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Phoenix/Scottsdale/Sedona - "can't miss" local eateries

Hi, I'm a NY/Boston chowhound who will be visiting the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Sedona area in the last week of August. My husband and I are of the opinion that good food doesn't have to be expensive. We're looking for some local eats that the AZ chowhounds would say are "Can't Misses". We love all sorts of cuisine - but given it's the SW, we'd love to experience some good southwestern, mexican, bbq, brazilian bbq (if you have any), and greek (we love a good freshly sliced gyro).. but really, anything goes. Sorry if there's been similar postings - i am having a hard time pinpointing recommendations since this board covers so many states.

I should also mention...we will travel for good food - so really, anything goes.. really!
And finally, we don't drink (expecting a baby).. so we'll need to skip the winebars and brewhouses.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. You've described such as massive swatch of territory that it's hard to know where to begin. Phoenix is 500+ square miles; add in Scottsdale and the other suburbs and we're at over 1,000 square miles. I know you've said you're willing to travel for a good meal, but with gas at $3 a gallon and air pollution and traffic always a concern here, it makes no sense to refer you to a place 30 miles across town if there's an equally good option near where you'll be. With that in mind, could you share a bit more about the resort or general area where you'll be staying?

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverbear

      Thanks silverbear - I'll be staying at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale (or rather, Phoenix, according to some other posts I've seen).

    2. Two spots come immediately to mind that have Phoenix written all over them.

      First is the Ranch Market at 16th Street and Roosevelt, about 25 minutes from your hotel. It's a giganitic Mexican grocery store with the best food court ever. Do a search here and you'll get loads of info.

      Second is Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico, even though you're in AZ, you can't go wrong here. The carne adovado is my very favorite dish on the menu at only $11 with rice and beans. This is not a divey Mexican restaurant, it's a dark, cozy place located in a strip mall...but don't be discouraged, it's great! In the same strip mall is the sister restaurant/bar called Dick's Hideaway. Exact same menu, but there's no signage on the door. Phoenix's very own lil' speakeasy. Located on the NW corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home, about 15-18 minutes from your hotel. Again, do a search and you'll be happy. Disregard any old comments about smoking, as smoking is not allowed in restaurants anymore.

      Enjoy and congrats on the babe to be!

      4 Replies
      1. re: geg5150

        You are very close to the Scottsdale Princess....La Hacienda is a 4 Star Mexican Restaurant.....it's a beautiful Restaurant w/ terrific food!

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        La Hacienda
        7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

        1. re: geg5150

          I was going to suggest Phoenix Ranch Market as well. Being a Maine native who spent lots of time in the Boston area during college, I can't think of anything remotely like PRM there. Be sure that your rental car has insurance, because the parking lot is a free-for-all. :) And be sure to try the horchata. It's awesome.

          1. re: geg5150

            Can you give me an idea of the price range for Richardson's? Thanks!

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Anywhere from about $10 to upwards of $30 for the fish specials and steaks. Since you're not drinking, I'd say you can easily get out of there for $50 with an appetizer and two entrees. Keep in mind that they're portions are really big, so you might want to share one app and one entree. One of my favorite apps is the "skewers" -- one skewer each of shrimp, sausage (homemade), steak and chicken with four dipping sauces, $14 or so.

              Another favorite that's not on the menu, but they'll make it for you is the tenderloin quesadilla, it's wonderful!

          2. It's been many years since I've been, but Rock Springs Cafe between Phoenix and Sedona serves some great homemade pie. It's right off the highway and worth a stop.

            3 Replies
            1. re: harrison

              Rock Springs changed ownership a year or two ago and the pie hasn't been the same the last couple times I tried. It's a fun place to stop between Phoenix and Sedona, though, so if the OP decides to stop there I'd be curious to hear what she thinks.

              1. re: ajs228

                Bummer. It was about 15 years ago when I was there. I'm planning a trip for next year and already have my 12 year old excited - he loves apple pie. I'll have to lower his expectations!

                1. re: harrison

                  Good idea! We thought the apple pie was awful. The place is fun to stop, there are a few gift shops and a small farmers market with honey, salsas and pistachios.

            2. There are a few Brazilian steakhouses in the area. Rio Sabor Brazil is just south of your hotel on Scottsdale Rd and Shea. Fogo E Brasa is WAY south. I think there might be another one, but I'm not sure.

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              Fogo E Brasa
              4909 E Chandler Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85048

              Rio Brazialian Steakhouse
              10425 N Scottsdale Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

              1. My favorite Mexican food place in Phoenix, not far at all from Kierland, is Carolina's. Best tortillas in town.

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                Carolina's Mexican North
                2126 E Cactus Rd Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85022