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Very nice, but not stuffy, dinner in Scottsdale in November.

r
rjlebed Oct 19, 2010 03:53 PM

I will be with some friends at a conference in Scottsdale. Looking for a restaurant with good food, nice atmosphere, hopefully not too noisy since there may be 7 of us, and not too far. Would love something fun and more interesting than a hotel restaurant. Italian, American, Fusion (whatever that is these days), Seafood, all acceptable! Thanks.

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  1. themis RE: rjlebed Oct 19, 2010 04:04 PM

    When you say not too far ... Scottsdale is a really long, narrow city; geographically, several dozen miles long. Scottsdale occupies about 180 square miles. It would help us if you mentioned where you'll be staying -- North? South? Old Town?

    1. s
      Sherri RE: rjlebed Oct 19, 2010 04:04 PM

      OP writes: "........ Looking for a restaurant with good food, nice atmosphere, hopefully not too noisy since there may be 7 of us, and not too far......"

      Not too far from where? The Scottsdale area is very large and spread out. Where are you staying? Will you have a car? Price level?

      23 Replies
      1. re: Sherri
        r
        rjlebed RE: Sherri Oct 19, 2010 09:37 PM

        Sorry about the vagueness of the location. I had not realized the size of Scottsdale......... In any event, we will be staying at the Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. We will have a car. As for price, that is really not an issue. Thanks.

        1. re: rjlebed
          johnseberg RE: rjlebed Oct 19, 2010 10:33 PM

          I've heard Tuscany is great. Roy's is often recommended, here. I can't speak from personal experience.

          It seems like restaurants at resort hotels in the Phoenix area tend to be better than expected.

          You might ask for a quiet table, but, I can't imagine stuffiness being a problem.

          1. re: rjlebed
            exit2lef RE: rjlebed Oct 20, 2010 02:24 PM

            Scottsdale maybe be big, but not so big that it has appropriated Desert Ridge from Phoenix, where your hotel is actually located about 2.5 miles west of the Scottsdale border.

            After that appetizer of geographical correction, I suppose I should serve an entree of restaurant recommendation. If you head south on Tatum Boulevard to Thunderbird, at the northeast corner you'll find a place I love called Eden's Grill. It's run by an Iraqi couple who have made it into a comfortable Middle Eastern restaurant that is a little more upscale than the typical falafel-and-shawarma joint. It has a nice atmosphere with tablecloths and relative quiet. The best entrees mixe meat kabobs with a fragrant rice pilaf, although there are also some good vegetarian entrees on the menu.

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            Eden's Grill
            13843 N Tatum Blvd Ste 29, Phoenix, AZ 85032

            1. re: exit2lef
              themis RE: exit2lef Oct 20, 2010 02:44 PM

              Eh, Scottsdale and Phoenix share such an irregular and lengthy border that even natives have a tough time keeping their edges straight. The two municipalities share much the same feel, on that side of the world. No big deal.

              rjlebed, you are so far north that I would encourage you to visit the boulder-strewn sunset-friendly cactus-studded scenery of Carefree. You would do really well at Binkley's (modern American), Cafe Bink (more casual outpost), or Sassi (upmarket Italian).

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

              Sassi
              10455 E Pinnacle Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

              Cafe Bink
              36889 N Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree, AZ 85331

              1. re: themis
                exit2lef RE: themis Oct 20, 2010 03:48 PM

                Actually, it is a big deal when the errors by both visitors and locals alike are so consistently asymmetric. There seems to be no limit to places in Phoenix that have been misattributed to Scottsdale: Pizzeria Bianco, St. Francis, the Parlor, the Arizona Biltmore, the Royal Palms, LGO, the Musical Instrument Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, etc. You almost never see the errors flowing in the opposite direction, however. Just once I'd like to see someone claim the Valley Ho, Cowboy Ciao, or FnB is in Phoenix. Maybe then I'd stop chasing my white whale for a while.

                rjlebed, I'll stop hijacking your thread now and wish you good eating in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Carefree, Cave Creek or wherever else you dine.

                1. re: exit2lef
                  r
                  rjlebed RE: exit2lef Oct 20, 2010 04:12 PM

                  Wow, I had not realized that my gaffe would create such a firestorm!!! All I was hoping for was some good food recommendations, not really a geography lesson. But, point WELL taken! I hope that folks are a bit more forgiving when I get there should I dane to need to ask directions........... I will make sure to bring my GPS just in case.

                  Themis, thanks for your suggestions. I had heard of Binkley's. Given that we now have established where I will be, is FnB far or near? What about Zinc Bistro? Thanks.

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

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

                  FnB
                  7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                  1. re: rjlebed
                    exit2lef RE: rjlebed Oct 20, 2010 04:29 PM

                    FnB is in Old Town Scottsdale -- about 13 miles from your hotel
                    Zinc Bistro is at Kierland Commons in northeast Phoenix -- about 5 miles from your hotel

                    -----
                    Kierland Commons
                    15024 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

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

                    FnB
                    7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                    1. re: exit2lef
                      r
                      rjlebed RE: exit2lef Oct 20, 2010 04:48 PM

                      Thanks. There have been mixed reviews of FnB on here. Worth it? And,Zinc Bistro? What do you think of those two places? Anything else in Old Town that might be worth the ride?

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                      FnB
                      7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                      1. re: rjlebed
                        Bill Hunt RE: rjlebed Oct 20, 2010 10:00 PM

                        I have been less impressed by Zinc Bistro, than most on this board. However, I feel that way about some major "favs," like Ocean Club, Eddie V's and the entire Maestro's portfolio.

                        Have not yet gotten to FnB's, though their AZ wine list is tempting, as odd as that might sound to someone from afar. It was in the running recently, but was edged out by Kai's, way, way down south. Totally different restaurants, so that is not to compare the two.

                        Hunt

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

                        FnB
                        7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                  2. re: exit2lef
                    Bill Hunt RE: exit2lef Oct 20, 2010 09:55 PM

                    For us "locals," I agree. However, for a visitor, I am not sure that it really matters that much. At the end of the day, it is about the mileage, and not the geographical distinction of the municipality. I do agree that correct is correct, but does the OP really care, so long as they can traverse to the suggested locations?

                    While I live in North Phoenix, I seldom get too particular, unless it's Desert Mountain, or down near the Tempe border, when Scottsdale is mentioned. I would guess that when one goes on Wiki-pedia, and looks up "gerrymander" the map of Scottsdale would come up, with references to Paradise Valley along the way. Heck, I often have to look at the signs, "Welcome to ____," to know exactly where I am.

                    For the OP, Mapquest will be your friend, and remember that what a Phoenix/Scottsdale resident might think of as being "next door," or "just down the road," might be a long distance for someone from the East Coast.

                    Hunt

              2. re: rjlebed
                Bill Hunt RE: rjlebed Oct 20, 2010 09:40 PM

                In the Desert Ridge Marriott, I could recommend Roy's, but it is not traditional AZ fare. Still, chef Yamaguchi does a great job, and you could have them group a couple of tables on the patio, as Nov. should be a great month for dining al fresco. Inside can be a tad noisy, but then I am more sensitive to such.

                In general terms, Phoenix/Scottsdale restaurants do not tend to be "stuffy," but some can be a bit noisy, at least for me.

                In Old Town Scottsdale, which is not THAT close, but not too far with an auto, I would also recommend Marcellino's. They are anything but stuffy, and the noise level is pretty good. Chef will be back from his annual visit to Italy, and will be "on his game."

                I really love NOCA, but the noise level is above my desired. Still, the great food and service bring me back, and I overlook the ambient noise, unless I am conducting business. The proximity is not the greatest to you, but then in the West, and Phoenix/Scottsdale in particular, mileage is usually totally overlooked. We live in North Phoenix, but think of Scottsdale as "next door." For a New Yorker, they would consider it a short train ride.

                For a quiter restaurant, with a unique take on Classical French with a strong SW bent (hey, it is much better than it might sound), I like Vincent's on Camelback (at 40th). For a party of 7, you should be able to get a very quite corner, in one of their rooms.

                Though it's up the road from you, Binkely's in Carefree/Cave Creek is wonderful, and not THAT far away. For me, coming from North Phoenix, I always do a towncar to Binkley's, but I am a wino, and they have a very good list. The food and service are excellent, the wine list very interesting, and the ambient noise level is very low (normally). Of my recs., Binkley's is probably the highest end of the restaurants, but only by a bit.

                Enjoy,

                Hunt

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

                Marcellino
                7114 E Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  Beach Chick RE: Bill Hunt Oct 20, 2010 10:33 PM

                  Aloha Bill..
                  Binkley's would be my choice too..
                  I'll be in your gorgeous town this weekend..
                  I'll toast to you and wave as I'm driving by North PHX!
                  Mahalo
                  BC

                  1. re: Beach Chick
                    Bill Hunt RE: Beach Chick Oct 22, 2010 06:43 PM

                    Bogus! We leave for London tomorrow AM. I would have treated you to your choice, were we in town.

                    A toast would be greatly appreciated, and enjoy,

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      Beach Chick RE: Bill Hunt Oct 22, 2010 07:36 PM

                      Dang....I would of taken you up on your toast and raised you a bottle.. ; )
                      Have a fab time in London..
                      What's on the food agenda?
                      Punch Bowl pub in Mayfair..
                      Safe and wonderful trip Bill.

                      1. re: Beach Chick
                        Bill Hunt RE: Beach Chick Oct 22, 2010 10:04 PM

                        We are doing Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, and then Galvin at Windows. Per my last e-mail, we will be doing Scott's (shell of its former self IMHO), and then two board dinners, but I am not planning and will show up wherever, at the appointed time.

                        We are sticking close to "home" on this trip, and will keep a very low profile, or at least I hope so.

                        Hunt

                  2. re: Bill Hunt
                    Dapuma RE: Bill Hunt Oct 21, 2010 11:23 PM

                    I would also 2nd Roy's inside the JW if you all wanted to drink and have a good time, you will need a DD if you are going to old town and all drinking

                    I see no one mentioned Cowboy Ciao would be a unique experience, very good food - however might be a bit noiser than you want - FnB and Cowboy Ciao are right next to each other

                    havent been to FnB but it is on the list, binkley's is great, but much more expensive than the other options mentioned

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                    Cowboy Ciao
                    7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                    FnB
                    7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                    1. re: Dapuma
                      Bill Hunt RE: Dapuma Oct 22, 2010 06:44 PM

                      Cowboy Ciao is a fav. of ours for the food, the service and the wine. Peter knows how I feel about the noise level - even at the "quiet table." Still, we will "suck it up," 'cause everything else is so very, very good.

                      Hunt

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                      Cowboy Ciao
                      7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                    2. re: Bill Hunt
                      r
                      rjlebed RE: Bill Hunt Nov 15, 2010 11:19 AM

                      Loved Loved Loved Marcellino's! Thanks for the suggestion!!!

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                      Marcellino
                      7114 E Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                      1. re: rjlebed
                        Bill Hunt RE: rjlebed Nov 15, 2010 03:54 PM

                        Great news, and thanks for reporting. We loved 'em in the old location (really a neighborhood charm), and loved 'em in the newer spot.

                        We've done many other Italian restaurants in the Metro Area, and none have really got us going, like Marcellino's has. Tomaso's was, otherwise, the best of the others.

                        Thanks,

                        Hunt

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                        Marcellino
                        7114 E Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                        bgut1 RE: Bill Hunt Nov 15, 2010 02:09 PM

                        Hunt - I agree about the noise level issue at NOCA. I was there this past weekend and the place was pretty loud. While I enjoyed the food (especially my perfectly prepared sea bass and the fantastic donuts), I was a bit disappointed with both the portion size and the service. I had booked my reservation a number of weeks back at which point I was asked if I was celebrating anything that evening (which I was). At no time was my occassion acknowledged in any way. In fact when we arrived, we were given one of their tables with the high chairs. As I have a thing for eating off the ground, we decided to wait for one of the regular tables to open up (about 20 minutes). While friendly, I found the service that night to be somewhat inattentive and slow. All that being said, the food is the star at NOCA and it shows a lot of promise.

                        1. re: bgut1
                          Bill Hunt RE: bgut1 Nov 15, 2010 04:02 PM

                          Hm-m. that is not what we have come to expect. Yes, the noise level is above what we really like, but I'll sit quietly, just for the food and service.

                          In our 10 (?) experiences, the service has been excellent. We have never had an issue with the portion sizes, but do go with a couple of appetizers to be shared, family-style, and with friends, pass dishes around. Normally, I rather pass on the cotton candy, and the shortbread goes till coffee the next day.

                          Sorry that all was not absolutely perfect (except for the noise level), as we have never had even just a "good" meal. All have been well above that, and this includes mid-week, weekend, and even a few traditional holiday meals. It has included slow nights and nights were people were sitting all over the patio area, even when it was pretty cool outside, just waiting for a table.

                          NOCA is still our "go-to" restaurant, and all of our guests and friends have loved the experience. I am sure that Eliot would love to hear from you, with details of your experience. That is just not typical, IMHO. Drop him an e-mail, and give specific details. He is one proprietor, who cares greatly - trust me.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            bgut1 RE: Bill Hunt Nov 15, 2010 07:37 PM

                            Hunt - I will definitely drop him an email and provide details which were omitted from my post. BTW, NOCA wasn't the only restaurant that suffered from service issues during my recent visit. I also had issues with St Francis and one of my all time favorites, Binkley's (still a phenomenal meal). When I get around to it I hope to email all the restaurants.

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

                            St Francis
                            111 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012

                            1. re: bgut1
                              Bill Hunt RE: bgut1 Nov 15, 2010 07:40 PM

                              I also think that Chef Kevin Binkley would want to hear of your visit. It is a favorite of ours, as well, but a bit of a drive, so we normally pair it with a limo ride, from some charity event - just to be safe.

                              I do not know St. Francis, but have heard mixed reviews. In the case of the other two, you should contact them, and discuss the issues. They WILL appreciate it.

                              Hunt

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

                  3. k
                    kmarg RE: rjlebed Oct 19, 2010 10:47 PM

                    You're not to far from the North Scottsdale area which has alot of selections from the usual upscale national chains like Maggianos and Capital Grill. to nice independents like Persian Room. I like Persian room for wine and great skewers, but la Hacienda or Bourbon Steak at the Fairmount Princess is geat as well. Roy's was mentioned below which is always enjoyable but a bit of a chain experience.

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                    Persian Room
                    17040 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

                    1. s
                      Sherri RE: rjlebed Oct 20, 2010 05:24 PM

                      How about Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Princess Hotel in Scottsdale? I know you specified ".... something fun and more interesting than a hotel restaurant" but Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak is far from a typical "hotel restaurant". The steaks are quite something if steak is what you'd like to eat..

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sherri
                        r
                        rjlebed RE: Sherri Oct 20, 2010 05:45 PM

                        Thanks Sherri. I will check out their website!

                      2. Bill Hunt RE: rjlebed Oct 20, 2010 09:44 PM

                        Not sure why Restaurant NOCA, Roy's Desert Ridge and Vincent's on Camelback did not link, but let's try one more time.

                        Enjoy,

                        Hunt

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                        Roy's
                        5350 E Marriott Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85054

                        Vincent On Camelback
                        3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

                        Noca
                        3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                        1. P Chef RE: rjlebed Nov 15, 2010 11:03 AM

                          I don't know if it is too late for your trip, since we are still in November but I was going to suggest Bourbon Steak, especially since you mentioned that price is not an issue. I was there last for Restaurant Week, and had kobe beef with bone marrow mashed potatoes, which was great. I have attached two photos from our visi. 1. of the duck fat fry sampler and 2. the potato foccacia with chives, which was worth the trip all by itself. If you like spicy New Mexican style cuisine, I did not see Richardson's mentioned. It recently re-opened on N.16th St. in Phoenix. Hope that helps.

                           
                           
                          1. m
                            MRS RE: rjlebed Nov 15, 2010 04:01 PM

                            We had a great, non-stuffy dinner at T. Cook's. The food and wine was amazing and I didn't find it stuffy at all. There were large groups and couples. We loved it!

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