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PHX/Scottsdale: Nice dinner around Biltmore

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Hubbie and I are staying at the Biltmore for an anniversary weekend, and I'm looking for a nice romantic place to have dinner Friday night. We really don't mind driving, but the Biltmore is in such a great area that we've really never spent much time around, so I was hoping to stay kind of close. I tend to be more interested in food than atmosphere, so I was pulling for Richardson's, but hubbie says too loud and too smoky.

Any other suggestions?

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  1. I don't really think you can beat T Cook's for romance. The historic, gracious setting; the opulent food you'll be talking about for months; the perfect atmosphere. You're free to stroll the grounds afterwards. It's kind of a slam-dunk for the partner who makes the reservation -- they'll be gettin' lucky later on, trust me.

    In less of an old-money mood and more in a urban-hipster mood I might opt for Tarbell's or Camus, the restaurant at the Clarendon hotel. A cozy corner and some candlelight and enjoying good food in a great outfit goes a long way towards generating a romantic mood, for me.

    1. T. Cook's is an excellent choice as themis says.

      I might also suggest you consider Coup des Tarte on 16th Street just south of Camelback (about a 5-7 minute drive from the Biltmore). It is in a small house with a very romantic interior, wonderful food and a very friendly staff.

      They are BYOB and charge an $8.00 corkage fee, but if you go to their website (www.nicetartes.com) you can get a coupon to waive the corkage fee. The menu is also available on the site as well.

      1. Richardson's is NOT smokey! But, it can get a little loud and it's not super romantic or fine dining. I'd definitely say hit it for brunch on Saturday. You'll love it.

        I would agree with T. Cooks, it's a great place. www.royalpalmshotel.com The bar is great for after dinner drinks.

        I'm not really a fan of Camus, I was only there once and wasn't impressed by it. I can't recall what we ate, but do recall that the service wasn't up to par.

        I do like Tarbell's very much, but I'm not sure I'd say it's very romantic.

        I've not been to Vincent's on Camelback, but want to and have only heard fabulous things. www.vincentsoncamelback.com. I think Seth did a review, search for Vincent's on this board.

        I also like elements at the Sanctuary on Camelback, but a recent review said it was under construction, so check it out www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com and see if you'd like it, then call and inquire about the construction at the resort. elements is more minimalist, zen feeling that old Arizona.

        We went to Lon's at the Hermosa Inn for my DBF's birthday in June and really loved it. www.hermosainn.com It's definitely old, romantic Arizona. The food was great and the service was fabulous.

        Enjoy your stay!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: geg5150

          There have been some reviews on Vincent's, but I haven't done ... yet. :o)

          1. re: Seth Chadwick

            We ate at Vincent's in January -- my birthday dinner, as I recall -- and were completely underwhelmed by the food. It felt like a restaurant whose time in the sun was long past.

            (I've been out of town since the middle of last week so I'm a little behind here.)

            Sarah C

        2. I'm still trying to get Coup des Tartes in before my life gets too crazy. I haven't been there, but everyone enjoys it.

          That would be my uneducated pick. Pick up a nice bottle of wine and champagne for dessert and you're set.


          1. vincents is definitely the ultimate in this area.

            other places I love right around here:

            zest, sophies, steamers

            1. T. Cooks is such a lovely spot that I cannot imagine going anywhere else. Arrive early, get a "walking" drink from the bar and stroll the grounds. There are a couple of secluded gardens that are almost always empty and available for just the two of you. T.Cooks is completely unlike any "new money" resort destination and uniquely Phoenix. It is simply a very lovely place with excellent food. If you make arrangements in advance, the pastry chef can do something phenomenol for your anniversary.

              Disclaimer: I was married here seven years ago and chose it for romantic reasons AND food.

              1. You really can't go wrong with T. Cooks. There is another restaurant on 32nd St and Camelback called Eleve that I have heard is very good. I'd be anxious to hear what others on the board think of it, since I haven't yet visited. Chef owned, local ingredients, that sort of thing.

                2 Replies
                1. re: barry

                  My wife and I visit Eleve several times a year and find the food, wine, and service to be consistently excellent. The restaurant features a signature basil cheesecake dessert and half-price bottles of wine on Mondays.

                  1. re: silverbear

                    I don't understand why Eleve is not more popular--We're in Phoenix every year, and it's become one of our favorites--Good food, unpretentious (but a white tablecloth place) Nice wine list (In March they had a special on wines on Monday evenings) Nice service, and a hardworking chef. Reasonably priced for the excellent quality.

                2. In addition to the numerous fine choices noted above, I would add two of my favorites, both at 32nd St. and Camelback Rd.:





                  Both are independent, chef-owned establishments within a mile of the Biltmore.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: silverbear

                    I've been consistently unimpressed by Eleve. Not disappointed exactly, but just underwhelmed. I do some event planning and did a huge 40th birthday party last year and the host wanted to hire Michael Mishkin of Eleve. It was very over priced, unimaginative and "so so". Of course, catering is different from dining in the restaurant.

                    I'm dining in the restaurant 3 times, one for lunch and twice for dinner. Always someone else's choice. There are alot of other places that I'd rather go for the same money.

                  2. how did i miss mentioning Avanti?!!!

                    wonderfully retro decor, AMAZING italian (albeit american italian) food, great service, dark and romantic.

                    or christos....

                    1. We love Lon's at the Hermosa. We've done a Valentine's Day, birthday, and most recently brunch. Never had a bad experience. The food is always great, service usually impeccable. The braised duck special they had on the Valentine's Day visit was probably my second favorite dish ever. The first being a seared tuna at Chamberlain's in Dallas.

                      1. Me too, me too! I would say that I "second" the recs. for T-Cook's and Vincent's, but it would be more like elevenths. For a great, romantic dinner, you cannot go wrong with either. In both instances, let the reservationist know that this is a special event. Also, do not fill up with a ton of desserts at Vincent's, as Chef Vincent always sends sevral "additional" desserts to the table - and this is not just for "special occasions," but his habit.


                        1. Thanks everyone - T Cook's it is! We haven't been in years, and I completely forgot it was in proximity to the Biltmore. What a wonderful suggestion!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AZCat

                            Just had dinner at T. Cook's last night. Not only were the food and service outstanding as always, but I discovered that T. Cook's now features half-price bottles of wines on Wednesdays, just as Eleve does on Mondays. This trend of discounting wine on low-traffic nights is a new one from my point of view, but definitely something I hope to see more often.