Arizona Vegan Vacation: Part 2 – The Food
It’s been a few weeks since we have been back from our whirlwind trip out west and I have to say, our Arizona vegan vacation is not one I will soon forget. I have spent time fully organizing my pics and added comments and captions so others may benefit from our Arizona vegan foodie finds.
Despite the research I did ahead of time in Part 1 of this blog series, we did find a few foodie challenges along the way. We quickly overcame them as best we could, remembering, it’s an omnivore world that has yet to fully embrace our plant-based life and it’s us who choose to eat animal-free.
Up and down the beautiful state of Arizona we experienced awe-inspiring, mind-blowing geographies and unforgettable geological history. There were times we even questioned our own infinitesimal existence. I will never forget some of the trails we hiked and the views we saw in Sedona and the Grand Canyon. And don’t even get me started on Antelope Canyon and the Narrows which are incredible natural wonders that you simply stand in awe of and behold the beauty.
Between the three of us, we took almost 2000 pictures over 13 days and almost 100 were food-centric. I’ve narrowed them down to about 50 photos and I think they reflect our vegan foodie experiences pretty well. At least when dining out that is. We did make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches a lot when we were in the Grand Canyon and Page since they were easy and convenient, and they replenished key nutrients during those hot trail hikes.
There are a few restaurants that did not get captured in photos that were standouts such as a place in Page that we went to twice called Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. Although their rice is cooked in chicken stock, the beans were not, so, put beans and veggies together alongside Mexican spices and viola, a great dinner, or rather, dinners. We had wonderful veg-filled burritos and fajitas with tons of fresh salsa and guacamole on the side. The sangria was pretty tasty too! 🤭
Another meal I forgot to snap a shot of was the day we left Sedona to head to the Grand Cayon. We had the best breakfast at The Secret Garden Cafe, just steps from our hotel door. If we had known the food was going to be as good as it was, we wouldn’t have waited until the last day to go. We all order the Garden Love Scramble and in fact, we all three loved it!
The Secret Garden Cafe at Tlaquepaque 👍👍👍👍…breakfast, done right!
All-in-all, I think below you will see what our taste buds and bellies had worked with in Phoenix, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Page, Flagstaff, Scottsdale and all the places we stopped in between. Not a bad selection of vegan eats at all and I look forward to discovering even more places the next time we journey to Arizona.
I rated the eateries between 1 – 5 thumbs (5 being outstanding) based on our experience only. I take into account, not just food quality and flavor, but also selection, how vegan is indicated on the menu, value, ambiance and yes, OK, flavor. Just setting expectations. 😁
Hold onto your hats…it’s an Arizona vegan adventure!
Before taking off on our 4 1/2 hour plane ride from Tampa to Phoenix, I made sure we all had a snack bag packed with plenty of nuts, Kind bars, apples & bananas, and various other goodies including a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for each of us. This snack bag came in handy, especially since the vegan options were both slim and expensive at the airport. With that being said, airport security became suspicious of our plant-based treats and thus, provided an extra thorough screening of us and our snack bags. 🙄
Once we landed in Phoenix, we were famished so our first stop was to a vegetarian/vegan casual dining cafe called
The Coronado PHX: 👍👍👍
Great ambiance, great vegan selections, mediocre value, mediocre flavors.
Having done a little research, I knew the Coronado PHX was a quaint, hip. counter-service restaurant that had a pretty extensive vegan menu. I was craving breakfast but for some reason, I ordered the cauliflower tacos. Go figure! They weren’t all that I was hoping for based on the description, so I was a bit disappointed in the taste. That could be because I ordered the wrong thing more than the dish itself. As you can see the tacos were filled with fresh, spicy ingredients.
With that said, David was not a fan of his Tepary Bean & Mushroom Burger because the veg patty fell apart the moment he started eating it.
Mia ordered her favorite, a burrito, and whereby this was probably the best-flavored dish out of the three of us, it still was a little bland, a little ‘meh’.
We also ordered the Chili and Guacamole Fries and these were tasty. There was just way too much to finish.
The flavors to the three of us were on the average side but, the option selection, presentation, and ambiance all added positively to the experience. I did not see the value in the food we ordered tho’ (especially knowing what goes into making most of this), but perhaps if I ordered breakfast like I initially wanted, I would have been more open to the flavors. 🤷♀️
Based on how busy this restaurant was at brunchtime, I would say it is a local favorite. I will give the place another shot, and try something I am actually craving next time.
Once we left Phonix, we drove to Sedona. We wanted to get straight to hiking but we knew we would be hungry on our journeys so we stopped at Whole Foods and picked up some premade sandwiches and salads and headed out.
We didn’t have another proper meal until the next morning at breakfast at
ChocolaTree Organic Vegetarian Eatery 👍👍👍👍
Outstanding patio area, zen-like ambiance, lot of vegan options, healthy, mediocre value, good flavors.
We split a Mango Lassi Smoothie, made with mango, coconut kefir, maple, and spices. Two words. Yum. Yum!
Since there was an avocado toast option I decided to order that simply to compare it to the one I make at home.
This version was pretty straightforward with just avo on multigrain bread with a house-made, vegan chipotle paneer. It was good, but a little on the heavy side, given the paneer. As you can see it was simple. I’ll leave it at that.
David ordered the Breakfast Bean Burrito which was delicious and is likely the best reflection of this restaurant’s offerings.
It was as big as it looks! I wish I would’ve snapped a pic of the inside but just image beans and potatoes and tons of other goodness. We all had a bite and I will admit, David’s breakfast was the best.
Mia ordered the Warm Superfood Porridge which was a mix of chia seeds, goji berries, cacao nibs, coconut cream, almond milk, and maple syrup. She enjoyed the flavors but it kept getting caught in her braces. 🤷♀️ It was different, that’s for sure and after taking a bite you could tell they weren’t kidding…there were tons of superfoods and nutritional goodness packed in this bowl.
After breakfast, we spent most of the day hiking Boynton Canyon and a trail in Red Rock State Park. We ate our handy-dandy snacks and PB&Js along the way for lunch. By dinner time we had worked up a hunger and pizza was just our thing!
Picasso’s Healthy Italian Kitchen: 👍👍👍👍
Clean, modern and health-centric, great vibe, awesome service, top-notch pizza, good value.
This eatery was on my researched list and I knew it would be a home run. We did not order much…just this pizza, so, we didn’t have a lot to judge this place by. That’s the only reason it did not get 5 thumbs. However, given what we did order and comparing it to other vegan pizzas we have had, this was a homerun!
David and Mia each had three slices and I had two. It was enough to fill us all and then some. As much as I wanted to try more of the food, I just couldn’t eat another bite.
After a restful night, we were ready to explore the beautiful nature of Sedona but first, we fueled up at
Local Juicery: 👍👍👍👍
Good value, good flavors, all vegan, all organic, counter-service, super-healthy vibe, grab-n-go options.
Local Juicery has two locations in Flagstaff and Sedona. They are a small counter-service restaurant with most of their seating outside. It was morning time so that wasn’t a big deal since it wasn’t too hot yet. We ordered a Strong & Radiant smoothie to split between us. I gotta say…it did make me feel strong and radiant! Super refreshing and packed with flavor.
David had the Works Waffle, an organic, gluten-free waffle with all the fixings including fresh berries, bananas, almond butter, maple syrup, hemp seeds, and coconut flakes. It was off the chain! I kept inching my way in for more.
Mia’s Back to the Basics waffle wasn’t as good but, it was certainly very fresh and filling. It’s just hard to compare it to something as delicious as The Works!
And yes, you guessed it. I had none other than the Avocado Toast with smashed avo, chipotle cashew crema, chipotle flakes, and just a touch of olive oil. This avo toast was better than the one at ChocolaTree, and I did enjoy it, but, it was by no means outta this world.
Since we spent the last day hiking throughout Sedona, we spent our last lunch eating hummus & pretzels and PB&Js on the trails.
When it came to dinner, we were super excited to find this AH-MAZING, old-world style Mexican eatery in uptown Sedona called
Oaxaca Restaurant 👍👍👍👍👍
Authentic vibe, great value, awesome taste, fantastic views, several vegan options, friendly service.
I was thrilled to find Oaxaca Mexican restaurant, especially because it was not on my original researched foodie list. We were pleasantly surprised to see they had delicious food with giant portions. With three specific vegan options, we ordered all three; Cactus Tacos, Oaxaca Burro, and the Green Chili Tamales.
Insanely delicious dinner for our last night in Sedona. Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant really delivered.
We told our waiter we were vegan so immediately he knew to nix the crema and cheese wherever it was offered. We also had a huge order of guacamole but, that was eaten so fast it did not make it into the shot. Our last meal in Sedona left our bellies extremely full and very happy.
The next morning we were headed to the Grand Canyon. With a two hour drive ahead of us and a few sights to see along the way, we all had our snack bag filled with fruit, nuts, nutrition bars, and a few special chocolate treats. And a few hours later, we made it!
After taking in a few hours of this magnificent geological wonder, it was time again to feed our bellies. We checked in at the Yavapai Lodge, the place we would call home the next three nights, and we headed over to the cafeteria-style restaurant for a late lunch.
The Yavapai Restaurant had limited vegan options and we knew this going in. We realized quickly that in this area of the country, veganism is not huge and there is still a lot of work to be done to bring plant-based culinary awareness and training to the chefs at some of these resorts and hotels. All-in-all they did have options, which is better than many.
For “linner” (what I call the time between lunch & dinner), we had the option of vegetarian chili (really vegan) and the salad bar. I was happy to see they did offer several different dressings, including a vegan thousand island. As far as meals go, it was filling enough.
We were pretty whipped out for the day and exhilarated by trekking all over this 7th natural wonder of the world! After an early night, the next morning for breakfast we headed over to
El Tovar Dining Room 👍
Disappointing presentation/plating & flavors, limited vegan options, poor value, mediocre service.
The El Tovar Dining Room is a fine dining restaurant attached to the El Tovar Hotel in the Grand Canyon National Park. A stone’s throw from the place we were staying, I was excited to try this restaurant’s “fine dining” vegan options. What I could tell from my research, they offered avocado toast and a tofu scramble. They also had roasted potatoes, so, from my perspective, we were golden.
Since the prices were a bit high, I felt we were splurging, but I thought for sure it would be awesome. I will let the pics speak for themselves. 😒
Yeah, not so good. Especially because this was one of our more expensive meals. I gave this restaurant one thumb because the limited options they did offer were not even good. The chefs at El Tovar might want to read up on the latest trends in avo toast, tofu, and roasted potatoes. It was seriously below my expectations.
Speaking of low expectations, 🙄 after a few hours of hiking, we headed back to the Yavapai Lodge for a quick dinner before catching our Pink Jeep Sunset Tour. The cafeteria-style eatery had tons of options for non-vegans, but, for us, we could either have the $17 southwestern veggie bowl or the personal pizza.
David and Mia opted for the veg bowl, which had a vegan sausage, (shown below), I got the pizza. 🤷♀️
This is the second pizza they had to make. Since they wrote my order number down wrong, they never called me up to get the first pizza. I saw a pizza sitting on the counter for about 10 minutes not knowing it was mine. Since that pizza was on the line with tons of people/tourists leaning all over it and around it, I asked that a new one be made. Let me assure, you, this pizza is the better looking of the two.
We were so hungry when we returned from our Pink Jeep Tour, that we split two Beyond Burgers between the three of us at the Yavapai Tavern. I don’t have a picture but the burger was huge. I’m thinking about 1/4 lb and it wasn’t cooked all the way through. Again, thanks for the option, but no thanks if you can’t cook it right!
Yavapai Lodge 👍👍 – Overall, the Yavapai Lodge vegan dining scene was not impressive.
Few vegan options, overpriced, food doesn’t seem super fresh, cafeteria-style.
The next morning we decided to have PB&J for breakfast before our last full day of hiking the Grand Canyon. We bought pre-packed veggie sandwiches and single-serving Sabra hummus for lunch since we would be hiking for hours. At the end of a long day, our trekking took us to Bright Angel Trail and subsequently we went to the
Harvey House Cafe @ the Bright Angel Lodge 👍👍👍
Few vegan options, fair value, OK flavors, accommodating with requests, good service.
I was on the fence between two and three thumbs on this one since they did not have a lot to offer and David was not thrilled with his bean burger (see why below).
With that said, Mia ordered the Bright Angel Protein Bowl and seemed to like it a lot since she ate it all.
I ordered the veggie fajitas. It wasn’t listed on the menu but since they had chicken and beef fajitas I figured they could handle just veggies. And, so they did.
All-in-all, our last meal in the Grand Canyon was filling and for the most part tasty, and always vegan.
The next big leg of our journey was starting the first thing the next morning. We packed our suitcases, backpacks, and snack bags full of…yeah, you know…and we headed north 2 1/2 hours to Page, AZ. It’s here we would spend the next four nights.
One-stop along the drive was to feed our hungry faces lunch at McAllister’s Deli in Cameron, AZ. In an oversized rest stop, we were ecstatic to find this tasty sandwich treat. I didn’t rate McCallister’s because this was the only vegan option to choose from.
In Page, AZ and the surrounding Lake Powell area, we did not have a ton of options as a vegan. We were excited to find a great Mexican restaurant that I mentioned above (Fiesta) and we ate there twice. We were also fortunate that our hotel, Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell, offered a Beyond Burger and a veggie, olive and hummus platter.
They also offered a breakfast buffet, and alongside oatmeal with almond milk, we also had this for four mornings…
I happened to have an opportunity to bend the ear of three higher-ups at the hotel and told them that simple changes could be made to better accommodate vegans for breakfast. Such as pancakes without dairy, tofu scrambles, plant-base proteins, and ensuring there is dairy-free milk/creamer by the coffee. To me, these would be simple changes to better accommodate vegan guests.
On a high note, we had one of our best meals ever in Page. I was thrilled my research ahead of time paid off and I still can’t forget the flavor bombs at
Blue Buddha Tepanyaki Sushi Lounge 👍👍👍👍👍
Outstanding flavors, plenty of vegan options, vegan sushi, good value, great portions.
From the moment we walked into Blue Buddha I felt a cool of vibes in this very hip, modern-day sushi lounge. With neat lighting and eclectic, Buddha-forward accents, it’s clear the place is a favorite with locals and tourists, it was hopping! We were fortunate to be seated right away and about 10 minutes later the line started forming.
Since they offered a build-your-own-bowl concept the flavors and entrees that we had to choose from were plenty. I was also a little psyched to find out they had a tasty Malbec, as well as some even tastier vegan sushi.
And, what’s a sushi place without…
Finally our meals.
David ordered the Tofu Phat Bowl with rice and the sweet chili sauce.
And I ordered the Tofu Phat Bowl with extra veg, noodles, and peanut sauce.
Mia didn’t order anything because this is when she was starting to feel under the weather. We weren’t able to fully enjoy our meal at the table since she was getting a sore throat so we packed up our food and headed back to the hotel.
I gotta say, even after being eaten a little, cut up, shoved in a box and jostled around a bit until I could finish it at the hotel, this was still one of the best meals I had the whole trip. We still can’t stop talking about the way they cooked the tofu and how huge the portions were.
Deserving of 5 Vegan It Real 👍!
The next day we took things slowly because lo’ and behold, thanks to a quick run to the local walk-in clinic, we found out Mia had come down with an ear infection. One antibiotic later we had a nice drive to Monument Valley.
Getting back at lunchtime, we decided just to eat in the room. Not wanting Beyond Burgers yet again, we opted for a trip to Safeway where we could buy organic ingredients for Chef Jennifer 👩🍳 to make the most delicious hoagie in the hotel room.
After a restful night, we were on our way back down AZ to Flagstaff. On the tail end of our whirlwind vacation, we knew the closer we got to larger towns, the more vegan options we would have. And boy did we!
One of the first restaurants I came across in Flagstaff, when starting my foodie research was
Red Curry Vegan Kitchen 👍👍👍👍👍
Great value, great flavors, totally vegan, creative menu, lots of options, fresh & healthy, large portions.
Wow, this place impressed me! 🙌
There was a huge menu with tons of tasty looking options and a “specials” board that offered this Tom Yum soup. Made with super-fresh ingredients such as galangal root and lemongrass shoots the broth brought a spicy, savory kick that had me going for more. We simply could not get enough.
I ordered the Spicy Noodles which had tons of tofu, fresh basil, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms.
David and Mia both order the Pad Se Lew which is one of David’s all-time favorites.
I would totally recommend this restaurant to anyone heading towards Flagstaff. And for the record, I even overheard the lady at the next table say it was her “favorite meal of her vacation”. So, there you go!
After lunch, we headed down Historic Route 66 and off to see a famous meteor crater in Winslow, about 45 minutes away. It’s here David was in heaven!
After a trip through the landmark’s museum and an interesting hour-long, guided tour that explained the history of the crater we were ready to head back to Flagstaff to check in to our hotel. All that traveling had us beat and we only had one more thing to do before calling it a night…dinner.
Pizza Patio 👍👍👍
Expensive, lots of vegan options, counter service, fresh ingredients but not super flavorful, cool patio seating with a young vibe.
If there is one thing Pizza Patio in Flagstaff had and that was options. A whole menu just for just us conscious eaters. That right there is one thumb up in my book…options! But, sadly this place did not live up to my expectations. For instance, when you first see the menu and the pizza you’re like “wow, this looks great!” But, the “mozzarella” got to be a bit much and the gluten-free crust was not for me.
Also, the difference in size between the deep dish and the regular crust was a bit disproportionate, at least visually speaking. And you know what they say…you eat with your eyes first.
My Vegan Edgy Veggie pizza with the original crust was huge and seemingly had more food than the deep dish.
And of course, I had to order this!
Even though we weren’t totally loving the flavors of our meal, (and the cheese did get to be a bit much!), we were ecstatic to find a place that offered so much. I would definitely give this spot another try.
Thoroughly exhausted, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. After all, tomorrow was another day. Tomorrow was Scottsdale!
Thankful that checkout wasn’t until NOON 🙌, we slept in a bit on our last full day in Arizona. Packing up our suitcases and backpacks, we headed to breakfast at
Macy’s European Coffeehouse 👍👍👍👍
Tons of vegan options, fresh, good value, good flavors, cool ambiance, counter service.
After walking around in circles for a few minutes, we finally found our destination…this neat little coffee shop and eatery, Macy’s Coffeehouse. Clearly a favorite of locals, the place was packed both inside and out on a Tuesday morning.
Coffee and smoothies, please! The quickest and tastiest way to get the morning started. 😁
We shared the orange, strawberry & mango smoothie and then David and Mia had the waffles with fresh fruit.
I had the Avo BLT with tempeh bacon and their homemade, whole wheat bread which was so soft and flavorful. This sandwich was simple but really good. And I was happy they did not go overboard with the tempeh bacon, which a lot of places can do.
After this satisfying and healthy breakfast, we were powered up and ready to go…🎵 on the road again!🎶
We were leaving Flagstaff and heading to the last stop on our 13-day journey, Scottdale, AZ. A small desert town just east of Phoenix. After another 3-hour car drive, a bit of adventuring, and a stop at Montezuma Castle National Monument, when we arrived in Scottsdale the temperatures were topping 108. It was dry and it was HOT! 😵
We didn’t have it in us to go sightseeing so we headed to our hotel to download and relax for a bit. Since it was our last night, we also had to repack all of our suitcases and backpacks and get ready for the next morning’s flight. Remembering there was one more foodie destination I wanted to try before heading home, we went to dinner at
Green New American Vegetarian 👍👍👍👍
Good value, 100% plant-based, cool vibe, lots of options, good flavors.
With two locations, one in Tempe and the other in Phoenix, we went to the Green New American Vegetarian in Tempe. This was another vegan-centric, counter-service restaurant with tons of options that aren’t too hard on the wallet. It was our last meal in Arizona before heading home to Florida the next morning. At this point we were all a little tired, a little ornery, ready to get home and looking for comfort food!
We started with these little bits of spicy goodness.
David and Mia got Wendy’s Pickle, a spicy, breaded mock chicken sandwich.
I went with one of my favorites.
If you made it this far then you know we had some delicious food while we were in Arizona. It’s not often people have the opportunity to take 13 days for a road-trip type vacation in another state and we are so fortunate to have had this time together, exploring the sites and enjoying the food.
A few things I will say to sum up our Arizona vegan adventure…
- Arizona restaurants are big on gluten-free foods. If you are gluten-free, you will love the Arizona restaurant scene.
- There are tons of quality vegan restaurant options, especially in the larger populated areas and places like Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and Phoenix and the vegan footprint is growing fast.
- Places like the Grand Canyon and Page have a bit of an opportunity when it comes to catering to vegans. Although I was not surprised there were not many options based on my research, I am surprised more hotels & restaurants are not catering to vegans. After all, between 2014 and 2017 those identifying as vegan grew 600%.
- As a vegan on vacation, it is always, always good to have your own tried and true animal-free snacks!
After traveling 13 days up and down the Arizona desert, all-in-all we were quite pleased with our foodie finds. Page and the Grand Canyon areas have a little work to do but, they DO have options and that is a huge bonus in my book. I am pretty sure just a few years ago that wasn’t the case, so, we have come a long way.
I hope our Arizona vegan adventures were informative. I hope you try some of these places (and share your stories) during your next trip to beautiful Arizona, the Grand Canyon state!
Certified Plant-Based Chef and Holistic Nutritionist veganizing the planet one meal at a time. Bringing fans vegan food, brand, travel & lifestyle news while offering clients personalized vegan chef services in the Tampa Bay area. For the health of it! View all posts by Jennifer