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Top 5 in Scottsdale, Top 1 in PHX-SW

After trying to synthesize the information to my previous post (Scottsdale Dinner Suggestions in Feb), I can't fit in the 10 restuarants or so in 5 nights in scottsdale and one night in PHX. Care to give me your top 5 in Scottsdale (don't worry about the distance), trying to be eclectic enough (tapas, SW, American, Asian, Steak, Italian and remember great food, ambience and vibe), and your top spot in PHX (preferably local fare)? Not looking for kid friendly restuarants since we are sans kids this time around.

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  1. Mastro's steak in Scottsdale
    Uncle Sal's- Good Italian S.
    Los Sombreros- Scottsdale
    Richardson's- Great Phoenix Vibe Great food.

    -----
    Mastro's Steak House
    8852 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

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

    Richardsons
    phoenix, Phoenix, AZ

    2 Replies
    1. re: drewb123

      At the high end of the price spectrum, try Binkley"s (res well in advance) and Sassi,
      For dependable SW style food at reasonable prices consider Phoenix City Grill or Sierra Bonita Grill (same ownership). Richardsons does not take reservations and the wait can be long. Food is good but not that good. Yasu Sushi Bistro is pretty good as well. Don't limit yourselves to sushi since there are some interesting cooked dishes. For more tex mex consider Blue Adobe.
      Wherever you go, be prepared for a fairly rushed experience.. The notion of relaxed dining seems to be a foreign concept here in PHX. We have been fed inside of an hour with the arrival of 2 courses and the check in that time at numerous high end ($$$) places. This seems to be a rule rather than an exception.

      1. re: neville nosher

        small update - richardson's does take reservations, just for groups of 4 or more

    2. Since I have had issues with some of the recs., I'll add my own, "must-dos":

      1.) Binkley's, Cave Creek, but not that far from N. Scottsdale
      2.) Vincent's on Camelback (in Phoenix, but near Scottsdale)
      3.) Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale
      4.) SeaSaw, Scottsdale (next door to Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale)
      5.) T. Cooks, Phoenix (right next to Scottsdale)
      6.) Richardson's/Dick's Hideaway, Phoenix

      Hunt

      -----
      Sea Saw
      7133 E Stetson Dr Ste 1, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

      Cowboy Ciao
      7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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

      T Cooks At the Royal Palms
      5200 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018

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

      Vincent On Camelback
      3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        I have to give my nod of agreement with T. Cook's. Had a superb dinner there last month. Service was top notch and the food was excellent. The ambience is also great.
        Deb

      2. I think Bill Hunt's list is right on, eat well.

        For a nice lunch place close to you, consider the Painted Horse. Local place with nice food done in a creative manner.

        1. I am mostly in agreement with Hunt,

          Binkleys
          Sea Saw (make reservations NOW for the omakase menu)\
          T Cooks
          Mastro's (steak)
          Sassi - not that it's the best we have to offer, but it's close to your hotel and has a spectactular setting as well as a nice bar and might be a good place to have an "easy" night out and not trek too far
          And, for something diffferent, Barrio Cafe in Central Phoenix for an interesting spin on Mexican.

          Have a great trip. Feel free to contact me off the board for more info since my wife and I are not far from where you'll be staying.

          6 Replies
          1. re: ejs1492

            Based on my trip to your fine city in November, I would rate them Binkley's a resounding number 1 (one of the top 5 best meals I've ever eaten) with Sea Saw close by at 2 and then Cowboy Ciao a distant third (though not in the same league). I can't comment on the others as i didn't try them. I did however try Kai on the recommendation of the others on this board but can not recommend it as we didn't enjoy the meal.

            1. re: bgut1

              Whoa,

              That's the first negative report on Kai (have not been yet), that I've seen. Do you have some details, or a link to a previous post, so as to not hijack this thread?

              We have it high on the list, and hope to do a long weekend with golf and lodging there, plus Kai for at least two meals.

              Appreciated,
              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Sorry Bill. I called it the way I saw it and Kai just didn't do it for me and my wife. Here is the link to the thread and see my post of 11/18/07. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/439967
                I would be happy to give more specifics about my dinner if you wish.

                1. re: bgut1

                  Thank you for the link. Somehow, I missed that thread, but then we were in the air for most of the year, so that is possible. We only slept in our own beds for 15 days, in four months, and only 3 in succession.

                  Since I have not dined there, I can neither substatiate, nor refute, your review. Since it has been at the top of my "must do" list, I've been looking for the opportunity to do so. When I get around to it, I'll report. In the meantime, thanks for the comments. This gives me something to watch out for.

                  Appreciated,
                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Your welcome Bill. Hopefully you will have a better experience. I look forward to reading your report.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      We were at Kai's a week or so ago (and have been there several times over the years), and I was pretty shocked at how much the prices have gone up (especally the tasting menu, which we didn't get).

                      As far as the food, there were some really great dishes (squash soup, buffalo fillet, goat-cheese-cake) but others were just good... but unfortunately my expectation is that at these prices, everything should just blow me away.

          2. All good recommendations...

            Here are my picks:
            Phoenix: Pizzeria Bianco...suffer through the wait, or if you just can't, Durant's
            Scottsdale: Binkley's, Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, Los Sombreros and maybe Sol y Sombra for tapas one night.

            DC Ranch (where Sol y Sombra is located) has a lot of upscalerestaurants/nightlife within a few hundred yards of each other so that night could be a "progressive dinner" if you guys are into that and could hit a local fun sushi place Blue Wasabi for a martini and a bite of sushi, Eddit V's (great seafood/steaks) for appetizers on their back patio then Sol y Sombra for a few later-night tapas then Armitage wine bar, etc....could be fun

            4 Replies
            1. re: HomeCookKirsten

              I wouldn't risk Durants on such a short trip, except to stop in for a Leyden's gin martini...the kitchen has been sketch the last few times we've been there (we live right near there and used to dine there regularly, until recently).

              I would head to Pizza Bianco, Zen 32 (sushi), Los Dos Molinos (long wait, and don't go if you fear HOT mexican food), Barrio Cafe (amazing New Mexican cuisine,with a great vibe), or Postino (wine bar with great soup, cheese plates, and sandwiches for lunch, and GREAT vibe).

              1. re: furrybluecyclops

                I would agree with the food at Barrio Cafe but would recommend Los Sombreros for a unique take on Mexican food given the neighborhood the Barrio Cafe is in. I would hesitate to send a visitor to our city to that block for an innocent stroll into the restaurant I am afraid.

                1. re: AzDumpling

                  Two things:

                  1) I would describe Barrio's food "new Mexican", as in a "modern Mexican" rather than "New Mexican", as in "from or typical of New Mexico".

                  2) The neighborhood around 16th St and Thomas, while scruffy around the edges, is not exactly a war zone. I think your fear is misplaced.

                  1. re: hohokam

                    Having the police outpost next door does tame it a bit.

            2. Binkley's in Cave Creek
              T. Cooks at the Royal Palms
              Durant's in Downtown Phoenix
              Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician

              1. This is kind of a mix of what my faves are with what you are asking for. If I listed my favorites you probably wouldn't get that ambiance you are asking for.

                PHOENIX
                1. Tarbell's - SW/Regional (Mark Tarbell, successful challenger on Iron Chef America )

                SCOTTSDALE
                1. Cowboy Ciao - American/SW
                2. Los Sombreros - Central Mexican/Fusion
                3. Carlsbad Tavern - New Mexican
                4. Voltaire - French
                5. Salt Cellar - Seafood

                1. I have only one recommendation: Binkley's (but I'm hard to please)