Flanigan’s Inn at Zion Canyon: Best. Date. Ever.
It’s that time again. Another dining edition of our blog at ZionNationalPark.com! I’m going to be honest; these dining editions may be my favorite to write because the research required definitely tastes better than any other kinds of research I might do. And I get to meet wonderful people in the process, like Rebecca McKown, the owner of Flanigan’s Inn at Zion Canyon that includes the Spotted Dog Café, Deep Canyon Adventure Spa, and Flanigan’s Salon. Rebecca and her establishment have been in Springdale for a long time and her experience and expertise is unquestionably apparent. She invited me to Flanigan’s recently to experience some of what they offer and needless to say I’ve been itching to tell all of you about it since then. I brought my wife with me as we experienced a couple’s massage session at Deep Canyon Adventure Spa followed by a short stroll up to their Hilltop Labyrinth and ending the evening with dinner at the Spotted Dog Café. This was our experience: Flanigan’s Inn at Zion Canyon: Best. Date. Ever.
The Spa Experience
The reception staff inside the Spa were so friendly and so attentive, offering us flavor-infused water upon arrival as we waited briefly for our massage therapists to arrive and greet us. The lobby area has a very high ceiling and large windows allowing for beautiful views of their prime location in Springdale, and it smells amazing in there. Kerry and Christine appeared promptly and kindly introduced themselves as our therapists. They led us downstairs where the massage rooms were located and the ambiance notably changed to a meditative, relaxing, and cleansingly aromatic one. (By the way, this was only the second professional massage I’ve ever received – and the first one was forgettable – so you’ll have to forgive me if the description of my experience seems grandiose to you because this was a game-changing experience for me). The oils Christine used on me smelled vaguely of basil (which smelled so good), which she said she chose specifically for me after learning that I have Restless Leg Syndrome. She paid special attention to designated problem areas I have related to that condition. I’m telling you, I’ve never felt better than I did after this massage. The whole time I felt like my body was lifting up into the air; floating. All of my stress and worries- physical and mental – just floated away for the one hour I spent in that room. Christine was just fantastic. My wife described her experience with Kerry in similar terms. Life-changing. It made me realize how therapeutic and essential getting to that state of mind is – puts everything into perspective, not to mention how incredible your body feels. Okay, moving on.
After drifting out of the Spa while attempting a return to reality, we were shown a map of the premises and directed to the Hilltop Labyrinth, which is a very short uphill trail they’ve constructed on the grounds with a small, quaint and surprisingly curative custom labyrinth that guests can meander through. The views from this hilltop are incredible, and we were there at sunset, which made them even more striking.
Dinner at the Spotted Dog Café
Next was dinner. We walked straight from the Labyrinth and across the parking lot down to the Spotted Dog Café. Admittedly the restaurant is surprisingly nicer on the inside than the outside would suggest. The outside aesthetic is wonderfully inviting and clean, but when I walked in I was surprised at how nice it was. The atmosphere was definitely conducive to those who are looking for a fine dining experience, yet I didn’t feel underdressed in my jogger pants and polo shirt. I was thoroughly impressed by how they walk that line perfectly. I would imagine this is one of the reasons – among many – that they’ve been around for so long.
Chencho, our waiter, was as wonderfully pleasant and attentive as you would hope your waiter would be. We loved him. I should mention that we learned that the Spotted Dog Café has the largest wine selection in all of Southern Utah. If it exists, they likely have it. We ordered an assorted bread plate as an appetizer that included three different dipping options and some vegetables, as well as a bowl of tomato basil soup with wild rice and basil. So good. All homemade. In all seriousness it was probably the best hummus I’ve ever had and the soup with the rice mixed in was wonderful and something new that I hadn’t tried before.
For an entrée I ordered Black Angus Filet Mignon that came with “Bordelaise sauce, blue cheese, potato croquet, and vegetable de jour”. I like my steak medium-rare and they cooked it to perfection. It seriously was perfect. I can’t think of anything that was lacking. I haven’t eaten at every restaurant in Springdale with steak on the menu, but the one I had here is going to be very hard to top. Very hard. The potatoes were absolutely delicious, creamy and chunky at the same time with an incredible flavor. The vegetables rounded out the meal very well. Win.
My wife had the Ahi Tuna Steak (blackened and seasoned rare) with “mango-avocado salsa, shitake mushroom parmesan risotto cake and vegetables”. I had a bite of hers and wished I had ordered that. But then I took another bite of mine and was glad I ordered what I did. I couldn’t decide which one I liked more because they were just so good. The Ahi Tuna Steak was especially unique in taste and presentation (you’ll see in the photo). Seared spices on top of the Ahi released a pepper-based flavor creation that tasted unlike anything I’ve ever eaten. It was like the best things about good sushi and the best things about good cooked fish were in my mouth at the same time, recognizably separate but working together to create something amazing. It really was amazing.
For dessert we had lemon cake along with an order of Panna Cotta topped with strawberries. I’m a sucker for Panna Cotta so that was an easy decision for me and it did not disappoint in the least. It was spot on – just wonderful. The lemon cake was exquisite – ideally rich with a savory flavor, not too overpowering, as some lemon cakes tend to be. Rebecca told us afterward that the lemon cake is often there most popular dessert on a day-to-day basis, which made us even happier that we had selected it. And of course, as mentioned above, it was all made in-house from scratch.
Recap of an amazing night
I couldn’t have wished for anything other than what Flanigan’s Inn gave us. It was a beautiful evening and easily one of the best dates my wife and I have ever been on. Absolutely memorable. The combination of the spa treatment and dinner, along with the natural surroundings of Springdale and Zion Canyon proved to be an unforgettable evening. I can’t wait to return. Thank you Rebecca and everyone else at Flanigan’s! Remember that Flanigan’s is of course also an inn with over 30 exclusive suites. Don’t forget to walk the grounds when you go. It’s a wonderful property.
This edition of the “View From Here” was written by our very own Gregory Knell
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