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Restaurant Recommendations Phoenix & area

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Hello,
My family are visiting the Phoenix area in November for a week long family vacation to celebrate my mom's 60th and my sister's 30th birthday.
We are staying in a develepment in the Sonaran Foothills.
Can you please recommend a variety of restaurants -- this is what we're looking for:
-Special restaurant for the celebratory dinners
-Hip / cooler restaurants / lounges that would be good for the fam to hang out in. My folks are pretty cool people and the youngest of our group is 24.
-Less pricey places in the neighborhood that might be fun to go for a quick bite.

I know this is quite a vague request :) so I appreciate any help.

A few other things -- quality of food is of great importance at all levels. We are willing to pay for quality.

We are a mixed bunch -- quasi-vegetarian mixed with big steak eaters; we all love spice though and would be interested in a variety of restaurant types.
The only thing I would say wouldn't be on our list would be straight sushi places -- but other than that anything is up for grabs!

If any of you have particular favorites in Phoenix, Scottsdale etc I would love to know ...

Thanks again
Alison

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  1. Alison,

    I'm not familiar with Sonoran Foothills, so I googled it. If the results are correct, this would be close to the Carefree Hwy and I-17? If so, I just moved from that area and you will need to drive to either Cave Creek/Carefree or south into Phoenix, as this area is new and there aren't many options nearby. Please let us know if this is in fact the area where you will be staying!

    2 Replies
    1. re: rxenergie

      That's it exactly! Sorry for not giving more directions but I'm not very familiar with the layout in Arizona.

      That's great to know what areas are actually close by -- I appreciate any suggestions you might have.

      Thanks again
      Alison

      1. re: alisongwilliams

        Alison,

        One of the biggest problems with restaurant recs. in "Phoenix" is that it is 500 sq. miles, and growing hourly.

        Now, having read the earlier replies, I'd like to suggest two spots, not THAT far from where you will be:

        Binkley's, http://www.binkleysrestaurant.com/
        and Le San Souci, no Web site found.

        Both are in Carefree, Binkley's right at the Cave Creek & Carefree border, while Le San Souci is about 1/3 mile farther. Do check with either/each regarding the hours of operation. Both tend to close in the Summer, but should be up and going by now.

        Chef Kevin Binkley is the more adventureous of the two chefs, with Le San Souci being more traditional French. Both are good, and I know that Chef Kevin can tailor meals for about all requirements. We did a board dinner there, and had two vegans, one mild-vegetarian, and a ton of carnivores.

        Closer to "home," I do not have any recs. for you, sorry.

        Hunt

    2. Hi Alison -

      I used to live in the Sonoran Foothills. There are no dining options in the immediate area (other than McDonald's and Subway about 1 mile north of where you would be). About 4 miles to the south there are a bunch of chain restaurants (Chili's, Applebee's, etc.), which I generally avoid.

      I'll second Bill's recommendation of Binkley's. It's fantastic - definitely one of the best restaurants in Phoenix. Also, it's more of a "celebratory dinner" type place. FYI - it's about 20-25 driving from where you would be.

      El Encanto has two restaurants near you. They serve decent Mexican food in a casual setting. It would be a good place to relax with the family. One location is about 5 minutes away and the other is about 20-25, near Binkley's). The one further from you (in Cave Creek) has a nice outdoor area (w/ a pond and geese!)
      http://www.elencantorestaurant.com/

      Cave Creek Coffee Company & Wine Bar and Bodega Bistro are two more places to hang out.
      http://www.cavecreekcoffee.com/
      http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dining/a...

      One of my favorite places is Zinc Bistro. It's a hip/cool place that would also be good for a celebratory dinner. It's about 25 minutes away.
      http://www.zincbistroaz.com/

      If you really want to be wowed, check out Kai. It would be a bit of a drive (around 45 minutes), but definitely worth it. I just ate there yesterday and was blown away. You can find some reviews on CH.
      http://www.wildhorsepassresort.com/di...

      Those are the ones that came to mind right away. If I think of any others, I'll post again.

      - Andy

      -----
      Binkley's
      6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      Kai
      5594 W. Wildhorse Pass Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

      Zinc Bistro
      15034 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

      El Encanto Dos
      1112 E. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85085

      El Encanto Mexican Cafe
      6248 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      Cave Creek Coffee Co
      6033 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      Bodega Bistro & Tapas Bar
      7208 E Ho Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      2 Replies
      1. re: andyeats

        I would avoid the Desert Hills El Encanto (on the Carefree Hwy) and head to El Encanto in Cave Creek. For some reason, after they took over Shillelagh Ole's, the food quality has suffered. Also, the ambiance at the Cave Creek location is much better.

        Are you willing to drive at least 30 mins each way a few of the nights?

        1. re: andyeats

          ... and I'll "third" Binkley's. It's by far, the best restaurant in the area and, IMO, all of the Phoenix. The $77 6-course tasting menu is absolutely brilliant, not to mention all the extra "goodies" you'll be sure to get.

          DO NOT miss this place.

        2. The area where you'll be staying is on the northern frontier of the Phoenix Metro Area. It isn't terribly close to "hip / cooler" areas. For casual choices nearby, you might wish to look at another thread about lunch choices near the Deer Valley Airport, which is as close to nearby as anything gets to where you're staying.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/432319

          1. Don't miss T.Cook's at the Royal Palms Hotel. Delicious,innovative food. Gorgeous outdoor garden to dine in. Top notch service!!! Best in the area!

            1. These are all great suggestions -- thank so much!!

              ... though I'm getting hungry checking out all the menus :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: alisongwilliams

                Oh and we are willing to drive about 1/2 an hour if necessary (if not more for very special places) ... we knew when we booked that it might be necessary because of our location.
                Hopefully we'll be able to arrange taxis as well.