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Visiting Phoenix for the 1st time

  • m

I'm hoping to get some ideas for where to eat when we stay at the Royal Palms hotel at the start of April. I've never been to Phoenix, so I have no clue what's good in the area. We're up for anything- fine dining, casual and unique ( esp. for breakfast and lunch), or just not to be missed spots. We will have a car so we'd like to venture out of the hotel during our stay.
Any thoughts?

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  1. Normally, I recommend skipping hotel restaurants, but the Royal Palms is an exception. The on-site restaurant, T. Cook's, is one of the best in the area, so do enjoy at least a few meals there.

    Beyond the on-site restaurant, the Royal Palms is well situated because it allows you access to so many good places in Central Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arcadia, Paradise Valley, and the Biltmore Area. In fact, there are so many choices that it's hard to recommend without knowing more about your preferences in terms of price range, likes and dislikes, etc.

    Some places I really like at 32nd and Camelback (2-3 miles west of the Royal Palms):

    Tarbell's http://www.tarbells.com
    Eleve http://www.azeats.com/eleve
    Delux http://www.deluxburger.com

    1. silverbear has a great list. If you are willing to travel just a little further, I would also suggest the following:

      Barrio Cafe - www.barriocafe.com - Mexican
      Coup des Tartes - www.nicetartes.com - French Bistro
      Richardson's - New Mexican

      If you go to any of silverbear's recommendations, make sure to stop by Arlecchino's Gelato at 40th Street and Campbell (the pistachio gelato is outstanding!).

      Welcome to Phoenix!

      1. I'll add Elements at Sanctuary to the suggestions above... Terrific fresh food, interesting menus and the view at sunset is a stunner.


        I'll also reinforce Seth's reccy for Arlecchino's Gelato. Wow.

        1. Thanks! Those look great. We definitely plan at eating at T. Cook's, but I thought it would be fun and interesting to check out some other local faves.
          Is there a place you like to go for breakfast/brunch?
          What about casual lunch?

          1. Along with the great recs., so far, I'd add Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale, just a bit east and slightly south of Royal Palms, http://www.cowboyciao.com/. Great food, a tad on the noisy side, and very interesting wine flights, plus wine list. Like most of the others, it is unique to Phoenix/Scottsdale. It's up-scale, as opposed to the fine-dining at elements (don't know why they use the "e"), and T. Cooks.

            With the recs. to date, you will be sampling some of the best, that the PHX Metro Area has to offer and the spots are rather broad-spectrum.

            After a recent review, I will abstain from my normal rec. for Vincent's on Camelback, at least until I can dine there again and see what might have changed.


            1. T. Cooks is definitely good. Just went there on Valentine's day & had a great meal.

              My 2 favorites are Sea Saw (fusion Japanese food) though it's way too pricey for frequent visits (can be up to $400+ for 2 if you go way big) & then Binkley's in Cave Creek. Went there on 3/1 & it was one of the best meals of my life at just over $200 for going all out.

              Elements is beautiful but I'm always let down by the food. It is FAR better though if you do a tasting menu. They seem to take much more care.


              1. BTW, Seth Chadwick above in this thread has a great review of Binkley's on this site. Was the review that was closest to my experience though I really had nothing bad to say about it. Desert must have been upgraded because they were a highlight for us.


                1. Thanks for even more great info. I can't wait to check out menus and show my husband. Can I get cooked food at Sea Saw? I can't eat the raw stuff...pregnant. Brinkley's sounds great. We'll be in PHX from 4/5-4/10, so I'm trying to start to figure how to plan, where to go when and for what...stuff like that.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MRS

                    Sea Saw does have cooked items. Actually, checking the normal menu (I've typically done omakase there -- and if that's your choice, you can just tell them of your dietary restrictions when you make the reservation, and they will tailor your courses to that, and send you nothing uncooked) less than half of their items are raw. Here's their website, I apologize for the obnoxious Flash content -- http://www.seasaw.net/

                  2. For lunch and breakfast you can check out The Orange Table in the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza (7373 East Scottsdale Mall No. 6, (480) 424-6819) After your meal you can walk around and enjoy the fountains and overall peacefulness of the plaza. Sorry for the long link, but this will give you the essential details: http://www.scottsdalecvb.com/listings...

                    1. A great lunch or dinner spot is Havana Cafe just west of 44th on Camelback. Its Cuban and the ambience is great.

                      I don't think I saw any of the above postings mentioned La Grande Orange on 40th and Campbell. Its a corner market that has a great breakfast, a wine bar with the best bruschetta, a pizza place and gelato. Pretty good outside seating as well. Visit www.lgohospitality.com for menus and such.

                      1. These are great options! I am hungry already! Can't wait!

                        1. actually, whenever I am traveling someplace, while I want GOOD food, I also want something regional... something you really can't get other places, and things that are unique to the place you're going.

                          so while all the suggestions above are truly excellent places, I would suggest the following

                          1. Ranch Market : just go and eat your way through the market... plenty of stalls, a ceviche bar, fresh tamales and sorbet and drinks.... although the attached restuarant is good as well, its not the experience that the market is.

                          2. The Horny Toad : its everything the SW was depicted as in cartoons when we were little. Sawdust on the floor, knotted pine floors, REALLY good fried chicken and barbeque. Go on Fri or Sat nights for added country band bonus.

                          3. Richardsons : its "new" mexican food. gourmet, spicy, really good and definitely mexican flavored.

                          4. head to AJ's (plenty within spits throw of you, or have hotel prepare instead) for a picnic basket and then head to Sunset Point with it. its gorgeous out, you shouldn't be in a restuarant anyways :) Sit, watch the sun go down and picnic while staring out at skyline.

                          5. I'd also have recommended Vincents if not for the recent review, but I too, am reserving judgement and trying it again.

                          and if not those, then really, all the suggestions above are truly great food, if not regional.

                          1. Oh pickychick! Good call on Orange Table!

                            Excellent food in a kind of funky/arty atmosphere. You have to wait a bit as their staff are more converted art/punk/interesting folks rather than career restaurant. The Loki sandwich is amazing. Sliced corned beef grilled with jalapeno, provolone, a kind of sweet pickled red onion and horseradish dill mayo. So yummy. They just really focus on the food. Little touches are nice, like even slicing their chicken breast so you have ?sheets? of it instead of chunks.

                            My very favorite there is the white flannel corned beef hash for breakfast. Sooo good. Lean sliced corned beef, with potatoes, lots of garlic, eggs & sour cream.

                            My wife, being pregnant, swears on the soy decaf lattes. Says they're the best in town.
                            And on the Sea Saw raw issue, as themis said, you can definitely get cooked. It can be painful though if you have to opt out on some of the fantastic raw stuff. My wife, also pregnant, just gave in (and we've avoided raw & mercury for the past 8 months). It would have been torture if she hadn't. : )


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ccl1111

                              I had a hard time finding Orange Table. I would advise anybody who hasn't been there to bring a phone and the phone number with them (unless somebody else knows some good landmarks). It took me some time wandering around on foot.

                            2. Next to Arlecchino's Gelato is La Grande Orange. La Grande has really good breakfast and lunch items. Two of my favorites are the croque madame and the BLT. See website for their menu: http://www.lagrandeorangegrocery.com/

                              If you want to go shopping in North Scottsdale, I hear that Zinc Bistro at Kierland Commons is pretty good. http://www.kierlandcommons.com/

                              Have fun!