If you’re looking to enjoy authentic Arizona food, nothing tops what’s available at these seven local spots.
Arizona is home to many Native American tribes—22 of which are federally recognized within the state. If you’re looking to better connect with all the Copper State has to offer, why not consider eating at a restaurant that serves Native American cuisine? Food is often one of the best ways to connect with a specific culture, after all.
Here are seven restaurants across the state that serve tasty Native American cuisine.
1. The Fry Bread House
4545 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix
The Fry Bread House is a Phoenix institution. For starters, the restaurant won a James Beard Award—largely considered to be the Oscars of the food world— in 2012, nabbing the America’s Classics award, which honors legendary family-owned restaurants across the country.
Fry Bread House was founded in October 1992 by Cecelia Miller, a member of the Tohono O’odham tribe and native of Arizona. Miller wanted there to be a gathering place for Phoenix residents to enjoy home cooking, and she’s done just that. She and her family still run the restaurant today, two decades later.
The Tohono O’odham are renowned for their red chili beef; hand-stretched flour tortillas called chumuth; and fry bread—or flat dough bread—that’s fried in oil, shortening, or lard.
The must-try on this menu is the fry bread tacos. The Tohono O’odham native lands stretched from the Mexico border to central Arizona, which explains some of the other wonderful Fry Bread House menu items, including tortillas, menudo, and tamales.
2. Hogan Family Restaurant
10 Main Street in the NavajoLand Hotel, Tuba City
Located in the NavajoLand Hotel of Tuba City, Hogan Family Restaurant serves a variety of American, Mexican, and Navajo dishes.
Some choice examples include chili beans, fry bread, and Navajo-wrapped roast beef. To be clear, that’s all one menu item, which includes roast beef mixed with bell pepper and onions wrapped in fry bread with a bowl of chili beans. Another highlight? The mutton stew with fresh garden veggies is a Navajo family favorite that’s served with fry bread.
The menu also has an entire page dedicated to serving Native American beef that’s grass-fed without added any growth hormones. The beef comes in a slew of varieties: burgers, beef stew, or three different steaks.
Want to really immerse yourself in the culture? Consider exploring the nearby Navajo Museum. Tuba city is also the largest community in the Navajo nation.
5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Boulevard in the Wild Horse Pass Hotel, Chandler
Largely considered one of the best restaurants in all of Arizona, Kai is an outstanding example of fine Native American fare.
Kai, which means seed in the Pima language, is the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant in Arizona. Given that the tasting menu typically costs over $100 per person, Kai is a true splurge, but worth it.
Chef de cuisine Drew Anderson sources his ingredients from food farms in the Gila River Indian Community, developing a menu that draws inspiration from the Pima and Maricopa tribes. Guests can either pick from entrees or enjoy a multicourse dinner called The Journey.
Though menu items rotate seasonally, you may be able to find dishes like grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo with smoked corn puree, cholla buds, chorizo, and scarlet runner bean chile, or caramel goat cheese served with native toast.
The Native American influence also can be seen off the plate; ceramic chargers on the tables were designed by a local artist from the Maricopa tribe, known for their pottery. If the weather’s nice, consider sitting outside on the patio to enjoy mountain views with the stellar cuisine.
4. The Courtyard Café
2301 N. Central Avenue in the Heard Museum, Phoenix
As the name suggests, The Courtyard Café offers diners a chance to dine in the outdoor courtyard of Central Phoenix’s Heard Museum, which is dedicated to preserving and advancing Native American art. And, while located at the museum, admission isn’t required to grab a bite to eat.
The menu is decidedly Southwestern. Highlights include tepary bean hummus and the posole, which has been featured in Bon Appetit. The menu is rounded out by starters, salads, and sandwiches. It changes twice a year and usually features an entrée inspired by the current featured museum exhibit. Don’t miss the signature dessert, the Fry Bread Sundae.
5. Café Gozhóó
5624 N. 1st Street, Whiteriver
Located in Whiteriver, Café Gozhóó focuses on Western Apache cuisine.
You’ll find bistro-type foods like sandwiches, burritos, and salads on the menu. The Summer Three Sisters Salad features fire-roasted vegetable quinoa, corn, beans, squash, and farm greens drizzled with creamy corn dressing and finished with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Another option includes the steak and egg burrito, filled with diced grilled steak, potatoes, eggs, and spicy red chili salsa.
6. Hope’s Frybread
144 S. Mesa Dr., Ste. E, Mesa
Hope’s Frybread is the newest restaurant on this list, as it opened in September of 2022.
Raised on the Navajo reservation, brothers Hope and Aaron had been selling fry bread based on their grandmother’s recipe for over a decade before the pair opened this brick-and-mortar location in Mesa.
The menu includes savory and sweet options. One of the latter is the s’mores option: fry bread that’s topped with marshmallow fluff, crushed graham crackers, and drizzled with chocolate syrup.
One savory option is the Asian Persuasion: grilled teriyaki chicken, grilled pineapple, and fresh cabbage drizzled with red sriracha sauce and sandwiched in between fry bread. Stews are also served seasonally, with mutton offered for a limited time when in supply.
7. Café Santa Rosa
2615 S. 6th Avenue in Tucson
Café Santa Rosa in Tucson serves a variety of Native American and Mexican cuisine, with a penchant for all things fry bread.
Try some topped with honey, powdered sugar, or cinnamon and sugar if you have a sweet tooth, or for a heartier menu option, try the Indian taco with beans, or one topped with red or green chile.
For added entertainment, check the café’s Facebook page to see what live musicians will be performing or DJs will be spinning tunes.