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Jan 18, 2008 11:27 AM

recs in Scottsdale- staying at the Mondrian

Hi, me and a couple female friends are doing a celebratory weekend at the Mondrian in Scottsdale in a couple months, and wanted some restaurant recs for dinner/brunch. We are looking for great food in fun places- doesn't need to be tragically hip but a lively atmosphere is a plus! Thanks!

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  1. There is an Asia de Cuba outpost in the Mondrian. I found the food to be very good, and it was definitely a fun place. Olive and Ivy is very close to the hotel and has a great "scene." I wasn't impressed with the entrees, but it would be good for appetizers and hanging out. For better food nearby look to Cowboy Ciao. Our favorite brunch is still at T. Cooks at the Royal Palms. It's not the huge spread, but a very well thought out selection and you can order a breakfast entree, as well. The restaurant and resort are beautiful, and it would be a great place to end your weekend.

    Have a great trip.


    Cowboy Ciao
    7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    Olive & Ivy Restaurant & Marketplace
    7135 E. Camelback Road, Suite 195, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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

    Asia De Cuba
    7353 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    1 Reply
    1. re: barry

      Thanks Barry- and it was super helpful and kind of you to add the links and addresses! Will definitely go for your recommendations and report back.

    2. You might want to do a "search this board," and plug in Scottsdale. There are probably 4 dozen threads on the best dining, of all sorts, there, plus about 4-5 more, that are active now.

      Many mention "hipness," and "vibe," though most just reflect great food. It'll probably take a few hours to complile a really good list, but will be worth the effort, with the results.


      3 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Thanks Hunt,
        I did that for about an hour before starting this new topic- and the reason I did so was that I noticed a lot of the replies mentioned that some of the recs would be too far away/spread out because of the way Scottsdale is oriented- and that it would be helpful to have a starting point (eg the Mondrian.) I didn't mean to duplicate a topic so hopefully I didn't! I will go back to the existing boards. Thanks for the advice.

        1. re: karenitasf

          Orange Table for breakfast or lunch, for sure.

          Stingray Sushi is nearby on Scottsdale Rd - scene and very good sushi. Never been disappointed there.

          Mickey's Hangover is nearby and actually has a really good brunch. Pretty casual, low key kind of vibe. Sugar Daddy's is nice on the patio for brunch, and they have a bloody mary bar; food is average but plentiful.

          The restaurant Asia De Cuba onsite is supposed to be very good, although I have not been.

          Furio is also nearby, and has a great happy hour if you're into that. All of these places are very nearby (w/in walking distance) the Mondrian. Enjoy your stay.

          Orange Table
          7373 E Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          7210 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Asia De Cuba
          7353 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Stingray Sushi
          4302 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Mickey's Hangover
          4310 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Sugar Daddy's
          3102 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

          1. re: azhotdish

            Thanks everyone- awesome! Looking forward to a super tasty first time in Scottsdale! My girlfriends will be so excited for all of the great tips.

      2. You may have seen this thread since, but I had the same question two days earlier and revived an older thread here

        You should try to get to Pizzeria Bianco. We had a great experience there last night. Yes, it's a bit mad to line up at 4:00 and not have any pizza touch your lips until 7:00, but waiting was actually part of the fun. At 4:00, Bar Bianco next door opens and you can go in while one person holds a place in line and bring out a bottle or glass of wine to drink outside while you're waiting. After you put your name in at 5:00 (if you're not lucky enough to be on the first seating), you can sit down at one of their picnic tables or go next door to Bar Bianco. Bar Bianco has some great apps (prosciutto, salami, cheeses, olives, bread, goat cheese crostini) that only took about 15 minutes to come out after we were seated at one of the outside tables. We started with some Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs while chatting with all the foodies lined up with us. Met some fun transplanted New Yorkers in line who we shared a bottle of Hoffstatter Lagrein with and they returned the favor with a Selbach Riesling. (They'll give you as many glasses as you want to share with your new friends in line, but don't try to bring your own hooch or they'll bust you.) Sat at the bar and had tomato/basil/mozz salads and split 3 pizzas (the remainder of which we finished for breakfast cold out of the hotel mini-bar fridge). I probably liked the Biancoverde the best (mozz, parm, ricotta, and arugula). Also had the Wiseguy (onion, mozz, fennel sausage) and Margherita (tomato/mozz/basil). It was just Chris and one other guy making all the pizzas and it was fun to watch him work while perched at the bar.

        BTW, I hope you're not expecting too much from the Modrian. It's within walking distance of Old Town Scottsdale and lots of bars and restaurants (so it's got THAT going for it). We loved the Morgan Hotel Group's Sanderson in London (quite upscale), but we are paying north of $300 for a room at the Mondrian with cheap, spartan furnishings (including an acrylic chair). Their website makes it look much nicer (and the lobby is OK), but it's actually just an old motel that they slapped a coat of paint on. Our bathroom lights quit working this morning (now fixed) and there are only 2 working treadmills in the gym. Decent brunch at Asia de Cuba inside the motel's main lobby, but I wouldn't make a special trip there. I think when the new W opens this year that they'll have a hard time competing. Has anyone heard what restaurant they will have on-site?

        3 Replies
        1. re: rlm

          Wow, rlm, after your first paragraph my mouth was seriously watering. Sounds amazing!! I am looking forward to trying it...

          As for the Mondrian our room is only $120/night which is why we went for it... but maybe I will look into it. Its not set in stone yet so perhaps I will do a bit more digging. Thanks very much for the tips! Much appreciated.

          1. re: karenitasf

            An addendum: I cannot imagine lining up for Pizzeria Bianco in the summer when it's 100+ degrees and the sun is beating down on you. Our experience was more positive since the weather is more pleasant this time of year and the sun sets earlier. The pizza was quite good. Not life-altering as one might think from some write-ups, but you have to admire a guy who is so obsessively quality-focused as Chris Bianco seems to be. The pizzeria and bar are both in historic buildings if you like that sort of thing. It was just a cool experience, made even more so by the fact that so many like-minded foodies flock to the place.

            We booked late at the Mondrian so probably got stiffed on the room & price as a result. But do keep in mind that it is a motel, not a hotel. We would have booked at the W, but it's not slated to open until March (and after driving by the construction site for a peep, it doesn't look that close to opening). We liked the Westin Kierland better, although it is apparently an unwritten rule that you have to roll up in a Benz or a Beamer there rather than the yellow cab and rental Chevy we were pimping with...We were pleasantly surprised with Deseo on site. They have an "unwind hour" in the separate bar area from 5:30 to 7:30 pm every night where ceviches, appetizers, and drinks are 1/2-price. They have a large spread of fresh fruits and mint laid out beside the bar which they will muddle for you in any combination. I've had many bad mojitos in other cities, but theirs were on the better end of the scale. Kevin and Scott behind the bar took great care of people. I think we sampled everything on the bar menu (plus the foie gras empanadas from the restaurant menu that we begged them to bring over). Apps were plated much nicer than you would expect for happy hour bar food, with sauces and garnishes and accompaniments not listed on the bar menu. The top item was the shrimp chicharron, which was described as a tempura, but it wasn't as crispy since it was coated in an amazing, spicy sauce. I've never had anything quite like this dish. They were so good we had to get a second order. Bacon wrapped dates served with endive and Cabrales cheese. Goat cheese empanadas with a beet sauce. Kobe beef meatballs with a savory mushroom sauce. We sampled several ceviches--lobster, oyster "chino latino," rainbow (tuna/yellowtail/salmon), and Ecuadorian (shrimp/tomato). Also tried the plaintain and bread basket accidentally (it came with spiced creamy butter and a sweet dipping sauce that I'm wanting to say was lemon but I didn't sample much of it).

          2. re: rlm

            I was reading about Orange Table and saw you were wondering about the W is now planned for an end of June opening and there will be a Sushi Roku there. Looking at the other Sushi Roku locations, it looks like a visit will be in order for us.

            W Scottsdale Hotel
            7373 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

          3. Asia de Cuba is very good. It is a scene (as is the bar at the Mondrian). If that is what you are looking for, you won't have to go far. The hotel, and restaurants associated with it are very "Scottsdale". You will understand what that means very quickly.

            You are within walking distance of old town Scottsdale, so you have a ton of great options not already mentioned. Search the board for Old Town, and be assured that you are within walking distance to any of those places (and at worst, a $5 cab ride from the furthest places).

            A few places I would check out, that weren't mentioned are: See Saw (innovative Japanese food from a James Beard award winner), Pishke's Paradise (hometown comfort fare from another Beard award winner), and Kamirez Wine Bar (not sure about their food, but good wine, and a lively bar scene).

            5 Replies
            1. re: Booger

              Kazimierz' flatbreads are definitely passable, especially if you want to have a couple b-t-g or wine flights; I like the basilicata or the sherwood forest. Their cheese plate is usually pretty solid too, but you won't find a lot you haven't seen elsewhere (think Point Reyes, Humboldt Fog, etc). It's also a good place for a martini, as they have an extensive selection of vodka.


              1. re: azhotdish

                Adding the places for Kaz and Booger's recs...

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

                Pischke's Blue Ribbon
                7217 E 1st St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                Kazimierz World Wine Bar
                7137 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                Asia De Cuba
                7353 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

              2. re: Booger

                It was good, but we weren't blown away with weekend brunch at a near-deserted Asia de Cuba (Cuban-spiced fajitas and an omelette). Some places that are great at dinner just can't seem to do a competent brunch and it's hard to get a feel for a place after just trying a couple of items. What is up with the rooster motifs?

                The Red Bar has $12 cocktails and lots of "Reserved" cards on all of the empty tables (and no seats at the actual bar). My husband liked the suggestive lamps in the lobby area.

                The Mondrian is not really a hotel, as all the doors face the outside and you drive up to your room. Very Super 8. They even have noisy swamp coolers in the rooms and white, bubbly '70's-style ceilings. A "bonus" is that we often couldn't get cell reception in our room or the adjacent parking lot on three different phones.

                I called Sea Saw on Friday but they said they were "packed to the rafters." Rancho Pinot said they wouldn't seat anyone after 9. That's what we get for trying to paste a last-minute personal trip onto the front of a business-related one. :)

                1. re: rlm

                  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone- I promise to report back on the current state of all of the places I try!


                  1. re: rlm

                    Not quite Super 8... before it was the Mondrian, it was the James. Before it was the James, it was a Holiday Inn.

                2. If you're not locked into Mondrian, suggest checking Hotel Valley Ho to see what kind of screaming Summer deal you might get there - it has 1950's architecture and two restaurants on property Cafe Zuzu (upscale diner food) and Trader Vic's (tropical drinks, appetizers). It is an authentic piece of Scottdsale history, a downtown treasure. It received a phenomenal $80 million restoration a few years ago and has been a hotspot for celebrities ever since.

                  HVH is also walking distance (or taxi or pedicab) of many terrific restaurants other posters mentioned. Careful eating breakfast at the Mondrian -- will set you back about $30 per person. Lots of great places for breakfast/brunch within walking distance, including HVH (Zuzu any day, Trader Vic's for Sunday Brunch), Pischkes, Original Pancake House, FoodBar (all day on Sundays).