2245 AZ-89A, Sedona
Lisa Dahl has a handful of restaurants in Sedona—Mariposa, Dahl & DiLuca, and Cucina Rustica all deservedly get a lot of ink. But our favorite feather in her cap may be her less famous pizzeria. Pisa Lisa is more of a lunch joint than a fancy evening out. It’s loud and boisterous, and there are televisions mounted on the walls. But the pizza is all wood-fired and could easily rival the best in Italy. The melanzane parmigiana (homemade tomato sauce, grilled eggplant, and spicy peppers topped with Parmesan and fresh mozzarella) tastes like something you would have had as a kid in Naples, if you’d ever been a kid in Naples. There are salads, grilled panini, and plenty of antipasti to choose from, but the reason to come here is the pizza. Oh, wait. Did we mention the gelato bar?
700 AZ-89A, Sedona
An evening at Mariposa is like a tiny trip to southern South America. The menu, which favors sustainable, organic ingredients, is heavily influenced by chef Lisa Dahl’s travels to Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. That translates to handmade empanadas (the portobello, poblano, and queso version is insanely good), shrimp ceviche, fresh fish, carne, carne, carne, and accents of mole or chimichurri sauce throughout. It’s all spectacular. We had to mention the menu first because if we started with the space, we might never have gotten around to the food. The restaurant is built on a rise over Sedona, and some smart person thought to make the windows as big as the walls. The view will blow your mind. Our advice: Go early, order as much as you can possibly eat, and stay until they kick you out. This is an evening to remember.
671 AZ-179 D, Sedona
Imagine comfort food, only more elegant. Now imagine eating that elegant comfort food in a beautiful dining room with a vaulted ceiling or, better yet, on the deck overlooking maybe all of Arizona. The view is so stunning that you might think it’s the star of the show. It’s not. Chef Jeff Storcz’s menu consists of unfussy, completely delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening might look like this: a glass of Riesling, salted soft pretzel bread with mustard, some form of bruschetta (there are many), and butternut squash ravioli with crispy sage. Or maybe the chicken pot pie? Oh, or the Hudson mushroom burger? No, no, definitely the ravioli. And chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert.
350 Jordan Road
Head to Elote Cafe about an hour before sunset. It’s inside the Arabella Hotel, but there’s nothing much worth checking out in the hotel, so go right to the café. Grab a table outside close to the firepit. Order the guacamole (it’s the perfect level of spicy) and a mezcal margarita, while you check out the menu. Chef Jeff Smedstad leans heavily on local, seasonal Southwestern and Mexican food. Charred green corn tamales, fish tacos—you really can’t go wrong. It’s the kind of food you should be eating in this environment. And when the evening starts to get chilly, wrap the blanket (it’s behind you, on the back of the chair) over your lap. Order another mezcal, lean back, and look up at the stars. This is what you came to Sedona for. (But be advised: The café doesn’t take reservations.)
Dahl & Di Luca
2321 AZ-89A, Sedona
Ask anyone what the best fancy restaurant in Sedona is and they will likely point you to Dahl & DiLuca (and if they don’t, they’ll probably suggest its sister restaurant, Mariposa). If you’re craving fine Italian, Dahl & DiLuca is the place to find it. This is Italian food by way of Sedona—many of the ingredients are organic and local to Arizona—but the architecture of the meal is classic Old Country. Arancini (fried risotto balls stuffed with peppers and cheese), something invitingly called the Wine Lovers Antipasto (Pecorino, cured meat, you can imagine the rest), insalata mista, gnocchi alla vodka, polenta con funghi…all the marquee players are here.
Coffee Pot Restaurant
2050 AZ-89A, Sedona
Every town has its greasy spoon, and Sedona’s does not disappoint. This is the Mexican-food version, and everything we have tried we love. Tacos, taquitos, fajitas, burritos—the guys are all here. And there is more flavor in one bite of the cheese enchilada than in entire courses at other Mexican spots in the area. The Coffee Pot is, naturally, a favorite for breakfast, but both the food and the colorful, lively atmosphere make it a fun place for a meal anytime of day.
Cress on Oak Creek
301 Little Ln., Sedona
Cress on Oak Creek is the name of the restaurant—as well as the directions to it. Tables are set up on the patio overlooking a rushing stream, and adding to the vibe: twinkling candles, a view of the forest, rustling trees. In other words, you should go with someone you’re willing to marry—it is that romantic. Chef Michael O’Dowd has created a menu that relies heavily on local, foraged ingredients presented in a vaguely Italian way. We’re big fans of the Oak Creek salad with frisée, sweet corn, and goat cheese; the rainbow trout; and anything O’Dowd does with burrata.
Tii Gavo Restaurant
525 Boynton Canyon Rd., Sedona
Tii Gavo, tucked inside the Enchantment, is Mexican food through the lens of a world-class resort. The baby kale salad comes with mango, cotija cheese, and lime-Tajín vinaigrette. The stuffed poblano pepper comes with vegan cheese sauce, avocado, corn, and quinoa. The menu—with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options—spills over with healthy dishes that don’t look or taste like healthy dishes. (There are plenty of ways to indulge, if that’s what you’re after; the chips, fresh salsa, and homemade guacamole are great places to start.) And we haven’t even mentioned the view, which is breathtakingly expansive. Sit outside or close to the windows and have a homemade watermelon soda while Mother Nature puts on a show.
1595 AZ-89A, Sedona
ChocolaTree is a lot of things, none of which are that easy to explain. It’s part spiritual wellness center, part health-food restaurant, part Airbnb, part coffee shop, part hangout destination. But the most interesting part is the chocolate shop, which is what started it all. If healthy chocolate exists, it is here. ChocolaTree has its own organic cacao farms, where the cacao pods are hand-harvested (unacceptable ones are tossed) and ground by hand. Then the master chocolatiers use only organic sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup, and dried fruit. This is a chocolate shop that even non-chocolate people can get behind.
100 Amara Ln., Sedona
Our favorite thing about Saltrock at the Amara Resort and Spa is the afternoon snack menu. After a morning hike and a late morning spa treatment, there is nothing more welcome than sitting on the outdoor patio, taking in the view of the red rocks, and treating yourself to a late lunch or early dinner. We’d go with an order of grilled corn with lime, cotija cheese, garlic, and spicy aioli or the tacos verduras with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pecans, and prickly pear vinaigrette, plus the spicy-smoky concoction they call a West Fork Margarita.
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