodied, in a style that has practically disappeared. With dark paneling, neon signs, and Naugahyde half-moon banquettes, it looks like nothing has changed in 40 years, and it could not exist anywhere else but the American Southwest. It's owned by a Greek family that understands food. The steaks are great and the prices reasonable. And one of it's entrances is through the liquor store with which it shares a building. Monte Carlo Restaurant is what is now, unfortunately, a one-of-a-kind experience and should not be missed.
Monte Carlo Restaurant
3916 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87105