I’m going to start this post off with a very bold statement. My favorite restaurant in all of Arizona is Elote Cafe in Sedona. Hands down.
We discovered this spot the night we got engaged when the front desk of the hotel we were staying at recommended it. The gentleman was practically salivating telling us about it and issued one warning: it would be packed but it was worth the wait. He was right on both accounts. That was about seven-ish years ago and we are still obsessed with Elote Cafe. We tell everyone about it when we hear they are headed to Sedona.
We love this place so much that we held our rehearsal dinner there, too. Since they don’t take reservations, we instructed our bridal party to be there at 4pm (they open at 5) and we got in without any issues. (The line typically starts around 4pm). Note: they are only open Tuesday – Saturday and are closed Sun/Mon.
Fast forward through the many meals we’ve had here to November 2016– we made a trip back to Sedona and ate here for our 5th anniversary. It only seemed appropriate!
The cuisine is inspired by Southern Mexico but has a Southwestern-American twist to it. One thing that is so wonderful about Elote Cafe is that the menu consists of food that is sustainable, local, healthy, and organic.
We decided to go a little later and showed up close to an hour after they opened. We stood in line to grab a drink at the bar and ordered a couple of prickly pear margaritas. These are not necessarily on the menu but they make plenty of them every week and will make one without an issue. They are SO GOOD. It’s probably the best prickly pear margarita I’ve had (and the color makes them so pretty!) They’ve got a waiting area outside with tables, chairs, and heaters as well so the wait is really not bad at all.
By the time we sipped on our drinks for a bit and finished them up we were being called for our table. We were seated at a quaint two-person table and it was absolutely perfect! It was kind of off to the side but still in the front dining room.
We were promptly greeted by a friendly server and ordered two more prickly pear margaritas. I mean, why not? We also ordered the Elote, which is this amazing corn appetizer. I know what you’re thinking…corn, as an appetizer? Yes, and it’s amazing. YOU HAVE TO ORDER THIS!! Seriously.
We normally split an appetizer, an entrée, and dessert (normally the Pastel de Elote) and it’s plenty of food for two. For whatever reason, we decided to get the Elote and an entrée each. We wound up skipping dessert which was a travesty but we couldn’t fit anything else in. For those that know my husband, this really is tragic because he loves dessert– like, loves it so much that we served our cake before our dinner at our wedding. #DessertFirst
Our entrées were absolutely mouthwatering and delicious. I had one of the specials and it had so many flavors that blended together so well that I felt like I was eating like royalty. I forget what it was called but the meat was extremely tender and full of flavor. And, it was on top of a mini pancake. Yum! My husband had the Sea Bass Asado. Oh. My. Goodness. I tried a bite of his dish and this sea bass literally melted in my mouth without being outdone by any of the other flavors.
We decided to commemorate our anniversary experience by purchasing the Elote Cafe Cookbook. We took a chance and asked our server if Chef Smedstad would happen to have a minute to sign it for us. A few minutes later, out he came with a cookbook which he signed at our table and two shots of a sweet tequila. He explained that this tequila was considered an aphrodisiac. It was really tasty and we were so grateful for such a nice gesture.
Elote Cafe is an award-winning restaurant and has been featured in a handful of articles for good reason. From the food to the atmosphere and friendliness of the chef and staff, you know it’s a place of passion and a work of love. Not to mention, it’s in Sedona, which is one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona. This is absolutely a great date night spot. Or, if you’re just passing through and need a place to eat, you should seriously consider eating here. It’s a small, local business that is absolutely worth your time and money. And, you’ll leave having just had one of the best meals of your life. Cheers!