Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

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Nick G A J E W S K I
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Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#1 Post by Nick G A J E W S K I » April 8th, 2019, 11:12 am

Heading to Phoenix/Scottsdale in the last weekend of April. Staying at the Omni Montelucia. Any must go to restaurants or activities?
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#2 Post by Siun o'Connell » April 8th, 2019, 12:12 pm

The Montelucia is lovely - enjoy!

No big suggestions since when I've been out there I tend to be at work events that include meals so not much time to explore.

A few little tips: In Scottsdale in the Old Town area, there's a great little very casual pasta and bar spot called Evo - we've had fun meals there with some nice glasses of wine. Not high end or splash out but if you just want to relax, it works well. Also had a very enjoyable meal at Toro at the golf course - they have a collection of over 150 rums which is fun and the latin food was fresh and tasty. If you are into spas, the one at the Fairmont Princess is my all time fave but the the one at the Montelucia is also superb.

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#3 Post by JDavisRoby » April 8th, 2019, 1:53 pm

I’m a big fan of Dominick’s at the Quarter. Very solid wine list from what I recall. I was just getting into wine last time I was there.

I also like the Mastro’s locations for steaks. I enjoy the one in Old Town, friends of mine prefer the one up north.

The golf out there is great, especially if you pick the right places. The Fairmont Princess spa is amazing.
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#4 Post by ClarkstonMark » April 8th, 2019, 3:46 pm

I too love Mastro's, but you can get that in Chicago. I do go there (Old Town) every time I'm in Scottsdale because my gf loves the lemon martini so much (and the butter cake!).

I like The Mission, but wish it wasn't so dark in there.

I enjoyed Virtu, but it has been a couple years since I have been back.

I have heard great things about Atlas Bistro, but have never been. Disclaimer I did stop by and the location is nothing exciting, but the food is supposed to be great.
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#5 Post by JDavisRoby » April 8th, 2019, 4:53 pm

I forget Mastro’s has expanded since they sold. I believe Dominick’s is owned by the family that started Mastro’s.
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#6 Post by Andrew M c C a b e » April 9th, 2019, 7:38 am

Check out Citizen Public House in old town. This is one of our favorite spots and they have a decent wine list too.
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#7 Post by James Cross » April 9th, 2019, 12:30 pm

I was there this past weekend. HIGHLY recommend Tarbell's Tavern (they also have a restaurant next door) at 32d and Camelback. They have a wine shop with modest markups and an excellent selection. You buy the wine and take it into the bar/tavern with zero corkage charge. Menu is sort of bar/bistro with good salads, burgers, various appetizers.

I liked it so much I went twice. First visit we had a Paso syrah (Brian Benson) and on Sunday we had a Kistler chard and pinots from Martinelli and Freeman. Many Burgs if you want to spend more.

I've also been to Atlas and it is good, but the wine selection does not match Tarbell's. However, you can bring wine in at Atlas.

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David Kaufman
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#8 Post by David Kaufman » April 9th, 2019, 8:36 pm

If you have time, the spa at the Montelucia is the best I’ve been to on the planet.

Nearby for drinks check out the Jade Bar at the Sanctuary Resort.

Dinner spots - Virtu, Sel, Lon’s, Mora, Cafe Monarch. All within 10-15 min from the hotel

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#9 Post by Dave Sankaran » April 11th, 2019, 12:48 pm

I have lived in Scottsdale for the past 10 years and have the stomach to prove I love food :-)

Let us know what sorts of food experiences you are looking for and I'll give you several suggestions for each.

(I keep a spreadsheet of restaurants in the PHX area and have ID'd my favs for many different categories.)

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#10 Post by Dave Sankaran » April 11th, 2019, 5:52 pm

Following on my last post, I'll go ahead with a few "should do" recommendations:

1) Brunch outside at El Chollo (less than 1 mile down the street from your hotel). I'd say this is a must do (if the weather is nice, as it should be)

2) Lunch outside at Olive & Ivy (best Bruschetta I've yet found. The ravioli is like nothing I've had...its actually very light. Mediterranean salad with shrimp is awesome).

3) Sundowner cocktail - The outside tables at The Sanctuary. (for that matter dinner in the restaurant is pretty fine)

4) Dinner - so many good options, really depends upon what cuisine you want. If "southwest" or something unique to the area, I'd say The Mission in Old town. If fine dining, Cafe Monarch.

5) After dinner relaxing cocktail (and cigar) at The Royal Palms Get your drink in the bar, and then promptly walk out onto the grounds. Many fireplaces scattered about to seek some privacy and enjoy a drink and a smoke (if you enjoy that).


If you want great Neapolitan pizza (arguably the best in the country) go to Pizzeria Bianco (either location). Or, for a very cool outside experience with good food, go to Cibo west of downtown and sit outside (pizza mostly).

If you want tacos that rival the best to be found, reply here and I'll give you several dumpy Taco joints to try.

There are many above average steak houses here (some of which are listed above), but you can get a good steakhouse in all major US cities these days.

Wine lists in AZ are pricey and designed to appeal to label drinkers for the most part. A good BYO (only BYO BTW) place is Atlas (Tarbell's Tavern too based on someone above is BYO too?).

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#11 Post by Joe Chanley » April 11th, 2019, 5:57 pm

Would love to hear the taco recs please

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#12 Post by Dave Sankaran » April 11th, 2019, 9:32 pm

Joe Chanley wrote:
April 11th, 2019, 5:57 pm
Would love to hear the taco recs please
I use a proprietary rating system that likely makes sense to nobody, me included :-)

Here it is from bottom to top:

No - don't go back
Meh - self explanatory
Yes - worth going back to
Top - among my favorites, a stand out place

So for Taco's my records show (and there are likely ~20 other places that I've tried and didn't bother to put onto the list):

America’s = Meh
Taco Chelo = No
Taco El Chino (1803 Van Buren) = Top (wow, amazing variety of hard-to-make meats)
Tacos Chiwas (McDowell) = Yes (sometimes I think this rivals El Chino)
Two Hippies Beach House = Yes (especially the shrimp and fish)

All three of the recommended places have the expected ambiance :-)

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#13 Post by James Cross » April 12th, 2019, 9:59 am

I don't think Tarbell's is BYO...but there is really no need for it. They have a very well stocked wine shop with fair prices. For example, in the pinot category, they had a half dozen wines I wanted to try. They also have Burgs, but they are pricier of course. You take the wine into the adjacent "tavern" (bistro really) with no corkage.

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Bill Buitenhuys
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#14 Post by Bill Buitenhuys » April 17th, 2019, 7:24 am

All kinds of good recs so far.
Tarbell's is a fave of ours. We eat mostly in the restaurant side but the Tavern is very good too. Some well priced bottles and btg on the menu (check out "Mark's Selections" page on the wine list). I think the best sauces in town come of out this kitchen.
If you want a tour through AZ wine and some really wonderful farm-to-table food (even though this is an overused phrase) then try FnB. Multiple time James Beard nominee chef with Charleen Badman and arguably the most AZ wine knowledge guy in the biz, Pavle Milic.
Tapas at your hotel are really good and the Spanish gin and tonic menu should not be missed.
We also love Royal Palms. The branzino is consistently one of our favorite fish dishes in AZ. Cocktails are fab. Wine list is decent but pricey.
Jade Bar is a beautiful space with really good drinks.
Atlas is the place for BYO.
For a fun lunch, hit up Chula Seafood. Freshest fish in AZ (Chula owns a fishing boat out of San Diego so they get deliveries a couple of times a week). Most of the eat-in dishes are raw (think super creative poke bowls) or smoked/candied. It was also BYO but they just started serving beer/wine so not sure if it still is.
Rancho Pinot is also close to you. One of the longer running straight from the heart restaurants in town.
Hana Japanese in uptown is super as well. Lovely ankimo, lobster tempura, chawanmushi, all kinds of goodies come of that kitchen, and it's BYO as well.
Nightlife? UnderTow is a hidden world class tiki bar tucked in a former car garage oil pit, now under a coffee shop. Very small so reservations highly recommended. Also world class cocktails at Bitter&Twisted, Little Rituals, Citizen Public House, Gladly, and so many other places.
Take a distillery tour at AZ Distilling Company (rye, bourbon, whiskey, gin are highlights...and the cocktails in their bar as stellar) or CaskWerks (gin, tea infused gin, apple pie liqueur).
itb | @AZBittersLab

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#15 Post by Joe Chanley » April 18th, 2019, 5:01 am

awesome, thanks for the tacos recs

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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#16 Post by James Cross » April 18th, 2019, 10:23 am

Another shout out to Rancho Pinot Grill (SW corner of Scottsdale Rd and Lincoln). Chef is Chrysa Robertson, who has been around Phoenix (and Napa) doing farm to table for 30 years. A couple months ago the Arizona Republic (AzCentral.com) did a lengthy article on her and Rancho Pinot. You should be able to search the site.

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Nick G A J E W S K I
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Re: Phoenix/Scottsdale Recs

#17 Post by Nick G A J E W S K I » April 25th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Thank you everyone for your recommendations, look forward to experiencing a new city!
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