March 10, 2014

El Tovar Restaurant, Grand Canyon AZ

A trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim is not complete without going to El Tovar Hotel. Not only does it offer the most sought after accommodations, but its also home to the fanciest restaurant inside the park. The dimly lit dining room and cozy fireplace offers a wonderful escape from the outside elements. El Tovar restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner almost everyday with the exception of four days. It it best to make a reservation ahead of time, but we were lucky to snag a late dinner reservation the day of our arrival. The dinner menu offered a wide range of options from gluten free to vegetarian to organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Complimentary bread and butter

Mediterranean salad
12.75 entree size
The mediterranean salad was certainly large enough to be an entree or to be split as a starter. It came with a choice of grilled chicken, smoked salmon or tofu. We opted for honey smoke salmon, which was tender, moist, smokey with a subtle touch of honey flavor. There was a nice balance of crisp greens and hearty vegetables tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette. 

Vegan Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
The large portobello mushroom was stuffed with spinach, onion, artichoke hearts and bell peppers then topped with a tangy red pepper sauce served over wild rice wheat berry pilaf. The meaty mushroom and rice pilaf worked really well with the pepper sauce. A good vegan dish that's tasty and filling. 

Hand-Cut, Grilled Natural Black Angus New York Strip
The New York strip had to be re-fired because the first time it came out, it was way under cooked. When it reappeared, it was exactly how we ordered it: rare. The tender and flavorful beef was accompanied by a mix of seasonable vegetables and fingerling potatoes. Not a bad steak for being in the middle of Grand Canyon National Park.

It was an enjoyable meal and one we would have again on our next visit to the Grand Canyon. We also dined at several other restaurants in the park, but for dinner, El Tovar Restaurant was definitely our favorite for taste, ambiance, quality and service.

It is worth mentioning that due to the remote location, restaurants in the park add a nominal fee to each check to offset the cost of pumping water up from below.

El Tovar Restaurant
1 El Tovar Road
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023


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SM from Mesa AZ said...

We ate about 3 years ago there. It was really good. This time, not so much.

They had a Special with "tender pork loin and barbecue sauce" that was awful. The meat was literarally shoe leather tough, I've never had such tough pork loin. We should have sent it back and didn't, my guest couldn't get through half of it. It was disgusting for 32 bucks, I couldn't believe it.

I had the trout, and it was overcooked and if you like trout, you know the worst thing that a cook can do is cook it too long, it completely spoils the taste. It was pathetic. I've had better trout from Cracker Barrel, by far, for 1/4 the price. This is supposed to be a fine restaurant, well they really need to fire the cook.

The appetizer portions were TINY except for the French Onion soup which was very good. For over 10 bucks each for appetizers I expect more.

The desserts were excellent and the only really good part of the meal. It was a $200 meal for four people. I don't complain about price much when I go out to eat, and I'm an excellent tipper, normally 30% plus. They got 10%.

I cannot recommend this restaurant. We should have sent the pork and the trout back but I didn't want to cause a scene with my guests, we were there on vacation.

We ate at the Bright Angel lounge the night before, and it was excellent, what I'd expect.

Do not bother with El Tovar. Seems the hype is more important now than a fine meal.

One should never have to leave a so called fine restaurant with a WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?? experience.

Pink Foodie said...

SM from Meza AZ - Sorry to hear about your experience. I can understand not wanting to make a scene when you're with guests. We had an enjoyable breakfast at Bright Angel Lounge, will have to try dinner next time.