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Jun 22, 2012 05:52 PM

restaurants in Scottsdale/Phoenix area?

Hi chowhounders-

I will be going to the Scottsdale/Phoenix area next weekend and wanted to find a relatively moderately priced restaurant (~ 20$ entrees), though if there is something cheaper and worth it, then even better.

Not particular about the cuisine, just would like to find something worthwhile and reflective of the local food scene. I assume, Mexican and Mexican influenced cuisine are the norm, so I would expect something like that, but if there is anything else of note, then that would be a plus.

I love food adventures and risk-taking chefs and care less about the ambience and service. I am more into the eating experience without all the pomp.

Here are two names I have seen already, and perhaps those are the ones to visit. Thoughts on these or other restaurants:

Los Sombreros

Thanks everyone and happy eating.

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  1. Binkley's is definitely not Mexican but a good choice. Usually considered the # 2 restaurant in the entire urban area.

    If it's a bit pricey for you then check out Cafe Bink, which is a more casual place owned by the same chef and run by his wife, who also a good chef, and the prices are a lot lower.

    7 Replies
    1. re: willyum

      Thanks Willyum. Yeah, Binkley's definitely did not look Mexican but it did look good. I think cafe Bink may be more of what we are looking for, but never adverse to paying more for good food. BTW, what is the #1 in area?

      1. re: dabo40777

        No, Binkley's is NOT Mexican. I would typify it as great New American Cuisine. Chef Kevin Binkley studied under Chef Thomas Keller, of the French Laundry, Yountville, CA.

        Though one might find a dish with some Mexican influence, that is really pretty unlikely.

        Mexican is not the only cuisine in the Metro-Phoenix Area, though there ARE several good examples, and representative of several States/Regions of Mexico, including New Mexico with strong Indio influences. In Phoenix, one might also get a hint of New Mexican, with local Native American influences.

        For a take on Sonoran Mexican, I like El Bravo, a little, neighborhood restaurant, about 7 miles north of Downtown Phoenix. Another variation on Mexican is El Conquistador, which is Jaliscan Mexican, and about 9 miles north of downtown Phoenix. Neither of those are pricey, and each offers a different take on Mexican. Both are very homey, and would honestly be called "neighborhood" establishments. No glitz, and no glamour - just good, albeit different Mexican food, in a very laid-back atmosphere.

        Enjoy, and travel safely,


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          These look like great suggestions and fit the bill for this trip. We are only in town for 2 days, so something homey sounds perfect! Thanks for the suggestions.

        2. re: dabo40777

          >> BTW, what is the #1 in area?

          Kai is rated tops by Forbes (the only 5* in Arizona) and usually OpenTable diners. I didn't mention it because it's on the other end of the valley from Binkley's (about an hour drive south) and because it's expensive, but it's really good.

          Here's a link to the OpenTable "Overall" ratings, as often happens Kai and Binkley's are 1 and 2 ...

          1. re: willyum

            Thanks Willyum. Kai does look amazing. For this trip we will probably hold off on the uber pricey places, but there will be many more trips to Scottsdale/Phoenix so I expect we will make it to Kai and Binkley's sooner or later.

        3. re: willyum

          Binkley's IS great, and worth the trip, from almost anywhere in the Phoenix-Metro Area, but it IS pricey.

          Same can be said for Kai, down south. Worth the drive, but pricey.

          In the end, both are worth both the travel and the price.

          However, DO check the dates, as both close for periods of time in the Summer.

          Again, and depending on where you are staying, plus the potential to drive for good food, there could be many dozens of great restaurants, and not all are at the price-point of either Kai, or Binkley's.



          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Thanks Bill. Yeah, for this trip we are going to hold off on the super pricey places, but both Kai and Binkley's look great and I am sure on one of our many future visits to the area we will make it to one or both.

        4. Where are you staying"
          Do you have an auto?
          Does driving for great food present a problem?


          1 Reply
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            We are staying at a friends house in what I think is northeast Scottsdale. We have a car and certainly do not mind driving for good food. In fact, many of our holidays are food oriented and we often will spend a day traveling just to trying something interesting.