March 22, 2009

Junipine Cafe

By Angele Sionna

  • 8351 N. Hwy 89A, in Oak Creek Canyon (about 30 minutes from Flagstaff and 10 minutes from Sedona)

  • No menu online (but they will fax you one if you call and ask)

  • JunipineCafe.com

  • Call for reservations: 928-282-7406





The Food (taste/flavor/quality of food & drinks)
>>>= good, but not great

The Atmosphere (environment, wait staff, comfortableness)
xxxxx= you’ll love it

Price (what to generally expect to pay per person per entree)

breakfast $ -$10

lunch $$-$$$ - $10-15

dinner $$$$-$$$$$ - $20-$30

Value (what you get for your money)
**** = worth it - you won’t be disappointed with what you get for your money


sdc15019Junipine Cafe is located in a beautiful location in the midst of Oak Creek Canyon, just north of Slide Rock State Park. It's the perfect spot for a quick getaway for locals and a nice rest stop of tourists. (And it's a part of the Junipine Resort hotel, which is a nice location for visitors who want to check out Flagstaff, Sedona and the Grand Canyon without staying at a place that feels super touristy, though I can't speak to the rooms because I've never stayed there.)

The cafe has a great patio with views of the towering trees and red rocks in the canyon. The sun shines down through the trees, leaving it warm but not too hot, though it can get windy. But its a very relaxing feeling and the premium place to sit at the restaurant when its sunny out. Inside has a very woodsy, cabin feel with oak paneling and furniture.

sdc15032The claim to fame at Junipine are their fish dishes, they say. They use locally caught trout and fly in other fish fresh from the coast. The lunch menu includes blacked or season fish specials, fish tacos, several salads, burgers, sandwiches and a soup of the day. Dinner has many of the same items plus steak, fajitas and more fish selections... all at higher prices of course. They also serve up breakfast, with items like trout and eggs, waffles and pancakes on the menu.

We ate at Junipine today for lunch, celebrating my daughters birthday. The perfect time to try something new. We've driven by so many times and always wondered what their food was like but never stopped and their menu isn't online so we had no idea what to expect. But it's such a nice day, we figured why not. And it was a good choice.

For an appetizer, we got the calamari. It was very good, nice light crust and very flavorful, and among the best we've had in this area, though the dipping sauces weren't very exciting at all. I got the blacked fish special with a side ceasar salad. They don't make any of their own dressings and you could tell. It was just average. The fish, however was perfectly cooked, though almost too seasoned, but full of flavor and something I'd order again. My husband and dad ordered the sandwich special of the day - the Reuben with fries. The fries were very good and the Reuben was also tasty and worth getting. Junipine also serves a turkey reuben daily for those who don't eat beef. And for vegetarians, they have a garden burger. My step-mom ordered the Junipine burger which was really small and had an okay taste, but nothing special. For my daughters - chicken nuggets and fries from the kids menu. The kids menu says the meal comes with a beverage - all for $5, but they charged us an $2 extra for that on the bill, so be sure to ask before you order so you don't have any surprises. On the desert front, we tried the apple cobbler a la mode- which was homemade with a nice flaky crust and fresh apples, but not too sweet- and the chocolate lava cake with a scoop of ice cream. My daughter really loved that. Though we were there for her birthday and informed our waitress, they didn't give her a complimentary desert nor did they put a candle in her cake or sing to her. All of which was fine, but kind of surprising being most of this area's nicer places offer a complimentary birthday desert with a candle to blow out, so we were a bit disappointed.

sdc15023Prices are inline with Flagstaff and Sedona restaurants at about $10-$15 per person for lunch, so they're more expensive then they should be for each entree but what you would expect for this nice location. And dinner puts them up into the expensive range at closer to $20-$30 per person. If you have a party of six or more - even if some of your party are babies that don't order - they take it upon themselves to add a 18% gratuity. That's also unheard of in this area, where most places don't include kids in their party totals when automatically adding gratuity. When we asked about it our waitress was really snippy and rude and quite frankly it ruined the nice, relaxing experience of our lunch today. She also got defensive when I asked why she charged us for milk that the menu said came with the kids' meal. They're also not on top of things when it comes to drink refills. So I wouldn't say service is their string point but all in all Junipine is a nice change of place and really feels like a nice getaway, even though it's just down the road.

Check out the menu in the below gallery:

[gallery orderby="ID"]

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was sorry to read the mixed review by Angele. We have eaten at Junipine many times, often after making a special trip down from Flagstaff for that purpose alone, and we've never had that kind of experience. In fact, it's always been quite the opposite. A pleasant and attentive waitstaff is the norm.

It's not the cheapest place to eat in Arizona, but it's not the most expensive in this area, either, and as the review notes in the heading, you get value "****=worth it - you won’t be disappointed with what you get for your money."

I'm from Kansas City and I've eaten my share of ribs. The best ribs I've ever eaten were at Junipine, better than any chain, and better than the KC rib joints the football and baseball players all rave about (maybe for a price). Granted, ribs are a personal taste, but I like their sweet-smoky sauce and the meat has always been fall-off-the-bone tender.

Gasoline prices and some other considerations have cut down our special "just for dinner or breakfast" trips to Junipine, but if we happen to be driving by at meal time we don't hesitate to stop in.

It's a good idea to call before making a special trip there--they were closing on Sundays after breakfast this winter (I don't know if it's still true in July), and they sometimes close for special parties.

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