Elote Cafe is a popular Mexican/Southwestern restaurant located inside Sedona's Arabella hotel. This restaurant is very popular with tourists, with a line beginning to form as early as an hour prior to opening! Unfortunately, Elote takes no reservations, and thus, visiting outside of the prime summer season is highly recommended.
Chef Jeff Smedstad’s menu is inspired from 20+ years of travel across Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla and Arizona. Locally grown and organic ingredients are used. Elote is open for dinner, from 5-10pm, Tuesday through Saturday.
Elote is most famous for their trademark appetizer, "The Elote," a delicious street corn dish consisting of fire roasted corn mixed with mayo, lime, and cojita cheese, In terms of appetizers, it's definitely one of the must trys in this area! The Empanadas de Papa are another must try. This unique appetizer consists of 2 crispy turnovers stuffed with mashed potatoes and cheese, and topped with salsa and crema. And since Mexican food tends to stuff you up, you might just want to stick with the complimentary chips and salsa, which make for an excellent appetizer on their own!
In terms of entrees, the selection is pretty limited. We tried the Chille Relleno and the Smoked Chicken Enchiladas. All entrees are served with black beans and quinoa. Both dishes were really good, although a bit pricey. Most entrees range in price from $20-30, which is quite high for Mexican food.
Overall, the food is very good at Elote, however, I would not consider it the best value as the ambiance is a bit too casual and cramped to justify the high pricing. And the no reservations policy means you could end up waiting a while if you visit falls on a busy summer night!
Service was just okay at Elote. In all honesty, we were expecting better service considering the number of people whom rave about this restaurant.
The setting is one of the major negatives of dining at Elote. The dining room is cramped without a whole lot in the way of decor. For the long wait to get in and hefty price tag, you would think they would have spruced up the place a bit. Fortunately, during the summer season, you can take a seat on the outdoor patio and enjoy some nice red rock views. Unfortunately, the rest of the year, the setting inside is much too bland to justify such a pricey meal.
Elote is a decent restaurant to incorporate into your Sedona itinerary. The food and service are both good, although the service and ambiance both could use some major improvement. Pricing is quite high for the mediocre service and overpriced food you get in return. Plus, many other restaurants offer more dramatic red rock views if this is your primary goal.