Best Scottsdale restaurants according to the experts
Are you looking for a great place to eat in Scottsdale, Arizona? According to the experts, here are the ten best Scottsdale Restaurants.
In an attempt to put together a truly awesome list of the best Scottsdale restaurants, we have enlisted a group of local culinary experts to provide a list of their top three favorite restaurants in Scottsdale. From that, we narrowed the field down to one each so there were no overlaps. At the bottom of this post we have mentioned the duplicates so that you, the reader, knows who the experts believe are the best-of-the-best in Scottsdale.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the top-10 best Scottsdale restaurants.
POSH – by Taryn Jeffries
Have you ever been out to dinner and after checking out all the options on the menu you’re at a loss for what to order? The beauty of POSH Improvisational Cuisine is that’s never an issue. They have what I consider an anti-menu. Imagine a sushi menu where you mark all of the things that you would like to order, but instead you mark off all of the things you’re not interested in. Don’t like meat or onions? Have allergies? Just place a check mark next to those items and make any important notes, submit your ticket and let the Chef determine your menu. You’ll enjoy a unique dining experience that would be hard to replicate from one night to the next. You can choose a five course meal all the way up to the Chef Omakase experience, and wine pairings are available to complete and complement the dining adventure.
Taryn Jeffries is the Owner and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites; a comprehensive resource for all things food related in Phoenix. If you are looking for restaurant reviews, chef interviews or breaking culinary news, PhoenixBites is your go-to.
TAGGIA – by Susan Lanier-Graham
Taggia, at Kimptom Firesky Resort in Scottsdale, features coastal Italian cuisine. Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca uses local organic produce and flies in fresh seafood daily. Despite the desert location, Chef Massimo is determined to serve authentic Mediterranean-influenced dishes. When you sit on the outdoor patio, fire pits burning and the pool’s tropical oasis nearby, you might think you’re in Genoa rather than Scottsdale.
Taggia is open for all-day dining, but dinner is the star. Burrata of fresh mozzarella, calamari or salumi with soppressata and prosciutto are ideal starters. For the pasta course, the ricotta gnocchi is something food dreams are made of. Save room for the entrée and try the brasato (slow-braised veal). If you’re craving seafood, opt for the seared scallops with caper-avocado salsa or branzino with an artichoke vinaigrette. Taggia also has a full-service bar with handcrafted cocktails and Italian wines.
Susan Lanier-Graham is an Arizona expert for Travelocity and editor-in-chief and founder of WanderWithWonder.com. She has written hundreds of magazine, newspaper and online articles and is a frequent radio guest where she talks about places around the world where she “wanders with wonder.”
THE MISSION – by Zach Egedy
The Mission has been one of my personal favorite Scottsdale dining establishments since opening its doors in 2008. Located adjacent to the historic Mission church, the menu features Arizona native Chef Matt Carter’s take on Latin cuisine, with many classically inspired dishes taking on a modern twist. The selection of cuisine is diverse and unlike any in town. Fresh guacamole is prepared table-side, items like street corn, Malbec braised short ribs, build your own pork shoulder tacos, paired with margaritas and sangria made in-house to perfection. The Mission is the complete embodiment of what you look for in a restaurant in Scottsdale. Combining the perfect blend of chef inspired cuisine, crafted cocktails, with sophisticated service staff and atmosphere to match.
Zach Egedy is the general manager of Arizona Food Tours. Founded in 2009, Arizona Food Tours is an award-winning walking culinary and restaurant tour experience featuring the best Scottsdale restaurants in and around the city.
LON’S – by Dena Roché
While the Hermosa Inn has its roots in cowboy and guest ranch culture, the farm-to-table food is the opposite of heavy, rib-sticking campfire grub. Instead I’m greeted with a menu filled with healthy options that take full advantage of the chef’s on-site organic garden. The colorful food is artfully displayed, perhaps a nod to the restaurants namesake Lon Megargee, the iconic Western artist who built the Hermosa Inn.
I start with a tortilla soup that is bursting with color and flavor while my companion tries the citrus poached tiger shrimp that is served not in a traditional martini glass, but creatively displayed on a salt block. For the main course I opt for the poached shrimp and Dungeness crab Louie salad. The shrimp are the big U-10 size and with chunks of fresh crab mix, just-picked cherry tomatoes, radish slices and avocado: Delicious, light and satisfying.
Dena Roché is the editor of The Travel Diet and is currently showing how you can eat healthy at gourmet restaurants around the globe. In her opinion, Lon’s is one of the best Scottsdale restaurants to have a healthy meal.
EVO – by Diana Brandt
In Old Town Scottsdale you can find a sleek and modern little Italian restaurant called EVO. Their menu has been elevated to the next level and that’s what keeps bringing us back for more. A few of our favorites are the charcuterie, packed with cured meats, artisan cheeses, pickled veggies and other treats the chef has on hand. Also a must try is the focaccia Deruvo, which is so popular it tends to sell out. But our favorite is the unsuspecting crispy chicken thigh. From the menu it might not appear as anything special but your taste buds will tell you a different story. Resting on top of an olive oil mash and paired with a rich duck gravy is the beautifully cooked piece of chicken. As you bite through that crisp outer layer you get a hint of sweetness from the honey and then your teeth sink into a juicy piece of thigh. Perfection!
Diana Brandt is the founder of Arizona Foodie, a local blog based around all things food in Arizona. She also hosts AZFoodie Pop-up demo events and you can follow her food journeys on social media. AZFoodieBlog.com
TALAVERA – by Christina Barrueta
I love the gorgeous setting at Talavera surrounded by the beauty of the Sonoran desert and Pinnacle Peak vistas. It’s especially breathtaking when awash in glowing sunset colors. I might find myself on the expansive patio under the stars, or in the elegant dining room warmed by wood and ironwork flourishes. The sophisticated flair of Executive Chef Mel Mecinas’ contemporary American menu befits this magical backdrop. Dine on signature dishes such as beef carpaccio and lobster framing an oozy golden egg encased in crispy panko crumbs, or Chilean seabass with braised oxtail nestled in creamy potato “risotto.” Nods to Chef Mecinas’ Oaxacan roots make an appearance in Press Coffee-rubbed venison loin with foie gras, celery root and figs napped in mole Oaxaqueño, or grilled swordfish with adobo sauce and calabacitas. How to end an extraordinary evening? With one of Pastry Chef Lance Whipple’s indulgences such as hibiscus-glazed berries with mascarpone cream, popped quinoa and sesame meringue.
Christina Barrueta is a freelance food, beverage and travel writer whose work has appeared in publications such as AZ Wine Lifestyle, WhereTraveler and Arizona Foothills Magazine. She documents her Arizona adventures on her website WriteOnRubee.com
II BOSCO – by Joanie Simon
Tucked on a back street, a hole in the wall, Il Bosco is one of my favorite hidden gems in Scottsdale, AZ. Owner Bill Forrest has cracked the code of pizza crust, giving the many notable pizzerias in the Valley a run for their money. The pizzas are wood-fired, in a specially crafted Italian oven that burns hot at 900F. When you visit, ask Bill about it and he will be all too glad to share with you what makes his oven better than the rest.
Everyone has differing opinions on what makes a great pie, but in my book it’s the soft, but chewy, with a slight crisp crack of a crust when you take your first bite. It’s a balance of texture, elevated with quality toppings. I have yet to meet anyone in the local food community who doesn’t agree that Il Bosco has a great pizza. I especially love the Biaggia pie with prosciutto, figs, goat cheese and arugula, effectively nailing the beauty of a sweet and salty combo.
While not the fanciest choice in Scottsdale, Joanie Simon thinks II Bosco has the best pies in town. Joanie publishes JoanieSimon.com, a place to find where she is eating, and cooking up in her own home kitchen. From recipes, video tutorials to restaurant features, you’re about to get very hungry at JoanieSimon.com.
Citizen Public House – by Mike Shubic
Nestled in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, Citizen Public House does not have a flashy exterior or entrance, but what it lacks in glam and glimmer, it makes up for with vivacity. The journey begins with that first step over the threshold. The warmth of the staff in the open and airy space envelopes you. The tables and cozy seating niches flank the central focal point of the restaurant…the bar—also known as mixology central. Each cocktail creation has its own distinct personality and killer looks, the libations traverse the landscape from rich and warm, to light and tart.
An evening at Citizen Public House cannot be contained within the word “dinner” or even in the phrase “dining out.” It’s a place where comfort meets class. The food and cocktail ingredients are as imaginative, as they are delicious. Click the following link to read Mike’s entire review of Citizen Public House.
Citizen Public House was chosen by Mike Shubic, publisher of this very blog. Growing up in Scottsdale and living in the area off and on most of his life, Mike has had an opportunity to dine at dozens of the best Scottsdale restaurants.
CAFE MONARCH – by Dr. Cacinda Maloney
Cafe Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale is truly one-of-a-kind and offers contemporary American food in a very romantic setting. The ambiance in the courtyard is incredible with the hanging lanterns, hundreds of lit candles and a bubbling fountain. The food is spectacular and has a pre-fixe meal each week, so be sure and check the website to see what the South American owner, Gus, is cooking up! The service is fantastic and literally everything is done for you, so you don’t have to think about it, but instead just simply enjoy the ambiance and your guest.
Dr. Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel.com explores the world looking for adventure, culture and smart luxury travel. She has written for Yahoo Travel, Expedia, TripAdvisor, MSN Travel and Italy Magazine and according to her, Cafe Monarch is one of the best Scottsdale Restaurants.
DESEO – by Lyndsay Cabildo
Deseo is the fine-dining restaurant at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. The Modern Latin cuisine is executed live, right in front of the guests…if they wish to sit at the counter. Something every culinary enthusiast will never want to miss. Every move of the chefs, preparation, handling and execution are harmoniously done to create a masterpiece that will excites your palate after a magnificent show, everyone watching the perfection in action are in awe how fast, efficient they all work together to put a beautiful and delectable masterpiece on every guest’s table.
The menu offers many promising items, but we’ve tried ‘Churrasco en Tabla’ and I could say that it was the best grilled meat selections we’ve ever had in Scottsdale so far. I highly recommend this place.
Lyndsay Cabildo writes about food, fashion, lifestyle and travel. Coming from a family of restaurateurs and chefs with a degree in hospitality, she is natural foodie! Visit Lyndsay at: LyndsayCabildo.com
Restaurants that did not have a dedicated write-up, but were selected multiple times by the Scottsdale Food Experts include:
If you have a favorite Scottsdale restaurant that did not make this Best Scottsdale Restaurant list, please post a comment below and share with other readers.