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Dec 16, 2008 05:16 PM

SEDONA and TUCSON suggestions

We're spending 4 nights in Sedona, then driving to Tucson for another 4 nights. Any suggestions for great food, local food, fresh ingredients? We're from NY and San Francisco, have had great food traveling throughout Chile and Ecuador. Previous posts about Sedona and Tucson are not so recent, but we're getting the picture that the food may be mediocre, unfortunately. Any hidden gems or new places with interesting, fresh food with high quality, local ingredients? Any special places on the way from Sedona to Tucson?Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Love Love Love Elote only for dinner...outstanding!
    I like Yavapai at Enchantment Resort but for lunch for the stunning red rock views.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Beach Chick

      Thanks for the suggestions. While neither Sedona or Tucson are culinary meccas, we did manage to eke out a few great meals. Tucson was a real challenge, I have to say, except for Mexican, which is awesome, but I'm not a person who likes to eat Mexican every day. That said, the food in Tucson was so lacking that once we settled on some Mexican places I couldn't stop eating, it was so wonderful to have great food, finally, even though it is heavier than I like to eat. To be fair, we were also there right after Christmas, and it was a very slow time, many places were closed, so maybe it was not the best time to experience Tucson. Another thing to keep in mind is that restaurants in the Southwest close fairly early, 9 or 9:30, so we got shut out of places early on.

      In Tucson, unfortunately we missed Cafe Poca Cosa, which I hear is fabulous, because they are closed Sunday and Monday. We did eat at the Little Cafe Poca Cosa for lunch, which was fantastic food in a great little joint. The ingredients are extremely fresh and well prepared, and it's the lightest Mexican food you will find. La Indita on 4th Street is also excellent, more traditional Mexican, lots of vegetarian options as well. My family and I devoured our meals there, every dish was incredibly delicious, and my teenage son even ordered another plate after he finished his first, it was so good. Again, it's a little joint, nothing fancy, totally wonderful. Revolutionary Coffee is a great little coffee house/bookstore on the same street.

      We also ate at VinTabla, a more upscale restaurant in the Catalina foothills. Everything was excellent there, the staff was extremely helpful and personable, and they have a great selection of wines (it's also a wine store). I'm not a huge fan of the suburban/mall feel of the Catalina Foothill scene, and the restaurant was almost empty at 8:45 on a Sunday night, but we would definitely go back there. Everything was delicious with high quality ingredients and inventive dishes, and they had plenty of small plates, salumi, etc. to share, which is how we like to eat. The two entrees we had were excellent as well.

      The Cup at the Congress Hotel is a great little scene. We loved the place, and the food was decent except for the Tortilla Soup which was disappointing. Great looking desserts...we were very happy to be there.

      In Sedona, good food is also a challenge. Again,restaurants close early...we went to Shugrue's one night and they had just closed down the kitchen at 8:30. Part of it is the economy, and maybe also that we were there right before Christmas. One waitress told us that people in the Southwest eat early. One night, we went to several restaurants which were closed, until finally we found the Cowboy Grill, which was the only restaurant open at 9:00. Unfortunately Cafe Elote was closed while we were there, but I have heard great things about it. We stayed at Enchantment (wonderful) and had very good food at Yavapai for breakfast and lunch (dinner prices were just to steep to justify, and you can't see the view, which is utterly outstanding in the daytime). Enchantment's smaller restaurant also has good food, their Tortilla Soup is outstanding. We found a great bakery for breakfast and lunch in town, Wildflower Bread Company. And, in the Grand Canyon, El Tovar has surprisingly excellent food, and the dining room itself is spectacular. The four of us loved our meals, very hearty food with excellent seasoning. Stay away from the salads, they're not very fresh. I had an incredible vegetarian chili that I never expected to be so delicious, my kids had a wonderfully seasoned Indian tacos, and my husband's meat chili was really good. And, the desserts were excellent.

      We ate at Shugrue's Grill, which was a lovely place but very mediocre food.

      Cowboy Grill was fun, I enjoyed my Buffalo Burger and my teenage boys liked their burgers, my husband's buffalo steak was so-so...but not any food that we would crave.

    2. Cafe Elote is our local (Sedona) favorite - excellent , authentic Mexican. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

      In Tucson Cafe Poca Cosa. Also, El Torero - not fancy, neighborhood place, next to a dance hall and really good.

      El Torero
      231 E 26th St
      Tucson, AZ


      1. love love love el guero canelo in tucson. have the carne asada burro.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. I know you're back from your trip, but in the interest of a fresh thread, I will add the following reviews (not recommendations, just reviews!) since we just came home!

            - Cowboy Grill - Looked great, but wait was too long for our group. :( Go early and be willing to split if you're over a 4 top.

            -Oaxaca Restaurant - interesting decor, and decent ish Tex Mexican - no chips & salsa for lunch ? - not the best in Sedona, but easy and on the "strip" and we were in and out. I had mole enchiladas, which were not really mole, but okay. Hubby got nachos and liked them a lot.

            -Ken's Creekside Cafe - this place has an identity crises, but the coffee, service, and eggs were all good. Nice mountain view and I think they are open later than most other places..

            -Indian Restaurant (cannot remember name, only one in town..) - went for dinner, SLOW service, and mediocre Indian dishes. The tandoori was enough to split - it was about 4-5 pieces of chicken. The naan was tasty, but the saag paneer was lousy. The place was hoppin'

            -Red Planet? Cafe - UFO themed diner. Kind of pricey for a diner, but good for families and a change of pace from Mexican. Open for b, l, d. We had really good service here, oddly enough!

            -In Jerome, AZ we went shopping and touring (love Jerome over Sedona.) . ate at Flatiron Grill - small counter service - soup & sandwiches.

            - Oak Creek, AZ (S. of Sedona a bit ) - Blue Moon Cafe. Huevos Rancheros were different than I've seen and was affordable, tasty. Coffee and service was great. They also have regular diner fare, pizza