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Cafe Monarch (Scottsdale)

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Any feedback on Cafe Monarch, right around the corner from Valley Ho on 1st Ave? I am thinking of going there tomorrow for lunch with my mom - I have heard positive things elsewhere.

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  1. I think that will be a great spot for lunch with Mom...very quirky, sort of European cafe like. When I went there he had an appetizer option that was called "Whim" or something like that. That was basically just whatever he felt like cooking so I asked him to "whim" my whole meal and he did three courses.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Molto E

      Yes, I stopped by today to look at the menu (they are closed Monday). It was something like 'whim for 2' ($8). They are also doing a 'Sunday Smokehouse' out on the patio for $20/plate and BYOB.

    2. Has anyone been here of late? I have been reading great reviews on Yelp and was looking for more detail on this board.

      5 Replies
      1. re: drewb123

        I was there about 6 months ago. My gf got a recommendation from her boss and we just walked in. I guess normally reservations are preferred, but Christopher was totally welcoming and charming. This one guy essentially runs the entire restaurant by himself. He acts as host, waits tables and does all the cooking.
        The food was creative and delicous, though I will say my chicken was a bit overcooked and dry. Possibly a side-effect of the chef spending so much time acting as table-side host instead of in the kitchen.
        It is totally BYOB (there is a Circle K with a surprisingly great wine selection next door), and I believe he only takes cash. I'm looking forward to going back.

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        Cafe Monarch
        6934 E 1st Ave Ste 102, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

        1. re: ajs228

          Thx for the mini review..I just don't hear much and I guess I'm surprised. Is there any other rest that kinda compares food wise to it?

          1. re: drewb123

            My husband and I have been there for lunch twice and dinner once. We just love it! He makes a gourmet BLT with fresh dates that is to die for. I would highly recommend it. And yes, the Circle K next door has a wonderful wine selection. Try it, you'll like it!

          2. re: ajs228

            The great wine selection at Circle K is almost certainly thanks to a steady flow of foot traffic from the Hotel Valley Ho across the street. I have come to call that Circle K the world's largest mini-bar.

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            Hotel Valley Ho
            6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ

            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              I really wonder about that. That was the most surprising part of the evening. In fact....

        2. Not a fan. My husband and I went a couple of months ago. The food was amazing and the guy was great. I get it. It's charming. However, he could stand to hire a server. Before people freak out about how that was part of the charm, let me explain. Servers do not cost very much money. They would be taking from his tips, which would be fine b/c on the occasion I visited, they weren't warranted. He was just trying to do too much. He broke glassware. A couple that was waiting for their table wanted a cup of coffee while they waited and had to ask several times for him to get it for them. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing how much he's able to do with it just being him. However, it would have been a great experience if he had the support he so desperately needs. There's no charm in waiting forever for your food or having a fellow diner get up in the middle of service and offer to fill waters for everyone (yes, she was very sweet about it). It built a sense of community, but that's not the way I like to get that feeling from a restaurant.
          I must be crazy, though, b/c the people there ate it up, despite waiting forever for food with empty glasses.

          1 Reply
          1. re: azdiner

            Thx azdiner..my husband is not so patient of a man doesnt like to wine and dine...prefers sitting at the bar wherever we go. What you had mentioned here is exactly what I was scraed of .

            I think Binkley's is the only place in Phx that we actually sit at a table for some reason.

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

          2. Anyone else ate here and can give me any idea on cost or type of food the chef veers towards? I know menu changes daily based on what is in season but it'd be nice to get a little more details on what to expect if I decide to go. Is the food amazing or is it just a charming small place that is refreshing in a city like Scottsdale? Innovative food or comfort food done at a high level? Even at Posh, which is improv/surprise, you can still clearly state your preferences. Is it the same way here?

            Thanks for any feedback.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AnonymousWaitress

              I have been twice now, and both times left pretty underwhelmed by the food. People seem to be mesmerized by the concept and the ambiance, but setting those things aside, I'm kind of missing it, I guess.

              For brunch, there's always a sweet and savory option. On our visit, we got a couple of waffles with a strawberry/wine-of-some-variety syrup and a whole plate of fruit. The savory option was a grilled pork loin with a chili sauce and an egg dish of some sort. While the waffles were perfectly fine, the rest of the dish was just a bunch of fruit. The pork was overcooked by a fair margin and left much to be desired. For $25/pp, it definitely wasn't worth it.

              On our dinner visit, we were started with a big plate of paste with rosemary and gorgonzola cheese and some chili. Huge flavors, huge plate of starch to start the meal - odd. Our entrees were a grilled chicken breast with bacon, green chili sauce and corn. Nothing to write home about. Dessert was some variety of forgettable fig cake. The cost varies per night, but ours rang up to $35/pp.

              You can make suggestions on things you won't eat and/or don't like, probably more effectively when you make your reservation, but they simply don't have a big enough kitchen or the time to make huge variations on the theme of the day.

              If our two visits is any indication, I'd say it's comfort food done to a higher level.

              I hope this helps.

            2. My father took me to Cafe Monarch for my birthday last October. I echo what everyone else says: while it's really impressive that he tries to do everything alone, he definitely needs at least one other person checking in on the tables from time to time. I was also annoyed that there was no mention of BYOB or cash only and we had to make 2 separate trips to circle k for cash and wine. It also got really smokey in their since it is so small with limited ventilation.

              I would go back, however. Christopher was so nice and accommodating and the food was very good. For Phoenix, it was a very nice and unique dining experience.

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              Cafe Monarch
              6934 E 1st Ave Ste 102, Scottsdale, AZ 85251