This is a composite report for the Verde Valley (excluding most of Sedona), based on several business trips this spring and summer. This is whitebread cowboy country, but the food is a whole lot better than it was 5 years ago, when we left Prescott.
Sweet Jill's, Cottonwood. Very nice bkfst place, quiet, excellent coffee, good pastries. Hard to find -- call first, or pick up a free map at the Chamber. Nice, clean, quiet place for a business meeting. 928-649-2779, 1750 E. Villa Dr., in an office-park behind a car dealer. http://www.sweetjillscafe.com/
Nick's Italian Steak & Crab House 925 N Main St, Old Town Cottonwood. A busy place with good food & good prices. Good steaks, soups, salads. Good deserts. Nice place, if a bit noisy. Best food we've found in Cottonwood -- better than D&D in Sedona, at half the price. Call ahead at peak times: (928) 634-9626
Randall's Restaurant 891 S Main St, Cottonwood (adj to Woody's). Locals favorite breakfast spot: tasty, fast & cheap. Try the Spanish omelette. Good biscuits.
Su Casa, Clarkdale. This family-run Mexican place is widely thought to have the best Mexican food in/near Cotton wood. Maybe so, but it has been just OK for us. Some of the other Mex places in the Verde Valley are truly awful, so.... Does anyone
know a decent Mexican place in the area?
Asylum, Jerome. Located in the old hospital, now the Jerome Grand hotel above town. Very pleasant restaurant with amazing views, good food, good service. Lots of parking, unusual for Jerome. We'll be back.
Note: Turn up what apears to be a driveway opposite the Haunted Hamburger (small sign for hotel) and follow it to the large building at the end. 928.639.3197
Haunted Hamburger has been our Jerome fave for at least a decade. We haven't been there yet this year, but local friends say it's as good as ever. Stick to the burgers & beer, and try for a view table. NB: Parking is (basically) non-existent.
Page Springs Bar & Grill. Off the beaten path, but just about 3 mi from the Cottonwood-Sedona 4-lane. Excellent ribs, cold beer, nice views of Oak Creek, decent prices. Nothing fancy, but good. PS: the bar sells sacks of ice ($1.25).
Beaver Creek Country Club, Lake Montezuma. OK but variable. Not that you have much choice in LM-Rimrock. Better to picnic at Montezuma Well (great picnic area!)
Desert Flour Bakery, Village of Oak Creek (VOC). Pretty good pastries/goodies, excellent bread, so-so coffee. Noteworthy because I got a takeout Cobb salad (eaten at M. Well picnic area) that was outstanding.
Cucina Rustica (Dahl & Delucca), VOC. VOC's first "fine-dining" restaurant, and it's pretty good -- very pretty place, nice people, fair to middlin' food. They're pretty new, and obviously trying, so I'll cut them some slack. Nice if you're staying in VOC (which is usually cheaper, and quieter, than Sedona. Try the Village Lodge, especially their upstairs suites, $69 weekdays) and don't feel like driving to Sedona. Others like it more. Very popular place -- call ahead at busy times.
Thai Spices, West Sedona. My favorite 'local ethnic' place in Sedona, and consistently good for over a decade. Not up to big-city standards, but hey, this is northern Arizona. Reasonable prices. Nice, comfy place. [posted at chefmoz, 7/15/05]
Ming House, Camp Verde. This unpretentious place used to have a decent, reliable Chinese buffet, and we were regular customers. It slipped, and we stopped going. Gave it another chance recently (5-05) and it was pretty bad. Sigh. Anyone tried the Ming's in Cotonwood lately?
Cheers -- Pete Tillman