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Feb 26, 2010 10:05 AM

Spring Training in the Phoenix area

Several of us are headed to the area for spring training (Go Reds. Go Rangers) and will be looking for several great meals. At least three in the crowd are serious foodies. We are staying in Scottsdale but will travel to any place in the area for the best chow. Will be attending games all around but mostly in Goodyear. The one spot we know we are going is Pizzeria Bianco. As always, any recommendations are appreciated but high end dining is what we will do mostly except for at least one Mexican food meal. I have searched this board and think I have some good ideas but wanted to post this as well. Thanks in advance.

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  1. High end - try Lon's or Tarbell's.

    1. Where are you coming from and what part of Scottsdale will you be staying in?

      13 Replies
      1. re: Phoenix99

        Coming from East Texas. What looks good to me so far is Cowboy Ciao, Posh, Zinc, Roka Akor, Sol y Sombra, Cork and Crush. Any comments on those would be appreciated. I have been to Tarbell's many times in the past and like it but probably want some new spots to me. Binkley's looks a little too formal for our group but I may be wrong. By "high end" I do not mean white tablecloth. Location and price point do not matter, however. Thanks.

        1. re: bhoward

          I believe Sol y Sombra is closed, and I don't know about Cork and Crush.

          A lot of high-end places tend to be casual, in this area. I haven't been to Binkley's. I get the feeling it is an event, possibly lasting 3 hours, but, I think you could show up in jeans. Somebody correct me, if I'm wrong.

          If you are discouraged by the wait at Pizzeria Bianco, you might consider Humble Pie.

          1. re: johnseberg

            Posh is a great choice, adventurous dining, and despite being high end isn't a white tablecloth place at all. Also consider FnB, a new resturant two doors down from Cowboy Ciao which has been getting tons or rave reviews(every one of them spot on) and also has great service without any pretense.

            Tarbell's is solid food but IMHO not very exciting of a menu and nothing you couldn't get in other cities. Some people love Tarbell's though, it has just never excited me at all.

            1. re: johnseberg

              Sol y Sombra is indeed closed.

              Noca is kitty-corner to Tarbell's, and is another option worth considering. I echo the suggestion for FnB. I haven't sampled widely from the menu at Zinc Bistro, but the few things I've eaten were very good.

              Sol y Sombra
              Closed, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

              3213 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018

              3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

              Zinc Bistro
              15034 N Scottsdale Rd Ste 140, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

              7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

              1. re: johnseberg

                From what I have been reading about the wait at Pizzeria Bianco I am indeed discouraged. Very discouraged in fact. Thanks to all for the comments. Will not be there for another week so any other thoughts greatly appreciated.

                1. re: bhoward

                  for other craft pizza in the Scottsdale area try Grazie on Goldwater & Main. Very good and a solid wine selection.

                  1. re: bhoward

                    I second the Humble Pie recommendation—there are two locations, one in north Phoenix, one in central Scottsdale. Cibo is another good choice for interesting pies, and it's in downtown Phoenix, not too far from Bianco. You could always have a drink at BarBianco to check out the scene, then head to Cibo to actually eat.

                    1. re: epicurina

                      Thanks for all the pizza advice. I will confess that Bianco was on our list due to the nationwide reputation of the place more than a desire to have pizza one evening. The wait, however, may be too much to endure.

                      1. re: bhoward

                        I don't know how many people "several" is, but if it's 6-10, you can make a reservation at Pizzeria Bianco. They book up fast and pretty far in advance, but if you're willing to go on a weeknight, you may have better luck.

                        1. re: bhoward

                          Oh, just go to Bianco's so you can say you've been to Bianco's. I don't know why people blanch at the thought of having to sit and chat over a bottle of wine in Bar Bianco (or beers at Rose and Crown next door) for a couple of hours. That's as long an episode of American Idol. Trust me, your dining companions are MUCH more interesting and entertaining than a bunch of wanna-be pop stars and a cranky British guy.

                          1. re: bhoward

                            I will throw my hat in as the de facto minority dissent leader on Bianco - Skip it! Its overrated, Chris Bianco doesn't even work there anymore due to health reasons and the pizza is marginally better (at best, if at all) than at least 3 or 4 other pizza places in town.

                            1. re: danieli10

                              Thanks. I now have all the pizza information I need and more!

                              1. re: bhoward

                                there are about six of us (we're mid 20's) coming from san diego for spring training and staying in the 'burbs of west phoenix, also looking for a few good meals. interesting food, good beer and wine a definite plus. fun atmosphere more important than fancy dining.

                                any rec's on wine bars, tapas places, killer hole in the walls?

                2. When i see "high end dining" I think of Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. Was just there two weeks ago and it's still excellent. Pricey, but well worth the experience. One of only six 5-star restaurants in the country, and the top rated Native American restaurant in the country. Your serious foodies will be impressed! Yes, it has white tableclothes, but many of the diners were dressed in what I consider casual clothes. Check their website - i think they ban short and sandals. It's a truly unique Phoenix restaurant.

                  1. If high end meals for serious foodies are what you want, I'd go for Kai and Binkley's. They're both amazing. (They're also at the opposite ends of the metro area and about as expensive as it gets around here, but if those things really don't matter, go for it!) Neither one is a "formal" place where you'd need a suit or a tie, but jeans might be a little too casual. Dinner at either one is indeed an "event;" the service at Kai is pretty dramatic, and Binkley's involves a long succession of courses with many little amuse-bouches in between, but neither of them feels stuffy or old-fashioned.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bortukan

                      Had a late lunch today at Zinc and was very pleased. Frites top notch. Will post later about the rest. We tried most things on the menu and the only disappointment (for me) was the Mac and cheese. Fun time for the six of us.

                    2. As a serious foodie from San Francisco, I highly recommend Roka Akor! They were recently voted best Asian restaurant in Arizona. I ate there on a recent trip to Phoenix and was blown away. The decor is great--really sleek and contemporary without being pretentious. In addition to their awesome, super-fresh sushi, they have a robata grill where they prepare all sorts of meat, fish and veggies, and you can watch them do it. The wine list is extensive, but I also recommend checking out their signature infused shochu. If you haven't had shochu, you need to try it--it's a Japanese spirit, kind of like a lower-alcohol, lower-calorie vodka. You can get a sampler of three flavors, I got pineapple, Fuji apple and honeycomb... all delicious!! As for food, make sure to try the butterfish tataki, the shisito peppers, and the pork belly. They also have a Kaiseki menu, that I have yet to try, which is a chef's tasting menu that changes monthly. That may be the best option for serious foodies like yourselves!