As the weather starts to cool off a bit and our winter visitors begin to arrive, it’s the perfect time to consider Arizona’s plentiful options for dining outdoors while taking in some great views. From fine dining to a quick bite, here are a few suggestions from Arizona Office of Tourism combining Arizona’s culinary variety and beautiful scenery into an unforgettable experience.
“No matter where in our amazing state you’re enjoying a meal, Arizona restaurants and bars have truly made an art out of al fresco dining,” says Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.
Open since 1984, Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe in Tucson is known as much for its distinctive, turquoise-colored exterior as for its huevos rancheros, menudo, caldo de camaron, pollo en mole and other traditional Mexican dishes, mostly inspired by the cuisine of Oaxaca. It’s a family-run breakfast, lunch and dinner place, boasting a chef who’s a Culinary Institute of America grad. And the high-elevation, westside locale means great views of the Santa Catalina Mountains in the distance and city lights below.
Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch
Since 1929, Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch has hosted Vanderbilts, Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne and more famous folks – first as a ranch school, then guest ranch and now as a resort. For desert views, take in lunch on the patio at The Grill; for a lively scene, enjoy cocktails at the open-air Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge.
Just outside of Page, the deep blue hue of Lake Powell and the striated colors of the surrounding cliffs are front and center at Lake Powell Resort’s Rainbow Room. The modern lakeside restaurant offers floor-to-ceiling windows so everyone has a view of the lake and boats. The menu offers up regionally inspired fare, such as sweet corn fritters, achiote-seared pork tenderloin and prime rib tacos, made with Arizona-grown beef.
Housed in one of the last standing buildings of Flagstaff’s Lumber era, Lumberyard Brewing Company has been brewing award-winning beers since 2010. With a full menu, large patio and tons of drink specials and weekly events, the place has something for everyone. Here they say “At the ‘Yard, it’s not just about the attitude, it’s all about the altitude.”
On the 15th floor of the Talking Stick Resort, Orange Sky restaurant is a sleek, modern jewel with 360-degree views of the surrounding Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Scottsdale and beyond – waaay beyond. But don’t let this elegant restaurant’s distant vistas distract you from the dinner menu, where you’ll find out-of-the-ordinary entrées, like the grilled elk loin, Tajima Wagyu strip loin or lemongrass-enhanced Alaskan king crab legs. The restaurant’s award-winning wine list is diverse enough to even warrant a special tasting event.
Gather around one of several fire pits beneath the olive trees at Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek, about 40 minutes southeast of Downtown Phoenix via US-60. The menu features pasta and pizzas made with – you guessed it – traditional and infused olive oils. While you wait, browse the marketplace for take-home goods ranging from bath and beauty products to Arizona’s only extra-virgin olive oil.
BONUS: Mercado District
Take your pick from nearly a dozen restaurants at the Mercado District’s two locations (situated just a block from each other) and settle into a table in the middle of the action. Likely sightings: An acoustic guitar session under twinkling lights and dogs brunching with their owners.