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“Contemporary Tohono O'odham Cuisine using traditional plants”
Review of Desert Rain Cafe

Desert Rain Cafe
Ranked #1 of 2 Restaurants in Sells
Cuisines: Southwestern
Restaurant details
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Contemporary Tohono O'odham Cuisine using traditional plants”
Reviewed 17 January 2014

A real treat. Unique. This little treasure of a cafe is located in a shopping center just off of route 86 in Sells, Tohono O'odham Nation. (From 86, turn south at the sign for the hospital.) We stopped on our way from Organ Pipe to Tucson.

Every one of their menu items contains at least one traditional food. We ordered Cholla Pico de Gallo made with cholla (cactus) buds to go for $2 (with chips, $3.95) and a Mesquite Oatmeal Cookie with raisins ($2). They were gourmet and tasty! We were drooling over their menu and fresh food being served but it wasn't meal time for us. Cheerful friendly service. Don't miss this chance to enhance your Sonoran Desert experience. Check out their web site. We missed the nearby Tohono Museum but heard great things about it.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank absaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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34 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    23
    9
    1
    0
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level 6 Contributor
161 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 209 helpful votes
“Sells Surprise”
Reviewed 6 January 2014

Sells, AZ is a hundred miles from no where in four directions - BUT, Desert Rain is a wonderful restaurant. When we thought we would have to settle for a warmed over hamburger or cold hot dog and had traveled miles on AZ Highway 86 with NO place to eat, we turned into Sells and say the Desert Rain sign.

Not expecting much we, went to the counter and found a outstanding menu filled with great items based upon traditional Tohono O'odham ingredients (tempory beans, corn, saguaro fruit syrup, prickly pear glaze, etc.) prepared in traditional and new ways. We had quesadillas, humus and prickly pear smoothies - WOW they were all excellent and the salad that came with the quesadilla was outstanding - one of the best ever in my experience. Wish we could have tried more dishes, but people around us were also very pleased with their dishes.

While I cant recommend driving 125 miles just to have a meal at Desert Rain - it is certainly worth planning a stop there if you are traveling to Kit Peak, or Rocky Point.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank hankwill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Love this place! The food is great and the experience unique.”
Reviewed 24 October 2013

I love this restaurant - the food is great and the experience is unique. Also, by eating here you are helping to preserve a culture, so take the time to make the drive out to Sells and experience food you will never taste anywhere else on the planet. How often can you say that? The staff are polite, friendly and eager to share their cuisine with patrons. It appears that half the town eats here and the reason is the great food. Try the daily specials - regardless of what it is - it will be good. The chips and cholla blossom salsa is really good. The menu changes slightly seasonally, but the prickly pear chicken wrap is always a good choice as are the quesadillas. They serve breakfast and lunch. FYI, the location is remote, so allow plenty of time for travel.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank M E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Camas, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
74 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Hidden gem in Sells AZ”
Reviewed 17 April 2013

A wonderful lunch with really fresh and tasty ingredeints.The four of us (two couples) each had something different and everything was deliciuos. It's worth the trip from Tucson when visiting Kitts Peak or the Tohono musuem.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank NW_Gourmet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Excellent food, worth the trip”
Reviewed 1 March 2013

This was my second trip to Desert Rain. I ate there 3 years ago, enjoying the amazing tepary bean and cheese quesadillas. (When I asked where they found the quesadilla wrap, the waitress told us her mom made them from scratch.) The food drew me back on my recent trip to Tucson. It is at least an hour drive from western Tucson to this great cafe. Even though the menu is limited, you'll find great dishes for the adventuresome palate. All the dishes we tried, from the bean dip, the quesadillas, the lamb and bean stew to the chicken with pico de gallo and cholla buds were excellent. You leave full but not weighed down. The gift store next door has the small tepary beans for sale along with recipes. The traditional Tohono O'odham food has a modern twist. I highly recommend this cafe!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank TravelLightandHappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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