Flagstaff and hearty food just seem to go together.
Maybe it has something to do with the elevation. Air is thin in the high country so your body craves extra fuel.
Flagstaff is a great town to load up on comfort food. At the same time, the dining scene has taken a sophisticated turn. A lot of new places have opened up and given diners enticing options ranging from a French bistro to a British chippy to an island getaway.
So on your next trip to Flagstaff, enjoy the excellent cuisine while basking in cooler temperatures. Here are some new places to try along with a few old favorites.
Where to drink beer in Flagstaff?A guide to downtown breweries
Evans Fish and Chips
Flagstaff’s Southside is full of delicious surprises including a shotgun shack serving up a British classic. Open since October 2021, Evans Fish and Chips has become a favorite dinner spot for locals and a late-night stop for students after downing a few pints.
Each order of fish and chips ($12.95) is made fresh to order. The signature cod is wrapped in a golden batter, light and crispy, so every bite delivers a hot crunch with tender moistness underneath. Lightly seasoned thick-cut Kennebec fries round out the dish.
Other options include mahi-mahi, battered sausage or chicken and chips. Hand pies ($8.95) are known for their rich flavors and flaky crust. It’s mostly carryout at this traditional chippy but a few patio tables are being added.
Details: 113 S. San Francisco St. 928-774-5471, https://evansfishandchips.com.
Free and cheap in Flagstaff:Walking tours, murals, wildlife viewing and more
Turn your meal into a mini-vacation at this tropical hideaway. Tucked in a strip mall, the unassuming Tiki Grill celebrates its one-year anniversary in June 2022. It is a happy place with a laid-back island vibe and flavors so authentic you’ll swear you can smell an ocean breeze.
Diners enjoy a delicious blend of scratch-made mainland and seafood dishes. Fish and shrimp tacos ($12.95) can be grilled, blackened or fried. The high country poutine ($5.95) is a snacky indulgence, cheese curds and fries in pork belly gravy sprinkled with scallions. The light char of the blackened catfish sandwich ($10.95) perfectly emphasizes the delicate flavor of the tender flesh.
Details: 1509 S. Milton Road. 928-440-3693, https://tikigrill.live.
Stay for a while:10 places to rent a cool cabin in Arizona this summer
Atmosphere Kitchen and Dark Sky Beer Garden
This feels like a piece that’s been missing from Flag’s dining scene — a sprawling downtown patio with views of the San Francisco Peaks.
Dark Sky Brewing took over the neighboring property and gave it a complete overhaul to create this German-style beer garden with bench seating, tables, umbrellas and barrel planters. It opened in late spring. There’s a new taproom and Atmosphere Kitchen, featuring elevated pub grub, tapas-style.
While you won’t find traditional nachos and wings, diners can enjoy buffalo chicken livers for $14. The salt and vinegar cheese curds ($12) served with black garlic sauce is another staple. Factor in the rotating tap list and you may as well settle in for the evening beneath starry mountain skies.
Meanwhile, the original Dark Sky Brewing continues to offer its great selection of beers and wood-fired pies from Pizzicletta.
Details: 103 W. Birch Ave. 928-440-5151, https://www.darkskybrewing.com.
Arizona’s best outdoor dining:8 restaurants for beautiful views, cool breezes, good food
Flagstaff Station Market Café
A former gas station has been beautifully converted into a neighborhood gathering spot that’s also become a big hit with tourists. Flagstaff Station opened in September 2020 and its wide selection of breakfast and lunch items, fresh baked goods and high-end coffee immediately won over local fans.
Paninis are served on rustic farmhouse bread. The Humphreys, with eggs, smoked gouda cheese and bacon is the most popular breakfast sandwich ($9.99). There are plenty of gluten-free options, including several luscious pastries. The raspberry almond shortbread ($3.99) is a rich and buttery treat. Dine in the airy sunroom or on the dog-friendly patio.
Details: 1800 N. Fort Valley Road. 928-440-4093, https://www.flagstaffstation.com.
Explore Flagstaff’s surroundings:Hike near Flagstaff has a lot of goodies and few visitors. Here’s how to find it
Eat n’ Run Café & Market
Sitting along Route 66 in east Flag, this little spot is bright and cheerful and spills outdoors onto a comfortable patio, just what you want in this mountain town.
Eat n’ Run offers an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch items with healthy leanings, along with locally roasted espresso. All soups, sauces and dressings are house-made, and smoothies only contain whole foods, no concentrate or fillers.
The Hatch and Hash burrito ($9.49) blends slow-roasted pork, scrambled eggs, potatoes, jack cheese, salsa and cilantro lime dressing, with Hatch green chiles adding a touch of smoky heat. Or try the soup/salad/sandwich combo, with two selections for $11.
Details: 2400 E. Route 66. 928-679-9818, https://www.goodeatson66.com.
There’s no mistaking the French bistro vibe when sitting outside at Forêt Flg munching on the caramelized sweetness of a canelé de Bordeaux, ($4), a small crispy custard cake. Across the street, the Motel DuBeau sign adds an accidental touch of French authenticity.
Forêt Flg opened in late summer 2021 specializing in fresh pastries, a breakfast/brunchy menu and premium coffees. Options range from healthy to decadent. The granola ($10) includes pepitas, candied nuts, mint leaves and fresh fruit. Eggs are the stars of many dishes, including the omelette au fromage ($14) with its smooth and silky exterior.
Details: 2 S. Beaver St., #170. 928-214-7280, https://www.foretflagstaff.com.
Grab a seat at the bar in this bustling joint if you want to watch the thin crust Neapolitan-style pies sliding in and out of the wood-fired oven that was crafted in Italy. The crust strikes that wonderful balance between crisp and chewy. Zesty sauce and creamy mozzarella create an excellent canvas for the gourmet toppings.
There’s a lighter daytime menu that includes a nice Lunch for 2 option — Margherita pizza, large Caesar salad and two fountain drinks for $25.
The place really gets jumping for dinner when fire-kissed pies come flying out of the big oven. The Belgio Dolce ($17), favored by the Food Network’s Guy Fieri, is a creative blend of brussels sprouts, soppressata, Calabrian chile oil, local honey and crushed pistachios nestled on a cream base.
Details: 2308 E. Route 66. 928-853-0056, https://fatolivesflagstaff.com.
Proper Meats + Provisions
A butcher shop and casual eatery, the focus of Proper is to produce artisanal meats locally sourced from Arizona farms and ranches. All meat is raised sustainably and humanely.
Proper’s deli menu has continued to expand over the years and includes salads, soups and made-to-order sandwiches. The Bahn Mi ($14.95) is made with pork shoulder confit, pickled zucchini and carrot, and chili aioli on a hoagie roll. Another favorite is the warm pastrami, cured and smoked in-house, and served with grilled onions, Swiss cheese and Carolina mustard on grilled rye ($16.95).
Details: 110 E. Route 66. 928-774-9001, https://www.propermeats.com.
For that special upscale dining experience, try one of downtown’s newest hotspots. Warm and attractive, Atria is a chef-driven modern American establishment using farm-fresh ingredients. The open kitchen design connects guests to the food being prepared and beautifully plated.
Entrees include fine seafood, hearty steaks and house-made pastas, but snacks and appetizers comprise more than half the menu so it’s easy to treat yourself to multiple courses.
Steamed mussels ($18) with roasted tomato, herbs and mole butter are served with a crunchy Bahn Mi toast. The organic chicken ($28 for half) is slow-smoked with the skin on and served in a luscious sauce with fried cauliflower.
Details: 103 N. Leroux St. 928-440-4377, www.atriarestaurant.com.
Atria:This Arizona chef now runs the buzziest restaurant in Flagstaff
Toasted Owl Café
Fun and funky, filled with college students, families and tourists, the Toasted Owl embodies the Flagstaff experience. The décor is an eclectic blend of vintage furniture and assorted owl knickknacks, and just about everything is for sale. Two locations offer the same quirky ambiance and comfortable patios.
Breakfast is served all day, along with $5 mimosas. The Owl is known for big portions and healthy ingredients, including plenty of vegan options. The Snowbowl Fiesta plate ($13.50) is piled high with scrambled eggs, onions, green chile and cheddar cheese, served with tortilla and potatoes. Or snag a lunch burger. The Jalapeno Owl ($16.50) brings a little heat with jalapeño bacon, pickled jalapeños and white cheddar.
Details: 12 S. Mikes Pike, 928-774-5326; 5200 E. Cortland Blvd., 928-526-0610; https://www.thetoastedowl.com.
Find the reporter at https://www.rogernaylor.com. Or follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RogerNaylorinAZ or Twitter @AZRogerNaylor.
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.