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Where is some of the better fine dining in Scottsdale?

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My husband and I are thinking about driving up to Scottsdale from our home in Tucson to celebrate an upcoming anniversary. What are some good restaurants that offer creative cuisine, either New American or French-inspired? We're also into wine, so a wine list with fair prices and a lot of diversity would be great.

We get enough Mexican and/or casual dining in Tucson, so for a change we'd like a place with a bit of a formal feel to it, where my guy wouldn't feel out of place wearing a suit. We like to be able to converse without shouting, so loud places are out, as are those with open kitchens.

Where should we go?

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  1. I'm a huge fan of Lon's at the Hermosa..lovely patio, fab food and great wine list.
    T. Cooks at the Royal Palms is another treasure.
    Binkley's in Cave Creek is fantastic.
    Durant's downtown for old school and they still serve a chilled relish tray.
    Kaz bar in Old Scottsdale is great for wine and apps.

    www.lons.com

    1. The closest thing to a true fine dining experience Is Kai Restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass resort. The ambience is just ok. Unfortunately you feel like you're at a hotel restaurant. But the level of service can't be matched. The food is excellent and is modern American with a Native American influence.
      NOCA has consistent fantastic food ( our favorite spot). Modern American with an Italian influence. Not loud but not quiet. I agree with Lon's as well. Enjoy.

      1. As Scottsdale is very tall (I think about 900 miles?), I would first think of Binkley's, actually in Cave Creek/Carefree, north of Scottsdale.

        Second, and NOT in Scottsdale, would be Kai, at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, but that is a bit of a trek from anywhere in Scottsdale.

        Lon's, very near by in Paradise Valley, does fit the bill, and T. Cook's would normally be high on my list, but we took a gracious donor there for brunch, and were horribly disappointed. They were just not "on their game," at any level. Not sure why, as they were only about 15% full, but you would have thought that they were over capacity. That is just not like them, but maybe a harbinger?

        This time of year, do contact the restaurants ahead of your trip, as many are closed now, until about September.

        Enjoy,

        Hunt

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Aloha Bill..
          Sorry to hear about T. Cooks...that usually isn't the norm.
          In Scottsdale in 2 weeks..are you in town?

          1. re: Beach Chick

            I was very disappointed, as we have always been big fans.

            This was a very special brunch, as our guest was a wonderful donor, and friend. She was heading between her place in Maui (her husband originally developed Ka`anapoli), and her Summer home in the mountains, and this was her only weekend in Phoenix, for a few months.

            We have dined at T. Cook's many times, and have always been impressed. This has been casual lunches, intimate dinners, and then hosted board dinners, where the meeting was held there too. They have always been near 100% for us - but this time, things were very different. Nothing was "clicking," and I am not sure of the reasons. The restaurant was no where near filled, and there seemed to be adequate staff. It was almost like an entirely new, and untrained team, took over?

            Heart breaking, and I hope that it was but an anomaly.

            We leave on Wednesday for Blackberry Farm for two weeks, to dine with Chef Alan Wong and Dr. Ernst Loosen, for a food event. We will be back in Sept, but then leave for San Francisco, and then Chicago, before heading to London and then Paris in October.

            Hunt

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            Just as a side note, I've eaten at T. Cook's twice and cannot understand, for the life of me, how it gets such high marks all the time. The first time I was by myself at a table and it was unimpressive at best. The food seemed bland and uninspired. The service was okay but I'm definitely not going back just for that. The second visit was on Christmas Day when you'd think that they would try to put their best foot forward ... wrong. We were seated nearly 45 minutes after our reservation time. Service was shoddy and the food was nearly inedible - yes it really was that bad. The restaurant is nice but for my money - I go to a restaurant for the food first. Everything else is a bonus. I will not return to T. Cook's again.

          3. Thanks for all these very helpful suggestions. We are leaning toward Binkley's, as the tasting menu and wine pairing looks very appealing. We would plan to stay overnight somewhere in Carefree. It looks close on the map, and there seem to be quite a few resort-type places there. Do any of them stand out, for better or for worse? Thanks again!

            2 Replies
            1. re: bitchincook

              Excellent call on Binkley's...Cafe Bink too.
              5* resorts on Kayak are $100+...Boulders resort was $93..great locale to dine at Bink and remember to hit up my fave, Harolds cowboy saloon.

              1. re: bitchincook

                Binkley's is a great choice. I spent the weekend at the Boulder's a couple years ago for my birthday which was centered around dinner at Binkley's. We took cabs both ways to really enjoy - make sure you ask for a renovated room if you stay there!

              2. Kai and Binkleys are both excellent - I'd also add Christopher's to the list if you're interested in novel French. Had an absolutely lovely meal there on Saturday.

                http://endoedibles.com

                1. I'm also a fan of Kai, Lon's, Binkley's, Durant's, Noca, and Christopher's. I'll also add Talavera at the Four Seasons, Quiessence, and Bourbon Steak.

                  1. Sedona is a wonderful place to spend a long weekend and 2 of my faves is Elote Cafe and Garlands Lodge...
                    Enchantment resort with their casitas and stunning red rock views makes for a wonderful.stay.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      We STILL must do Elote Cafe!

                      Not sure when our next Sedona meeting will be, but I will insist that we dine there one night.

                      We normally stay at Enchantment for meetings, and then L'Auberge de Sedona, for private trips. Each has been great, and each has unique dining options, that we both love.

                      Hunt