By Katherine Adomatis | Photo courtesy of ThatGirlProductions.com
Arizona is known for ample sunshine and clear nights, so it makes sense that many restaurants offer outdoor dining spaces. Here are just a few venues— ranging from mountaintops to along creeks—that can accommodate group dining.
Believe it or not, Phoenix has a waterfront—canals that bring water to the desert. Chelsea’s Kitchen overlooks one of the canals, and its tree-shaded patio can accommodate up to 100 for group dining, with special menus featuring entrees like taco platters and fried chicken. Smaller groups can order from the restaurant’s Southwest roadhouse-influenced daily menu that features burgers, smoked chicken and healthy salads. chelseaskitchenaz.com
DIFFERENT POINTE OF VIEW
A van drives diners up to Different Pointe of View from the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort—for a reason. The elegant restaurant and patio sit at the end of a steep, winding road atop a mountain with spectacular views of city lights and other mountains. The sophisticated, AAA Four Diamond award-winning restaurant’s menu includes signature dishes like seared diver scallops and tomato roasted garlic grilled bison bistro steak. Special menus are available for larger groups—up to 550.
LON’S AT THE HERMOSA
The Hermosa Inn was once the adobe home and studio built in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee. Its flower-filled patios with views of Camelback Mountain also ooze historic charm and romance. Small groups can sample the daily menu, featuring Arizona- centric entrees like lamb with a red pepper-pomegranate puree. Groups of up to 70 can go for a cowboy cookout or a more traditional plated three-course dinner with dishes such as seasonal fish or filet mignon.
BLANCO TACOS + TEQUILA
Blanco’s location in the foothills of the city’s Santa Catalina Mountains means primo views of the city in the distance from its casual, cantina- style patio. The restaurant, known for its tacos, fajitas and margaritas, can accommodate 90 on the patio for a sit-down meal and up to 150 for a reception-style gathering. Group dining options include the tacos as well as choices like cheese enchiladas, quesadillas and other Sonoran-style Mexican dishes.
CAFÉ À LA C’ART
Located in a historic 1865 house on the grounds of Tucson Museum of Art, the charming cafe also has a European-style patio. The restaurant is noted for its Southwest-meets-classic menu, with dishes like the achiote pork sandwich and grilled baby back ribs with achiote citrus barbecue sauce. The restaurant’s also known for catering, so groups of up to 70 on the patio can look forward to customized menus.
At the 100-year-old Hotel Congress—best known as the spot where gangster John Dillinger was captured in the 1930s—Cup Cafe is a cozy spot boasting a menu that travels the world, with entrees like Thai fisherman’s stew, Sonoran sopes and pork schnitzel. With the historic brick hotel as its backdrop, the restaurant’s tree-shaded patio can seat 48. With a buyout, the adjacent urban plaza is also available for groups up to 500 with pre-selected menus.
L’Auberge de Sedona
Nestled on the sycamore-shaded banks of Sedona’s Oak Creek, L’Auberge de Sedona, a romantic inn, has two choices for outdoor dining—Cress on Oak Creek, with a creekside patio that can seat 120 and a chef-driven menu featuring hyper-local dishes like watercress and trout, and the casual Etch Kitchen & Bar, with a deck overlooking the creek that can seat 55 for dishes like shared apps, seasonal salads and entrees that satisfy vegans and carnivores alike. Custom menus for groups at both restaurants are also available.
Brix is located in a 1909 brick carriage house, tucked in a quiet corner of Flagstaff’s historic downtown district. Its patio, hidden behind shrubs, offers outdoor dining from spring through fall, when crisp mountain air becomes temperate. Known for its extensive wine list and ever- changing menu (think almond-ricotta raviolis, pan-roasted duck breast with chanterelle mushrooms or espresso- infused pasta), the restaurant’s patio can accommodate up to 45 for a seated dinner, with customized dinner options.
SILVER PINE RESTAURANT
Overlooking a Ponderosa pine forest at the edge of the Little America Flagstaff hotel, Silver Pine’s patio can seat up to 40 guests, who can enjoy the views, a water feature and the three fire pits. Hearty menu items include a flatiron steak with gorgonzola sauce, rosemary and parmesan meatloaf, and cedar-plank salmon. Larger groups can spill out on the hotel’s lush lawns and opt for custom menus.
Katherine Adomaitis is an Arizona- based freelance writer who covers travel, food, lifestyle and design for local, regional and national publications. Her favorite places in the state include the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Prescott and Saguaro National Park.