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Feb 22, 2009 04:12 PM

PHX - Visiting Foodie Seeking to Impress

I'll be visiting Phoenix/Scottsdale area next month and will be doing some business dinners. In addition to being a foodie myself, my guests are also totally into great food and wine. Your suggestions would be most appreciated.

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  1. Amy,

    First a few questions:

    Phoenix Meto is over 500 sq miles. Listing Scottsdale does narrow things down a bit, but just Phoenix/Scottsdale is pretty big. Do you have a "homebase?"

    Will you have an auto and be willing to travel?

    Do you have any budgetary considerations?

    Do you wish more "quiet & formal" for business dinners, and such, or do you want more vibrant places?

    Is the food the most important aspect of your selections?

    Do you have any types of cuisine that you especially like, or any that you dispise?

    These will help people make recommendations that are likely to help you. The gastro-scene in Phoenix is very good, with a lot of options, though some do tend to be a bit of a drive.

    Whatever you answer, I have two:



    6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

    3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

    7 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Hunt - thanks for your questions and sorry for the generalties. Staying at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge. Will have a car. Will drive for good food! No budgetary constraints. Like most cuisines. The real issue that I'm running into is that one of these meals is for Monday night and no one seems to be open! The food's the thing, good wine or cocktails also appreciated - vibrant or quiet, either works. Guidance appreciated.

      1. re: amy626

        In my experience, it's harder to eat out on Sunday nights than Monday nights around here, though choices on Mondays can be pretty limited too.

        A few chow-worthy placesin Old Town Scottsdale are open on Mondays: Digestif, Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, and Fine's Cellar come to mind. Noca (recommended above) and Tarbell's are also open on Mondays. Unless you are planning an especially late dinner, you should have a decent number of options to choose from.

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

        Cowboy Ciao
        7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

        3213 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018

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

        7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85351

        3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

        1. re: hohokam

          Thanks for the suggestions. So you know, I tried to make a reservation at Sea Saw for Monday earlier today and learned that they are now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays . . . .

          1. re: amy626

            Hmm...I guess they need to update their website. I wonder the other restaurants in Kaperski's group (Digestif, Cowboy Ciao) have also changed their hours. I'll see what I can find out.

            Thanks for the information.

            1. re: hohokam

              I mentioned that to them . . . I really appreciate your efforts on my behalf!

        2. re: amy626


          Thanks for the clarifications. I see that the recs. are starting to pour in.

          One question I forgot to ask - where are you visiting from? One reason that I ask this is that the J W Marriott has a Roy's. It's one of the nicest on the Mainland, and actually beats several of his Hawaiian restaurants. However, if your locale has a Roy's (other than each exec. chef's take on some of Roy Yamaguchi's recipes), then I'd not likely recommend it. Still, this is one of the nicer ones.


          1. re: amy626

            Oops, posted too quickly. Here is the link to that one, the Desert Ridge location.


            5350 E Marriott Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85054

        3. Peter Kasperski's four restaurants on Stetson Drive in downtown Scottsdale always impress: Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, Kazimierz and Digestif. For business, I'd go for Ciao or Digestif since Sea Saw has a limited number of tables and Kaz (a wine bar) has mostly couches for seating. Digestif's menu focuses on fresh comfort food, and has a young, hip vibe with servers in rock n' roll T-shirts and a busy bar. Ciao does worldly cuisine, usually with a touch of humor and a Southwest edge. But the major draw for many is the stunner of a wine list; it's really a wine novel, and includes more than 3,000 bottles.

          One note: March is one of the busiest months of the tourist season due to MLB spring training, so I strongly recommend making reservations early. Enjoy!

          Cowboy Ciao
          7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85351

          5 Replies
          1. re: epicurina

            Rancho Pinot Grill is also open on Mondays and Chrysa is making the house mozzarella at the bar.

            1. re: ronam

              *slaps forehead*

              Can't believe I forgot about that. Good catch.

              Rancho Pinot
              6208 N Scottsdale Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

            2. re: epicurina

              Great recommendations all around here.

              I'm increasingly becoming a huge Digestif fan, especially if you like charceuterie and interesting cocktails. I dream about the rabbit confit & persimmon and their pates.

              Others of my faves:

              Sea Saw - absolutely amazing food, Japanese inspired (do omakase) - Beard winner
              Binkleys- unbelievable in the vein of The French Laundry or Alinea - 2nd Beard nom this year & better win!
              Noca - neighborhood restaurant taken to the nth level - Beard nom in it's first partial year
              Fine's Cellar - great wine inspired food, huge btg wine selection

              Heading to Rancho Pinot for the first time tonight & excited about that.

              I haven't been to Quiessence yet but have recently heard great things from trustworthy folks.

              Have fun!

              1. re: ccl1111

                hi there,

                can't wait to hear what you think of rancho pinot!!!!

                1. re: winedubar

                  W, if you happen to be online, what must I eat at Rancho?

            3. I second (or third) the Cowboy Ciao recommendation. We traveled from Tucson for a Saturday night dinner there and had a great time. Fine food and lots of fun! I give any restaurant that executes well--and seems to be having fun in the process--extra points, and that's why I look forward to a trip to NOCA.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lawyerbriefs

                If you are as fortunate, as we have been on six visits, it will be worth the trip up. It is not the same atmosphere as the Ventana Room, or Chef Janos' restaurant, but the food and service have been a constant 98 - 100% for us. [Have not done Anthony's at the Catalinas, so I cannot compare it - still great reports to me from those, who have.]

                Enjoy your visit. We are not as bad, as those at the U of A make us out to be... [Grin]

                I also [Edit] fourth [?] Cowboy Ciao. I love Chef Bernie's take on SW, plus Peter's wine program. Only complaint that I have ever had was the noise level. Peter has heard that from me before, so it is not news. Still, great food, wine and service in a "happening" venue.


                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I'm at the same show Amy (Etail West....) - need to get on your guest list :-)

                2. Binkley's is a must, a little birdie told me they will be starting to possibly open Mondays, call and see.

                  Also I love Marcellino's for Italian.

         is thier website see if they are open on Mondays.

                  Metro is very nice as well. Will be open on Mondays.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: drewb123

                    If you go to Binkley's on a weakend and want to make it a evening, you should head to the famous bar Harolds just a couple hunderd yards cross the street. It a good fun bar to have a drink and people watch.

                    1. re: rodeo

                      Thanks so much everyone - decided on noca for the Monday night. Haven't yet chosen Tuesday, but will be car-less, so will have to be reasonably close and will be using the Google-map to help make that call. From what you all have said, you make the taxi ride sound well worth the price. I so appreciate all of the wonderful suggestions. a

                      1. re: amy626

                        You could try a trip to Kierland Commons its not too far from Desert Ridge.

                        On a Tuesday you wouldn't need reservations and you can have a browse between North, Greene House, Zinc Bistro, Ocean Club and Mortons. None of them are particularly foodie but the location is great to just have a stroll and enjoy the amazing evenings we are having recently.

                        1. re: Mattoclock

                          Also, Deseo is worth the effort in the Kierland Westin.


                          Deseo: Westin Kierland Resort and Spa
                          6902 E Greenway Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85254