Flagstaff Restaurants: Megan’s Picks
By: Megan Ruangchamneil, Class 0f 2022
It’s not easy being a college student in a city with such unbelievable restaurants — I end up spending every last drop of money I have on food. Yeah, it’s a problem.
On the positive side, I have the inside scoop on all the best restaurants you MUST try if you find yourself wandering around town asking yourself; “Wow, I wonder where I should eat today.”
🍔 BEST BURGER SPOT 🍔
Diablo Burger or Bun Huggers?
I enjoy treating myself to a tasty, messy, but perfectly prepared burger from time to time. However — if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right. Ask any Flagstaff resident or NAU student where to get the best burger in town and you’ll get two options: Bun Huggers and Diablo Burger.
I’ll tell you, it wasn’t an easy decision but….
Diablo Burger is the clear winner in my eyes.
Not only do they prepare a perfect patty with the greatest toppings you could ever imagine… they do the unthinkable and put it in between an English muffin. I know, that can sound a little strange, but I promise you this is the best burger I have ever tasted. Paired with their salty-herb rosemary fries and a delightful pickle spear on the side, this place will have you considering whether or not you should camp out for when they open tomorrow.
If you’re looking to try it out, (and you better) they are open from 11:00am to 9:00pm everyday. They are located off Leroux St. in Historic Downtown Flagstaff next to the Old Town Shops and the Creperie. They have some tables inside their building, but most seating is outside or in a covered tent.
I highly recommend trying “The Cheech” if you like a little bit of spice.
🍕 BEST PIZZA SPOT 🍕
Pizzicletta or Lumberjack Pizza?
This one is about to start fights among anyone and everyone who knows Flagstaff pizza. “Hey wait, there are so many really good pizza places like Fratelli’s, Pizza Guy, Pizza Patio, and Nimarcos. Who are you to decide what place is the best?”
Not that I need to prove my worthiness — but I am the owner of my own wood-fired pizza oven. Are my pizzas as good as the winner of the contest? Definitely not, but at least I try. Now, Lumberjack Pizza can offer a great slice at the wee hours of the night when you’re really craving something after being up all night studying, which is why they came in second.
However, not a single thing could beat the beauty of…
Pizzicletta’s delicious wood-fired-cooked-in-seconds-authentic-pizza. Their pizza genuinely makes me emotional and I’m not being dramatic. I’m crying happy tears while typing this. In all seriousness, their fresh tomato sauce, perfectly placed mozzarella cheese, and fluffy-cloud dough is all you need for the rest of your life. However, I would not skimp out on their mini pepperonis, they make everything better.
The inside of their restaurant is small, but they have outdoor seating with heaters and provide you with a blanket too! They are located off of Phoenix Ave. and are open 5:00pm–9:00pm on Sunday-Thursday, and 4:00pm–9:00pm on Friday-Saturday.
🍜 BEST ASIAN FOOD 🍱
Go Sushi or Ewa’s Thai Cuisine?
It was HARD to decide between two Asian restaurants in Flagstaff because there are SO many good options. Trust me, I’ve tried them all. The Thai food alone could have been a sub topic, but I’m trying to keep this concise.
Before I announce the winner, I’m going to give out some honorable mentions because it breaks my heart to just pick one.
Hot Wok, Pato Thai, SoSoba, HuHot, Karma Sushi, Dara Thai, Delhi Palace, just know that I love you very much, okay?
Now, there was a point in my life where I went to Go Sushi three nights in a row, and only didn’t go a fourth time because the waitress remembered me… but even that fact alone can’t beat…
Ewa’s Thai Cuisine. I mean just look at their Pad Thai.
My family comes from Thailand and eating here gives me a warm, familiar feeling. You can really taste the authenticity and every individual flavor in their food.
I recommend ordering their Pad Thai, but if that’s too ‘basic’ for you — their Red Curry, Larb, and Pad See Ew can’t be beat.
Pro tip: if you haven’t tried Thai iced coffee, order it. You’ll thank me later.
If you end up trying this place, they have both outdoor and indoor seating, and the inside of their restaurant is beautiful. They are located off of San Francisco St. on the south side of the tracks. Their hours vary every day, so be sure to look it up before you head over.
🌯 BEST MEXICAN FOOD 🌮
Salsa Brava or Tres Amigos Cuisine?
I know what you’re thinking… and yes eating all this delicious food was an incredible sacrifice, but I would do anything to provide you with top-notch, information. Now, I admit this may be the topic I know least about, but only because I can make a MEAN bean burrito in my kitchen, so I don’t go out a lot for Mexican food. However, when I discovered these two places I threw my bean burrito out the window.
I know Salsa Brava got the Guy Fieri approval, but that couldn’t even combat… Tres Amigos Cuisine.
This is “100% where it’s at” as the kids say. I can’t believe I ever lived before eating here. Their food is so classic yet so flavorful. I’m convinced I now know what heaven tastes like. Their shrimp taco is something I could eat every single day. I don’t know where they got shrimp so fresh, but it feels illegal.
Their food truck is usually located off of Fourth street, but they have a stand alone location off of Route 66 too. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays but are open for all to enjoy Tuesdays-Saturdays from 11:00am-8:00pm
BEST ON-CAMPUS SPOT
Green Scene Cafe or Einstein Bagels?
Oh yes, good old campus food. We all love to bash campus food, but how could you dislike it? Food available to you while you’re going from class to class? Plus, the little Starship robots that deliver it to you it is the most incredible thing. I bet you thought I was going to talk about the Dub vs. the HotSpot, but I can’t compare because I love them both equally.
While Einstein’s is a classic and always has my back, there is one place on campus that makes me want to be a college student forever.
Green Scene Cafe has my whole heart.
My go to order is the turkey & pesto sandwich with a cup of soup and their lemonade. I could eat that all day every day.
If you haven’t tried them yet, they’re located on the second floor of the Health and Learning Center. (HLC) You can use dining dollars and meal swipes, plus you get an incredible view of the peaks while you eat.
They’re open on weekdays from 10:30am–7:00pm except on Fridays, they close at 3:00pm.
BEST OVERALL RESTAURANT
The time has come to reveal (in my opinion) the best restaurant in Flagstaff, Arizona… but first, some honorable mentions.
3. Biff’s Bagels
- If you haven’t eaten here, are you really from Flagstaff? Probably not, you must be a visitor! That’s okay, just make sure to fit this one in.
2. Teppan Fuji
If Kim Kardashian and Kanye West came all the way to Flagstaff to eat here… 3 times… of course I’m going to mention it. If you haven’t figured out why just go find out for yourself.
And last but certainly not least… the one true winner of this contest.
🏆 FAT OLIVES 🏆
You probably could’ve guessed it, given everyone knows about their well-worth-it wait time, bustling parking lot, and the fact that Guy Fieri ate here.
This place has significantly changed my life. You can’t go wrong with their classic margherita pizza. It’s also important to mention their incredible pastas, burrata, and many specialty pizzas. I could write an entire book about their goat cheese bruschetta but if I get started on that, I’ll never stop.
Fat Olives is located off of Route 66 near Salsa Brava (their sister restaurant) and Texas Roadhouse. They are open from 11:00am–10:00pm Sunday-Thursday and 11:00am–9:00pm Friday & Saturday.
I hope I inspired your next night out on the town, your next brunch spot, late night snack, or mission to find YOUR favorite spot in town.
Thanks for reading and happy eating!