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May 9, 2001 01:36 PM

How REALLY good are Mary Elaine's and Marquesa?

  • d

I'll be in Phoenix for a few days for business travel and am extending the stay to the weekend for pleasure. I'm going to be staying at the Phoenician and have read really good things about Mary Elaine's and Marquesa.

Being from Manhattan, I've dined at some of the best restaurants here in New York. Looking at the (very expensive) prices Mary Elaine's charges for dinner, I would expect food of a quality comparable to a select few New York restaurants. Is Mary Elaine's really comparable to Bouley Bakery or Chanterelle?

I've also heard that Marquesa is known for its Catalan food. Given the paucity of good Southwestern restaurants here in New York (no matter what Bobby Flay might claim), I'm actually looking forward to this restaurant, although any recent dining experiences and suggestions would be great. What are the best Southwestern restaurants in the Phoenix/Scottsdale vicinity?

The only other Phoenix restaurant that I have eaten at previously is Vincent Guerithault, which I thought was very good.

Any suggestions welcome and much appreciated!

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  1. Mary Elaine's is very good, but perhaps not 'better' than what you are used to in Manhattan.

    Marquesa -- I'm confused. Catalan is NOT the same as southwestern. The Marquesa is said to be very good, though it has gone a bit down in the last year or so. I suspect you will be disappointed.

    I might suggest that you consider some selections that you cannot find in New York, or even anything similar to them. They might not be a upscale as Vincents or Mary Elaine's, but will be more original choices and, I think, memorable.

    Consider The Roaring Fork, Norman's Arizona, Medizona, Michael's at the Citadel, Cowboy Ciao and Lon's at the Hermosa. All good choices and nice restaurants that you are unlikely to duplicate in NY -- either because of the food or the scenery, or both.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jeanette

      Much thanks for the recommendations ! By the way, i hear this place called the Coyote Grill is very good. What do you think about it?

      1. re: Dunston

        sorry, not familiar with The Coyote Grill. However, I believe The Roaring Fork chef, Robert McGrath, just won the James Beard award. That would be my choice for a true Phoenix original.

        BTW, we do have another unusual choice, if you like Italian. Veneto Trattoria in Scottsdale is Venetian style Italian -- quite different from N. or S. Italian. Well worth a visit, and a very reasonably priced.