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Apr 10, 2009 07:36 AM

Cafe Elote in Sedona, AZ

We will be spending 1 night in Sedona, AZ and are looking for someplace good for dinner. We are traveling with our 9 year old, who is a fairly adventurous eater. We like Mexican. Italian is out for food allergy reasons. On reviewing past posts, it looks like Cafe Elote might be a good place for us. The most recent post was about a year ago. Is it still good? Does anyone have any favorite, not-to-miss dishes there? Any other suggestions (lunch places) welcome too.

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  1. I think your search parameters were faulty; there are plenty of recent (and mostly glowing) comments about Cafe Elote. We ate there about 3 months ago and thought it was wonderful.

    1. We ate there two nights ago and it was incredible. Definitely an actually excellent restaurant as opposed to one just coasting on being in a tourist area. There was a local lady at the bar who commented that this is the only place in town that doesn't need to run coupons or sketchy specials to get people in all the time, because they're always packed. And be warned, we waited about an hour and 20 minutes for a table after arriving at 7:00 on a Wednesday. They don't take reservations and are immensely popular. So, either arrive early or come equipped for a wait! (I felt like it was absolutely worth it.)

      The portions are quite large, so we split two small plates and one large one: the elote appetizer (a crazy delicious mix of roasted corn, spicy mayo, and cotija cheese), the duck flautas, and the house-smoked chicken enchiladas. Dessert was the ABSURDLY huge corn cake with goat cheese caramel; we finished maybe half of it (tops) - but I wish I could have eaten more. :D

      1. The menu of Cafe Elote is similar to Los Sombreros in Scottsdale. I believe Jeff Smedstad is the creator of both. Based on that assumption, I would go with the slow roasted dishes made with Pork, or the Lamb Adobo. The Carne Asada and Snapper have just been okay, at Los Sombreros, IMO. The small plates and desserts are all good, in my experience, but, I haven't tried them all.

        1. We were at Cafe Elote Wednesday night too. We arrived a bit later then veraciousjess and waited about an hour and a half (they take reservations for parties of 5 or more). The nightly special margaritas (grapefruit) helped pass the time; others in our group of four had the El Dorado. We started with three appetizers. As usual, we always get the elote, and this time tried the guacamole and the delicious fundido de charro with homemade chorizo, carnitas, mushrooms, and roasted poblano peppers. So good, but filling. Mundo, our waiter always remembers us, and he always has a great suggestion for me. This time he told me to get the puerco en cascabel - chunks of slow roasted tender pork in a cascabel chili sauce. HIGHLY RECOMMEND - it was excellent. I think I like it even better than my previous favorite on the menu (the delicious lamb adobo). At Mundo's suggestion, E got the smoked chicken enchiladas, but had the kitchen make it with mole poblano, and our friends got the pepitas crusted snapper and the lamb adobo. Sangrias and a bottle of local Arizona wine - Keeling Schaeffer's grenache - rounded out another great meal at Elote Cafe.

          For lunches, we went to Cowboy Club (very good buffalo cheeseburger with sweet potato fries), and Tii Gavi at the Enchantment Resort (our group enjoyed the burger, cobb salad, Asian seafood noodle salad, and fish tacos). Our last dinner was at Cucina Rustica. I know you said no Italian, but had to mention such a great place. EXCELLENT meal all around. The men had veal, my friend had the bolognese, and I loved my cioppino special. Enjoyed two Arizona wines here - Pillsbury Roan Red by the glass, and a couple of bottles of Arizona Stronghold red.

          Elote Cafe
          771 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. It sounds delicious, and I'm looking forward to our meal there. We are a group of 5, so luckily have reservations and won't have to wait.

            1. re: mountaincachers

              We are back from our trip. Thanks to all for their suggestions. We loved our meal at Cafe Elote. Yet again, I am gratefule to Chow...I never would have picked out a Mexican restaurant in a roadside, dated looking hotel. Without recommendations, you never know where you might find a great meal. Fortunately we were able to get reservations for our group of five. (We got there early...around 6 and the wait wasn't long then, but by 7 or so the wait was an hour and a half. This was on a Wednesday night). We sampled a number of the drinks from the bar...all were good and not overly sweet. Our table split the duck flautas, the corn tamale, and the jicama salad. All of the appetizers were excellent. I got a beef special (slow cooked in a delicious chili sauce), my husband got the lamb adobo, and my son got the carnitas. The two other people got a shrimp dish which I didn't taste. I thought the slow cooked dishes (beef and lamb) were the best. Would highly recommend this restaurant and would return again in a second. I'm looking forward to the cookbook coming out so I can try some of the recipes at home.

          2. Amazingly, we were also in Sedona last week. We ate at Elote Cafe and it was amazing. Do not miss the Elote appetizer, I have been wondering how to re-create that dish ever since we ate there.

            If you are going to grab breakfast in the morning, we enjoyed Wildflower Bakery's lemon ricotta pancakes.

            12 Replies
            1. re: banana_peel

              that elote appetizer sounds delicious! I read that they have seating outside, is it in a rear garden or is it an area where I'd be allowed to have my dog with me?

              1. re: micapu

                It was too chilly to be outside when we were there, so we didn't really look at the outside area carefully. As I recall, it was more like a balcony than a garden. It looked like people would have to enter through the restaurant, so I would guess no on the dog question. (Though again, we didn't look carefully to see if there was another entrance) It might be worth you calling and asking.

                1. re: mountaincachers

                  Elote's outside seating is on a balcony/patio that is accessed through the restaurant - no doggies!

                  1. re: janeh

                    I just got off the phone with the owner confirming reservations for our table of 5. They said that the outside patio is not covered so it all depends on the weather..

                    umm I read outdated hotel we are staying there I hope it is okey it gets lots of good reviews for the value on TA..

                    1. re: palmtree38

                      Elote's at the King's Ransom hotel. I've never seen the guest rooms, but the pool area is very nice and the location is good. Elote serves great margaritas and, should you choose to indulge, there's no need for a designated driver if you're staying right there!

                      1. re: janeh

                        You got the right idea! glad to hear about the location too. There is no pricing at Elote is it on the higher end? i read they have some good margaritas. I just love mexican and being from Toronto area we have so many ethnic types of foods but mexican is not plentifull!

                        I may change my resservation time as we dont even get our rental car in phonenix until noon plus delays and a taxi to get it and 2 hour drive plus grocery pickup a 5:30pm ressie might be cutting it close!

                        1. re: palmtree38

                          Elote is moderately priced - we often get guacamole and several "small plates" to share. Everything is delicious. If you're in the Village of Oak Creek - between the interstate and Sedona proper - Los Betos has the best Mexican fast food in town, everything fresh and tasty. It's next to the Giant gas station and a good stop after a Bell Rock hike. The horchata is a drive thru favorite on a hot day - that and the Jamaica are nice, cooling traditional Mexican warm weather drinks.

                        2. re: janeh

                          We've stayed at King's Ransom, exactly for that reason - to enjoy a relaxing evening at Elote Cafe and their great margaritas and enjoy a bottle of Arizona wine. Good value for the money, pleased with our room, and as you mentioned, pretty pool and hot tub/courtyard area, with views of the red rocks from some rooms. There's also a hiking trail out back and complimentary breakfast.

                          I love everything at Elote Cafe, but my favorite entrees are the slow-cooked dishes like the lamb adobo and puerco de cascabel.

                          1. re: Rubee

                            My husband loves lamb I let him know about this suggestion. thankyou....

                            How far of a drive would the Los Betos be from Kings Ransom???

                            We were going to do our first saturday night at Elote. next day breakfast at hotel and jeep tours with lunch at Red rock diner and then cowboy . We have a lunch and dinner left to decide. the Bakery might be the lunch plan.

                            1. re: palmtree38

                              Google maps puts the distance from the hotel to Los Betos at a little under 6 miles:


                              Los Betos Mexican Food
                              6503 Highway 179, Sedona, AZ

                              1. re: hohokam

                                Whats your opinion on the Cowboy club in sedona? We have a dinner at Cafe Elote and will need two more suggestions for dinner. We have a complimentary lunch at a bbq place and will need two lunch suggestions

                                Picasso;s Pizzaria might be a consideration for dinner as recommended on TA for good pizza.

                                1. re: palmtree38

                                  I haven't eaten in Sedona in years, so I couldn't tell you anything about any of those places.

                                  You might try starting another thread in which you lay out what you're looking for in Sedona (which meals, what price range, what kind of atmosphere). Be sure to specify which days of the week you're interested in as well.

                                  Good luck.