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Any great Restaurants/Bars around Carefree Arizona??

Hello Phoenix/Scottsdale Chowhounders!

A group of us will be staying at The Boulders in Carefree, Az for a week in September.

We are looking for any outstanding restaurant suggestions in the area (up to 30 mins away). We really love great food and it really doesn't matter what kind of food, it could be high-end/low end, as long as it's delicious. Any recommendations???

Also, if anyone knows of any good bars to just hang out in and have fun, I would appreciate suggestions on that side of things as well!

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  1. Cafe Bink and Binkley's, but you need to check to see if they are open due to the summer season as sometimes the Chef closes down when it gets stupid hot like it is now. Also, Spotted Donkey, which is right near your hotel is a good spot. Not too far from there is Mastro's, my favorite Scottsdale steakhouse. I think the Tonto Bar & Grill at the Rancho Manana golf course is close as well. This is a nice place for lunch or dinner. I love the Boulders, super spa and one of my absolutely favorite places to tee it up (1!), although we have avoided it for a few years waiting for them to update the rooms. Let me know if they have done so...

    4 Replies
    1. re: danieli10

      I know they've updated a lot of the rooms already, I'll let you know how they're doing.

      1. re: danieli10

        I was at Tonto this past weekend.

        Once you enter the property, walk towards the back and the restaurant will be on your right.

        My BF had Ancho Chili-Rubbed 8 oz. Filet, Adobo Demi, Roasted Corn & Onion Cream, Crimini & Scallions, Manchego Scalloped Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus for $32 and said that it was very good.

        I had Root Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion & Leek Gratin, Green Beans, Garlic & Smoked Arizona Pecans for $26. My meat was a touch too sweet but the texture and the taste were very good. I thought that the combination of vegetables was really unique and well balanced. Very slightly greasy but not enough that it was a problem.

        For dessert we ordered a local item. I was very excited by the description and the appearance but the taste was somewhat artificial and the texture of one component was pasty. I would not try it again.

        Service was fine. The dining room was large with a moderate noise level.

          1. re: danieli10

            I apologize for the duplicate post. I cannot delete it....

          2. Boulders is a great resort and Binkley's and Cafe Bink are fantastic.
            Try and get an upgrade to the homes along the golf course...sweet!
            I love Harold's Corral and saloon in Cave Creek...cold cheap beer, characters and decent food.
            When we stayed at the resort, this is where we hung out and loved every minute of it!

            Please no arrows..
            ; - )


            1 Reply
            1. re: Beach Chick

              We are booked into a 3 Bedroom Villa but not sure if it will be along the golf courses. Thanks.

            2. Bryan's BBQ in Cave Creek has good bbq

              1. You have gotten some great recs. on the Binkley group, and I will add San Souci, also in Carefree (actually sort of "across the street" from Binkley's), as a rec. too. Been a few years, so hope they are still in operation, but do check. They used to close for the Summer, but should (if all is still good) be open, when you arrive.



                1. Binkley's is one of, if not THE, most culinarily impressive restaurants in the Phoenix area and it's right in Cave Creek/Carefree. Chef Binkley worked at The Inn at Little Washington as well as under Thomas Keller at The French Laundry ... and it shows in his cooking. Highly recommended if that's your kind of thing. They take a break during July but are open the rest of the year.

                  As for some other options, try Cartwright's. They have good seafood and serve Buffalo and Elk steaks as well. It's owned by the same guys as Tonto Bar and Grill but I hardly ever see it mentioned in these threads. I've been there several times and always had a good time. They have a great bar to socialize in and it seems to be one of the more popular spots in the area ... and they have Oysters for a Buck ... Blue Points! I've had the steaks and the Buffalo and both are excellent.

                  Both Harrold's and the Buffalo Chip are popular places. Harrold's has live music frequently and for something really neat ... the Buffalo Chip has live bull riding on Wednesday's and Friday's ( I think Friday is when the good guys are there ). It's free and if you've never seen it, I recommend you do it at least once in your lifetime.

                  I like Bryan's BBQ for their meats, especially the brisket! But I think their side dishes need work. That's just my humble .02. They also have several special dishes that aren't listed on their menu ... like the lamb leg with ginger bbq sauce and something that, if I remember correctly, is called "The Big Pig" : fries topped with pulled pork, bbq sauce, beans, jalapenos, and sour cream. It's great but huge!

                  Hope you have a great time!

                  1. I agree with many of the recs.

                    I love Binkley's and Cafe Bink, and also recommend Cartwright's and Tonto (but have only had apps at both). I also like the cockatils at Spotted Donkey, but have never eaten there. I'm a big fan of Bryan's BBQ too.

                    Cafe Bink's famous fries: http://twitpic.com/8tf7fj

                    Bryan's: http://twitpic.com/3rijfn

                    1. Thanks for all the great recs, looks like we won't have to drive into Scottsdale at all.

                      1. I dined at Spotted Donkey on a recent trip and the food was pretty good....


                        The one major issue I had was that when our food was presented to our table, the two servers and our waitress held all of our plates with towels, telling us not to touch the plates because they were really hot. So what did I do? I touched my plate, and it was cold.

                        I ordered the stuffed poblano dish and my first bite was warm,not hot. My second bite was cold. I was out with colleagues in Scottsdale for a conference/training so there were five of us. I touched my colleague's plate and it was cold, so I made everyone touch their plates, all cold! I don't recall what anyone ordered except my associate who hated his dish lol, which was some kind of fish taco or arepa dish. No one said anything about the showmanship over our dish delivery. I did really like my dish. It was really good actually. Just unfortunate that each bite went from warm to tepid to lukewarm to cold.