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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Best Restaurants in Grand Canyon National ParkOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

Though most dining establishments are on the South Rim, from Big Macs in the South Rim gateway town of Tusayan to filet mignon and million dollar views at the dining room in Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge , there's something for every budget inside, and just outside, the park. While there's good-to-excellent food to be had, there are also a few restaurants (we won't name names) that know your choices of where to eat are somewhat limited and put forth a half-hearted effort to please the palate.

Places to Eat South of the Park

In Tusayan, The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon features Canyon Star Steakhouse , a Southwestern eatery roping in diners with such dishes as buffalo burgers, mushroom enchiladas, ribs and steaks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered, and Native American dancers and cowboy singers liven up the evening meal service. The adjacent saloon conveys the spirit of the West with exposed timber, stone and ironwork décor; barstools made out of saddles; and toe-tapping country music. Sports fans can catch a game on the saloon's big screen TVs; this is the only place on the South Rim that carries NFL Sunday Ticket.

At the Coronado Room in the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn , discerning diners weary of eating straight from the skillet are pampered with escargot and elk steak. The Continental and Southwestern menu also features chicken, beef and seafood plates, along with an extensive wine list. An elegant, yet casual atmosphere, complemented by an attentive staff, affords the perfect setting for unwinding.

Restaurants on the South Rim

You'll find the classic El Tovar Hotel Dining Room inside the South Rim's grandest lodge, a rambling stone and pine affair that's Swiss chateau meets log cabin. The huge dining room—decked out with white linen-draped tables, stone fireplaces and colorful murals of Navajo and Apache Native Americans—is an elegant spot for a rim-side supper and making reservations for a meal here is one of the top things for couples to do. However, do note there are precious few tables with a canyon view; window table requests are accepted but not guaranteed. Dinner menu standouts range from veal Marsala to grilled lamb chops with apricot chutney. Sound pricey? It is. Budget diners can opt for breakfast (the Southwest quesadilla in a red pepper cream sauce is superb) or lunch (Navajo fry bread tacos are a solid bet), when tabs are cheaper and the crowds thinner.

Architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter integrated Native American designs into such projects as Hopi House, the Desert View Watchtower and Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins . The last site is a hub of activity at the Grand Canyon National Park - South Rim . Outside the lodge, near the rim, is an old-fashioned ice cream fountain that also sells prepackaged sandwiches to-go. Inside, java hounds will find a gourmet coffee house (open seasonally) serving cappuccino, espresso, organic coffee and some tasty pastries. After a day on the hot dusty trail, there's nothing like cooling off with an ice-cold beer. Duck into the Bright Angel Bar, quaff a brew, check out the bar's historic murals and, if your timing's right, tap your toe to live country or folk music. Next door is the casual and affordable Bright Angel Restaurant . Big with families, Bright Angel throws a few creative dishes (roasted pork loin topped with warm cinnamon apples) into the usual mix of coffee shop fare (omelets, sandwiches, pasta).

Arizona Steakhouse is known for impressive views of the canyon and creative Southwestern flavors. But get there early; long wait times are common and seating is first-come, first-served only. Both lunch and dinner are available, with menu items ranging from simple sandwiches to chili-crusted, pan-seared salmon and honey-chipotle baby back ribs. To satisfy sugar cravings, try the fudge lava cake, or share a slice of blackberry peach streusel pie.

Where to Find Cheap Eats and To-Go Lunches

The cafeteria at Maswik Lodge is similar to a food court, dishing up everything from pasta and sandwiches to Mexican favorites at fast-food restaurant prices. Surrounded by piñon and juniper forests, a seasonal café at Yavapai Lodge also is an inexpensive stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining hall features various stations, including a fresh salad bar. If you're itchin' to get out and do some canyon exploring on your vacation, Yavapai also makes box lunches to go.

You can also grab deli sandwiches, snacks and drinks at the Desert View Marketplace, the snack bar at Hermits Rest and in Grand Canyon Village Market Plaza at the General Store's deli. Just outside the park in Tusayan, the popular We Cook Pizza & Pasta serves good calzones, microbrews, pasta, pizza and sandwiches, while an adjoining ice cream shop scoops up cool treats.

Where to Eat on the Canyon Floor

At the bottom of the canyon, the canteen at Phantom Ranch nourishes hikers venturing to the canyon floor with hiker's stew as well as vegetarian and steak dishes. Reservations are required, and there are specific seating times for breakfast and dinner. Also offered are sack lunches, snacks and supplies.

Restaurants on the North Rim

For picturesque views of the Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim , stop at the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge . Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed the 1937 structure, which showcases limestone walls and timbered ceilings. Settle in to the lodge's dining room, feast your eyes on the fantastic view and tuck into margarita-blackened salmon, or maybe a big juicy cut of prime rib. Buffet spreads are laid out for both breakfast and lunch; a la carte menus are also available for those with an aversion to steam table scrambled eggs.

If you're on a budget but still want to eat well, the lodge's Deli in the Pines is the place to go for breakfast burritos, pizza, picnic lunches and snacks. Coffee snobs will want to sniff out the gourmet java and fresh-baked pastries at the Roughrider Saloon's coffee shop.

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Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

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