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A cauldron of green-onion topped grilled oysters on the half shell, sitting on a light wood table among a couple other dishes of food.
Grilled oysters at Atria.
Atria

11 Fantastic Flagstaff Restaurants

This bustling mountain town is more than just a cool getaway — it’s a dining destination for discerning food-lovers

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Grilled oysters at Atria.
| Atria

People usually sum up (and dismiss) Flagstaff in two ways: “college town” and “mountain town.” While these descriptors are accurate, they’re incomplete. Even given its sizable population of cash-strapped college students, this high-elevation, pine tree-swaddled town is a surprisingly sophisticated place to dine.

In the last decade or so, the restaurant scene has flourished under restaurateurs like Paul Moir and Kevin Heinonen, who presciently opened high-end restaurants geared toward people with money, in short, grownups who yearned for peace and quiet, good wine, and something more than cheap pizza and tacos.

Today, it’s easy to find great Neapolitan-style pizza, gelato, burgers made with grass-fed meat, interesting wine lists, oysters on the half shell, local produce, fancy cheeseboards, creative cocktails, and dishes so pretty it’s almost a pity to eat them. Almost. Dig in. You’ll need a week of steady restaurant-hopping to get through this delicious list.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Josephine's Modern American Bistro

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Housed in a charming 1911 Craftsman bungalow, Flagstaff’s longest-running high-end restaurant has two indoor fireplaces for warmth and romance during colder months, as well as a meticulously landscaped patio for al fresco dining in the summer. A modern American comfort food menu includes brunch items like Korean beef lettuce wraps and bananas Foster French toast, while dinner selections include phyllo-wrapped baked Brie with orange-cardamom honey and achiote-smoked pork osso bucco with Tillamook green chile polenta. End the night on a dramatic note with limoncello cheesecake and flambéed strawberry-Cognac sauce.

Sliced turkey and fried green tomatoes with red onion and cheese on a sandwich with toasted bread.
Fried green tomato turkey sandwich with pickled red onions and smoked gouda at Josephine’s Modern American Bistro.
Nikki Buchanan

Named for a term referring to the system for measuring sugar content in grapes, Brix offers a compelling global wine list and a handful of agreeable locations for drinking it: a snug bar, an intimate table, or the flower-filled patio. Besides being a wine geek, owner Paul Moir was an early proponent of the farm-to-table movement, sourcing many ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, and food artisans. The meat and cheese board, featuring premium cheeses and housemade charcuterie, is the best in town, while the seasonally changing menu currently features elk tartare, olive wood-smoked potato gnocchi, roasted duck breast with huckleberries, and spring herb risotto with English peas and fennel pollen. (An expansion and recently installed wood-burning oven will prompt an extensive menu change sometime this summer.)

A plate of creamy polenta topped with wild mushrooms, crispy pork belly, and blackberries.
Crispy pork belly with wild mushrooms, blackberries, and polenta at Brix in Flagstaff.
Nikki Buchanan

Diablo Burger

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Since opening in 2009, Derrick Widmark’s tiny burger joint has been racking up “best burger” awards. The restaurant’s namesake is Diablo Trust, a conservation collaborative established by two local ranching families who sell their grass-fed beef to Widmark. He cooks each lean, charbroiled patty to a juicy medium-rare (unless the customer insists otherwise) and tucks it into an English muffin branded with a “DB.” The menu offers 11 burger combos (don’t miss the “Señor Smoke” topped with ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro, and sriracha mayo), plus the option to build your own burger from an array of fun ingredients, including beets, chimichurri, and coffee barbecue sauce. Add excellent Belgian-style fries to your order and grab a seat on the patio, the better to ogle the pop surrealism-inspired mural painted by local artist Joe Sorren.

Flagstaff’s newest fine dining restaurant is also its most elegant — a modern yet comfortable room composed of white brick and plush banquettes upholstered in soft shades of teal and rose. James Beard nominated chef and owner Rochelle Daniel turns out beautifully plated contemporary American dishes such as ginger-scented oysters dabbed with hibiscus granita, umami-laden beef tartare, roasted bone marrow with a side of crusty bread, and smoked short ribs shellacked with bordelaise. For dessert, there’s a clever chocolate dulce de leche egg, its interior filled with cheesecake (the white) and apricot jam (the yolk), set on a nest of straw and rye brown butter crumble.

Smoking bone marrow on a hot plate with bread.
Roasted bone marrow with Atria bread.
Atria

Shift Kitchen & Bar

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Some of the city’s most innovative contemporary American food comes from this cheery white and blue space. It boasts a tiny dining room and two eating counters, one of them overlooking the equally diminutive exhibition kitchen where the magic happens. Executive chef Christian Lowe often riffs on the Appalachian cuisine of her childhood, turning out creamy mascarpone-enriched grits with dandelion greens and a crumbly torchon of confit rabbit and foie gras, served with brittle sourdough cracker, tangy house-made relish, and carrot gel. Diners who don’t want to splurge on the venison chop or five-spice duck can content themselves with Shift’s excellent burger and famously pickled French fries. Don’t miss pastry chef and owner Dara Wong’s outstanding desserts, including wildly imaginative, goat cheese-dusted sorbets in flavors such as tarragon and raspberry-tamarind.

A gray plate dotted with orange carrot gel, a round disc of tan foie gras, four slices of bread, and a little bundle of microgreens.
Rabbit and foie gras torchon with crostini, house-made relish and carrot gel at Shift.
Nikki Buchanan

FLG Terroir: Wine Bar & Bistro

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This cozy second-story wine bar, its huge picture window overlooking San Francisco Street, is one of the best places in Flagstaff to chill over a glass of wine, a nosh, and a board game. FLG’s global wine selection approaches 500 labels (browse the bottles displayed along the wall) and 30 wines by the glass, but cocktails and bottled beers — including an impressive collection of Belgian ales — are available as well. The food menu offers a build-your-own meat and cheese board; a rotating selection of oysters on the half shell; and creative nibbles such as ricotta gnudi, Swedish meatballs, and Korean steak panini. Save room for dreamy ice cream spiked with Pedro Ximenez sherry.

A black slate board topped with various cheeses, ham, bread, and green olives.
Build-your-own cheese board at FLG Terroir.
Nikki Buchanan

Proper Meats + Provisions

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Set in a historic building on Route 66, Proper is both the region’s best butcher shop — specializing in local, sustainable whole animal butchery — and a relaxed, order-at-the-counter restaurant famous for its lengthy menu of hearty sandwiches (and not a bad one in the bunch) served with ultra-crunchy housemade chips. The most popular are the pastrami, the cheesesteak, and the fried chicken po’boy augmented with housemade andouille sausage, but don’t skip the delicious ahi tuna dotted with capers. Check the refrigerated cases for grab-and-go items, and the chalkboard for weekly dinner specials such as pasta or a bucket of fried chicken.

A tuna sandwich dressed with green lettuce on toasted bread with a pile of golden potato chips on the side.
Fancy ahi tuna sandwich with capers and housemade chips at Proper Meats and Provisions.
Nikki Buchanan

MartAnnes Burrito Palace

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Although this family-run Mexican restaurant, painted bright red and decorated with Day of the Dead-themed art, is open for lunch and dinner, it’s famous for its hearty, all-day breakfasts. Take note of the restaurant’s slogan — “the house that chilaquiles built” — and order accordingly because the chilaquiles are terrific. So is J.B.’s Volcano, a jacked-up version of the dish that includes scrambled eggs, pork green chile, chorizo, and sour cream. Enchiladas, tamales, and burritos are just as tasty (consider Jerry’s El Mujeriego, combining enchiladas and fried eggs), but regular breakfast fare, including buckwheat pancakes and banana split waffles, are here for the asking. Expect a short wait on the weekends but know that you will NOT leave hungry.

A flour tortilla with rice, pinto beans, hash browns.
Jerry’s El Mujeriego with rice, beans, hash browns and flour tortilla at MartAnnes Burrito Palace.
Nikki Buchanan

Pizzicletta

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Caleb Schiff went to NAU to be a geologist, but after biking through Italy one summer, he came back to Flag, found a tiny, wedge-shaped space on Flagstaff’s Southside and started turning out excellent pizza from his Italian-manufactured wood-burning oven. Nothing about these Neapolitan-style pies is average — not the chewy fermented crust or the off-beat toppings (case in point: the “SS-145,” topped with gorgonzola, charred kale, almonds and lemon juice). Start with warm Calabrian-spiced olives and end with excellent housemade gelato. There’s a good Italian wine list too. (If you can’t wait until dinner for pizza, drop by Dark Sky Brewing, where Schiff’s pizzas, prepared with different toppings, are offered at lunch. Bonus: there’s beer at that location.)

A poached egg cut open so the yellow yolk runs out onto a charred cheese pizza with greens on top.
Charred pizza with a gooey egg on top at Pizzicletta.
Pizzicletta

Tinderbox Kitchen

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Newly renovated, the dimly lit dining rooms at T-Box are sleek and atmospheric, perfect for date nights; but this is Flagstaff, after all, and customers are welcome to show up in jeans, and they often do. No amount of denim can quash the sophisticated vibe, supported by a wine list made for wonks and an updated contemporary American menu that leans toward elegant comfort food. Standout dishes include the foie gras torchon with beignet and apricot-pistachio chutney; braised pork belly with blue corn sopapilla and red chimichurri; and Iberico pork chop. Pro tip: Drop by the Annex next door (part of the T-Box empire) for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail.

A gray plate topped with pork cooked rare, creamy polenta, and peaches.
Iberico pork with polenta and peaches.
Nikki Buchanan

Tourist Home All Day Cafe

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The historic building that houses Tourist Home was once a boardinghouse for Basque sheepherders who grazed their flocks in Flagstaff in the summer, but owner Kevin Heinonen completely renovated the dilapidated old structure in 2014, keeping its good bones while transforming it into a sunny, appealing hangout for breakfast or lunch. The place excels in coffee and sinful sweets, which is no reason to ignore the savory side of the menu, which includes sandwiches, quiche, fried chicken and biscuits, and arguably Flagstaff’s best breakfast burrito. Linger over cocktails or beer on the large patio.

A plate of fried chicken topped with white, creamy gravy, chopped green onion, and a dusting of red paprika.
Boneless fried chicken breast with biscuits, country gravy, and eggs at Tourist Home.
Nikki Buchanan

Josephine's Modern American Bistro

Sliced turkey and fried green tomatoes with red onion and cheese on a sandwich with toasted bread.
Fried green tomato turkey sandwich with pickled red onions and smoked gouda at Josephine’s Modern American Bistro.
Nikki Buchanan

Housed in a charming 1911 Craftsman bungalow, Flagstaff’s longest-running high-end restaurant has two indoor fireplaces for warmth and romance during colder months, as well as a meticulously landscaped patio for al fresco dining in the summer. A modern American comfort food menu includes brunch items like Korean beef lettuce wraps and bananas Foster French toast, while dinner selections include phyllo-wrapped baked Brie with orange-cardamom honey and achiote-smoked pork osso bucco with Tillamook green chile polenta. End the night on a dramatic note with limoncello cheesecake and flambéed strawberry-Cognac sauce.

Sliced turkey and fried green tomatoes with red onion and cheese on a sandwich with toasted bread.
Fried green tomato turkey sandwich with pickled red onions and smoked gouda at Josephine’s Modern American Bistro.
Nikki Buchanan

Brix

A plate of creamy polenta topped with wild mushrooms, crispy pork belly, and blackberries.
Crispy pork belly with wild mushrooms, blackberries, and polenta at Brix in Flagstaff.
Nikki Buchanan

Named for a term referring to the system for measuring sugar content in grapes, Brix offers a compelling global wine list and a handful of agreeable locations for drinking it: a snug bar, an intimate table, or the flower-filled patio. Besides being a wine geek, owner Paul Moir was an early proponent of the farm-to-table movement, sourcing many ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, and food artisans. The meat and cheese board, featuring premium cheeses and housemade charcuterie, is the best in town, while the seasonally changing menu currently features elk tartare, olive wood-smoked potato gnocchi, roasted duck breast with huckleberries, and spring herb risotto with English peas and fennel pollen. (An expansion and recently installed wood-burning oven will prompt an extensive menu change sometime this summer.)

A plate of creamy polenta topped with wild mushrooms, crispy pork belly, and blackberries.
Crispy pork belly with wild mushrooms, blackberries, and polenta at Brix in Flagstaff.
Nikki Buchanan

Diablo Burger

Since opening in 2009, Derrick Widmark’s tiny burger joint has been racking up “best burger” awards. The restaurant’s namesake is Diablo Trust, a conservation collaborative established by two local ranching families who sell their grass-fed beef to Widmark. He cooks each lean, charbroiled patty to a juicy medium-rare (unless the customer insists otherwise) and tucks it into an English muffin branded with a “DB.” The menu offers 11 burger combos (don’t miss the “Señor Smoke” topped with ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro, and sriracha mayo), plus the option to build your own burger from an array of fun ingredients, including beets, chimichurri, and coffee barbecue sauce. Add excellent Belgian-style fries to your order and grab a seat on the patio, the better to ogle the pop surrealism-inspired mural painted by local artist Joe Sorren.

Atria

Smoking bone marrow on a hot plate with bread.
Roasted bone marrow with Atria bread.
Atria

Flagstaff’s newest fine dining restaurant is also its most elegant — a modern yet comfortable room composed of white brick and plush banquettes upholstered in soft shades of teal and rose. James Beard nominated chef and owner Rochelle Daniel turns out beautifully plated contemporary American dishes such as ginger-scented oysters dabbed with hibiscus granita, umami-laden beef tartare, roasted bone marrow with a side of crusty bread, and smoked short ribs shellacked with bordelaise. For dessert, there’s a clever chocolate dulce de leche egg, its interior filled with cheesecake (the white) and apricot jam (the yolk), set on a nest of straw and rye brown butter crumble.

Smoking bone marrow on a hot plate with bread.
Roasted bone marrow with Atria bread.
Atria

Shift Kitchen & Bar

A gray plate dotted with orange carrot gel, a round disc of tan foie gras, four slices of bread, and a little bundle of microgreens.
Rabbit and foie gras torchon with crostini, house-made relish and carrot gel at Shift.
Nikki Buchanan

Some of the city’s most innovative contemporary American food comes from this cheery white and blue space. It boasts a tiny dining room and two eating counters, one of them overlooking the equally diminutive exhibition kitchen where the magic happens. Executive chef Christian Lowe often riffs on the Appalachian cuisine of her childhood, turning out creamy mascarpone-enriched grits with dandelion greens and a crumbly torchon of confit rabbit and foie gras, served with brittle sourdough cracker, tangy house-made relish, and carrot gel. Diners who don’t want to splurge on the venison chop or five-spice duck can content themselves with Shift’s excellent burger and famously pickled French fries. Don’t miss pastry chef and owner Dara Wong’s outstanding desserts, including wildly imaginative, goat cheese-dusted sorbets in flavors such as tarragon and raspberry-tamarind.

A gray plate dotted with orange carrot gel, a round disc of tan foie gras, four slices of bread, and a little bundle of microgreens.
Rabbit and foie gras torchon with crostini, house-made relish and carrot gel at Shift.
Nikki Buchanan

FLG Terroir: Wine Bar & Bistro

A black slate board topped with various cheeses, ham, bread, and green olives.
Build-your-own cheese board at FLG Terroir.
Nikki Buchanan

This cozy second-story wine bar, its huge picture window overlooking San Francisco Street, is one of the best places in Flagstaff to chill over a glass of wine, a nosh, and a board game. FLG’s global wine selection approaches 500 labels (browse the bottles displayed along the wall) and 30 wines by the glass, but cocktails and bottled beers — including an impressive collection of Belgian ales — are available as well. The food menu offers a build-your-own meat and cheese board; a rotating selection of oysters on the half shell; and creative nibbles such as ricotta gnudi, Swedish meatballs, and Korean steak panini. Save room for dreamy ice cream spiked with Pedro Ximenez sherry.

A black slate board topped with various cheeses, ham, bread, and green olives.
Build-your-own cheese board at FLG Terroir.
Nikki Buchanan

Proper Meats + Provisions

A tuna sandwich dressed with green lettuce on toasted bread with a pile of golden potato chips on the side.
Fancy ahi tuna sandwich with capers and housemade chips at Proper Meats and Provisions.
Nikki Buchanan

Set in a historic building on Route 66, Proper is both the region’s best butcher shop — specializing in local, sustainable whole animal butchery — and a relaxed, order-at-the-counter restaurant famous for its lengthy menu of hearty sandwiches (and not a bad one in the bunch) served with ultra-crunchy housemade chips. The most popular are the pastrami, the cheesesteak, and the fried chicken po’boy augmented with housemade andouille sausage, but don’t skip the delicious ahi tuna dotted with capers. Check the refrigerated cases for grab-and-go items, and the chalkboard for weekly dinner specials such as pasta or a bucket of fried chicken.

A tuna sandwich dressed with green lettuce on toasted bread with a pile of golden potato chips on the side.
Fancy ahi tuna sandwich with capers and housemade chips at Proper Meats and Provisions.
Nikki Buchanan

MartAnnes Burrito Palace

A flour tortilla with rice, pinto beans, hash browns.
Jerry’s El Mujeriego with rice, beans, hash browns and flour tortilla at MartAnnes Burrito Palace.
Nikki Buchanan

Although this family-run Mexican restaurant, painted bright red and decorated with Day of the Dead-themed art, is open for lunch and dinner, it’s famous for its hearty, all-day breakfasts. Take note of the restaurant’s slogan — “the house that chilaquiles built” — and order accordingly because the chilaquiles are terrific. So is J.B.’s Volcano, a jacked-up version of the dish that includes scrambled eggs, pork green chile, chorizo, and sour cream. Enchiladas, tamales, and burritos are just as tasty (consider Jerry’s El Mujeriego, combining enchiladas and fried eggs), but regular breakfast fare, including buckwheat pancakes and banana split waffles, are here for the asking. Expect a short wait on the weekends but know that you will NOT leave hungry.

A flour tortilla with rice, pinto beans, hash browns.
Jerry’s El Mujeriego with rice, beans, hash browns and flour tortilla at MartAnnes Burrito Palace.
Nikki Buchanan

Pizzicletta

A poached egg cut open so the yellow yolk runs out onto a charred cheese pizza with greens on top.
Charred pizza with a gooey egg on top at Pizzicletta.
Pizzicletta

Caleb Schiff went to NAU to be a geologist, but after biking through Italy one summer, he came back to Flag, found a tiny, wedge-shaped space on Flagstaff’s Southside and started turning out excellent pizza from his Italian-manufactured wood-burning oven. Nothing about these Neapolitan-style pies is average — not the chewy fermented crust or the off-beat toppings (case in point: the “SS-145,” topped with gorgonzola, charred kale, almonds and lemon juice). Start with warm Calabrian-spiced olives and end with excellent housemade gelato. There’s a good Italian wine list too. (If you can’t wait until dinner for pizza, drop by Dark Sky Brewing, where Schiff’s pizzas, prepared with different toppings, are offered at lunch. Bonus: there’s beer at that location.)

A poached egg cut open so the yellow yolk runs out onto a charred cheese pizza with greens on top.
Charred pizza with a gooey egg on top at Pizzicletta.
Pizzicletta

Tinderbox Kitchen

A gray plate topped with pork cooked rare, creamy polenta, and peaches.
Iberico pork with polenta and peaches.
Nikki Buchanan

Newly renovated, the dimly lit dining rooms at T-Box are sleek and atmospheric, perfect for date nights; but this is Flagstaff, after all, and customers are welcome to show up in jeans, and they often do. No amount of denim can quash the sophisticated vibe, supported by a wine list made for wonks and an updated contemporary American menu that leans toward elegant comfort food. Standout dishes include the foie gras torchon with beignet and apricot-pistachio chutney; braised pork belly with blue corn sopapilla and red chimichurri; and Iberico pork chop. Pro tip: Drop by the Annex next door (part of the T-Box empire) for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail.

A gray plate topped with pork cooked rare, creamy polenta, and peaches.
Iberico pork with polenta and peaches.
Nikki Buchanan

Tourist Home All Day Cafe

A plate of fried chicken topped with white, creamy gravy, chopped green onion, and a dusting of red paprika.
Boneless fried chicken breast with biscuits, country gravy, and eggs at Tourist Home.
Nikki Buchanan

The historic building that houses Tourist Home was once a boardinghouse for Basque sheepherders who grazed their flocks in Flagstaff in the summer, but owner Kevin Heinonen completely renovated the dilapidated old structure in 2014, keeping its good bones while transforming it into a sunny, appealing hangout for breakfast or lunch. The place excels in coffee and sinful sweets, which is no reason to ignore the savory side of the menu, which includes sandwiches, quiche, fried chicken and biscuits, and arguably Flagstaff’s best breakfast burrito. Linger over cocktails or beer on the large patio.

A plate of fried chicken topped with white, creamy gravy, chopped green onion, and a dusting of red paprika.
Boneless fried chicken breast with biscuits, country gravy, and eggs at Tourist Home.
Nikki Buchanan

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