“ N.AMERICAN (SW STATES) cuisine plus a bar serving a variety of cocktails... a place to have fun. 2 BRANCHES: Unit 13 Riverside Level, The Oracle Centre , Reading, Berkshire RG1 2AG. Tel: +44 (0)118 958 2822; 75 Upper Street, London N1 0NU. Tel: +44 (0)20 „
* Prices may differ from that shown
The Santa Fe, I will be basing my opinions on is their Bluewater Branch. Bluewater is one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe, it is situated in Greenhithe Kent. Santa Fe is a Mexican restaurant located on the lower level of Bluewater shopping centre, just underneath the cinema. As I work in Bluewater, we always need somewhere in the shopping centre to have a meal for birthdays, leaving parties or after work cocktails and Santa Fe always does the job. I work with a wide range of ages from 16-64 and Santa Fe is always first choice for venues as it offers something for everyone and we all enjoy it. The inside is very atmospheric with dimmed lighting, soft black leather sofas in the bar area and sexy salsa music playing in the background. Sunday is Salsa night, where they transform the stage area of the restaurant into a salsa dance floor and professional dance teachers come in and teach Salsa. If you are a diner and have ordered a meal from the main menu you receive a free lesson, I think if you don't have the meal it is £3.50. It is so much fun, they split you into groups depending on ability and then you line up men one side, ladies the other - you move along the line and take turns dancing with the different people, everyone is there to have fun and you can really get into the music. The food is so delicious they do a good selection of starters and main courses chicken, steak, seafood, salads and burgers. I always have Chile and lime tiger shrimp for starter, it comes with a little slice of toast and some salad this costs about £6.00, then for main course I have one of my favorite diners ever - Lime and Tequila marinated pork with spicy rice - yummy yummy yummy, this is about £10.00, some people at work say it is a little on the expensive side but I think well worth it, the food isn't too expensive its the cocktails a a fiver a go that add up!! Speaking of cocktails, you don't have to eat there to enjoy Santa Fe, we often pop down after work to enjoy a cocktail or two. They don't have as much enthusiasm or pizazz as the cocktail waiters in TGI's and sometimes it can take a good five minutes or so for them to make up a cocktail but it is a more relaxed environment and better for chatting. They have this amazing after eight cocktail that you have to try. I would recommend Santa Fe to anyone wanting a good fun night, couples and groups of friends. I have never been there with my children so I am not sure how child friendly it is but they did have a childrens menu and high chairs available. So I am sure it would be suitable, although perhaps not when the slasa is going on as it gets very noisy and busy.
Santa Fe is one of the many new restaurants at the Oracle. It has some great food, and some not so great food, but it doesn’t have very much food. The menu only has about 10 main courses on it. That may sound like a lot, and it probably is for a pub, but for a restaurant I would expect a bit more selection. The starters are the usual selection of Tortilla Chips and other dip things, but nothing that stands out. The main courses are a few char-grilled things, some with rice, some with the delicious spicy chips. The green chilli burger (in a wrap) is good, as is the steak. Rocky’s Pot Roast is an over cooked hunk of meat with a rather plain tomato sauce (I guess that that’s just not to my taste). One thing that is really recommended is asking for some mayonnaise. They will bring some spicy mayonnaise which goes superbly with the chips. That’s probably my main reason for going back there. If you go before 7 pm then there are some good wraps, but, rather disapointingly, those are not available at dinner time. The drinks in Santa Fe are good, in particular they have a very good Margarita selection. I love the gold coin Margarita, which is well worth the little extra cost. They also have a good selection of cocktails and the usual bottled beers (Bud and so on) and a fair wine selection. The overall atmosphere in the place is very lively, with a very busy bar area to go to after you have eaten. The restaurant also gets busy, so make sure you book if you want to go after about 8 pm.
Situated near to Debenhams, the Santa Fe is jewel amonst the over-priced, over-cooked and over-crowded bars and eateries that are cashing in on the shopping sensation that is the Oracle in Reading. Its even worth NOT booking so that you can sip one of the various Margaritas at the bar while you wait for your table to be called. There must be about 20 different varieties, certainly enough to keep you going back to try "just one more". The menu is a delight, enough variety to satisfy any palate and the waitress was more than happy to guide my partner through the less spicy delicacies. We started with shrimp, the cajun spiced version that had just the right amount of bite, my partner chose steak for his main course (delicious, he exclaimed, cuts like butter) and I chose a spicy Hoki (fish) dish from the specials board. We shared a dessert, a huge brownie served with home-made ice cream. The coffee maker was playing up, our cappucinos arrived well after we had finished pudding, so the waitress deducted them, and the pudding, from the bill by way of an apology. The bill, therefore, was a modest £47 for the two of us, which included two drinks each. Excellent food, efficient service, comfortable surroundings.