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Nov 9, 2007 08:59 AM

Must eat in Phoenix/Scottsdale and Tempe?

I will be in the Phoenix area next week. What are the places we shouldn't miss?

I need 1 business dinner reccommendation in Phoenix (we will be staying at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge). They aren't foodies, so something on the basic (but tasty!) side is best. I'm thinking maybe Durant's? How far is this from the hotel?

I also will be meeting some friends for the weekend in Old Town Scottsdale. We will probably do dinner in Tempe one night and then spend Saturday night in Scottsdale. Generally we like to order a bunch of plates and share, are there any good family style places or any where we must try?

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  1. Durant's is 20 miles from your hotel, which is on the far north side of Phoenix. The drive is mostly via freeway, which could mean less than 30 minutes at off-peak times or up to an hour during rush hour.

    For your evening in Tempe, I recommend Caffe Boa. It has a lot of interesting pasta dishes and antipasto.

    Caffe Boa
    398 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverbear

      Sounds like Durant is too far. Thanks silverbear and mamamia, I will suggest Caffe Boa and House of Tricks to my friends and see which they prefer.

    2. I'd recommend House of Tricks in Tempe.

      You're technically not far from DC Ranch where you'll be staying. Sol y Sombra is a good choice for tapas.

      Durant's is a bit out of the way. If you wanted to drive that far, I would head to Riachardson's. But then again, I'm unapologetic in my love for their food.

      Sol y Sombra
      Closed, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

      House of Tricks
      114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

      Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico
      1582 E. Bethany Home Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016

      1 Reply
      1. re: mamamia

        Richardsons, however, does not fit the requirement of "basic" for non-foodies. I also can't say I'd recommend it for a business dinner. MUCH too loud.

        The places that come to mind to me for this are Flemings, Maestro's and Capital Grille. All within 10 minutes of your hotel.

      2. For the "non-foodie" bus. dinner, you might want to think about either of two spots at the J W Marriott, Mark Miller's Blue Sage (New Mexican take on nearly all dishes), which is a bit more casual, than what I seek out, but have had four very good to excellent meals there. [Note: I'm a Mark Miller fan, so YMMV], or the Roy's for Pacific-Rim fusion. I have not been to this particular location, but do find most Roy's a bit too noisy for my tastes, especially if I were trying to conduct business. Since this one is in a resort and off the beaten-path (for Scottsdale/Phoenix) it might be more laidback - read quiet.

        Durant's is great, albeit dark (do you have handouts to read, or charts to mull over?). The food and service are extremely good. In general terms, I'd plan on a 30 min. drive from Desert Ridge, especially as Central Ave. is still torn up. I'm not sure of the route that one poster was thinking of, with the statement that most of the travel would be on the freeway (maybe AZ 51 South to I-10, then back up to 7th St), but I think you'll likely be on surface streets more than on a freeway.

        In Old Town Scottsdale, I am a big fan of Cowboy Ciao. It's not really "family-style," but we do several plates and share. Love the food and wine, but MAN is it ever noisy. Great place to eat, but not have a lot of meaningful conversation.


        5 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          The route I envisioned was the following. It's probably more than I'd want to do on a business trip, but it is mostly freeway:

          1. re: silverbear

            OK, I do stand corrected. One will be on AZ 51 (note: construction from start until about Shea Blvd. exit) to Thomas Rd, then to 3rd St to Virginia and come in through the rear. Got it. Also, the OP will want to park in the rear and enter through the kitchen, as that is part of the charm.

            Thanks for the clarification.


          2. re: Bill Hunt

            Thanks for all your suggestions! I really enjoyed the Roy's in Manhattan so I will try to push for that one, but I have a feeling the menu may be "too adventurous" for my coworker. We'll see. If not, Blue Sage sounds like a nice alternative. Are there any restaurants you would recommend outside the Marriott, in case we want a change of scenery? I think Durant's will be too far.

            Cowboy Ciao sounds like the perfect place for Saturday, do you think we would need a reservation?

            1. re: fooodie

              they can always order the meatloaf ... :)

              1. re: fooodie

                For most good restaurants in Phoenix, after mid-September, you'll be best to get reservations. Over the last few years, I've even had to have them in the "teeth" of Summer, and that was never the case.

                There are a number of chains and mini-chains in the Desert Ridge area, mostly located in and around the shopping center there - just south of the J W Marriott. I have not dined at any, so I do not know which ones might be good enough to go to. I also do not recall any free-standing, chef-driven places up there, but the entirre area is expanding so very quickly, that several might have opened up, since I last drove by. Hope someone with intimate knowledge of that part of town can chime in with some good ideas.

                About 1/3 of the way down to Durant's, is a great Italian restaurant, Marcellino Ristorante. You will need reservations. The food is great and the normal wine list very servicable. Chef Marcellino has a "reserve" list, which isn't actually a "list," per se, as he keeps a cache of interesting wines for those who ask for them. He'll be glad to pair your dishes with these and will do a wonderful job. If you tell Sima (Mrs. Marcellino) that you want to do some work, while dining, I'm sure that she can get you into the small "back room," provided that the Governor isn't dining back there that night, as she, and her troupe usually fill it.


                Marcellino Ristorante
                7114 E. Stetson Dr. 85251, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ 85251

            2. If you do end up eating at the hotel, I've had some wonderful meals at both Tuscany and Roy's. Both the osso bucco and the salmon at Tuscany were great. Best gnocchi I've ever had. They served our apps family style when we told them we wanted to share.

              1 Reply
              1. re: duckduck

                Glad to hear about the Tuscany. Have not dined there. When I first saw the post, I was going to recommend Deseo, until I realized that it was at the Westin Kierland, and obviously would not be in the OP's venue. It, however, would be a good spot, relatively close to the J W Marriott. We've both dined and attended events, like the James Beard House Awards dinners, there. Link:



                Deseo: Westin Kierland Resort and Spa
                6902 E Greenway Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85254