During my recent trips to Scottsdale and Phoenix, I found the following restaurants:
Since I have been going to Scottsdale for the past ten years, I have seen a huge transformation of Old Town and the downtown area with the addition of new restaurants, coffee shops, microbreweries and hotels. It seems to me to have a much younger, hipper vibe. Make sure to check out:
Arcadia Farms Cafe: Located in Old Town Scottsdale is Arcadia Farms which is the perfect lunch spot. I was one of the few men in the place. You will see the local “ladies who lunch” and possibly hear discussions about the bestseller Fifty Shades of Gray, which I did. The food is fresh and well-prepared. It is at 7014 E. 1st Ave. Next door at 7020 E. 1st. Ave., I recently tried The Marketplace by Arcadia Farms. Here you can grab breakfast, a pastry, salad or sandwich to take out or eat in. I enjoyed a wonderful chocolate croissant and a latte as I explored downtown Scottsdale.They also have a nice selection of gift items in their store.
After lunch stop in at the Sugar Bowl for ice cream. Open since 1958, this restaurant and soda fountain has a full menu of ice cream, milkshakes, sundaes and floats. The decor looks to be right out of the 50’s. I have to go every time I am in town.
The Mission: Located at 3815 N. Brown Ave., in Old Scottsdale, this a restaurant featuring modern Latin cuisine. I enjoyed a great dinner with friends. We enjoyed the tacos and the seafood entrees.
Farm & Craft: Located at 4302 N. Scottsdale Rd., this is a fun bistro/fast casual restaurant featuring organic, gluten-free and other healthy food options. It has a contemporary design with indoor and outdoor seating. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sip Coffee & Beer House 3617 N. Goldwater Blvd. This is a fun spot for coffee, beer, cocktails or for a snack, sandwich or salad. Other fun coffee spots include Fourtilfour coffee located in a small space at 7105 E. First Ave. and Cartel Coffee Lab, a local Tempe roaster, at 7124 E. 5th Street.
Counter Intuitive: This is a recommended spot for New Orleans-themed cocktails and food. 7133 E. Stetson.
FnB, 7125 E. 5th Ave.: I enjoyed a lovely meal with local friends at FnB. Chef Charleen Badman has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef Southwest four times. It features creative Arizona cuisine and great wines. We opted to share a number of appetizers and entrees so we could taste more of the great food.
Goldwater Brewing, 3608 N. Scottsdale Rd.: This is a local craft brewery and tap room established in 2014. It has a great atmosphere. I enjoyed trying the desert rose, a light and refreshing red colored ale made with Arizona cactus fruit from the prickly pear and other indigenous botanicals.
Two Brothers Tap House, 4321 N. Scottsdale Rd.: I found them in downtown Naperville, IL and was told that they had a new location in Scottsdale. So I made it a point to visit on my last trip. It is a fun, casual brewpub in the heart of downtown. They feature a number of their own brews made onsite and in Chicago including wheat, ales, stouts and several seasonal offerings. They also feature other craft beers from Arizona and beers and ciders from other areas of the country.
Virtu Honest Craft: This is an award winning restaurant attached to the Bespoke Inn Bed and Breakfast located in Old Town Scottsdale. The restaurant has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant 2014 and was deemed as one of the Best New Restaurants by Esquire Magazine when in launched in 2013. Virtu features indoor and patio dining. The brunch menu has a good selection of traditional breakfast fare and lunch fare, all with a creative twist. The menu changes frequently, but you can expect to see crepes and/or pancakes, sandwiches, salads, pasta options and more. I enjoyed a perfect salad with figs and goat cheese in a black grape dressing. 3701 N. Marshall Way.
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, 6114 N. Scottsdale Rd.: I recommend the restaurant at the recently opened Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. It has wonderful views of Camelback Mountain. They feature locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, shareable plates and craft cocktails. The design is contemporary and very attractive.
At 6166 N. Scottsdale, Blanco Tacos + Tequila serves a number of Mexican specialties and tequilas. Owned by Fox Restaurant Concept, San Fox received a James Beard Nomination for Outstanding Restaurateur.
Phoenix Public Market Cafe: This fun, casual cafe is located at the site of the Phoenix Public Market, an open air market on Saturdays, at 14 E. Pierce. This is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. They feature a large number of egg dishes, salads, sandwiches, bowls and sides. They also offer a dinner menu with great options as well. I enjoyed their popular Tito’s Cubano sandwich with rotisserie pork, black forest ham, pickles, swiss cheese and mustard on a house made baguette. A great oatmeal cookie from their bakery topped off a great meal.
Explore Cave Creek which was an old gold mining town and a stopping point for the U.S. Cavalry in the 1870’s. There are a large number of old western saloons, western shops and galleries. You can also find rodeo events and live music. I thought The Town Dump at 6820 E. Cave Creek Rd. had some great pieces for the garden and patio. I had a really great lunch at The Horny Toad at 6738 E. Cave Creek Rd. The barbeque pork sandwich was really outstanding. Friends also recommend Harold’s Cave Creek Corral at 6895 Cave Creek.
Visiting Carefree town center: Where else would you find Easy Street, Tranquil Trail and where Ho Road runs into Hum Road. I am not lying! Chef Kevin Binkley has Cafe Bink in Carefree, which my local friends highly recommend.