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Three Best Restaurants To Try in Scottsdale? How about brunch, too?

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I will be in Scottsdale in October. We were thinking about trying: cowboy ciao, los sombreros and roraring fork. should we do t. cook's instead--is it worth it? don't want anything too formal--just a good variety of upscale, different AZ restaurants with great food. any places for brunch/lunch in Scottsdale that are must trys? Thanks

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  1. T. Cook's is great, but it's actually in Phoenix (although not at all far from central Scottsdale). T Cook's brunch is my favorite in the Phoenix Metro Area. There are a la carte options and a small (Think quality over quantity.) buffet with a Mediterranean theme. You can order either or both options.

    Another great near-Scottsdale option is Elements at the Santuary resort in Paradise Valley. I haven't tried the brunch, but have had several impressive dinners there.


    Keep in mind that Scottsdale is a tall and narrow city. It runs over 25 miles from north to south but is only 2 or 3 miles wide in many places. As a result, you will find it is often a shorter drive from whatever part of Scottsdale you are staying in to adjacent communities than it is from one part of Scottsdale to another.

    1. I wouldn't characterize T Cooks as *too* formal; the service is such that they make everyone comfortable. But your other options are going to net you a great experience, anyway.

      1 Reply
      1. re: themis

        I love simply walking around the Royal Palms. It's a relatively small resort but the grounds are stunning. If you are fans of design, having a meal there is just part of the experience. You can walk around before or after and be wowed by the buildings, nooks, landscaping, water features, etc. I guess I'm explaining the "add on" experience, which is something I look for when traveling. Similarly, if you like little shops full of art, jewelery, etc. then the eateries suggested in Old Town Scottsdale might fit the bill.

      2. If we only have three nights--which three would you choose? Thanks for the help.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ljero

          To provide such a focused recommendation, it would be helpful to have the following information:

          1) Where in Scottsdale will be you be staying? (so as to avoid sending you on 25-mile treks from the top of the city to the bottom, or vice-versa)

          2) What days of the week? (so as to keep restaurants' dark nights, half-price wine nights, etc. in mind)

          1. re: silverbear

            We are staying in Troon at the Four Seasons Oct. 12-15, thur/fri/sat nights. Thanks for the help!

            1. re: ljero

              Okay. That puts you in a pretty remote corner of northeastern Scottsdale and about 20 miles from all of the restaurants mentioned in this thread. Assuming that you don't wish to spend you entire weekend making the long haul back and forth to the heart of Scottsdale and adjacent portions of Phoenix, here are some recommendations closer to the Four Seasons:







              If you are still going to be in town Sunday morning, that would be a good time to stop at T Cook's for brunch. It would be on the way to the airport.

          2. Cowboy Ciao is fantastic. I like Roaring Fork, but frankly I'd rather have their big ass burger and a beer in the bar than a full dinner in the restaurant. T. Cooks would be much better. I also agree that the T. Cooks' brunch is incredible. Smaller than most, but it has everything I love about brunch at half the cost.

            1. In case you haven't found the websites:


              I had dinner at the Roaring Fork and Los Sombreros, last week. Between the two, I'd pick Los Sombreros.

              I've been to Los Sombreros several times, and I usually pick an entree that I can't get at a typical Mexican restaurant (which is most of the menu). This time, I had the Chile Rellenos. They were the best I have ever had. Nothing else comes close.

              Roaring Fork was also very good. I sat in the dining room and had the seared Ahi. This was great, and allowed room for dessert, apple cobbler, very good. A good experience, but, I might have preferred the saloon on a work night. Note the different menus for the saloon vs. the dining room.

              I've only had a sandwich at Cowboy Ciao. They gave me a complimentary sample of their hummus, which was very tasty. It seems similar to Roaring Fork, but, more inventive. I can see where it might get loud when crowded.

              8 Replies
              1. re: johnseberg

                thanks for the info! what about binkely's versus t. cooks?

                1. re: ljero

                  Binkley's and T. Cook's are very different. Both are fine dining, but Binkley's is best known for its 4-, 5-, or 6-course tasting menus. T. Cook's is a wonderful fusion of Mediterranean and Southwestern cuisine.

                  I would give the nod to T. Cook's overall, because the atmosphere is wonderful inside the restaurant and outside are the beautiful grounds of the Royal Palms resort.

                  1. re: Seth Chadwick


                    T. Cook's over Binkley's.

                    For me, the experience is the food and the restaurant not the walk there. I think Binkley's is the best dining experience ( whole experience - food et all ) in the valley. The prices are reasonable for the food and amount of it plus it's not stuffy. Hands-down my favorite restaurant in the Phoenix area.

                    I thought my experience at T. Cook's was just average compared to my expectations.

                    Different strokes ...

                    1. re: lvmanager

                      agree with you lvm. i've had great meals at t. cook's and really like it but binkley's outclasses everything else here in az except for maybe sea saw for us.

                      haven't tried some of the places recommended here yet (like mosaic & rancho pinot).

                      1. re: lvmanager

                        Well, to be fair, lv, you are talking about an experience I had at both places over a year ago. If I went back and did a comparison now, things might be different because, as we know, chef change, kitchen staff get replaced, service ebbs and flows.

                        At the time I made my comment above based on the experiences I had, that was my experience at the two restaurants. I thought the food was stellar at both, but with the atmosphere and the more polished service, the nod went to T. Cook's.

                        That being said, I think Kai at Wild Horse Pass blows both of them out of the water.

                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                          Kai is great and they have the BEST formal French service in Phoenix without a doubt, but foodwise I give the nod to Binkley's.

                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                            Well, to further disect it - I last ate at T. Cook's about two years ago and I would go so far as to say that my meal there was disappointing. I had heard and read so many wonderful things about it and it didn't live up to any of them. The food was mediocre and the service was nothing special. Yes, it's a pretty cool setting at the Royal Palms but that was it for me.

                            I could eat at Binkley's once a week for the next year and still not get enough of the stellar food.

                            Again, different strokes.

                          2. re: lvmanager

                            I was going to write the exact same words that you started with until I scrolled down and read the first two lines of your post. The room at T.Cooks is possibly the nicest in town, but Chef Kevin Binkley may be the top Toque in the state. Given the fact you are staying at Troon, picking Binkley's over T. Cooks is a no-brainer.

                    2. If you are looking for a stellar brunch, try the Phoenician Resort on Camelback Rd. It is not strictly in Scottsdale, and is very expensive but incomparable.

                      For really tasty Mexican food, try Salcido's. It's a chain, and the only one I've tried is on 32nd St. south of Camelback in Phoenix but there may be others closer to Scottsdale.

                      T. Cook's is OK, with lovely ambience, but I found the menu limited.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: drpangloss

                        Can you clarify your comment regarding a restaurant called "Salcido's"? I live in the area of 32nd Street & Camelback and know of no restaurant by that name.

                        There are no restaurants south of Camelback and 32nd Street until you get to Indian School Road (a mile south of Camelback) where there is a JB's, a McDonalds, Chuy's, Desert Jade, Frank's Pizza, and a Salsa's drive thru Mexican take-out (on par with Filberto's IMHO).

                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                          Seth, I could be wrong, but I believe there is a restaurant on 32nd St south of Indian School on the east side of the street that serves Mexican food. It has housed several restaurants over the last 5-6 years, and I believe Salcido's may be the latest. I have not tried it. The building itself is more fast food looking than restaurant, but it may be nicer inside.


                          1. re: barry

                            I was driving down 32nd St. this morning on the way to Home Depot and noticed a Mexican restaurant on the east side of 32nd just south of Indian School. I think the name was "Salsita's" or "Salsito's" -- slightly different spelling than above, but probably the place in question. I agree that it did not look like a full-service restaurant, although that's not necessarily a negative. I wasn't hungry at the time, so I did not stop to sample the food.

                            1. re: silverbear

                              I think it's "Salsita's". Notice, that if you take "it" out of the name, you get "Salsa's". Looking at the sign, I think the chile pepper represents the "i", and the "t" is hard to see.

                      2. T. Cook's is technically in PHX, but right along the fancy resorts in Scottsdale, so about 10 min. from Roaring Fork, just to give you an idea.

                        I personally think T. Cook's IS too formal. People tend to be more dressed up there. Not sure if there's a dress code, but I don't remember seeing anyone wearing jeans, for example, while Roaring Fork and Cowboy Ciao wouldn't care. I def. recommend the bar only (either for happy hour or not)for Roaring Fork like everyone else. I find dinner there to be a bit overpriced.

                        1. Let's not forget the STELLAR brunch at The Marquesa (Scottsdale Fairmont Princess), yes a little pricey (70 each) but of course you get what you pay for. For example they have Lobster Crepes, Foie Gras and Taittinger champagne.. and the dessert table.. Chocolate Marsala Bombe!! It really is the best in Scottsdale and much closer then T. Cooks to your location.

                          Binkley's is pretty awesome as well! Sassi is very romantic and we have had good experinces there.

                          Will Coboy Ciao still be open in October? I read somewhere that it's being moved to the Waterfront to make way for a gourmet burger place, from the same owners.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: xanderbear

                            I think Cowboy Ciao is staying put, but they are moving Sea Saw to make way for the burger place.


                            1. re: barry

                              Yeah, and it would be hard to believe they would actually close Cowboy Ciao for any length of time in favor of the burger joint. This link was posted before:


                              1. re: johnseberg

                                Yes, it sure is, my bad.. thats ashame as the CC space is so loud with all of the hard surfaces..

                            2. If you like beer, burgers and the casual (kinda country) outdoorsy vibe, my out-of-town friends have always loved Greasewood Flats. Very unique. If I'm not mistaken, that's near the 4 Seasons, as well as a Pinnacle Peak steakhouse (never been) and some other eateries. Scottsdale is very long, so it can be a bit of a hike from North to South (or vice versa). Not too bad, but clearly it takes a bit of an effort to venture out for chow.

                              Any hounds like the eateries at DC Ranch?

                              1. The hubby and I just got back from our long weekend in Scottsdale. I had asked for suggestions to help break out of our dining rut when we are there. We did some new ones for us. Dinner at Los Sombreros - it was good, but the service was terrible (waited 15 minutes to have the server take our orders, while others around us were getting service, appetizer and main course came at the same time). We were hoping for some "knock our socks off" food, but it was actually on par with what we get at our local Mexican place. I had the mole poblano and the hubby had the lamb adobo. While they were delicious, we decided we still like Los Dos Molinos better.
                                We ate at Delux one night. My husband agreed that the Delux burger was one good burger. I'm not a red meat eater, so when one poster mentioned the salads here, I was interested. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I got the beet salad. It was really just the same beet threads that you get as a side with the burger, but on top of some salad greens and a miniscule amount of Maytag blue cheese. The greens were not crisp - seemed that they were allowed to sit out in the kitchen heat - and the salad dressing could barely be tasted. The saving grace of the dinner was walking across the parking lot to The Gelato Spot. It brought back memories of all the gelato and sorbeto that we consumed last summer in Europe.
                                We ate another night at Sol y Sombra, taking another recommendation from chowhounds. It's in DC Ranch. First thing - bring a little flashlight! It's way too dark to be able to read the menu. While we were waiting to be seated, we went to the bar. I asked the bartender if he had any Riojo. He said that was the first time anyone had ever asked for one. He did have one, and got us 2 glasses. He called over the sommelier to talk to us. He said that, even though this was a tapas bar, the clientele usually goes for the N. Scottsdale standard Cabernet or White Zin. He seemed totally happy that someone actually asked for a Spanish wine so that he could talk about them. I just thought it was funny. Anyway, we had 4 cold plates and 2 hot plates. All were very good. The calamari were some of the best I've ever had - the smokey paprika on them just made them a step better. The bill was hefty - $64 for the tapas and a dessert and $40 for 3 glasses of wine (didn't get a botle, since we had 2 Riojas and I had another glass of a Tempranillo). But, we were full and happy.
                                For the other DC Ranch places, we've also eaten at the Mexican place there, San Felipe Cantina (I think is the name). It's totally Gringo'd Mexican, but when we're in the mood for some fish tacos and beer, it's the closest to us. We've eaten at Eddie V's and Flemmings's, also. Eddie V's is like a classic steakhouse, only with seafood. Flemming's IS a classic steakhouse. By that (for both), you order your meat or fish, then your sides. The bar at Eddie V's is good for happy hour, and frequently has live jazz. Expect to spend close to $100 for 2 at either place.

                                1. Try Sassi- it is very close to 4 Seasons Hotel.
                                  Mosaic is good too- both are kind of dressy and epensive.
                                  Greasewood Flats is pure AZ- very casual and real western flavor.
                                  Hotel dining for dinner has been good- get a table outside.
                                  Mastro's at Pinnacle Peak is not to far but do not go on a weekend or you will wait a long time for a table.
                                  Have a great trip.

                                  1. just returned from my trip and wanted to post to let you all know how everything was. thanks so much for the recomendations! here is where we went:
                                    Barrio Cafe for dinner and again for lunch: LOVED it! fabulous authentic mexican. Great service..loved the table-side guac with the pomegranates and the chili en nogada. would return in a heart beat!
                                    Kazbar for a cocktail--cool ambience-felt like i was in a cellar although it was just the ground floor. loved their chocolate martinis and house shots.
                                    cowboy ciao: loved the atmosphere. fabulous service but had an average meal. loved the steson chopped--tried seven other apps--all were average.
                                    t. cook's: gorgeous ambience--great service (again), but unfortunately most all entrees and apps were pretty average. the pesto and bread was everyone's favorite--all 8 of us. like seafood at eddie v's better.
                                    los sombreros (actually had res at roaring fork, but cancelled it to go to l.s. since it was sold and heard on this site the bar area had better food): again, loved our server. the guac was good but food otherwise was just ok. nothing out of the ordinary. would like to try richardson's next time as consensus of locals is that it is better (albeit different).
                                    AJs: very upscale grocery store with great wine selection of boutique wines--had some great wine recs, too and great prepared foods, too.
                                    Greasewood Flats: tried to get Sunday burger at AJ's outside, but guess they are only doing them Saturdays now (try one if you have not), so went to Greasewood. Forgot how much I liked their food1 the people, music, green chili bacon cheeseburger and $3..75 margaritas were great. a fabulous way to end another great trip to az. Will be back in Dec, so let me know what else to try! thanks again for all of the recs! if any of you are in chicago, let me know if i can give you some in return.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: ljero

                                      Thanks for posting about your experience. If you like Eddie V's you will like Wildfish at Scottsdale Waterfront - heard it's good, tho don't know if the menu's any diff. since it's done by the same people. I've also heard that Rancho Pinot Grill is good here... Do you also have particular ethnic places you are looking for, not Mexican?

                                      1. re: Baxterita

                                        I have not tried Eddie V's, but I have dined at Wildfish twice, during happy hour. I seem to recall that the online websites for Eddie's three restaurants feature very similar, if not exact, appetizers and desserts (sure, the names for the dishes may be different, but the descriptions are very similar, if not the same). For my first visit, I ordered the crabcake app, the Mediterranean Greek salad, and a few Gulf oysters. All were stellar! One of the best crabcakes I've ever tasted, if not the best! The salad was enormous! It included two huge cuts of heirloom tomatoes that were as big as the crabcake. Oysters were very fresh-tasting and best savored with just lemon. For my second visit, my friend (his first visit) and I shared the crabcake, the cashew calamari app, and the wok-seared ahi with soba noodles and mushrooms, which is also featured on eddie v's online menu). [Didn't get a chance to try any dessert as my friend doesn't have much of a sweet tooth :(] I didn't think the crabcake was as tasty as the first one I had there, and, if I'm not mistaken, it was not as big as I had remembered, either... We both agreed that the calamari was the star of all the apps we ordered (portion is big enough to share) and that we'd rather not have the wok-seared ahi again. Too much sauce :( I'll definitely order the calamari app again and perhaps try the Hawaiian poke ahi next time. I'll be sure to take a fellow sweet tooth with me so that I may finally try the bread pudding or other dessert. Which do you recommend?

                                        1. re: starlightjulian

                                          The Bread Pudding is 'THE BEST'....you have to order it ahead of time...it is like a souffle. It ROCKS!

                                          1. re: starlightjulian

                                            When I had the bread pudding it was good but drier than the yummy BP souffle at Commanders Palace (that spoiled me) but I thought the chocolate cake was the best I had ever eaten!

                                        2. re: ljero


                                          for your next visit, please consider rancho pinot, its one of my fav places in az. fantastic food, cute decor, great wine list, its a winner all around.


                                          Rancho Pinot
                                          6208 N Scottsdale Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253