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PHX: Anniversary dinner advice? (extra degree of difficulty)

It's almost time for my SO and I to celebrate our 17th anniversary. We're usually very casual in our dinner choices (Carlsbad Tavern, Los Sombreros, Barrio Cafe), but we'd like to find a particularly special place this time. Why? Because we're moving away from the Valley this summer after living here for almost 15 years.

I guess my question is: where should we go to celebrate our anniversary that will also leave us with a lasting memory of the Valley of the Sun? Any cuisine is fine, I'm just looking for your suggestions for the last blow-out meal!


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  1. Here are a couple choices that have not been mentioned:

    Binkley's-could very well be best value in fine dining in the country...stellar chef

    Vu at the Hyatt Regency- Chef is delivering the goods ask for RJ as your server

    Sea Saw- sashimi, if you like it...best fish in town

    Kai- very good service high quality ingredients with some bits of native american flavor set

    1. Some people like T. Cook's at the Royal Palms. Me, not so impressed, but it is very nice. They serve pesto with the bread and the grounds are nice, if a little small.

      I hear good things about Kai at the Wild Horse Casino and Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician. I was very impressed with the "grandeur" of the Phoenician but haven't eaten at ME's.

      1. I would suggest a place that has been around for a long time and will probably still be here if and when you return. That might create a more enduring memory. Some suggestions along those lines:

        Lon's at the Hermosa
        Vincent's on Camelback

        1 Reply
        1. i'd say several that have already been mentioned ;)

          t. cooks
          mary elaine's
          kai at wild horse pass

          1. You guys are the best. Keep it coming! :)

            1. No comment on the restaurant, but I know that if I were leaving Phoenix, my choice of place would be for a view. The Phoenix area has some of the most beautiful views and sunsets you will ever find. The food is not what you will remember, but the view will be. Good food is all over, the Phoenix sunset isn't. Good Luck with your future endeavors :)

              3 Replies
              1. re: minnesota foodie

                Great point.

                In that case, how about the restaurant at the top of the Pointe Resort on 7th Street. It has changed names a lot, but you cannot beat the view.

                1. re: Max Fischer

                  elements @ Sanctuary or Latilla at the Boulders also have excellent views.

                  1. re: azhotdish

                    I agree on elements (why not Elements?) over Different Pointe of View. Food and service have always been better, IMO, and the views, while different, are just as good.


              2. Though this is but an echo of the earlier recs. I'd make my list in this order:

                Vincent's on Camelback
                T. Cooks
                Durant's (love everything about it, except that I always find it too crowded for my total enjoyment)

                As for Kai, I have yet to try it, but have heard great things from reviewers and c'hounds.

                Mary Elaine's, been there - done that. Admittedly, it was two chefs and a sommelier ago, but nothing, beyond the elegance of the room, was above average - oh, except the checks!


                1. Only one place comes to mind that meets your requirements.


                  Classic. Phoenix.

                  I already have my Valentine's Day dinner reservation made. This place has amazing service, great food and they just do an outstanding job. You know it's an amazing place when the staff have been there for years, and years...

                  Enjoy it, it's a slice of Phx history that will be around a long time. Best of luck in your move.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Max Fischer

                    i totally disagree ;) i think durants IS the quintessential phoenix restaurant - been there forever, not a chain, completely ingrained into the local culture, there was even a musical about jack, the founder of durants..total downtown hot spot for the better part of 5 decades.

                    not quintessentially southwest? that i'll give you...but phoenix? to me, durants IS phoenix...

                  2. If I had to choose just one of the recommendations already made, it would surely be Lon's. It has atmoshpere that you won't find outside the Southwest and the food has always been fabulous for me (though I haven't been in a few years and I know they have been through some chef changes). And it is quite romantic for an anniversary dinner

                    While I love Durant's, it doesn't seem to be a quintessentially Phoenix place. I feel like there are Rat Pack-y steak houses all over the country. Also, I have often found myself seated near rather raucous groups at Durant's, which could detract from the romance factor.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kjhart

                      I agree with kjhart on this one. With an anniversary, I think romance. For me Lon's has that kind of atmosphere and wonderful food. Durant's reminds me of my parents generation (I'm 40)--which isn't bad, but just not romantic.

                    2. I love Lon's and TCooks because they have fireplaces, and if it's a nice brisk night they will have them lit. Just be sure to mention where you'd like to sit when calling.
                      Romance ^2

                      But I like all the choices listed.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mamamia

                        I'm with mamamia here. These are my top two for food, atmosphere, service, and romance.

                      2. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions! Lon's is winning at the moment, but I look forward to investigating all of your recommendations. We'll also hit Durant's at some point, given the strong advice here.