Our Favorite Sedona Restaurants
Sedona is blessed with many outstanding restaurants that offer a wide range of cuisines, price ranges, and atmospheres. There is enough diversity of restaurants to select from to satisfy the tastes of just about anyone. So, recommending one restaurant over another probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. Even my publishing partner Vicky and I have somewhat different tastes in food so sometimes disagree on our preference of restaurants. Just like many other people, we have our favorite spots that we enjoy and frequent on a regular basis. Most of the time we are on the same page, but not always. We tend to gravitate to the restaurants that are reasonably priced, that cater more to the locals than the tourists, tend to be smaller venues and consistently serve high quality menu items.
Rather than recommending one place to eat over another, we want to share with our readers the restaurants that we enjoy, and let you make your own decision. We’re sure you could find others with a completely different list, but that is what makes the Sedona dining experience so special. Whatever your opinion, we hope that you will share your experiences with us. In the meantime, here are some of the restaurants that we enjoy. Some may surprise you, and others will not.
I am a huge Mexican food fan. I like spicy Mexican food, and in the past have found that the smaller mom-and-pop restaurants tend to offer more authentic, better tasting food. I have been hard pressed to find restaurants in the Sedona area that completely meet my stringent standards. It seems that most of the Mexican restaurants serve their food with the tourists in mind, so from my perspective, the food is bland and unimpressive. I’m sure that many would disagree with this.
One restaurant in Sedona that approaches my preferences is Plaza Bonita. Located in the Bashas’ shopping Center, it is somewhat off the beaten track for tourists. The restaurant is nicely decorated, and serves very good Mexican food. They also have a very hot salsa that will definitely make your eyes water and burn your tongue— but, you have to ask for it. Salsa normally served at most other Mexican restaurants in Sedona may be tasty but is nowhere near as hot. Plaza Bonita has other restaurants around Arizona, including Prescott and Cottonwood. I highly recommend the Macho Burrito and the Expresso Burrito, but bring a big appetite! These are big burritos. I have to add that my publishing partner, Vicky, is not nearly as crazy about this restaurant as I am. She much prefers some of the ones I’ll talk about next on my list.
One of Vicky’s favorites is Elote Cafe, known for its upscale, gourmet Mexican cuisine. Located at the Arabella Hotel off of SR 179, the Elote Cafe does not take reservations, and unless you arrive at the restaurant an hour or so before it opens, it is very likely you will wait in line for up to an hour or more. However, the food is definitely worth the wait. The menu is pricy when compared to other Sedona restaurants, but it is incredibly delicious, and definitely worth it. You’ll find things on this menu that you won’t find on any other Mexican restaurant menu, but then you learn that this unusual Mexican fare is the creative cuisine of a celebrated, award winning chef who designs every meal with an expert hand. In fact, he chef will often surprise his patrons, appearing in the dining area to greet them and talk about the food. Lamb Adobo and Sea Bass Asado are two entrees that we enjoy which are unusual for a typical Mexican restaurant! But like I’ve said—this is no typical restaurant. One of our favorite appetizers is the Elote, a tasty fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and cojita cheese.
We are big sushi fans, and have discovered that the restaurant that serves the best sushi for our tastes is Minami, in the Village of Oak Creek. It is very small, and only seats about 30 or so customers. It is not a fancy setting, but, in our opinion, it is among the best sushi restaurants in the Sedona area. What we like about their sushi rolls is that they don’t seem to use as much rice as others. The sushi is always fresh and service is excellent. Because the place is so small, we recommend that you arrive for an early dinner to ensure that you are able to get a table. Another choice for sushi would be Hiro’s Restaurant, located on Highway 89 in West Sedona. Like Minami, it is very small but also serves excellent sushi.
And of course, if you’re really desperate for sushi but don’t have a lot of time, there is always the Safeway Supermarket, located on SR 89A in West Sedona. Let me guess — you’re shocked that we would suggest a grocery store for sushi, but it’s made fresh daily on site, and reasonably priced. Very often we’ll stop by on the way home and pick up sushi when we don’t have a lot of time to either cook dinner or dine out. We have never been disappointed.
Another small and cozy venue for Italian food that we like is Pago’s, in the Village of Oak Creek, just outside Sedona. This is a very reasonably priced restaurant that has a full menu of Italian selections and appears to cater to locals more so than tourists. The restaurant serves great pizza and you must try the calamari if you go. We never have a problem getting in for dinner, and never have been disappointed.
Cucina Rustica Restaurant, also located in the Village of Oak Creek, serves excellent Mediterranean/Italian food. It is higher priced but very well appointed, with great atmosphere, great service, and great food. Far from having a typical meal, you are treated to a unique culinary experience. It is also located in the Village of Oak Creek, not far from Pago’s.
You will find many restaurants in Sedona that serve good hamburgers, but one that we particularly enjoy is the Spoke And Wheel Tavern. Located on the Los Abrigados property, directly behind Tlaquepaque, it features whimsical, bicycle-related decor in a restaurant/sports bar combination. The menu is reasonably priced, and the burgers are big, juicy and quite unique. One of my favorites is the Hatch Green Chili Burger. The menu is filled with other specialties, such as chicken chorizo sausage street tacos and a remarkable selection of pizzas. The menu is very diverse, and offers enough variety for just about anyone’s taste buds.
Not far away from the Spoke And Wheel Tavern is the Oak Creek Brewery, located near one of the entrances to Tlaquepaque. One of the reasons we enjoy the Oak Creek Brewery is that they offer a signature line of locally brewed craft beers. It’s the perfect lunch spot if you want a burger with delicious onion rings and specialty ales. But great burgers isn’t all that they offer on the menu. One of my menu favorites is the Fresh Grilled Mahi Mahi Salad. Another one that we enjoy is the Beer Battered North Atlantic Cod Fish and Chips. So, great food, great beer, and a pleasant atmosphere add up to one of our favorite hangouts.
Also inside Tlaquepaque, Vicky likes the Secret Garden Cafe. She especially enjoys their selection of quiche, burgers, grilled sandwiches and salads. If you’re hankering for a memorable dessert, Secret Garden displays fresh-made gourmet desserts daily, such as their carrot cake “on steroids” so to speak, which is just incredible. This restaurant offers a pet-friendly garden patio too—nice when you don’t want to leave your pet behind when you go out to eat.
Another dining spot we like with a distinctly different atmosphere and menu is Reds Restaurant. Reds is located in the Sedona Rouge Hotel on Highway 89A in West Sedona. The atmosphere is contemporary with clean lines and a bright, open, roomy dining area. It’s a popular place for lunch and the menu is varied and reasonably priced. We are salad fans and the Reds Cobb Salad is a great selection if you are looking for an item that’s not too filling. Another item I really like is the Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich, The portion is generous and loaded with a genuine southwest flavor. So, a great atmosphere, an interesting menu, and quality food add up to a great selection for lunch.
Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek offer a great selection of Thai restaurants. If you are a fan of Thai food, one that we like is Thai Spices. Located in West Sedona, this restaurant offers familiar Thai selections at very reasonable prices. Some our favorites are Chicken with Broccoli and Cashew Nuts, Pad Thai, Pad See, and Broccoli on the Wok. As an appetizer, try the Thai Egg Rolls. You will not be disappointed!
One of our favorite spots for breakfast is T. Carl’s Restaurant at Poco Diablo. Not only do we enjoy the food, but it’s a real treat is to eat breakfast on the covered deck overlooking a meticulously manicured golf course with incredible views. The red rocks of Airport Mesa serve as the backdrop to the golf course, rounding out a beautiful and serene setting. Located on State Route 179 about 1.5 miles from the intersection of SR89A and SR 179, Poco Diablo not only has a great breakfast menu, but they also serve a first-class brunch that includes the standard breakfast items as well as an extensive selection of fruit and pastries. One of my favorite menu items is the Huevos Rancheros, and the Eggs Benedict is also a great choice. Surprisingly, the prices are very reasonable.
At first glance, you wouldn’t think Café Jose’s would be the go-to place for a good breakfast. But, for a quick breakfast that is consistently high quality and reasonably priced, it is another of our favorites. Café Jose is located in the Safeway Shopping Center in West Sedona. On the inside, it appears to be a pretty typical café, but the menu offers a wide variety of American and Mexican entrées, and delivers great service. There’s a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Staying true to my taste buds, one of my favorites is Machaca and Eggs, one of the Mexican breakfast entrées. Breakfast enthusiasts will find a great selection of omelets, pancakes, scrambles and breakfast combos. Café Jose is off the radar for tourists and seems to cater more to the locals. But if you happen to discover it during your visit, you won’t be disappointed.
More Sedona Restaurants
Sedona restaurants — dining reports on restaurants in Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek, and surrounding region.