Sedona, AZ 2008
I just got back from a 6 day Spring Break trip to Sedona, AZ. Before I left, I read many Chowhound boards about the best eats in town. I'm writing now to report my (very resent)dinner experiences with many of the places recommended. May this be a guide to those traveling to Sedona in the near future.
Heart Line Cafe: Very good, contemporary American cuisine. Entrees are about $25 (reasonable considering the quality of the food), and the atmosphere is cozy and quaint due to the restaurant's small size. The patio was particularly cute, although it tends to cold at night in Sedona. I had the pork tenderloin, which was both seasoned perfectly (very peppery, which I like) and very moist. I also highly recommend the roasted pear and butternut soup for starters - creative, creamy, and delicious. *I received a tip from our waiter not to order the beef short ribs, as that is one of the most inconsistent dishes on the menu.*
Cafe Elote: Fantastic. The best Mexican I have ever had and my pick for the best restaurant in Sedona. The chips and salsa were worth coming for alone. I had the arrachera asada (much like carne asada) and it was ridiculously good. My dad had the lamb shank, and that was even better. Our waiter was originally from Mexico and seemed to think that most of the food on the menu was very authentic and in-keeping with upscale Mexican cuisine. The location of Elote (above the King's Ransom hotel) seems a bit odd at first, but the interior is very nice and the elevated patio provides a great view of the red rocks.
Oak Creek Brewery: Good, solid American food. In my experience, micro-breweries tend to produce solid food for very good prices, and this brewery was no different. I had the etouffe, which was actually better than I expected it to be. It had a good spicy kick, something that's hard to find for a person who wants some real heat and not paprika. The brewery is in Talaquepaque, which also gives you the chance to browse some of the interesting shops and galleries in that very cool, old Spanish-style community.
El Rincon: TERRIBLE. Do be put-off by the cheesy decor and menu when you walk in; the food is just as hokey. Not real Mexican cuisine or even "Arizon-style Mexican" as they claim it to be by any stretch. My mom made the comment that she'd had better chips and salsa at a Chi-Chis, and I agree. The entrees were (thankfully) more tolerable than that awful generic salsa they set out, but that's not saying much. I had a beef burrito topped enchilada-style with red chili sauce. The burrito was full of meat, but the beef had no depth of flavor and the red chili sauce had absolutely no heat. It was below mediocre. We noticed before we left that we were sitting at table that was dedicated to some Sedona couple that had had, I kid you not, a weekly Tuesday night reservation there for the past 25 years. That was hilarious - someone had eaten that crap over 1200 TIMES when they could have eaten ANYWHERE else. Needless to say, do not dine with these people with no taste buds. Skip this place.
Dahl and DiLuca: Suprisingly delicious. I wasn't quite sure what to expect out of this Italian restaurant, but they put out some great food. The duck soup was a terrific starter to my meal, and I was equally impressed by my pasta containing calamari and mushrooms. We had an older gentleman as a waiter who was both hilarious and charming. They really make an effort to charm their customers at this place. The decor, including multiple chandeliers and rich wood tones, is lavish for the $15 entre price range. There was even a live jazz piano/bass duet, and the bassist (a grad student from ASU) was phenomenol.
Lunch recommendations - for a quick lunch, we loved the Euro Deli and the Wildflower Cafe. The Euro Deli offers great made-to-order sandwiches and salads using all European-imported meats and cheeses. They sell many other European food products in the store's front market section.
The Wildflower Cafe is basically AZ's version of Penera Bread, though I found the food to be a bit fresher at Wildflower and the decor to be a but funkier and more original. Basically, they offer some very solid soups and sandwiches, especially under a time pinch.
We just ate at dahl and diluca. we made reservations so we didnt have to wait as others did. i ordered the pollo rustica and dh had pollo rosemary in a marsala sauce. we were both very pleased. my fetuccine was house made. this was our first meal in sedona. I thought it was busy, noisy and our conversation was difficult but the food was delicious. thank you chowhounds.... there are so many restaurants here and I would never know where to eat without you! this crowd was at 8 pm on thursday night!
Just got back from Sedona as well. Haven't posted my entire dining experience other than a failed dinner at L'Auberge.
However, we also had a wonderful meal at Dahl and DeLuca. We didn't quite know what to expect, and the experience was not what we thought it would be. Food lived up to its reputation, restaurant is gorgeous and service was wonderful as well. Only thing I didn't like (and, this is just my personal taste in dining) was the live music on Saturday evening. Very hard to have a conversation with my husband while seated so close to the person playing, although the jazz music itself was extremely good plus the seating is quite close together so the noise level is a bit high.
But, the food is what matters and it shines here. We're from the NYC/NJ area where great Italian can be had everywhere, which is why we were a bit worried but D&D did make us very, very happy and we'd return in a heartbeat.