When President Teddy Roosevelt arrived at the South Rim’s El Tovar Hotel in 1906, it was a newly opened bastion of elegance just 20 feet from the precipitous edge of the Grand Canyon. Today, the historic hotel and its elegant dining room remain a world-class destination with food to match the spectacular sandstone scenery a stone’s throw away.
After you arrive for breakfast, try to get a window seat with views of the Grand Canyon. You will never sip a cappuccino (made with 100 percent Rainforest Alliance coffee) in as grand a setting. Made with Oregon pine and native stone, the dining room features wall murals illustrating the customs of four Native American tribes ⎯ the Apache, Hopi, Mojave and Navajo.
Allow time to read ⎯ and reread ⎯ the menu as it is packed with so many incredible dishes it may be difficult to choose just one. Gourmet options range from Southwestern-inspired polenta corncakes with prickly pear pistachio butter to house-made banana bread French toast with caramel sauce and fresh banana garnish. If you want to sample one of the most legendary items, order the extraordinary El Tovar Arizona Prime Rib Hash made with Arizona-grown prime rib served with two eggs, breakfast potatoes, sweet onions, fresh bell peppers, green-chili hollandaise sauce and flour tortillas.
If you enjoy wine, it is worth perusing the restaurant’s extensive wine list that has garnered a coveted Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine for four consecutive years. Of the 100 varieties of domestic wine available, 70 percent are organically and sustainably harvested.
Established in 1905, El Tovar Hotel was built before the Grand Canyon became a national park, which happened 11 years later. Architect Charles Whittlesey designed it, combining a number of architectural styles from Swiss chalet to Mission. It’s still just 100 yards from the end of the railroad route from Williams, Ariz., located next to the Hopi House.
Open for breakfast 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., El Tovar Dining Room is a rustic, fine-dining experience, so leave your flip-flops in your hotel room or tent. No reservations are accepted for breakfast at El Tovar’s dining room, so it pays to get there early to beat the crowds to get a table.
Because of the overwhelming popularity of the restaurant, advance reservations are highly recommended for dinner. You can call 928-638-2631, ext. 6432, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. El Tovar Hotel guests can make dinner reservations six months in advance. Visitors not staying in the hotel can make a dinner reservation 30 days in advance.