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NOCA or Binkley's

... So, my wife and I come into Phoenix 2-3 times per year (she's from Yuma) and I wanted to take her somewhere nice but not break the bank. After lurking here for a while, I can't decide between Noca and Binkley's as both seem right up our culinary alley. So what say ye Phoenix Chowhounds, Noca or Binkley's?

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

Noca
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

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  1. I was going to say Binkley's but I haven't been to Noca.

    If you want another data point (actually 332 data points) compare their ratings on OpenTable. Binkley's is a clear winner there. Here's the summary:

    Binkley's 4.9/5.0 overall rating from 81 diners the past 6 months (they were closed part of the time, hence the relatively low # of reviews) ... 73 gave it five stars (90%, which is excellent), seven rated it 4*, one rated it 3*, no one rated it below 3* (always a good sign). The only other restaurant in the Valley to get similar ratings consistently is Kai.

    Noca has a 4.2/5.0 overall rating from 251 diners ... 113 gave it five stars or "excellent", which is less than half, always a bad sign. Then 87 / 31 / 15 / 4 for 4*/3*/2*/1* ratings respectively. These are fairly mediocre ratings, a lot of places do better than this.

    Pretty clear that the OpenTable dinners who wrote reviews liked Binkley's much better.

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

    Noca
    3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

    1 Reply
    1. re: willyum

      OpenTable diners also gave Buca di Beppo a 4.2 and Z'Tejas a 4.4.

      Just sayin'.

      To address your question, DEVO, they're different. Binkley's is very laid back and casual for a fine dining restaurant, but the food's fine dining all the way with playful sensibilities, complex presentations and an endless parade of amuses. Noca is a little more urban and energetic (though by no means a scene - and I mean that in a good way), less fussy in its presentations, but still extremely creative if less overtly so. There's a reason Kevin Binkley is one of the most respected chefs in this town. And though Matt Taylor's new over at Noca, early word from the food nerds is that he's absolutely killing it. Binkley's is, I think, more of a traditional "occasion" restaurant, but personally speaking, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to spend an occasion at Noca either. I've had killer meals at both.

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

      Noca
      3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

    2. Between those two? Binkley's. Easy.

      1. What Dmnkly said.

        Binkley's - absolutely. Binkley's can be pricey, but is totally worth it. Very special, completely awesome. Definitely consider one of the Tasting Menus. Binkley's is destination dining. The drive out to Cave Creek is cool, service is impeccable, nobody's in a hurry, & you should just take your time & enjoy everything. We've been with friends who aren't particularly foodies, who still rhapsodize about things on the menu that were "the best thing I ever ate".

        Noca is good, although I don't feel the food is at the same level as it was before the chef change. (It's still good, & the product is lovely, but IMO is just missing that last bit of pulling it together perfectly.) I've experienced some inconsistency issues around cocktails & service. The vibe at Noca is definitely more big-city, noisy, "high energy", & even a bit crowded -- some people find that energetic, but personally, I prefer a more laid back ambience.

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

        Noca
        3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

        1. I'm working on my longwinded review of Binkley's currently and although I've not eaten at NOCA I can say that my experience at Binkley's was extraordinary in all ways. It is rare that a meal really WOWS me these days (generally meals meet my expectations, but rarely does a place I expected to be "good" turn out to be "Top 10 meals of the year" caliber.)

          http://endoedibles.com

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: uhockey

            noca is very very good. binkley's will blow noca away.

            1. re: jock

              Good to know.

              Really - I've been to a number of impressive spots this year including six Michelin 3* spots in Paris and some of the best in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston and Binkley's is easily in my top-10 meals of the year.

              http://endoedibles.com

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

          2. I haven't made it to Binkley's, yet. I've been to Noca several times, as it is much closer and a bit cheaper.

            I would have probably narrowed it down to the same two, if doing similar research, with the added benefit of having read about every post on this board for the past several years. I would also suggest looking at the tasting menus, on-line. At Noca, you may have entirely different choices than what is posted on the web, but, the prices are informative, anyway.

            I have never experienced the crowds or noise at Noca, but, I tend to eat early. I've probably never been there much past 7:15.

            I'm sure you get what you pay for at Binkley's.

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

            Noca
            3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

            3 Replies
            1. re: johnseberg

              Thanks for all the feed back. I think Binkley's is the clear winner. My only concern is the drive, since I was informed we are staying in Peioria this time seems about 45 minutes or so. We're gonna go, I'm just going to have to pass on wine unfortunately. Next time, we'll stay reasonably closer.

              I wish we had food of this calibre in Tampa. We have some great restaurants, but no accolytes from the French Laundry opening up joints in our back yard.

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

              1. re: DEVO2172

                Don't sell yourself short. There are a horde of pedigreed places I'd trade away for La Teresita and Ted Peters in a heartbeat :-)

                Have a great trip!

                1. re: Dmnkly

                  Ted Peters is good, but I prefer to make my own fish dip. La Teresita has always been hit or miss for me. I'd rather hit Taco Bus for Mexican or Pipos for Cuban. Not the greatest Cuban I've had but good and consistent.