Sunlight spills across Sedona's red rocks, causing the sandstone to glow with brilliant reds and oranges. Shugrues Hillside Grill sits by a nearby hill, its walls of windows and its outdoor patio enveloping customers in the area's natural beauty. This scenic locale is the workplace of Chef Michael Mullins, his wife Shelly, and two of their children, but it’s also home to the chef’s critically acclaimed seafood menu. Inside, visitors can peek at the restaurant's Best Seafood of Sedona Awards, which its website claims it has won more than 20 years in a row. It’s an impressive feat, but perhaps not a surprise to anyone who's met Chef Mullins, or snuck a surveillance device into his chef's hat.
To complete his menu, the chef flies in fish from around the world, bringing a taste of the sea to Arizona. On any given night, he can be seen grilling, sautéing, and blackening ahi tuna, or stuffing fried tilapia with crab, though diners aren't restricted to seafood. He also braises racks of lamb, grills steaks, and whips up a full weekend brunch menu with favorites such as buttermilk biscuits and gravy. Imported wines, beer, and specialty cocktails also complement each dining experience.
Romantic Italian Villa | Farm-to-Table Cuisine | Housemade Pastas and Sauces | Award-Winning Wine List
The Ambiance: Exposed stone draped in curtains, soft lighting from tulip-shaped fixtures, and walls adorned with Italian artwork all help set the scene for what Frommer’s called “the most romantic restaurant in Sedona.”
Who’s in the Kitchen? Chef-owner Lisa Dahl is a strong supporter of the farm-to-table movement. She relies solely on local USDA-certified growers—freshness that’s reflected in her food’s flavor and vivid appearance. In addition to Dahl & Di Luca, she also runs several other restaurants in the Sedona area and has published an award-winning cookbook, The Elixir of Life.
Don’t Miss This: The beauty of the interior spills outside. Though it’s impossible to overlook, be sure to stop and appreciate the flaming torch columns, Italian cypress trees, and fountain surrounded by flowers on your way in.
Bolognese: an Italian meat sauce, typically made from onion, celery, carrots, wine, tomatoes, and meat, such as beef or pork.
Fra diavolo: a spicy Italian sauce that’s usually blended with tomatoes and chili peppers.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Stop into Chef Dahl’s other Italian gem, Cucina Rustica (7000 State Route 179), for equally tasty organic creations.
On a roadside in the Verde Valley, a restaurant beckons to passersby with the scents of hearty, home-cooked Southern and Southwestern cuisine. Nate's Cowboy Cafe relishes in its charming frontier aesthetic, a place where guests can sink their teeth into a well-marbled, charbroiled ribeye, sip margaritas from mason jars, or say "consarn it" without attracting any funny looks. Friendly, cowboy-hat clad servers roll out pints of frosty beer and plates laden with country-fried steaks, smoked-salmon tacos, and succulent, slow-cooked baby back ribs.
In about a century's time, the city of Cottonwood has gone from mining to artisan cheese making, Al Capone to craft beers. Once known as the bootleg capital of Arizona, it later served as a location for Wild West films before becoming a destination for fine foods. Old Town fixture Crema Cafe reaches out to neighborhood pubs, bistros, bakeries, and chocolatiers to assemble afternoons of strolling, sipping, snacking, and soaking up history for vacationers and hungry locals alike.
In 1966, Chuck Mabery bought a cattle ranch that dated back to the late 19th century, planting the seeds of the Blazin' M Ranch. After stints herding and growing vegetables, the flood of 1993 forced the Mabery family to start over, inspiring them to show off their musical talents at a traditional chuck-wagon dinner staged on the property. Fully renovated in 2010, the ranch now hosts an authentic Arizona frontier town where visitors can experience the cowboy life through such activities as lassoing mechanical steers, shooting wax bullets out of a real Colt .45, and learning how to easily covert ten-gallon hats into metric. A selection of shops fits customers out in Western-themed apparel, the copper Spur Saloon serves local wines and microbrews, and a museum delves into the history of the ranch, pioneer-era Arizona, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. An old-time photo studio, "Pistols and Petticoats", allows groups to have their likeness captured while wearing Victorian costumes. At the museum, the unique Wood'n West Gallery enthralls visitors with moving dioramas of Western life, hand carved over 30 years by a master whittler.