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Sep 4, 2006 01:39 PM

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

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.