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1st Anniversary Dinner, Need Some Tips

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As the title states we will be celebrating our first anniversary in a couple weeks. The night I proposed we ate at Kai, unfortunately, they are closed through late Sept. so that's out of the question.

Our favorite spot in the valley is Binkley's. We love his creativity, playfullness, and experimental nature. However, this being our "go to" place we were hoping to try something new that could possibly rival our experiences there.

I have been perusing the boards and based on others comments have compiled a short list.

Posh
Talavera
Vincents (We like french, french inspired)
Quiessence

I'm basically needing some suggestions or input that would help us narrow down the search. We would very much appreciate your help.

Thanks!

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

Quiessence
6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

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  1. Coups des Tartes is always nice French and quaintly romantic. BYOB as well so you can ace the wine.
    I'm sure NOCA will get multiple mentions, but despite being slightly overexposed it is great food.
    I've become a huge fan of BLT at the Camelback Inn for a blown away experience.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kmarg

      Thanks for the coups des tartes suggestion! I hadn't heard of it before and I'm always looking for a good restaurant that byob.

      Have been to NOCA don't think its really on par with Binkleys or Kai (they are just on another level). I also don't know that the atmosphere at NOCA is really fitting for an anniversary dinner.

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

      1. re: eatmedrinkme

        While I love NOCA, the food, the service, and the fun, I will agree completely with you. It's not an ideal for a quiet anniversary, or for a business meeting. Go for the food, the wine and the fun.

        I like Vincent's on Camelback. It is quiet, romantic, with great food and service. The wine list has wonderful depth, and Howie will probably come up with some "specials" in the B-T-G selections.

        Let them know of the occasions, so that you can be seated a bit out of the way. This will also insure that you are left alone a bit more than usual. Little worse than an over-active waitstaff, when you just want to talk quietly.

        Chef Vincent has a unique take on his classical French cuisine - a Southwest twist.

        Happy anniversary,

        Hunt

        PS - Binkley's is great, but also check their schedule too. We hit Kai on their last night, prior to the late Summer closing.

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

    2. Kai is apparently re-opening Sept 9, not "late Sept (according to their website), if Sept 9 is not too late for your anniversary. Like you, Binkley's and Kai are our two favorites ...

      http://www.wildhorsepassresort.com/su...

      Haven't dined at the others on your list but Posh is one that Chef Binkley recommends highly (in one of the chef round-tables on azcentral.com).

      For some other recommendations I like to check the OpenTable "Best Of ..." ratings in various categories (Best Overall, Best Food, Best Ambiance etc) and see what's hot the past 90 days:

      http://www.opentable.com/best-phoenix...

      "(We like french, french inspired)"

      Personally I'd get a cheap summer special room deal and hop a flight to Vegas and dine at Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy or Alex for truly special French food, if you can find the time and dinero.

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

      8 Replies
      1. re: willyum

        Unfortunately we are celebrating the weekend before Kai reopens.

        Thank you for the open table link and the info on Posh, right now I think its the forerunner.

        I wish we had the time and/or money to take a little trip to vegas, there are so many good places we haven't gotten to try yet.

        1. re: eatmedrinkme

          I think Noca wins for whimsical or inventive, but I would also still consider reserving the Brick Oven Table at Quiessence. Personal attention from Chefs La Prad and Andiamo, attention to detail, ingredients, and craftsmanship that rivals Chef Binkley's -- in a really magical setting under the stars.

          Keep Coupe des Tartes on your short list, however -- I held my wedding reception there because I knew I could tailor the menu and experience to my exact hopes for the night. My guests still talk about it, five years later.

          -----
          Quiessence
          6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

          Noca
          3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

          1. re: eatmedrinkme

            Although I love Posh it is a very lively, modern, and bright restaurant. If you're looking for quiet and romantic I'd go for Quiessence as well. When I went to Posh I did see people celebrating anniversaries, it just depends on the vibe you're looking for

            -----
            Quiessence
            6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

          2. re: willyum

            I just went to T Cook yesterday and it was amazing, certainly as good or better than NOCA, and if it is Sun-Thurs they have a 3 course meal (any app, any meal, any dessert) for $40 -- they are full sizes of everything...was awesome, best mussels i ever ate

            I think Posh is very overrated - certainly a fun experience, however i was disappointed with my visit there, got items that i didnt order or specifically said i did not want, and some of the items were not that special, however their foie gras was great

            glad to hear that coupe de tartes is a good spot, i just recently heard of it and it sounds like a good spot, especially with them doing restraunt week :)

            1. re: Dapuma

              Elements also has a 3 course menu for $36...and half off wine if you go after 8pm, between Sunday & Thursday.

              1. re: Dapuma

                Second T.Cooks. We're headed there tomorrow.
                Disclosure: we were married here and have a fond sentimental attachment to the entire property. That being said, we would never return if the food wasn't stellar.

                While I love noca, T.Cooks wins for a romantic anniversary celebration. Those two restaurants are different animals, each doing what it does best. They're simply not the same. It is like asking which is better apricots or pineapple? They're each wonderful; and very different.

                1. re: Sherri

                  how was the dinner at t cooks?

                  1. re: jraja

                    How many ways can I say "Wonderful"? Except for a small fumble at the beginning of the meal, service matched the food. I have always found staff to be very receptive to special requests, this was no exception. You need only ask.

                    As I mentioned in the earlier post, I have a serious sentimental attachment to T. Cooks but the couple joining us have no history here and loved their meal as well. It was another "We'll be back" meal in our long list.

                    Just to set the record straight: yes, we do eat in other restaurants. I love noca and think they do terrific food, ditto for Quiessence. Caffe Boa has some great dishes and I am a cheerleader for the original Carolinas. We're all over the board in our love of good food.

                    -----
                    Quiessence
                    6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

            2. Did not see it mentioned so far, but T. Cook's is a good choice as well. Romantic, with an interesting Mediterranean theme. Again, mention the event, for just a bit of privacy.

              Enjoy,

              Hunt

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                concur with Bill on T. Cooks for romantic and do mention...they will do from rose petals on the table to anything within reason you request.
                Bar kicks serious ass for drinks and the piano vibe..
                Lon's on the Hermosa for a brunch the next day.
                J&G steakhouse is nice for the burger and beer special but for romance, T. Cooks is the winner..chicken dinner.
                House of Tricks or Durant's for a different take on things..

                If you are heading up to Sedona for a weekend anniversary, I would suggest Enchantment resort for lunch and cafe elote for dinner.
                Happy happy first to you both..

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Thank you for mentioning Lon's That was a bad omission on my part. Just dined with Mr. Unger, and I promise that I was not mad, 'cause he did not pick up the tab... [Grin]

                  Thanks for "having my back."

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Aloha Bill..
                    Always, always have your back!
                    2 weeks from today on the islands..cheers to you and your wife!
                    Mahalo,
                    Beach Chick

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Well, a great big Aloha!

                      We are trying to fit in a replacement for our May trip, come Nov. It will not be what we had planned, and maybe only be on one side of O`ahu, but my poor wife needs it. Something about getting on a plane, when the phone rings and we have to cancel everything.

                      Thanks again for the Lon's rec. Cannot believe that I missed that one... guess I need a very long weekend in Hawai`i.

                      Mahalo,

                      Hunt

              2. Thanks to all of the replies, we have special occasion destinations for years to come.