This article is part three of our three-part guide on a road trip to Scottsdale. In part one we provide an overview of the best times to go and where to stay. In part 2 we highlight fun things to do in Scottsdale. In part three we discuss great places to eat in Scottsdale.
I’ve been eating in Los Angeles as a profession for almost a half decade now. My love for the food here can’t be understated. But now, after multiple visits and many meals, I realize Scottsdale has a growing place in my heart.
There is something extremely personal about eating in Scottsdale. I always look forward to trying something flavorful, something new, and something memorable, whether it’s the use of hyper local ingredients– like a glacier lettuce that resembled a fuzzy succulent– or spectacular combinations like sprout nachos drizzled in hot-pink beet creme.
I know I’ve only just begin to scratch the surface of all of the wonderful food available in Scottsdale, but I think I’m giving you a great starting point for a few culinary adventures of your own.
Chef Charleen Badman and Pavle Milic have one of the most beloved and recognized establishments in Arizona. What they are doing is truly special and from the heart. From cooking with hearty native beans to glacier lettuce, a leafy succulent locally grown in the desert, FnB is a culinary love letter to Arizona. They are one of the few spots pouring Arizona wine (Milic is a winemaker himself). The menu changes often and ingredients are sourced from local growers and makers, so you might not get the same thing twice. Start with a few appetizers, order lots of vegetables and for the main courses, get a steak and chop if available. Dishes are all designed to share. –> More information
2. The Mission
This modern eatery is influenced by Spanish, Mexican, Central American and South American flavors. With Arizona star Chef Matt Carter at the helm, expect superior homemade tortillas, arepas, and salsas, along with meats prepared on a plancha. The Mission has two locations, one in Old Town and another in Kierland Commons. The Kierland vibe is more modern and casual chic, while Old Town is more seductive, with a stunning glowing Himalayan salt wall. Both are very popular hot spots, so expect to meet some new friends while dining on table-side guacamole, Tecate Creekstone Skirt Steak and Short Rib Barbacoa. –> More information
3. Counter Intuitive
Considered one of the coolest bars in Scottsdale, Counter Intuitive is where people go for inventive drinks done right. Located in the heart of Old Town, the bar has a dark, speakeasy vibe and every drink is made with great precision. –> More information
4. Fat Ox
Another Matt Carter restaurant, this time a modern Italian-style fine dining concept, is one you’ll want to bring your appetite for. Designed like a traditional Italian eatery, the meal consist of a multi-course taste of Italian dishes reimagined through Carter’s eye. The format goes like this: first you choose a few antipasti, then cheeses to nibble on, after that you move onto house-made pastas and a couple of main courses that include a 40-ounce prime porterhouse and Duroc Pork Tomahawk. Yes, it’s a lot of food, but most plates are on the small side and are meant for sharing, so bring a group or order carefully. –> More information
5. Diego Pops
This highly stylized modern-Latin eatery screams cool vibes, and the food is just as impressive. Brussels sprout nachos topped with street corn, garlic beet creme and a fried egg is the most popular item. We suggest you start with the nachos and move onto the tacos, where you’ll find succulent braised pineapple pork, beef machaca, and green chili chicken, to name a few. Any or all of the tacos can be converted into a taco bowl, which is pretty cool! –> More information
6. Hearth ’61
Chef Charles Wiley approaches the menu at Hearth ’61 with an ingredient-first mindset, pairing local produce and meats with traditional cooking styles and flavor pairings. Niman Ranch aged tomahawk ribeyes are cooked over a fiery hearth and served with rosemary truffle butter. You’ll also find a “roast of the day” seven days a week here. If available, order a side of the ancient grain risotto; complex grains replace the traditional arborio and will make you wonder why this wasn’t done sooner. –> More information
7. Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen
Head to the Andaz Scottsdale’s restaurant during breakfast, lunch or dinner to get a taste of the desert. Borrowing from Sonoran and Native American ingredients and flavors, W&W transforms common dishes like pancakes by using blue corn, giving the breakfast favorite a satisfying crunch. As for dinner, try the whole Red River trout cooked on a plancha. If you’re looking for an even more unique dining experience the restaurant offers a glass box chef’s table where guests enjoy a front-row seat to their culinary experience from the kitchen to plate. –> More information
8. Goldwater Brewing Co.
Family-owned and operated, Goldwater Brewing Co. has 30 + years of brewing knowledge and one killer tap room with over 20 of their own craft beers on tap, as well as seasonal one-off brews. Head underground to their second tap room called Goldmine and you’ll gain access to barrel-aged beers. –> More information
9. North Italia
This modern Italian eatery makes their pastas, bread and pizzas from scratch. White truffle garlic bread is a great way to start the meal and their bolognese made with a traditional meat sauce is a comforting house specialty. Pizzas are handmade and can be made gluten-free by request. Popular pizza choices include Bacon & Egg, The Pig (comprised of three different types of sausage) and an experimental chef’s choice creation that changes daily. Located in Kierland Commons, this is the perfect spot to catch a meal after spending the day shopping. –> More information
10. Frank & Lupes
When in the Sonoran Dessert, you eat Sonoran food. Originally from New Mexico, Frank & Lupes has been going strong for over 25 years serving awesome margaritas and a gigantic menu of all the greats like tacos, enchiladas, chalupas, chimichangas and more. Locals can’t get enough of the chicken mole enchiladas, poblano cream chicken and the weekly happy hour, with half-price appetizers and margaritas. –> More information
Located inside the Hotel Valley Ho, ZuZu is a vibrant restaurant offering American fare while supporting local farmers and suppliers. On the menu you can find intriguing dishes like Hokkaido scallops in shellfish butter, braised duck pasta and a Baker’s Bacon Chop: a loin back bacon chop smoked and lacquered in honey. Perhaps the most famous item on their menu is in the dessert section, the “Show Stopper Shake,” an ever-changing theme of indulgent shakes dreamed up by Pastry Chef Audry Enriquez even has its own hashtag #zuzushowstoppershake on social media. –> More information
12. Olive & Ivy
This casual Mediterranean-inspired hot spot overlooks the Scottsdale Waterfront’s Arizona Canal. Grab a seat on their massive patio and escape for a casual meal. On the menu you can find brunch dishes, as well as a variety of flatbreads. Durning dinner service, the menu expands to include fish and meat dishes. With a space this special, the evenings tend to be busy during cocktail hour. If you’re looking for happy hour, you might want to start here. –> More information
13. Cowboy Ciao
The Stetson Chopped Salad is legendary here at this local favorite, with rows of chopped arugula, pearl couscous, super-sweet dried corn and Ciao trail — a mixture of pepitas, blackcurrants and Asiago cheese — paired with your choice of salmon, chicken breast or fresh avocado. There are also unique dishes like buffalo carpaccio served with ry whiskey-infused dijon and juniper-cured and mesquite-smoked duck breast. –> More information
Do you love bruschetta, charcuterie boards and wine? Look no further — Postino’s is your kind of place. Known for their bruschetta boards, diners get to mix and match from a dozen options including smoked salmon & pesto, brie & apple to the traditional mozzarella, tomato & basil. Come before 5 p.m. and score $5 glasses of wine! There are two locations in Scottsdale: one in Keirland and the other in Highland –> More information
Attached to the Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale, Virtù is Chef Gio Osso’s intimate Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. The menu is ever-changing, featuring handmade pastas, local produce and seafood sourced from distinguished fish markets in North America and southern Europe. Libations are just as notable, offering unique spirits and fresh-pressed juices in their cocktail program. Named one of the top 20 “Best New Restaurants” in the U.S. by Esquire magazine in 2013 and nominated for a James Beard award in 2014, a meal at Virtù is a memorable one. –> More information
Visit www.experiencescottsdale.com for more information on Scottsdale Arizona.