8 best restaurants to try in Flagstaff

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Recognized as one of Arizona’s favorite foodie towns, Flagstaff will put a smile on your face with plenty of dining choices. Creative cocktails, award-winning craft beers and artful seasonal menus combine to provide you with fantastic restaurants to try in Flagstaff, Arizona.

I was looking forward to trying many Flagstaff restaurants based on research before my trip. Due to the limited time in town, I have selected a range of prices, services, flavors and drinks to share with you.

Flagstaff is an incredible dining experience with over 200 restaurants offering menus featuring local ingredients and international flavors. This list is numbered for the convenience of the reader, but there is no particular order or classification.

Although I have been hosted in some of the restaurants mentioned in this article, the opinions are my own.

Pro tip: Designated as Arizona’s premier craft beer town by the Governor of the State of Arizona, Flagstaff is home to nine craft breweries that support one of the city’s major economic development sectors celebrating travel and beer. Collect the brewery stickers on the Brewery Trail Passport and exchange the passport at the Flagstaff Visitor Center for a commemorative beer glass.

Osso Bucco of smoked pork with achiote (Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price)

1. Food and drink for adults at Joséphine’s Modern American Bistro

Created with seafood and seasonal produce, Josephine’s Modern American Bistro serves American cuisine. A comprehensive wine list and frequently updated menu draw diners to Craftsman Bungalow. The historic house is listed on the National Historic Register for its architecture.

Encouraged to explore each room before our dinner was served, I was captivated by the simple design and charming decor. Our dining room, painted in a soft buttery yellow, added to the ambience with the light from the antique floor lamps. The warm surroundings were relaxed and comfortable.

Baklava Baked Brie was on the small plate menu, as well as the dessert menu. Soups, side salads, and small platters preceded the main course and included clams and mussels Josefina and southwest crab cakes.

For my starter, I chose the Achiote Smoked Pork Osso Bucco, which is smoked and braised slowly so that the meat melts into the bone on my plate. It was served with polenta and baby vegetables and garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

One of the dazzling desserts to reach our table was the Italian ricotta donuts with vanilla custard called Zeppoles. Served with Josephine’s wild berry jam, it was a compelling presentation.

American wagyu steak and root vegetables from Tinderbox Kitchen in Flagstaff, Arizona.
American wagyu steak and root vegetables (Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price)

2. Tinderbox kitchen

The famous historic Southside is home to Tinderbox Kitchen, a place to experience a dining experience you won’t find elsewhere. The carefully prepared small plates and entrees are meticulously prepared and presented to your table with panache.

Cleverly appointed handcrafted cocktails preceded our meal. The alcohol-free Jail Birds, Youth Lagoon, and Kill of the Night were tempting. I chose The Gardner because of its unique ingredients. The potion contains some Asian juices, shochu and yuzu, as well as white and dry vermouths, green apple, gin and wormwood. The drink was served in a martini glass and the flavor was unique and pleasant.

The small plates and entrees are sized for two people and are meant to be shared. With over 100 wine options, the sommelier recommends a perfect wine to pair with the dish you select and presents the cork and tasting brilliantly.

Our group shared delicious small plates of hot Stone Fruit Brie, Panzanella Burrata, Marcona Almond Marinated Olives, and Pork Belly with Plum and Kimchi Sauce.

Spectacular American Wagyu Ribeye with Root Vegetables was artfully presented on a striking round platter. I ordered the rack of lamb with sheep yogurt, which was tender and tasty.

Pro tip: Make sure to book. The outfit is casual.

3. Annex cocktail bar

A revival of the downtown district brought the Annex Cocktail Lounge to life. Originally the abandoned property next to Tinderbox Kitchen, it now serves as a waiting room for a table at the Tinderbox and has a large patio with heaters.

Every cocktail is a story at the Annex, where it serves world-class drinks, has irresistible bar snacks, small plates, entrees and sweets. Annex is proud to say that the cocktail menu rivals any bar on the east coast to the west. The coolers – beer and spirits combined – tempted me.

4. Upscale hotel dining at Silver Pine Restaurant and Bar

There is a lot to be said about the meals eaten in your accommodation. The highland hospitality and upscale service at the Little America Hotel are hard to beat. Set amidst 500 scenic acres covered in Ponderosa pines with easy hiking trails right outside our door, the grounds made it a pleasure to get rid of the calories we consumed in the dining room.

Silver Pine Restaurant and Bar offers upscale American cuisine with a unique cocktail menu, take out and hotel delivery.

Arizona Mule at Silver Pine Restaurant and Bar in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Arizona Mule at Silver Pine Restaurant and Bar (Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price)

Cocktail Dinner Menu

It’s fun trying to choose the signature cocktails. Should I have the Prickly Pear Margarita, The Silver Pine with Arcadia Rosemary Vodka, the Arizona Mule with AZ Grand Canyon Vodka, or the Flagstaff fashioned with AZ Cave Creek Bourbon? Oh, so many choices! I chose the Arizona Mule served in a traditional copper mug. Did you know that copper keeps the drink cold?

Chicken picatta from the Silver Pine Restaurant and Bar in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Chicken Picatta from Silver Pine Restaurant and Bar (Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price)

Having dinner

Slow-roasted prime rib is the dish of the day served after 5 p.m. Starters include fries and salsa and the light tempura green beans I had, as well as soup and salad. I ordered the Caesar salad and the chicken picatta. Sandwiches and entrees include pasta, poultry, fish and beef.

It was not easy to choose a dessert. With only three options on the menu, they were all my favorites – chocolate cake, American bread pudding, and crème brûlée. Our group decided to share the desserts, so we each tasted to satisfy our sweet tooth.

Breakfast

Healthy starts for breakfast, along with omelets, eggs, plancha cakes and breakfast sandwiches, make a perfect start to the day. I ordered the Avocado Smash Toast served with tiny microgreens, making my breakfast a mini-piece of art, and paired it with my favorite latte.

Green curry and vegetable balls at Pato Thai Cuisine in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Green curry and vegetable dumplings at Pato Thai Cuisine (Photo credit: Julia Diebolt Price)

5. Pato Thai cuisine

After completing your Beer Trail tour, submit your passport to the Flagstaff Visitor Center to collect your commemorative beer mug. Travel through historic Route 66 to Pato Thai Cuisine for an authentic and delicious Thai meal.

The 12-page menu images feature rice, noodles, a la carte dishes, curries, soups, salads, appetizers and chef’s specialties. I always like to try Pad Thai to compare it to this dish from other restaurants. This one didn’t disappoint, and the green curry spice and veggie dumplings were also my companions’ favorites.

Dark Sky Brewing Co. and Pizzicletta in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Julie Diebolt Prize

6. Dark Sky Brewing Co. & Pizzicetta

Before or after the Friday Night Art Walk or a live performance at the Orpheum in downtown Flagstaff, stop by Dark Sky Brewing Co. and try a pint in the Taproom. Descriptive names like Key Lime Pie, a reduced gluten draft beer, or the dry, effervescent and smoky Grodziskie are interesting. Kick off the fall season with American Stout with notes of roasted coffee, chocolate and subtle caramel (did you say chocolate and caramel ?!)

You can’t drink all that beer without soaking it up with some fantastic pizza slices or DSB entrees served on site by Pizzicletta. Focaccia, a simple or Caesar salad, roasted olives or prosciutto with homemade pickles as well as pizzas for mushroom lovers, vegans or honey lovers make up the inventive menu. Get ice cream and wine to accompany your pizza if you prefer to take out.

The service was double-quick. Because the two businesses are separate, different servers take your beer and pizza orders. It worked smoothly because they are efficient and attentive.

Beer theft at Lumberyard Brewing Company in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Julie Diebolt Prize

7. Lumberyard Brewing Company

Lumberyard Brewing Company, housed in one of Flagstaff’s last wood-era buildings, this award-winning brewery offers a large patio, an extensive menu perfect for snacking, and beer flights.

Our midday meal began with an inflight beer sampling. I chose six of the nine beers currently available. The five-ounce beer tasting glasses served in a convenient cupcake pan were cold and ranged from light lagers to IPAs and full-bodied ales. A guest infusion, Ace Blood Orange Cider, with a citrus flavor, fruity and light.

The hearty Vietnamese burger I ordered with coleslaw was the perfect pairing with the beer samples. I found it hard to resist the macaroni and cheese balls, Flagstaff Brussels sprouts and Irish spring rolls on the Noshing menu. The specialties and wings are traditional cheerful dishes unique to Lumberyard such as fish and chips, sausage platter and several versions of mac and cheese.

8. Picnic to take away: Good dishes on 66

Perfect for the City of the Seven Wonders (seven experiences within a 10-80 mile radius), Good Eats on 66 makes a great picnic on the go. Fresh salads, soups and dressings from scratch, locally roasted coffee, and smoothies made with real vegetables and fruits will fuel your outdoor adventures.

Order a picnic lunch for your day trip to the Flagstaff area’s three national monuments: Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Wupatki. These national monuments are open from 9 am to 4:30 pm All have a reception center, a bookstore, museum exhibits, hiking trails and picnic areas.

Pro tip: You can recreate some of the chef’s recipes at home. Look for the “wipe the smile off your face” web pages on the Discover Flagstaff website.

Try these other experiences in the Flagstaff area on your next visit:


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