Cocina Azul is a family-owned New Mexican café founded by Frank Barela, Sr. and his wife, Evelyn in 2009. How did Cocina Azul grow into one of Albuquerque’s best New Mexican restaurants, plus a renowned catering business?
It’s been hard work building and growing our restaurant, but like everything on our menu, we created our restaurant from scratch! Delicious New Mexican food and the best service you could ask for has allowed us to expand our restaurant as well as our catering services.
The secret is our authentic New Mexican food using recipes that have been passed down through our family for generations. Everything created at Cocina Azul is cooked to the standards of our owner, Frank Barela, Sr. Frank’s passion for authentic New Mexico cooking began when he was still a child learning to cook in his family’s kitchen. Today, Frank recreates his family’s favorite recipes at our New Mexican café, ensuring that each item on our menu is an authentic taste of New Mexico. Frank has dedicated much of his life to recreating our family’s recipes, right down to his award-winning green chile.
About Our Award-Winning Green Chile
You know that saying, “pretty please with a cherry on top”? Well, at Cocina Azul, we like to say “pretty please with CHILE on top!” We’re obsessed with creating the best green and red chile in Albuquerque made the authentic way.
So what makes our chile different? Frank soaks the chile pods in spices before blending and straining them. This achieves the proper texture that is a hallmark of authentic New Mexico green chile sauce. We don’t use flour or cumin in our chile and we ONLY use green chile grown in Hatch, New Mexico.
Cocina Azul—Mountain Rd. & 12th St.
Our original location opened in 2009 at the intersection of Mountain Rd. & 12th St. Before we moved in, this building was the former location of the Sunshine Market. Founded in 1925, the Sunshine Market was the linchpin of the neighborhood for more than 75 years until it finally closed its doors. For a short time, Sunshine Market turned into a restaurant called Sunshine Café, but the restaurant closed in 2008, leaving the beautiful, rustic space open once again.
In 2009, it was time for Frank and Evelyn Barela to move in, and Cocina Azul along with them. This location now features a cozy dining space that provides an intimate, family-like atmosphere. We renovated the building, keeping the beautiful woodwork on the ceiling while upgrading the interior. Cocina Azul invites you to slow down and savor every bite of the delicious, authentic New Mexican cuisine you are about to enjoy.
Fresh Comida de la Casa
We pride ourselves on serving fresh New Mexican food daily. When you stop by our Albuquerque restaurant, you’ll feel like you’re surrounded by family—because you are!
Enjoy some of the best breakfasts in Albuquerque by stopping in for a $5 breakfast burrito or huevos rancheros, a New Mexican classic. For the best dinner in the city, try our half-pound angus burgers topped with green chile, or our Azul bowls. Everything is made in-house and we source from local ingredients whenever possible.
Questions? Contact Us.
At Cocina Azul, our motto is panza llena, corazon contento—full belly, happy heart. You’ll enjoy a relaxed atmosphere that allows you to take your time and savor the authentic taste of New Mexico that our chefs create. For questions about our New Mexican café or catering services, contact us today.