Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >
Dec 20, 2007 05:44 PM

Scottsdale: help! I've been searching CH for days!

I did my due dilligence in the search function and can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Please help a Georgia hound out! Here are the specs:

Group of 10
No chains
We're a family-style, reach across the table for another tortilla bunch...not a wine list bunch.

Staying in Gainey Village with a 12 passenger van, will travel 30 minutes (max) for a place with good ambiance, great service, and even better food.

Thanks for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Two suggestions:

    Garduno's right on Doubletree and Scottsdale is regional chain with ability to take larger parties and pretty good new mexican to sonoran style cooking. Very close to Gainey and reasonable to a moderate prices.

    Arriba Mexican grill is similar food though a little more of a New Mexico spin, lots of good green chili dishes. Inexpensive to moderate and definitely family style eating. Our family hits this place once or twice a year as they have something for everyone.
    It's about 15 minutes north of Gainey at Bell and the 101 freeway.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kmarg

      Been seeing it mentioned a lot recently, but I'm gonna have to go with Tradiciones @ the Phoenix Ranch Market. It's Mexican, not Southwestern, but it meets the rest of the criteria and then the food! Really highly recommended - check out the grocery store right next door. It would probably be within a 30 minutes drive in light traffic. I'm planning my casual birthday dinner there next week with relatives - very much looking forward to it.

      kmarg - Garduno's has locations in three states, and Arriba is a mini-chain with 5 locations in the Valley.

      1. re: azhotdish

        Adding the placelink...

        1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

        1. re: azhotdish

          I just checked on Google, and according to their directions from the Hyatt in Gainey Ranch to Tradiciones, it's just a hair under 30 minutes. As such, it fits perfectly with what the OP is looking for. Reservations certainly couldn't hurt, but at the same time I wouldn't be at all surprised if you could just show up there with 20 people and have a table put together in no time.

          Oh, and creativeusername, thanks so much for giving us full details on what you seek.

      2. I'm not sure if it is at the right price point for you, but Los Sombreros meets many of the other criteria listed. If you follow the place link below, you'll find a link to the restaurant's website.

        One concern I would have, though, has to do with the size of the party. In my experience, larger parties tend to be seated outside there. At lunchtime, this would be great, but in the evening, it could be a little chilly.

        Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina
        2534 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

        2 Replies
        1. re: hohokam

          Keep in mind Los Sombreros is not open for lunch (unless something has changed recently), so dinner is your only option. Fantastic food, however, and a very casual, fun atmosphere.

          It's also a tiny spot, so a group of ten may be in for a wait.

          1. re: crsin

            Ah. Right you are. For some reason, I assumed they served lunch.

            Looks like they take reservations for large parties, but I suppose that could be a crap shoot if the OP's group doesn't make the reservation well ahead of their planned visit.

        2. Roaring Fork comes to mind, but I'm afraid it may not meet the "inexpensive" criteria. It's certainly not upper-tier in terms of price, but it's somewhat upscale. I've been there with medium-large size groups before and they handle it quite well.

          Carlsbad Tavern is another thought; casual, New Mexican style food that I think is very good...I think they could handle a group your size, although it may have to be on their patio. With heaters, though, it shouldn't be bad.

          Sam's Cafe (which is a small chain) used to be very good, but I haven't been in years. Perhaps somebody can comment as to how their quality is holding up?

          And one last place (since you mentioned Southwestern) is Z'Tejas. It is a chain, but I really think their food is wonderful.

          Carlsbad Tavern
          3313 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Roaring Fork
          4800 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Sam's Cafe
          2566 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

          Z Tejas Grill
          7014 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          1. Oh man! I knew I could count on y'all. JC the Comic Jester---no, thank YOU!

            I think I've narrowed it down to Traditiones, Los Sombreros, and Carlsbad Tavern although their website doesn't include prices so I'm not sure what to expect there. It doesn't have to be cheap, it's just that we're eating at Tarbells the night prior so I'm just trying to ease up on the company expense for the second night.

            Thanks again. You guys rock. :)

            11 Replies
            1. re: creativeusername

              At Carlsbad Tavern you are looking at $17 - $25 per plate. Not outrageous, but more than typical casual dining.

              1. re: ValleyFever

                I haven't been to Carlsbad for dinner in a while, but I believe they also have several menu choices in the $9-$15 range (some of the more traditional things like their enchilada plates, habanero burger etc.)

              2. re: creativeusername

                honestly carlsbad caverns is a rip off of richardsons *disgruntled former staff and some menu duplication* i'd say go for the real deal and head to richardsons if you are doing santa fe style.

                but i would heartily agree with the tradiciones suggestion. its a treat!!! be sure and walk around the grocery store portion. i know i know who wants to tour a grocery store. trust me you won't be disappointed ;)

                1. re: winedubar

                  Wholeheartedly agree with the Tradiciones recommendation. You won't find its kin anywhere else, especially in Georgia, it's Southwest, pure & simple, and fits your requirements well. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere encourages a good time. I have not found the service to be "polished" but it friendly and helpful. For your "reach across the table for another tortilla" group, it sounds perfect. White tablecloth, it ain't. I've seen long tables in the center of the resto filled with happy, laughing people enjoying everything about their meal. Sometimes, mariachis stroll and the tortilla guys out front are a bonus.

                  Please do not pooh-pooh the rec to tour the grocery store - it is a trip to Mexico without a passport. You're going to wish you had kitchen facilities at your hotel, though hauling some of the take-out back with you wouldn't be a bad idea. Have a great visit!

                  1. re: Sherri

                    Tradiciones can handle 10 no problem. I watched them seat 20 one Sunday. Also great for family style if you order the mixed grill (for 4 or 6). Choice of three types of meat/seafood on a great big warming platter, beans, rice, guacamole and tortillas to pass. We had 5 people and the platter for 4 was too much for us.

                    1. re: zebcook

                      Sold! Table for 10 at Tradiciones is reserved. Got it inside based on the temperature recommendation.

                      I truly cannot wait for this trip!!! Thank you again. I will report back mid January and based on your wonderful responses, may seek some additional help with another trip I'm planning further north. (Hope y'all don't mind another thread from me.)

                      P.S. Sherri & azhotdish---I wouldn't dream of skipping the grocery store and may just bring a cooler!

                      1. re: creativeusername

                        Great idea, although I suspect you could grab enough non-perishable items to fill your luggage! Please report back about your experience. Happy Holidays!

                        1. re: creativeusername

                          "I wouldn't dream of skipping the grocery store and may just bring a cooler!" You won't be sorry! Allow some time to sample some of the available food as well. It's like a fiesta! The first time we went and I watched my usually staid husband dancing down the grocery aisles with a cart, happily humming, I was S-O-L-D! The bakery, dairy, fresh tortillas, fish produce, aguas frescas not to mention all the aisles of interesting canned foods and dried chiles, etc ........ I hope that you're as wow-ed as I always am. Have a great trip!

                    2. re: winedubar

                      Whether it's a ripoff or not, Carlsbad is at least as good and in my experience a notch or two better than Richardson's, which still benefits from a glowing halo of hype not unlike Los Dos Molinos. I've lived in the neighborhood nine years and each time I've been to Richardson's -- after the first -- I've been disappointed. The last time especially so; the adovada was bland and unremarkable. Even Arriba at 18th and Camelback offers hearty New Mexican fare that is more flavorful and less expensive than what I've sampled at Richardson's recently. There are also customer service issues, but I've only read about them -- I've had decent service at all three establishments.

                      1. re: misohungrychewlow

                        I have to agree Carlsbad is pretty good. We like Richardson's a lot(especially at breakfast) but get to Carlsbad more often(usually when we have to head to Penzey's). Husband loves their chile relleno so always wants to stop for a bite when we're in the neighborhood.

                        Service can be iffy...we've had really good and really horrible.

                        As for the OP's up coming dinner at Tradiciones, great choice! We've been there a couple times with big groups(over ten...really not big by their standards) and they've alway done a great job with big tables. You definitely won't be disappointed with the food(personally I love the Camerones Rancheros) or the grocery store.

                        1. re: misohungrychewlow

                          I prefer Carlsbad, too, and I spent a third of my life in New Mexico. Dick's and Richardson's have that aggressive mesquite flavor that permeates not only all of the food, but the whole restaurant. It kind of doesn't matter if you don't want anything chargrilled, because everything will taste like it was, anyway. At least at Carlsbad you can get things where the chile shines as the center of the dish.

                          Now, that's not to say I would ever turn up my nose at a dinner at Richardson's; the food is quality, that's for sure. It's just not ever . . . subtle. I like the spot and see why it gets accolades here. But when friends from home visit, I don't take them there. They would think I was crazy for calling it New Mexican food.

                    3. Thanks folks! Just wanted to let you know that Tradiciones was perfect! We did the family-style assorted meat tray w/skirt steak, chicken, shrimp, sausage, pork and cactus. It was just as y'all described: perfect tortillas, superb guacamole, great ambiance, slow service. (The service almost detracted from the experience but the food was worth it.)

                      On a side note, we did Delux Burger on the trip as well based on my CH searches for late-night dining. Great recommendation. Loved the Delux burger and mixed fries although the swanky crowd made me feel old and like I needed to have on a pair of fuzzy boots.

                      I'm grateful for you, my Phoenix hounds! You made for an excellent food experience.