In the Old Town area, Chef du Jour (119 San Pasquale Ave. SW, 505/247-8998) is a cozy operation, with a big chunk of the floor space occupied by the open kitchen. The weekly lunch menu (served 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues.–Fri., $10) is hearty and unpretentious, and always features a couple of great veggie options. Bottomless herbal ice tea and service direct from the owner, who calls everyone “dear,” are just icing on the cake. Dinner (5–9 p.m. Thurs.–Sat., $20) is a bit more showy, but the vibe is still very down to earth.
Good for a lunch break, or just a break from chile, La Crêpe Michel, tucked in a courtyard on the back side of the art museum (400 San Felipe St. NW, 505/242-1251, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 6–9 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $9), serves French standards—not just crepes, but also quiches and croque monsieurs—in a snug front room and a covered back patio.
With sandwiches made from house-smoked meats and mellow hip-hop on the stereo, the Sunshine Café (1134 Mountain Rd. NW, 505/242-1499, 6:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 6:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun.) is a cool spot in an up-and-coming area midway between Old Town  and Downtown . Every night there’s a different special hot dish—a creative pasta, say—plus those sandwiches with house-smoked meats. Occasionally a band sets up in one corner.