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PHX: Birthday Suggestion

So my girlfriend's bday is coming up and I am trying to find a place to take her that she hasn't been before and she and her family will all enjoy.

We usually spend birthdays at Durant's, Salt Cellar, Tarbell's, etc. We like places in that same realm. A menu with something for everyone, pretty casual atmosphere, but still nice enough to make it feel like a special occasion.

I rarely get the chance to get on here lately, so I haven't seen all the new things that may have popped up.

I'll be digging back through the board, but anything you have to offer up for a party of 6-10 is appreciated. I think we've hit most of the regular places in central/east phoenix, so if there are new places or something outside of my normal boundaries I would be up that.

Thanks Hounds!

BTW, from what I've read about Fine's Cellar it looks good. How do you all think it would fare for a family gathering/birthday? (No Kids)

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  1. For old-ish, my stand-by is House of Tricks--casual but definitely nice enough for a special occasion.

    For new-ish, I might go with Tapino. Depending on the crowd, the small plates format might work well, as it can lend itself to sharing and sampling.

    For even newer-ish, Fine's Cellar might also be a good choice. I went there for the second of my birthday dinners this year and was very pleased with the food and the atmosphere. The service was a bit inexpert, but not so much as to detract significantly from the overall experience.

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

    Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
    7000 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

    Fine's Cellar
    7051 E 5th Ave Ste M, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    1. Predicated on my last few birthdays, when in town, and also those of my wife, the three places that we have greatly enjoyed and return to are:

      Vincent's on Camelback
      elements @ The Santuary
      T. Cook's @ The Royal Palms

      These are in the same price-range as Durant's and Tarbell's. Cannot seem to ever get in at the Salt Cellar, so cannot compare. They are different, than the above two, but not too much. Each is unique and offers something special.

      Happy b'day to your GF,


      5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

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

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

      1. I've done tapino, vincent's and elements at different times.

        I'd love to try T Cooks, but I was under the impression that it was more high end. If not I will look into that.

        House of Tricks I don't know much about either so I will check into that as well.

        Thanks guys!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ValleyFever

          I just took a peek at Tricks' website and see that the sample menu is from the spring, but it should give you an idea of the type of food they serve.

          Wherever you end up, I hope that y'all have a good time. :-)

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I have to second this recommendation. The service there is extremely warm, and I have no doubt they would help to make your dinner very special. The care they take with everything there from the preparation to presentation of the food is clearly evident. There is a table in the back section that would be perfect for a get-together.

            We were there last week celebrating something, but didn't mention it until we were leaving. The congratulations we received from everyone was really nice. Oh, and the meal was fabulous, as other posts have mentioned.

              1. re: drewb123

                3rd Noca. It is wonderful. We're itching to go back!

            1. We went to Rancho Pinot Grille for my birthday in june. they've been around for a long time but it was the first time we'd been there. We had a great meal adn really enjoyed ourselves. I think it would definitely meet all your needs.

              If you havent' been there yet you might want to consider it.

              Rancho Pinot Grill
              6208 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

              1. No brainer. Richardson Browne's beautiful private dining room at Dick's Hideaway. Candlelight twinkling on burnished copper tabletops. Play your own music. Plasma screen. Private restroom (heck, your own shower if you're feeling saucy).
                If you're looking to score serious relationship points, pal, that's your venue.

                1. My past BDay dinners have been at:

                  Fine's Cellar - love the atmosphere. The food is great, the wine is top notch, the service is casual, but good. This isn't fine dining (no pun intended), but upper end casual.

                  Kai - very over the top. Expensive, but worth every penny. One of the best dining experiences I have ever had (but better on an expense account).

                  Binkleys - also expensive, but a bit more casual. Excellent food, and good atmosphere. Also expense account worthy.

                  See Saw - not sure how adventurous your dining companions are, but this is a really special place. It is somewhat casual, and not cheap (but not ridiculously expensive). This place has a casual vibe, but the service is still good. The food is really, really, great. They take reservations, which would accommodate your group (but I think they fill up fast, so you better call soon if your dinner is coming up soon).

                  1. I like Coup des Tartes!

                    Coup Des Tartes
                    4626 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: bizzlewillits

                      skip coup de tartes and go to NOCA report back. I am dying gto go to NOCa but will prob not go till end of Aug early Sept. It is the only place on my hotlist and in my neighborhood that I am fully impressed with.

                      I will report back when I go

                      1. re: drewb123

                        Why would you suggest they go to a restaurant that you have never been too?

                        1. re: bizzlewillits

                          b/d the reviews have been very good.

                      2. re: bizzlewillits

                        CdT is definitely a good choice for a birthday meal. Intimate, candlelight on the tables, excellent menu and in a converted cottage.

                        And it is BYOB ($8 corkage fee) so you can take a bottle of champagne or a favorite wine.

                      3. NOCA, NOCA, NOCA!!!!!! I have been there and it is the bomb ! (NSA sniffers currently reading this post) Great reasonable wine list, newest coolest place in the valley and it will be perfect.

                        Will be there again in a few weeks on next trip to the hot box.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: duck833

                          Ok, we will do NoCa for the next family get together.

                          We ended up at House of Tricks. Thanks hohokam, It was awesome!

                          I went for the filet mignon, but it was far from your run of the mill filet. Amazing flavor. I had a few of their Palomina's which were the highlight of the night for me (smoky mescal, mango puree, soda, chili powder).

                          Trish went with the Sea Bass which was paired with a coconut curry tasting sauce. If she hadn't ordered it, I would have. It was great. I will get it next time we go if it is still on the menu.

                          The only down note was her Sangria. It was a White Sangria, and lacked flavor she said. I didn't taste it, but her drink palette is better than mine (too many years of cheap beer).

                          1. re: ValleyFever

                            I'm so glad y'all enjoyed your meals. :-)

                            I think in our efforts to find the newest restaurants putting out the most cutting edge cuisine, we sometimes forget about the places that have been consistently doing it right for years. I have a deep affection for Tricks and consider it to be one of our local treasures, but I confess to letting it fall off of my radar from time to time.

                            Of course, I'm still eager to check out NOCA as soon as I have a chance. ;-)

                        2. I also love Tricks, we hit there every time the Ducks are in town for a basketball game with ASU. We have some Oregon friends with a place way out in the Superstitions, Tricks is a good place to meet for dinner since it is not such a long drive for them.