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Jan 26, 2012 07:40 PM

Dinner options near Arizona Grand Resort near South Mountain Park

I will be staying at the Arizona Grand Resort right near South Mountain Park in a couple of weeks and I'm looking for good casual dinner locations nearby. A good place for a couple of drinks and then dinner with a colleague. Looking for good quality non-chain restaurant. Walking distance from the resort would be great, but that doesn't look very likely. All cuisines are good, but anything local that's worth visiting is good with me. We can take a cab ride too if its worth the cost of the cab fare.


BL -- DC Hound

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  1. >> Walking distance from the resort would be great

    On or beside the property there is an Aunt Chilada's for Mexican food and Rustler's Rooste, a "Western Steakhouse" with, unfortunately, all the touristy trappings. I've eaten at both, though not in several years, and would probably pick Aunt Chilada's.

    >> We can take a cab ride too if its worth the cost of the cab fare

    Quiessence is pretty close, a short cab ride but too far to walk. Haven't eaten there personally but it might be what you're looking for. ...

    1. Ah, that's my neighborhood.

      You're fortunate in that some of the best farm-to-table restaurants are near. Quiessence, as mentioned, is three miles away and is a 4-5 star venue. It's on a working farm, so stiletto heels would not be advised for any in your party. There is also a lunch venue (Farm Kitchen) and a terrific brunch/breakfast spot in a leafy patio (Morning Glory). The property is several acres with 200+ year old pecan trees, very pastoral. One of the better restaurants in Phoenix, top five if not three.

      For a couple of drinks and dinner you'd also look like a star if you chose the House at Secret Garden, three miles due west at 24th St. It's in a historic Spanish-style mansion, with a cozy flagstoned and fireplaced patio under a giant cacao tree, and rich rugs and dark woods in the dining room and bar indoors. They source most of their produce from The Farm or grow it themselves, and specials and pastas are always terrific.

      Heading another notch down the casual scale is Amano Bistro & Wine Bar at 16th St. They cook in the Italian fashion so everything is seasonal. That's my cozy neighborhood don't-feel-like-cooking pizza and salad joint. Bottles of wine half price on either Tuesday or Wednesday, can't remember, but it's a happy surprise when I get it right.

      And then up 24th St to Roeser is our new Texas BBQ House for a cold Shiner and some good company. Very casual, some outdoor tables, and the guys there are so proud of their smokework -- they'll slice and have you sample until you've exactly dialed in your preference. I am wild about their turkey, it's always moist, smokey, and has a delicious rub. Also their mac and cheese is very cheesy and rich, which doesn't bode well for my pants size.

      Those in-the-know who want the freshest mariscos, head east under the freeway and then south on Priest/Avenida del Yacqui to the little reservation of Guadalupe to San Diego Bay restaurant in this violently orange-colored mercado, very hard to miss.

      5 Replies
      1. re: themis

        Thanks very much for the great recommendations. I'm liking how House at Secret Garden sounds and looks online.

        Any other recommendations before I travel next week?


        BL -- DC Hound

        1. re: BRL

          I've been at the House twice in the last two weeks, I think you'll enjoy it. Most recently I took my in-laws there, who I obviously want to keep happy :) Their cocktail list is all good, but when I want something refreshing I do like their perfect Moscow Mule and their South Mountain Paloma.

          There is another neighborhood hangout, Gallagher's, at 32nd St -- a sports bar, upscale twist to the menu. I hear good things about it but have never made it there. The parking lot is always packed, though.

          You may have noticed that Phoenix is not intended to be a walkable city and our public transport is catching up to the norm of other metro areas. Also, the site properties at the Grand, Aunt Chilada's and Rustler's Roost, are more for kitsch than cuisine. They'll do in a pinch if you have to stay close. Most of the places I have mentioned, though, are right on Baseline Road so the bus line at the entrance to the resort will take you right to them. Only Texas BBQ House/ Quiessence/ San Diego Bay would necessitate a transfer.

        2. re: themis

          Themis, would the farm to table restaurants you list above be appropriate to bring a well-behaved our properly distracted 4 year old to? My litmus test is whether someone would ber proposing there. I prefer a livlier atmosphere to a quiet/romantic one for dining out with my son, regardless of how well behaved I think he'll be.

          1. re: ethereal

            Quiessence is pretty high end and I wouldn't take a 4 year old there because I know as you do 4 year olds are unpredictable. Morning Glory and Farm Kitchen are significantly more casual though.

            House at Secret Garden I've only dined at once and a 4 year old would have been appropriate but it was pretty full and there was about 10 wedding guests drinking at the bar pre wedding (which is held on a different portion of property) so I'd look for others advice.

            1. re: ethereal

              I agree with PHXeater's assessment. The House can also be a little staid in the dining room -- depending on the happy hour crowd -- but I think if it were nice out and you went for patio seating nobody would mind a 4-year-old in the area.