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Jan 16, 2014 05:47 PM

Phoenix recommendations, please

My wife and I will be coming to Phoenix for a few days next week and we are looking for recommendations. Ideally would like to find some restaurants that are relatively unique to the area as we don't spend a lot of time in the southwest.

The only pre-conceived notion I have is that we must hit Pizzeria Bianco. Looking over their website I see they now have two locations. While the newer one is closer to where we are staying in Scottsdale, I wonder whether there is a difference between the two. If we are only going to experience it one time, should we go to the original? Also, we will be in town on Wed, Thurs and Fri nights. In order to avoid a long wait, what time would we need to arrive?

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  1. The newer location (actually the original location repopulated after an absence of over a decade) at Town & Country is a bit closer to Scottsdale and serves as slightly expanded menu with a few non-pizza entrees. The Downtown location has more historic charm. The legendary long waits at Pizzeria Bianco have diminished due to the expansion to two locations and the addition of lunch hours.

    As for other recommendations, where are you staying in Scottsdale (or Phoenix-with-a-Scottsdale-mailing-address)?

    2 Replies
    1. re: exit2lef

      We are staying at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.

      1. re: brentk

        This guide from the WSJ has shown up in my Facebook feed in the last 24 hours. The list seems more up-to-date with good, non-touristy local recommendations that just about anything I've seen from a national publication:

        Apart from that link, I recommend a restaurant that is fairly unique and only a few miles from the Westin Kierland in northeast Phoenix. Eden's Grill at Thunderbird and Tatum is a restaurant run by a family of Iraqi heritage, I believe, and serves excellent kabobs and fragrant rice dishes.

    2. Ah! exit2lef is right again -- Kierland, including the Westin, is in the City of Phoenix even though it gets its mail through a Scottsdale post office.

      2 Replies
      1. re: misohungrychewlow

        I am unfamiliar with the intricacies of Phoenix geography and am just looking for good places to eat. I look forward to getting some recommendations. Also, since there is not much activity on this particular board perhaps someone could recommend other sites that discuss the food scene in Phoenix.

        1. re: brentk

 is a dedicated message board to Phoenix dining. They celebrate a lot of the unique local places and have pictures of the food to go along with the commentary. There is a section called "Food Nerd Approved" that has some of their favorites from the last year.

          Any place on Yelp with over 100 reviews and a 4 star or higher rating is probably pretty good. TripAdvisor also has the restaurants ranked, which is a good list after applying a grain of salt.

      2. I'd recommend Carolina's, Tuck Shop, Windsor, and Postino as restaurants to look at. They are all pretty casual (the first is even counter service). 7-8 is the busiest eating time on those nights. Arrive at 6 or before, or make a reservation, and there is almost never a long wait.

        1. I would like to recommend that you have a drink and stroll the grounds at T.Cooks, a restaurant located in The Royal Palms hotel (an old Phoenix home-turned-hotel). It is located on Camelback Road at the foot of the mountain and has lovely gardens/grounds. The restaurant has recently undergone a thorough renovation and I have not eaten there since the re-opening. It certainly fits your criteria of "unique to the area" in a way few others can match although Lons at The Hermosa Inn is another contender for old Phoenix. This is "old Phoenix" in a genteel, good way not simply something that is old. Neither Kai nor Binkley's are "old Phoenix, though each is certainly unique to this area and provide a memorable meal and experience. However, the downside is that each restaurant is quite a distance from your hotel.

          1. Thanks for all the recommendations. I have spent some time on the WSJ article and scouring the website and it was really tough to narrow things down but I have come up with these ideas:

            Lunch at Pane Bianco

            Dinners at FnB, Pizzeria Bianco and Pig & Pickle.

            What do you folks think of my list?

            3 Replies
            1. re: brentk

              It's short. Cruise around to taste.

              1. re: chewbacca

                One of the two founding chefs has recently left Pig and Pickle, but I'm not sure whether that's had an impact on the food. The second Pizzeria Bianco takes reservations. FnB is an EXCELLENT choice. But book it immediately if you have not done so already.

                1. re: KAYLO

                  A quick report back. FnB was the highlight of the trip, followed closely by Pizzeria Bianco.

                  As FnB, we were so intrigued by the vegetable dishes, we wound up ordering a vegetarian dinner (although eggs were included in some of the dishes). Shredded raw winter vegetables was perhaps the most creative dish of the bunch but the crunchy spinach salad and the braised leeks were also favorites.

                  Pizzeria Bianco (and Pane Bianco, for that matter) sets a new bar for fresh mozzarella - incredibly light, almost like a soufflé. And the charred crust made eating the outer ring of the pizza a real treat.

                  We had a great fried brussels sprouts app at Pig and Pickle, and while the restaurant was very good, it wasn't in the same league as the other two. Thinking back on what we ordered, we maybe should have ventured into their smoked meat/fish dishes but the prospect of pork shank, pork belly and bone marrow proved too diverting.