Someplace midway between Tempe and Cave Creek -looking for Italian food
About half-way, if you fudge a bit, is Marcellino's. It is a wonderful neighborhood/fine-dining restaurant. Reservations are a must. It is in N. Phoenix, and not on a line between Tempe and Cave Creek, but just off of AZ 51.
We dine there, as often, as is possible. While they have a good wine list, we normally turn Chef Marcellino loose with his "reserve" offerings, that change often and are not on any list, but his own.
I've never had better Italian anywhere. Our good friends, who travel to Italy annually, agree and the wife writes cookbooks, many of which feature Italian fare.
7114 E. Stetson Dr. 85251, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Both Amarone and Andreoli are more or less half-way between Tempe and Cave Creek. Andreoli is essentially a deli with no-frills atmosphere, while Amarone is a tastefully appointed full service restaurant.
Tapino is also up in that neck of the woods; however, its menu has only has Italian touches rather than a wide range of strictly Italian dishes.
Andreoli Italian Grocer
8880 E Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
7000 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Amarone Ristorante Italiano
9011 E Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Although I love Marcellino's these other suggestions make much more geographical sense as all are along the 101 and relatively equidistant between Cave Creek and Tempe. I've only been to Amarone out of the list Hohokam made and also highly suggest Amarone, great food, ambiance, and service every time I've been.