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Mar 3, 2008 04:20 AM

Grand Canyon

I am going to the Grand Canyon - South Rim. any suggestions for good restaurants in the park or close by.

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  1. Slim pickings in those environs. We usually pack picnics and enjoy the surroundings. We've had decent lunch at either the Maswik or Yavapai Lodge(I forget which is probably comparable at both). Cafeteria style and nothing fancy but decent. The soft serve Dryer's machine was a HUGE hit with the teenagers we were traveling with.

    Haven't tried dining at El Tovar ourselves. Several reviews here on it though if you search.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ziggylu

      The El Tovar dining room is historic, gorgeous and an experience that trumps the food.

      1. re: ClaireWalter

        Yes, it's quite gorgeous putting it mildly. We had one dinner and one breakfast at the El Tovar in May 2006. The food at dinner was mediocre (and expensive, but that's to be expected). It sounded better on the menu than it tasted, and I think they are limited in their sourcing (came to that conclusion after a detailed discussion about food sourcing with our waiter at the Bryce Lodge the following night - food at Bryce and Zion Lodges even worse than El Tovar but Zion Lodge is drop dead gorgeous in location). Anyway, the breakfast at El Tovar was actually quite decent, but maybe I was not in my right mind, having gotten up in the middle of the night to watch the sun rise over the canyon. There's a nice little bar at the El Tovar with some porch seating overlooking the canyon, so that's nice for a cocktail. Reservations a must at dinner.

    2. The closest town with a selection of restaurants is Williams, the terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway. They have a dozen or so eateries--none fantastic but a foray into town might be a change from park cuisine.

      1. I have had several great meals at the main dining room at the El Tovar. I've also had two good meals at the lodge, just to the West - name escapes me now.

        The main dining room at El Tovar has impressed me on all levels, including the wine list. Service, food and wine, have all been great, and I am not easy to please on any of those counts. Still, they have managed. Now, I must caution, as some, fairly recently, have painted a different view. I do not know if things have changed, chefs, GM's, consessionaires (they are US Parks, afterall), but we've had great meals over the years.

        Since the Link to Place has killed three of my posts tonight, I will not try that, but El Tovar should appear in any search of the Grand Canyon. Also, search this board, and you will see some fairly recent reviews, plus a few of my contrary comments. These were not contrary to the posters, only contrary based on my personal experiences, albeit maybe too long ago to really reflect what one might find tomorrow.

        Still, grand dining in a century old lodge dining room with great ambiance, and "then" excellent food, wine and service. Were I going next week, El Tovar would be booked, and I'd expect the fare to be just what I had experienced for years.


        8 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          I have to say that while I don't remember anything about the food, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the wine list, as well as by the high quality of the service, when I dined at El Tovar several years ago. I remember thinking the wine selection was quite good, and fairly priced for the location.

          For OP: if you are going to dine there, don't forget that there won't be any view to speak of after the sun goes down....

          I was NOT impressed with the lodge next door, btw. OTOH, as was said by another poster, pickings are slim and other than bringing some picnic supplies you really don't have many options. In my opinion, Williams is much too far away to be doable other than as a stop on the way to or from the park (it is about 60 miles and will take more than an hour to drive).

          1. re: susancinsf


            I may have confused the "spot next door." IIRC, there are basically three lodges, each with a dining room, or sorts, and then a few little bistros/pubs. We have always done El Tovar and been impressed, all things considered. However, once we went along the rim a few dozen yards to another lodge. The dining was less upscale, than El Tovar, but was really quite nice. The food, the service and even their limited wine list worked well. We did see some other dining venues, that reminded me more of automats, or cafeterias, than restaurants. I'll pull up the South Rim and see if I can correct my mistake.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              or I could be confused too I suppose, as I don't think I remember any bistros or pubs! We were last there in winter (right before Christmas) and I am not sure everything was open...

              The place I am t hinking of 'next door' I think is Grand Canyon Lodge?

              1. re: susancinsf

                You might be thinking about the Bright Angel Lodge. IMHO, you go to El Tovar's Dining Room for the history and the ambiance. If you like the food a lot, consider it a bonus. For all Grand Canyon Ntl Park dining options, see

                1. re: ClaireWalter


                  Thanks for the link and the H/U, as always. It was the Arizona Room, that I was referring to as an additional dining spot. We knew the El Tovar, and were surprised, in a very good way, with the fare, service and even the wines, at the Arizona Room.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    The ARizona room seems to have more variety and more reasonably price dinner entrees. Does it have a view/ambience as well?

                    1. re: palmtree38

                      The Arizona Room is quite a bit less formal. Still, there is a wall with a view, that is quite nice. Seating will dictate what you can see.

                      Ambience is debatable. Nothing like the main dining room at El Tovar, IMO.



                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I think if I had a nice view but paid $150 for crappy food I would be a bit disappointed considering outside the restaurant during my stay at GC I would be seeing non stop views.