Whether your aim is to nosh on a gourmet burger, or fill up on authentic, straight-from-the-oven Italian panini, the busy Scottsdale lunch scene has you covered.
For a gourmet lunch on the go, head to The Herb Box, where you'll find globally inspired lunch options in a chic setting. The Herb Box has two locations, one in the SouthBridge area, and another in the DC Ranch neighborhood. So, whether you find yourself in south or north Scottsdale, The Herb Box is a solid lunch option.
Zinc Bistro, with its popular oyster bar, remains a favorite with foodies with a taste for fine French cooking.
Craving Mexican food for lunch? Try Tacos Jalisco, where the kitchen pushes out tasty tacos, burritos and combo platters in a flash.
You won't go wrong with lunch at Hiro Sushi, a small Japanese eatery with a long sushi bar. The restaurant offers an excellent lunch combo special that comes with your choice sushi rolls, teriyaki, tempura and other items.
For a smart business lunch or friend date in a memorable setting, make a date to spend noon at Olive & Ivy. The Californian-Mediterranean fare at this bustling restaurant offers fresh, memorable dishes in a stylish dining room.
Grassroots Kitchen & Tap
This casually upscale restaurant delivers farm-fresh table with flair and elegance. The menu at Grassroots Kitchen & Tap delivers an eclectic menu of modern American fare with an emphasis on quality ingredients. Start with one of the sharing plates, like the prosciutto wrapped asparagus, which is grilled and drizzled with maple syrup. On the entree side, vegetarian's will appreciate the farm to table vegetable platter, featuring a chef's heirloom tomato selection, sauteed chard, grilled asparagus, a helping of local-seasonal vegetables, served with a side of honey-drizzled texas toast. Sandwiches, salads, seafood, and barbecue fill out the menu. Homemade desserts and a coffee and juice bar offer a sweet finish to your meal. ((480) 699-0699)
Defalcos Italian Grocery
If you're looking for an original, family-owned Italian deli, Defalco's Italian Grocery is the real thing. This local treasure is located just south of downtown Scottsdale, on the border between Tempe and Scottsdale. The menu features traditional pasta dishes and hot sandwiches. You'll see a lot of loyal customers coming in before dinner to carry out one of the take-home dishes, or shopping for high quality Italian products such as hand-made ravioli and imported olive oil. Enjoy the outdoor patio with a plate of eggplant parm, chicken cutlet, or lasagna. The dessert menu includes traditional Italian classic like cannoli and tiramisu. (480-990-8660)
The Herb Box
The Herb Box is a lot of things: gourmet marketplace, grab-and-go lunch and dinner spot, and cozy, sit-down cafe where you can enjoy a healthy yet delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch. The lunch menu is filled with yummy small plates that are big enough to share with a friend. The cilantro edamame hummus is creamy and zesty, and there's also a smoked ancho chili, goat cheese & eggplant dip (served with a side of ciabatta) that will leave you craving more. The menu is also full of market salads, wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads, enchiladas, and lots of delicious and vibrant sides. The Herb Box is also know for its great desserts, so be sure to leave room. One dessert highlight is the chocolate beetroot cake. The beets give the cake its moist texture, but the taste is all chocolate. ((480) 289-6161)
Olive & Ivy
Old World meets New West at the Olive & Ivy Restaurant and Marketplace, one of Scottsdale's newest and most upscale casual dining destinations. The menu successfully fuses contemporary California cuisine with classic Mediterranean dishes for an exquisite dining experience. For the late-night crowd, the bar boasts a unique menu of specialty drinks, small plates, and desserts. Perfect for date night, Olive & Ivy delivers on great ambiance and fresh ingredients. The restaurant's patio is one of the city's best--dine under shade trees on the restaurant's charming, oversized patio. Olive & Ivy also has a sleek bar and lounge, and a fresh market bakery. (480-751-2200)
Butcher paper-topped tables, wood-framed mirrors, and a sleek, zinc-capped bar give Zinc Bistro a distinctly modern and luxurious feel, making it the perfect place to enjoy a special lunch with friends or business associates. Chef Matt Carter has been drawing accolades for his casual take on classic French fare since 2001. Try the truffle-infused pomme frites, the white wine-steamed mussels, and steak au poivre. As would be expected, the list of French wines is outstanding. Cap off a fabulous meal with one of Zinc Bistro's French desserts. Authentic crème brulees and soufflés cap off a fabulous lunch at this favorite French bistro. (480-603-0922)
There's nothing fancy about the small dining room at Tacos Jalisco in Scottsdale, but sometimes all you need is good food served up by expert cooks. This is the case at Tacos Jalisco, a tiny neighborhood restaurant located next to a laundromat that is dishing out tacos, burritos, tostadas, tortas and enchiladas that rival the best in town. Creamy beans, fluffy rice and a long menu of take-out classics make this a must-stop destination for those days when you're craving Mexican comfort food. Easy, fast and always flavorful, a great stopping point for a quick lunch, or order take-out for those long nights around the pool. Friendly service and fresh agua frescas (traditonal Mexican fruit coolers) offer further incentive for making a stop here. ((480) 941-9095)
Rehab Burger Therapy
There's no use trying to resist the pull of Rehab Burger Therapy. The restaurant, which is located in the heart of downtown, is almost always filled to capacity. One look at the menu - and one bite of their burgers - and it's easy to see why: Rehab Burger Therapy puts out a consistently delicious burger. And not just one burger, mind you, but more than a dozen different varieties of gourmet burgers. Some menu stand-outs include the cheesy spectacle that is the jalapeno popper burger, the veggie burger, and the irresistible spicy mac 'n cheese burger. Apart from delicious burgers, the restaurant also serves specialty salads, soups, sandwiches and homemade desserts. ((480) 621-5358)
Vermont Sandwich Company
If you're craving a gourmet sandwich, head to the Vermont Sandwich Company in north Scottsdale. This low-key gem offers a menu of family recipes and freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps and panini. You won't find stale bread or soggy pre-made sandwiches here. Most ingredients are made from scratch, including hand blended mayos and mustards, housemade salad dressings, and daily soups and salads made from scratch. There are even fresh baked cookies for a sweet finish to your lunch. Popular sandwiches include The Vermonter, a turkey and ham sandwich featuring cranberry mayo, sharp Cheddar cheese and thinly sliced granny smith apples. Take-out and delivery is available. ((480) 767-1651)
Veneto Trattoria is modeled after the traditional trattorias of Northern Italy. The menu features fresh dishes prepared with the best ingredients. The healthy, satisfying flavors used at Veneto Trattoria are lightly prepared for a satisfying meal that is never heavy or greasy. The ambiance here is warm, friendly and casual. Try one of the hand-crafted pastas, such as the fresh gnocchi or luscious risottos. Traditional Northern Italian dishes frequently feature balsamic vinegar seasoning, and Veneto Trattoria is no different. Only the highest quality balsamic is used in the restaurant's house dressings and to add sweetness to certain dishes without having to resort to fatty butter. (480-948-9928)
This Scottsdale sushi house has been a local institution since 1997, back when sushi was still a curiosity with many diners. This cozy neighborhood sushi restaurant offers some of the city's best chirashi bento boxes. The inventive menu includes Italian-style whitefish with scallions and tomato with olive oil. Don't leave without trying the Arizona Roll, which features asparagus, scallop, cucumber, avocado, and a special house sauce rolled in cucumber. Also of note is their poke of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, octopus, surf clam, and scallions, served in a fresh vinaigrette. For lunch, the restaurant offers a selection of unique bento boxes. ((480) 314-4215)
About Patricia Escarcega
Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.
She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and is working on a novel about growing up in the 1990s.
Read more about Patricia Escarcega here.