A quick guide to great restaurants in the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas.
Dinner at Backland Glamping Resort
Luciano Pavarotti once said, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” In today’s culture of experiencing everything on the go, how often do we actually stop to savor our food with such devotion?
Vacation is often when we allow ourselves this opportunity—we don’t have to cook and we’re often willing to splurge on calories and price so that food becomes as important as the sights and adventures. It provides not only nourishment but rest, reflection, and rejuvenation through connection to those who made the food, the culture that informed the tradition, and the company with whom we partake.
Let Us Help You Decide. Some of our favorite restaurants near the Grand Canyon
There are few things more frustrating than being exhausted and famished from adventuring and not knowing or being able to decide as a group where to eat. We’ve chosen to highlight diverse eateries from each of the surrounding Grand Canyon areas so that no matter where you are in your itinerary, you’ll be covered. Let’s dig in!
Grand Canyon National Park: El Tovar Dining Room
Traditional Fine Dining, Southwestern
1 El Tovar Road, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
Grand Canyon National Park has a small selection of dining options on the premises; your needs will be met with grab-and-go lunches, snack carts, food court style dining, coffee stops, and casual cafés. But for a truly authentic Grand Canyon culinary experience look no further than the El Tovar Dining Room.
El Tovar Hotel opened in 1905 right on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and has long been considered the “crown jewel” of National Park lodges. It is the oldest hotel still operating in Grand Canyon National Park and has been visited by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Zane Gray, Sir Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey and many other famous guests. Built of native stone and Oregon pine, the architecture is a truly unique cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian villa, which at the time would have appealed greatly to the European-obsessed elite.
The El Tovar Dining Room is a vision of rustic elegance with its mix of southwestern décor and Native American murals. Tried and true breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are offered, with some dishes like the Salmon Tostada dating back decades. As a fine dining establishment, prices are on the higher end. But a meal at El Tovar is as much about the experience, the ambiance, and the views as it is the delicious food.
Definitely make reservations if your travel plans allow, and arrive early for lunch to beat the noonish rush of arriving Grand Canyon Railway train passengers. If staying for dinner, consider dressing for fine dining. While there is no dress code, shorts, flip flops and similar casual attire are discouraged for evening meals.
Other Great Options in Grand Canyon National Park
Phantom Ranch Canteen: Canyon hikers can enjoy an unforgettable meal at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (reservations required).
Bright Angel Bicycles and Café: Grab a coffee and a sandwich to go before starting your canyon biking adventure.
Tusayan: Plaza Bonita
352 State Road 64, Tusayan, AZ 86023
If you’re looking for something outside of the park but you aren’t going to make it as far as Flagstaff or Williams, consider stopping in Tusayan for some fresh Mexican food. Plaza Bonita has been serving Grand Canyon visitors for over 20 years in a colorful, inviting atmosphere that is sure to rejuvenate even the weariest of travelers.
Plaza Bonita is known for generous portions, great service and hearty Mexican fare of tacos, burritos, carne platters, enchiladas, seafood and more. Hoping to unwind after a long day at the canyon? Margaritas and chips and salsa will pair perfectly with a recap of your day’s adventures. Try a mole dish for a sweet and savory option or a molcajete for authentically prepared meats and unique flavors.
The restaurant is located next to the Red Feather Lodge, and guests of the lodge receive a 10% discount on their meal. Plaza Bonita also offers a hearty American breakfast and Mexican dinner buffet suitable for beginning or ending your day exploring Grand Canyon National Park. Great vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are also available.
Online ordering and takeout are great options if you want to pick up something for the road or for a picnic at the canyon. You can also reserve a table at the restaurant ahead of time.
Other Great Options in Tusayan
Big E Steakhouse and Saloon: Steakhouse fare in a fun atmosphere just outside of Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon Chocolate Factory: A sweet stop for gelato and chocolate treats.
Italian, Neapolitan Wood Fired Pizza
2308 E Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Flagstaff is the largest city near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and as such is home to dozens of award-winning and mouthwatering restaurants, making it nearly impossible to choose only one for recommending. But after a busy day adventuring in Northern Arizona, nothing hits the spot quite like pizza made the Fat Olives way.
Fat Olives is the first VPN (Verace Pizza Neapolitan Association) certified restaurant in Northern Arizona and 1 of only 4 in the state. Neapolitan pizza is a protected tradition and restaurants can only be certified by the association if they adhere to specific guidelines in preparation of the food and use of permitted ingredients.
Consistently voted Flagstaff’s top Italian eatery and featured several times on the Food Network, this atmospheric but family friendly locale is the quintessential choice for unique, authentic, wood fired pizza. The pizzas are personal size, but hearty enough to share if you order a few for the table. You’ll have your choice of classics like Margherita and Pepperoni, but don’t hesitate to eat outside the box, so to speak. You won’t be disappointed in trying some of the more unexpected toppings like spicy pork tenderloin, pistachios, local honey and bacon marmalade. Or combinations like salmon and dill cream on the Kenai Pizza or Brussels sprouts soaked in house-made Calabrian chili oil on the Belgio Dolce.
The Fat Olives menu also includes a variety of delicious pasta, salad, antipasti and bruschetta board options. They even offer catering with a mobile wood-fire oven, so if you’re planning a destination wedding or other event in the area, consider a hand-crafted pizza buffet or other delicious Italian fare.
Other Great Options in Flagstaff
Proper Meats + Provisions: Dine in or stock up on gourmet picnic fare at this local butcher shop and family restaurant serving fantastic sandwiches and sides.
Diablo Burger: A local foods-based burger joint in a truly unique downtown Flagstaff location.
Williams: Cruiser’s Café 66
American, Diner Comfort Food
233 Historic Route 66, Williams, AZ 86046
You can’t go wrong with classic 1950s diner fare in a charming nostalgic atmosphere—especially when you’re on the Mother Road itself. Complete with white and black checkerboard flooring, red booths, old signs and décor reminiscent of the carefree, wanderlust era of the original Route 66, Cruiser’s Café 66 in Williams, AZ is the epitome of an American dining experience. The whole family is sure to enjoy both the food and the atmosphere.
Williams, AZ is known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon and was the last small town on Historic Route 66 to be bypassed by I-40. Home of the Grand Canyon Railway, it welcomes hundreds of canyon visitors each year. If you’re coming and going on the train, you’ll definitely want to check out this charming southwest town, and Cruiser’s Café 66 is a great stop for hungry travelers.
In addition to serving traditional comfort food such as burgers, onion rings, salads, sandwiches, wings, and steak, they also smoke their own meats onsite daily and serve locally crafted beer at their full-service bar. Don’t forget to try their House Made Mac n’ Cheese options, including their Signature Green Chile Mac or versions with smoked chicken or pulled pork. And save room for a classic dessert like a banana split or a plate of Dessert Nachos to share with the group.
Cruiser’s patio is right on historic Route 66 and provides live music during summer months and front-row views of downtown happenings. Round off the experience in their extensive gift shop where you can pick up a Route 66 souvenir.
Other Great Options in Williams
Red Raven Restaurant: Casual fine dining serving lunch and dinner menus of a variety of American cuisine.
Nany’s Tacos: Small, family-owned operation serving authentic Chihuahua, Mexico cuisine.
Made-from-Scratch, Local Ingredients
6929 E Rosilda Springs Rd., Williams, AZ 86046
Backland is known for its luxury tented suites and one-of-a-kind glamping experience. But we also have a fantastic restaurant that offers the camp dining experience without any of the hassle on your part. With floor to ceiling glass walls, we bring the outdoors indoors in a seamless transition to an intimate space for conversation, connection and fine dining.
We prioritize seasonal and local ingredients in creating ever-changing, made-from-scratch menus that will leave you satisfied and healthfully fueled for any adventure you might have planned during your vacation.
Included in your stay at Backland is a generous continental breakfast. Your complimentary feast will include access to well-stocked yogurt, oatmeal and crepe bars in addition to pastries, muffins, and other breakfast staples. Whether you choose to dine indoors or out on the patio overlooking the water, you won’t miss the sunrise or the wildlife and serenity that accompany it.
Lunch offerings include gourmet box lunches that are perfect for eating anywhere on the premises or for taking to go on your Northern Arizona adventures. You’ll be able to build your lunch with a hearty wrap or sandwich, a side, and an accompanying snack by completing and returning the order form found in your tent. We’ll have your lunch ready for pick up the following morning in plenty of time for your day’s itinerary.
From 6pm-9pm the restaurant is open to guests for dinner service. An assortment of beer, wine and mixed drinks pair perfectly with our seasonal menu featuring thoughtfully chosen, fresh ingredients. Try the Backland Burger, made from grass fed, regionally sourced ground beef, or our Nopales Tacos made with fresh vegetables for a vegan delight. Starters, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts, artfully made from scratch, will satisfy the tastebuds of all ages.
Backland staff will contact you prior to your stay to arrange any dinner reservations.
Note that our menus are subject to change due to season and availability of ingredients. While breakfast is included in your stay, lunch and dinner are provided at additional cost.
Don’t forget to grab your complimentary s’mores supplies after dinner for a sweet, cozy night by the fire.
Hopefully, this has been useful in helping you decide where to eat near the Grand Canyon. Food connects us to each other, to the land, and to memory. Make the dining experiences on your Grand Canyon adventure as integral to your memory-making as the unforgettable sights of Northern Arizona. Your belly and your travel diary will thank you.