Scottsdale is home to a crowded culinary scene featuring everything from trendy gastropubs to rustic Western saloons. With more than 300 sunny days every year, some of the best al fresco dining in the country is right here.
Virtu, a cafe tucked away in a B&B in downtown Scottsdale, has collected accolades from chefs and food magazines across the country for its take on globally-influenced, Mediterranean-inspired, homemade “honest craft” cuisine.
Another Scottsdale gem is FnB, where the kitchen uses farm-fresh ingredients and culinary creativity to put together pleasing small plate ensembles.
If you’re a fan of prix fixe fine dining, check out Sel. The small, chic restaurant on Main Street offers a quiet respite from busier stretches of Old Town, and a menu filled with seasonally-inspired, skillfully-prepared dishes.
Read on for more of our picks of where to eat and drink in Scottsdale.
The wood fired cooking and classic American cuisine of the Roaring Fork makes this a favorite gathering spot for the Scottsdale lunch crowd. Inspired by the history and essence of the Old West, the Roaring Fork seeks to recapture and celebrate the simplicity of open fire cooking and the bold flavors of wood-fired cuisine. Choose from lamb, beef, chicken, pork, and fresh fish entrees, all cooked to perfection using wood fire rotisserie, open flame grill, or classic wood oven roasting. An inviting atmosphere and impeccable service make this a perfect lunch spot for fans of rustic, boldly-flavored Western American cooking.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Roaring Fork offers consistently delicious wood-fired fare designed with top-notch ingredients and a homey southwestern inflection.
Patricia’s expert tip: Roaring Fork’s popular daily happy hour happens from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Native Florentine and longtime Valley restaurateur Franco Fazzuoli bring upscale Italian flavors to Scottsdale at Franco’s Italian Caffe. The restaurant, located in downtown Scottsdale, offers Florentine Italian dishes like Filet Mignon All’Arrabiata, Bistecca Fiorentina and Spaghetti Salsa Cruda. There are also specialty salads, including a lovely Beet Arugula salad that comes with goat cheese. But before you get to the secondi courses, start with one of the restaurant’s trademark bruschetta, including a popular tuna bruschetta. Other small plate appetizers include prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella. The restaurant offers a comprehensive wine list, as well. Gluten-free options are available with pasta dishes.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: When you’re looking for a welcoming dining experience coupled with timeless Italian flavor, Franco’s Italian Caffe is a safe bet.
Patricia’s expert tip: Looking for Italian take-out? Most dinner items are also available for carry-out.
Citizen Public House is what the English pub concept looks like in Scottsdale: thoroughly contemporary and upscale, yet still managing to retain the homey charm of a traditional public house. Nestled comfortably in Old Town Scottsdale, Citizen Public House has made a name for itself by serving classic and creative cocktails as well as a full menu of modern, contemporary comfort food cuisine. For cool nights, there is a cozy patio, a semi-private 12-seat dining alcove and lively public space. Mahogany accents, leather booths and a stainless steel-topped bar combine old and new design elements for a sleek, modern look. Don’t skip over the start menu, which features house favorites like pork belly pastrami and Bernie’s mac ‘n cheese.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Citizen Public House is a casual yet refined Old Town spot that specializes in contemporary and creative comfort food dishes.
Patricia’s expert tip: The restaurant/pub’s social hour happens from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Owner and chef Giovanni Scorzo and his team deliver hand-crafted Italian dishes at this charming Italian grocery and cafe in Scottsdale. Scorzo and team make all the bread and pastries in-house, including the house tiramisu, cannoli, and even hand-made chocolates. Daily specials include Italian specialties like rosticianna (grilled pork ribs), pasta e fave (pasta and fava bean soup), bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine-style T-bone steak), and other homemade specialties. There’s also a well-stocked deli counter where you’ll find high quality imported meats, cheeses, and olives. It’s no use resisting the bakery counter, which is filled with cookies, cake and Italian pastries.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Andreoli Italian Grocer offers hand-crafted Italian fare and desserts in a casual north Scottsdale restaurant and market.
Patricia’s expert tip: The pistachio cake is an airy, ultra-rich house-made cake that has become a signature Andreoli dessert.
Sel is a small fine dining outpost situated amid the art galleries and shops of Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale. Chef Branden Levine, who has appeared on Food Network cooking competitions, offers a four-course prix fixe menu of contemporary American cuisine (diners can also order dishes a la carte). The restaurant is small and chic, and the menu is constantly in flux. But no matter what is on the menu du jour, expect to find skillful fine dining renditions of roasted kabocha squash panisse, roasted Romanesco soup, filet mignon and upscale seafood dishes. The restaurant also has a strong cocktail and dessert menu.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Sel is a stylish fine dining outpost with a strong, seasonally-inspired prix fixe menu of contemporary American cuisine.
Patricia’s expert tip: Although you can order a la carte, the restaurant’s signature prix fixe menu gives you more food for your money.
As you’d expect in a sumptuous resort setting, Talavera delivers exquisite cuisine, well-considered wine pairings, and a truly spectacular view. Rising culinary star, chef de cuisine Samantha Sanz, is at the helm of the kitchen, which dives deep into traditional Spanish and Latin American classics like paella, dry-aged steaks, gambas al ajillo and jamón ibérico. The meat-heavy entrees are balanced by a fine selection of vegetable small plates, including heirloom carrots and blistered snap peas served in an herbaceous mint
pine nut chermoulata. The menu sources many ingredients from local farms, including fresh heirloom tomatoes, locally-crafted olive oil, and Arizona ranch-raised meats. Great sunset views of Pinnacle Peak draw many diners to enjoy their meal on the restaurant’s stunning outdoor patio.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Talavera offers a modern Spanish steakhouse menu in one of the city’s most scenic dining rooms.
Patricia’s expert tip: This is one of the best restaurants in the city for treating yourself to top-notch Spanish cured meats like jamón ibérico de bellota.
Chula Seafood is a popular, family-owned and operated south Scottsdale neighborhood market and eatery that specializes in sustainably sourced, quality seafood. Shoppers can drop by and shop for fresh seafood like smoked fish, fresh poke, tuna, California halibut and other fish by the pound. Or, stop by for lunch or dinner. Check out the chef-driven chalkboard menu at the eatery, which features a regularly changing assortment of dishes. Popular dishes you might spot on the menu include a spicy tuna bowl, Hawaiian style poke, and a confit tuna sandwich. For a dazzling array of fresh seafood, try the chef’s choice sashimi platter.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Chula Seafood levels up Scottsdale’s seafood scene with simple yet refined fresh seafood dishes.
Patricia’s expert tip: Please note that Chula Seafood is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Tucked away in the Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale, Virtu is a charming cafe with a world-class menu. After only a few months in operation, the small eatery made a big splash by appearing in Esquire Magazine’s annual Best New Restaurants in America list. The menu incorporates Mediterranean flavors, finely tuned and delivered with haute sensibility. Try the grilled octopus, which is cooked tender and served with fennel, arugula, lemon chick peas, and calabrese chile butter. Don’t miss the hand-crafted cocktail menu. A seat in the tiny dining room here is in high demand, so make sure to make reservations to secure your place at the Virtu table.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Virtu offers an intimate and refined dining experience in Scottsdale that’s bursting with Mediterranean-inspired flavors.
Patricia’s expert tip: The grilled octopus is a simple and elegant signature dish that has become a very popular house starter.
Weft & Warp brings southwest-inspired flavors, ingredients and panache to what might otherwise be a stale hotel restaurant. Instead, this art-inspired restaurant offers sleek design and a creative, well-composed menu. The dining room is sunny and casual, featuring a sleek open plancha-style kitchen, chef’s table seating and a patio with views of palm trees and Camelback Mountain in the distance. The menu incorporates Sonoran Desert in dishes like Arizona-grown Medjool dates, sliced and served with fresh cream and pistachio crumbles. Even more intriguing are the Crow’s Dairy goat cheese dumplings. Mains include a Sonoran “risotto” made with local wheat berries, wild rice, and quinoa.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Arizona-inspired flavors make Weft & Warp more interesting than your standard-issue hotel restaurant.
Patricia’s expert tip: Weft & Warp offers a strong brunch menu on the weekends, including house-made lemon poppy pancakes and breakfast cocktails.
Sophisticated yet down-home, FnB remains the darling of the Scottsdale culinary scene. The menu, which changes frequently, is based on seasonal ingredients sourced from local vendors and farms. The farm-fresh ingredients are carefully selected to create unexpected and delightful pairings. On any given visit, you’ll find succulent combos such as leeks and grilled broccoli, brussels sprouts with meyer lemon, chile, and mint, or roasted beets with yogurt, oil cured olives, cilantro and pine nuts. Expect the unexpected at FnB, where the artful plates are served with locally crafted beer or ative Arizona wine. Don’t miss the homemade butterscotch pudding for dessert, or the sticky grapefruit cake.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: FnB is a casually refined fine dining restaurant with a vegetable-forward menu and a great Arizona wine list.
Patricia’s expert tip: Come here when you want to sample some of the best Arizona-made wine.