Christmas Day afternoon (not terribly upscale) between airport and Scottsdale
This is sort of weird request for chowhounds, but we are seeking help in finding a nice, not-so-upscale restaurant for Christmas Day. My in-laws are snowbirds and will be picking us up at the airport and dropping us off in Scottsdale at a rental condo.
We would like to take them out to lunch/dinner this year because last year they treated us and we ended up at Golden Corral for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner. Golden Corral is their restaurant of choice; Pizza Hut was about the only thing still open that evening in the town they winter in.
We would like a nice casual place to go, prefer not a chain but would not rule it out. They are not foodies, have no interest in a wine list or more unusual ethnic cuisines (Italian or Chinese are about as far as they will venture). We do have one gluten-free person in our party, but as long as she can find something on the menu to eat until we can get to the condo and a grocery store, she will be fine.
7609 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85033
You might want to check opentable.com to see if there's anything that will meet your time, location, and culinary criteria. I did a quick search and turned up 30-odd choices for Xmas Day afternoon.
Virtually every hotel and resort restaurant will be serving that day, although many will be doing special meals that might be more upscale than you want.
I'd suggest two approaches:
1) You mention they will tolerate Chinese food. The COFCO Chinese Cultural Center at 44th St. & the 202 is right by the airport in the general direction of Scottsdale. Why not follow the cliche, often joked about by my Jewish friends, of eating Chinese food on Christmas Day? Of the restaurants in that development, Golden Buddha is probably the safest choice for timid palates -- particularly if you order from the regular menu rather than dim sum. I'm not sure if they'll be open Christmas, but it's worth checking.
2) At hotels and resorts with more than one restaurant, you may find the more casual restaurant is serving its standard menu while the fine dining restaurant goes all out with a holiday meal. One of my favorites in this category is Frank and Albert's at the Arizona Biltmore. The menu is unintimidating but well prepared. If it's a nice day, you could even sit outside on the patio. It's not on the most direct route to Scottsdale, but it would be easy to reach via 24th St. or SR 51. You could then head east on Lincoln Drive over to Scottsdale once the meal is over. It would be an L-shaped drive that might not take you too far out of your way depending on your destination in Scottsdale.
668 N 44th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
You would not be disappointed in Veneto's. It's simple Italian. The atmosphere is laid back and comfortable. They also have a gluten free pasta you can substitute for $2 and it's made of brown rice. This place is my favorite and I ask my husband to take me there any time we have some extra time for travel.
6137 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250