area of Phoenix with lots of restaurant choices?
We'll be in Phoenix for 2 weeks early Jan. 2011. Would like to mostly walk to restaurants (short public transport is OK). Is there an area of the city where most of the restaurants are congregated? We're not beef eaters - prefer fish, seafood & chicken. Looking for quality contemporary dining suggestions. Thanks!! Deborah, Ottawa
Besides Old Town Scottsdale, the Camelback corridor is very good, though not as densely packed. From just before 24th St. through 40th St., you have some great restaurants. While there are some of the "adult McDonalds" - Morton's etc., you have quite a few choices in the Biltmore Center (Camelback & 24th), and then Tarbell's and NOCA at Camelback & 32nd St, with Vincent's on Camelback at 40th. Those are all short drives, or lovely walks when the weather is good, if one enjoys a good walk (to Vincent's). The distances are a bit longer, than Old Town Scottsdale, but some of the restaurants are well worth the trek.
2822 N 32nd St Ste 1, Phoenix, AZ 85008
There is no single dominant area, but there are some clusters:
Central Corridor of Phoenix -- Downtown, Midtown, & Uptown -- some walkability, especially Downtown, but should be considered more an archipelago of restaurants linked by light rail. Traditionally strongest for artsy places, wine bars, and coffee houses, but gaining foodie cred thanks to places like Nobuo at Teeter House, Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, District, Gallo Blanco, Sens, and St. Francis
Old Town Scottsdale -- Home to a lot of foodie favorites like Petite Maison, FnB, Metro Brasserie, the Mission, Cowboy Ciao, and Marcellino. Somewhat walkable and a free faux trolley provides shuttle service around the area.
Tempe -- the area around the ASU campus is walkable, near light rail, and home to a lot of low-cost "ethnic" restaurants along with a few somewhat more upscale places like Caffe Boa and House of Tricks
Downtown Chandler -- Emerging dining cluster in the southeastern part of the metro area. I'm least familiar with this area, but some good things coming out of places like Santan Brewing and Latitude 8.
7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
House of Tricks
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
5063 E Elliot Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85044
4404 N Central Ave Ste A, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Tempe, AZ, Tempe, AZ
7114 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
7114 E Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
I would stay in "Old Town" Scottsdale, given your preferences. Scottsdale is not known for cheap eats. And, even though this might be the most densely packed area of good chow, you might run out of new places to try over 2 weeks.
Plan B would be to stay somewhere along the light rail, which would yield a little more diversity, but, you would have to be willing to ride and walk a bit more. It would take a little more research, given the larger coverage area. In this case, you could stay in Tempe, near the airport, DT Phoenix, or Midtown Phoenix. There is an excellent blog written by one of the contributors, here.
I think the 2011 College Football Bowl season might have an impact on your stay, but, I'm not sure of the details. I think it's going to be a bit busier, this year, but, the impact will probably be felt more in Glendale.