Flagstaff, for its size, offers an amazing number of places to eat. But then, it has a lot of hungry tourists and students to feed. Most restaurants cater to the eat-and-run crowd. You'll find the well-known chains and fast-food places on the main roads, but with a little effort you can discover some unique restaurants and cafes. Come downtown for atmosphere—old-fashioned home-style eateries abound.
You'll find plenty of supermarkets in the shopping centers scattered around town. For fruits and veggies, visit Flagstaff Farmers Market (1901 N. 4th St., 928/774-4500, open daily) just off E. Route 66; backpackers will like the bulk foods and dried fruit section. New Frontiers (corner of Butler Ave. and Sawmill, 928/774-5747, open daily) specializes in organic foods, and has a deli and bakery.
Downtown (north of the tracks)
Josephine's (503 N. Humphreys St., 928/779-3400, www.josephinesrestaurant.com, Sat.-Sun. brunch in summer, Mon.-Fri.—also Sat. in summer—for lunch, Mon.-Sat. for dinner, $14-24) describes itself as a modern American bistro, and since the U.S.A. is a melting pot of many cultures, the menu reflects international influences. Popular choices include the New York strip steak, seared ahi tuna, and Mediterranean lamb meat loaf; there's at least one vegetarian item. The long wine list includes many available by the glass. Lunches of sandwiches, soups, and salads run $6.50-8.75. Depending on the weather, you may wish to sit near the fireplace inside or out on the front patio. The restaurant is in a 1911 Craftsman Bungalow of native malpais stone; reservations are recommended.
Charly's Pub and Grille (in the old Weatherford Hotel at 23 N. Leroux St., 928/779-1919, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-20) serves good American and Southwestern food. Monsoon on the Rim (6 E. Aspen Ave., 928/226-8844, daily for lunch and dinner, $7-11) presents New Asian Cuisine and a sushi bar next to Heritage Square; seating options include the main dining room, some tables out front, and the Martini Bar (smoking). Downtown Diner (7 E. Aspen Ave., 928/774-3492, daily for breakfast and lunch, and dinner, $7-8) dishes out inexpensive American food; large photos of historic Flagstaff decorate the dining room. Mountain Oasis (11 E. Aspen Ave., 928/214-9270, $8-16) has a tasty mix of Mediterranean, Southwestern, and international flavors with many vegetarian options; open daily for lunch and dinner. Pasto (19 E. Aspen Ave., 928/779-1937, www.pastorestaurant.com, $11-22) serves Italian food, including vegetarian and wheat-free options, in a casual fine-dining atmosphere; open daily for lunch in summer and nightly for dinner year-round; reservations are recommended.
Cafe Espress (16 N. San Francisco St., 928/774-0541, daily for breakfast and lunch, Tues.-Sun. for dinner, $7-8) serves homemade natural foods, including many vegetarian items, coffees from the espresso bar, and baked goodies from the oven. Kathy's (7 N. San Francisco St., 928/774-1951, daily for breakfast and lunch, Wed.-Sat. for dinner, $5-6) is a cozy cafe with American standbys and a few exotic items such as Aussie burgers, tofu rolls, and Navajo tacos. Racha Thai (104 N. San Francisco St. in the Monte Vista Hotel, 928/774-3003, Tues.-Sat. for lunch, Tues.-Sun. for dinner, $8-13) offers flavorful Thai curries, including an unusual curry pot pie, on its long menu.
India Palace (103 W. Birch Ave. and Beaver St., 928/774-0081, www.indiapalaceflagstaff.com, Wed.-Mon. for lunch and dinner, $6-17) has an extensive variety of Indian cuisine plus some Nepalese and Tibet favorites. The lunch buffet is great value.
Downtown (south of the tracks)
Macy's European Coffee House & Bakery (14 S. Beaver St., 928/774-2243, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $5-7) offers a big selection of fresh-roasted coffee and an all-vegetarian menu of pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups, salads, quiches, and home-baked treats. La Bellavia Sandwich Shoppe (18 S. Beaver St., 928/774-8301, daily for breakfast and lunch, $5-7) features an extensive breakfast menu, espresso, and creative sandwiches. Beaver Street Brewery & Whistle Stop Cafe (11 S. Beaver St., 928/779-0079, daily for lunch and dinner, $11-19) serves wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, salads, fondues, and nightly specials, along with a selection of local brews; there's a beer garden outside. For a romantic evening, try Cottage Place (126 W. Cottage Ave., 928/774-8431, www.cottageplace.com, Tues.-Sun. for dinner, $21-31) with American and continental specialties in a 1909 bungalow; reservations are recommended.
Thai food devotees enjoy Dara Thai Restaurant (14 S. San Francisco St., 928/774-0047, Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $8-13) for its fine selection of curries, seafood, meat, and veggie food. Pesto Brothers (34 S. San Francisco St., 928/913-0775, Mon.-Sat. for lunch, Thurs.-Sat. for dinner, $8-14) offers a cafe and deli with antipasti, salads, pasta, fish, and meat dishes. Morning Glory Cafe (115 S. San Francisco St., 928/774-3705, Tues.-Sat. for lunch and Sat. for a late breakfast, $5-7) features hemp and many organic ingredients in a mostly vegetarian menu, including blue corn tamales, blue corn pancakes, ginger oatmeal cookies, and a variety of salads and soups. Cafe Ole (119 S. San Francisco St., 928/774-8272, Tues.-Sat. for dinner, $8-11) specializes in homemade Mexican dishes. El Charro (409 S. San Francisco St., 928/779-0552, Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $6.50-14.50) is a popular Mexican cafe.
Northern Arizona University
The Garden Terrace Dining Room (The Inn at NAU, S. San Francisco St., 928/523-1616, www.inn.nau.edu) serves a breakfast buffet daily and fine lunches Mon.-Fri.; on some Fridays, except in summer, chefs prepare a magnificent six-course set menu for dinner ($25); reservations are required. University Union in the north-central campus offers a variety of fast-food eateries and Union Station, a large cafeteria.
South and West of Downtown
American and Continental Cuisine: Mike and Ronda's (21 S. Milton Rd., 928/774-7008, daily for breakfast and lunch, $5-10) pulls in the crowds with generous servings of low-priced American cafe fare; it's a great breakfast place, and nobody seems to mind the lack of decor. Dim lighting and old-fashioned furnishings set the mood at Granny's Closet (218 S. Milton Rd., just south of the railroad underpass, 928/774-8331, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-22), which fixes steak and other meat dishes, seafood, and Italian cuisine; there's a sports bar for smokers. Galaxy Diner (931 W. Route 66, 928/774-2466, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $8-15) features '50s music and movie-star decor with American classics such as sandwiches, platters, milkshakes, sodas, and sumptuous deserts; breakfasts are especially recommended and are served all day. Woodlands Cafe (1175 W. Route 66, 928/773-9118, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $10-21) serves American food and some Southwestern and continental flavors at Radisson Woodlands Hotel.
For more than 20 years, Buster's (1800 S. Milton Rd. in Green Tree Village, 928/774-5155, daily for lunch and dinner, $14-25) has been turning out seafood, including an oyster bar, steaks, prime rib, and other meat dishes; the popular Chicken Sonoma has breast sauteed with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, mushrooms, and chardonnay; the restaurant is unusual for Flagstaff in having a separate smoking section. The Crown Railroad Cafe (2700 S. Woodlands Village Blvd. near Wal-Mart, 928/774-6775, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $8-11) serves up popular American standbys, including a choice of 66 omelets; model trains entertain by circling the dining area.
Popular chain restaurants hang out in the Woodlands Village area and on adjacent S. Milton Road. Sizzler (2105 S. Milton Rd., 928/779-3267, daily for lunch and dinner and a Sun. brunch, $7-15-market) offers good deals on meat and fish along with a big salad bar. Red Lobster (2500 S. Beulah Blvd. in Woodlands Village, 928/556-9604, daily for lunch and dinner, $10-27) has the nautical decor of a Maine lobster house for fish, shrimp, crab, and of course lobster, along with steak, chicken, trout, and pasta. The Olive Garden (2550 Beulah Blvd. in Woodlands Village, 928/779-3000, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-19) serves “cucina classica” from Italy along with antipasti, pizza, grilled meats, seafood, and chicken. The nearby Fazoli's (2675 S. Beulah Blvd., 928/214-8220, daily for lunch and dinner, $3-7) offers "Italian food...fast" in an informal setting for pastas, pizza, and salads.
Mexican: Casa Bonita (1551 S. Milton Rd. in Sherwood Forest Shopping Center, 928/773-0065, daily for lunch and dinner, $4-14) serves up fajitas, carne asada, tacos al carbon, camarones Portuguesas (shrimp wrapped with bacon, cheese, and ham), and a variety of other dishes in a family atmosphere. Garcia's (1900 S. Milton Rd., 928/779-1960, daily for lunch and dinner, $7-14) covers the Mexican favorites, including combos, fajitas, chimis, tacos, and enchiladas.
Asian: Hunan West (1302 S. Plaza Way, University Plaza off S. Milton Rd., 928/779-2229, daily except Mon. for lunch and dinner, $6-15) features Mandarin along with many other styles of Chinese cuisine; specialties include crispy or fancy duck, sizzling rice seafood, and country-style sweet and sour pork. Szechuan (1451 S. Milton Rd. in Sherwood Forest Shopping Center, 928/774-8039, daily for lunch and dinner, $7-12) offers spicy Szechuan along with other Chinese cuisines; popular dishes include General Tsao's chicken, noodle dishes, and Crackling San Shein (shrimp, beef, chicken, and vegetables sauteed in a mandarin sauce); the large buffet provides an outstanding selection of seafood, meat, and vegetarian items for both lunch and dinner daily. Sakura Restaurant (1175 W. Route 66, 928/773-9118, www.sakuraflagstaffsushi.com, Mon.-Sat. for lunch, nightly for dinner, $12-30) prepares Japanese teppanyaki steak, chicken, seafood, and a variety of combos in the Radisson Woodlands Hotel; the many sushi choices are also available for take-out. Himalayan Grill (801 S. Milton Rd., Unit A, 928/213-5444, http://himalayangrill.com/, $10-22) has wonderful flavors of India including tandoori chicken (marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic and spices in a clay oven) and malai kofta (cheese and vegetable dumplings in a rich creamy sauce garnished with nuts). Or try the Tibetan specialties, such as hearty thupka (noodle soup) or momos (steamed dumplings). Dinners offer the option of set meals as well as the menu. At lunch (brunch on Sun.), you can choose from the buffet ($9-12) or menu. Delhi Palace (2700 S. Woodlands Village Blvd. near the old Wal-Mart, 928/556-0019, daily for lunch and dinner, $8-15) offers fine north Indian food; the $9 lunch buffet is a great value.
North of Downtown
The little Dan's Italian Kitchen (1850 N. Fort Valley Rd., 928/779-9349, daily for lunch and dinner, $2-16) fixes good and inexpensive pasta dishes on the US 180 route to the Grand Canyon. Next door, Late for the Train (928/773-0100, daily) has a great variety of coffees plus sandwiches and baked goodies.
East of Downtown
American and Continental Cuisine: Tucked away off the Business Route, Brandy's Bakery & Restaurant (1500 E Cedar Ave. #40, 928/779-2187, www.brandysrestaurant.com, daily for breakfast and lunch, Tues.-Sat. for dinner, $7-13) is worth the detour for its tasty and varied menu, plus baked items and espresso; art shows take place monthly; it's in the shopping center with Safeway at the northeast corner of Cedar Avenue and West Street at the bottom of McMillan Mesa. Mamma Luisa (2710 N. Steves Blvd., Kachina Square off E. Route 66, 928/526-6809, www.mammaluisaflagstaff.com/, $8-16) has excellent Italian cuisine nightly for dinner; reservations are advised. Restaurante La Punta (3050 E. Route 66, 928/527-9393, Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner, $9-16) specializes in New Mexico cuisine. Model trains run around in The Crown Railroad Cafe (3300 E. Route 66, 928/522-9237, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $8-11), which prepares popular American fare including a choice of 66 omelets. Mike and Ronda's (3518 E. Route 66 in Park Santa Fe Shopping Center, 928/526-8138, daily for breakfast and lunch, Tues.-Sat. for dinner, $8-12) serves bargain-priced American food with a country decor, and it is especially good for breakfast. Sizzler (3540 E. Route 66, 928/526-3391, daily for lunch and dinner and a Sun. brunch, $7-15-market) offers good deals on meat and fish entrees as well as a big salad bar.
Little America's Western Gold Dining Room (2515 E. Butler Ave., 928/779-7900, $25-35) serves a big brunch on Sunday, a buffet lunch Mon.-Fri., and a choice of set-menu dinners nightly. In the Pines Cafe ($9.50-16.50) is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Steak Houses: Black Bart's Steak House, Saloon, & Musical Revue (2760 E. Butler Ave. near I-40 Exit 198, 928/779-3142, nightly for dinner, $11-28) serves up steak, prime rib, baby back ribs, rack of lamb, chicken, shrimp, fish, veggie kabob, and some Italian dishes. Nightly specials appear, and there's a 12 and under menu. Singing waiters and waitresses entertain you.
Many locals feel it's worth the drive out to Lupo's Horsemen Lodge (8500 N. Hwy. 89, 928/526-2655, www.horsemenlodge.com, $14-26), which fixes steak, ribs, chicken, trout, seafood, and vegetarian items; it's open for dinner nightly except Sunday (and Mon. in winter) on US 89, 3.6 miles north from I-40 Exit 201.
Mexican: Locals head to La Fonda Mexican Restaurant (1900 N. Second St., 928/779-0296, http://lafondaflg.com/) for the great food and selection; its location northwest of the Route 66 and Fourth Ave. intersection is a bit tricky to find, so it's best to look at a map first. Salsa Brava (2220 E. Route 66, 928/779-5293, www.salsabravaflagstaff.com) serves up well-prepared Mexican favorites and home-made salsa in an informal restaurant.
Asian: China Star (1802 E. Route 66, 928/774-8880, daily for lunch and dinner, $6-8) has a large buffet every day for lunch and dinner, and you can order from the menu. Golden Dragon Bowl (2730 Lakin Dr. across from Kachina Square, 928/527-3238, daily for lunch and dinner, $6-13) provides a lunch buffet option. In the Park Santa Fe Shopping Center, Mandarin Gardens (3518 E. Route 66, 928/526-5033, daily for lunch and dinner, $7-12) serves a lunch buffet except on Sunday.
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