Durant's has been a staple on Central Avenue for decades. The secret of its success is simple enough: perfect martinis, fantastic steaks, and incomparable service have made this steakhouse a popular local haunt. Dark wood, leather booths, and flocked wallpaper hark back to earlier days, but the 48-oz. mesquite-broiled porterhouse and the 20-oz. Delmonico are absolutely fresh. Prime rib, crab cakes, broiled scallops, calf's liver, and lamb chops also give diners delicious pause. Great wines and pungent garlic bread are a way of life here, and if you park in back, don't hesitate to come in through the kitchen, as everyone else does. Bustling after-work bar scene too.
Two fireplaces, antique furnishings, and tables positioned to offer the utmost privacy adorn various rooms at House of Tricks, evoking an inviting, home-like ambiance. Dining on the terrace is a delightful experience, thanks to tables set under a trellised garden, just a few steps from a bar built around two trees. The menu capitalizes on Asian, French, and Mediterranean flavors and ingredients, combining them in dishes like peach butter-stuffed chicken, grilled Scottish salmon with couscous salad, tamarind-glazed seared duck breast, and seared ahi with baby bok choy. Perfect for a special evening with friends, special occasions, and of course, date night.
Vincent on Camelback has been a Valley favorite since the 1980s when Chef Vincent Guerithault pioneered his unique brand of Southwestern-inflected French cuisine. Chef Vincent boldly marries traditional French techniques with indigenous Southwestern ingredients and flavors, with remarkable and inimitable results. Try the lobster chimichangas, perfectly crisp on the outside and stuffed with succulent lobster in a basil beurre blanc and a side of avocado corn salsa. Other stand-outs include the duck tamale with Anaheim chile and raisins. Vegetarians will love the little turnover of heirloom tomato, eggplant and zucchini with mild, creamy gorgonzola. The wild boar loin with a parsnip puree and habanero sauce. You'll want to save room for dessert, because Vincent on Camelback is home to arguably the city's most decadent cr�me brulee, with a spectrum of flavors that include vanilla, chocolate, coffee, passion fruit and Grand Marnier.
Kai is noteworthy on so many levels that it's difficult to know where to start when describing it. The esteemed crew that helped shape the restaurant includes Consulting Chef Janos Wilder, Executive Chef Michael O'Dowd, and Chef de Cuisine Jack Strong. They have devised a menu of incredible food using ingredients grown on local tribal farms in dishes with a definite Native American slant, such as an oxtail sausage frittata with huitlacoche sauce (made from the earthy Mexican corn fungus) and charred tomato cream, grilled buffalo tenderloin with smoked corn puree, heirloom beans, saguaro blossom syrup and cholla buds. A tasting menu is also available, with or without wine pairings. The ideal spot to enjoy such earthy-yet-ethereal food is Kai's patio, with a view out over the Estrella Mountains, with a prickly pear margarita in hand.
As the name implies, views from this dining room are breathtaking. Sit outside on the patio and enjoy a beautiful sunset, or dine inside and check out the cityscape through huge picture windows. The restaurant delivers a winning menu featuring a fusion of American cuisine with Mediterranean influences. The menu highlights fruits and vegetables grown right on the premises. The results are dishes of milk-fed lamb chops, truffle grilled prime filet mignon, and butter-poached Maine lobster. A perfect place for celebrating a special occasion or for a quiet, romantic dinner. The vast wine list demands to be explored, as does the dessert menu.
This Asian-style teahouse was an immediate sensation at its debut back in 2010, famous for the artistic sensibilities of local superstar chef Nobuo Fukuda. The chef-artist is a critical darling for his iconoclastic take on traditional Japanese cuisine. By day, nosh on the elegant small plates and light, impeccably constructed salads, sandwiches and bowls. In the evening, the dinner menu is divided between appetizers, cold and warm dishes, all featuring seasonal ingredients, fresh fish and always-unexpected pairings. The real star of the show at Nobuo is the omakase (chef's choice) menu, extravagant, reservations-only multicourse affairs that take place on the weekends.
T. Cook's rests within a 1920s-era mansion (now a luxury hotel, the Royal Palms Hotel and Spa) constructed by New York financier Delos Cooke. The property's elegant restaurant is considered one of the best in the state. The menu consists of Mediterranean-inspired dishes like sauteed Maine lobster with tortellini and asparagus, seared duck breast with butternut squash risotto, and spit-roasted chicken with toasted almond couscous, dates, and olives. The adjacent lounge is cigar-friendly and an ideal spot for a relaxing aperitif. T. Cook's also hosts a popular weekend brunch. This is a popular restaurant for special occasions, so advanced reservations are recommended.
Tratto is the new restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Bianco, who has been instrumental in helping shine the national spotlight on the burgeoning Phoenix food scene. This time around, Bianco and company are shifting focus away from pizza with an unpretentious menu inspired by the classic Italian trattoria, with an emphasis on Arizona terroir. The menu changes with the seasons, so expect to see small plates brimming with vegetables served at the height of the season. Expect to find starters like farinata and house-cured lardo on grilled bruschetta. Primi courses feature freshly made pasta dishes, and secondi courses are where you'll find lovingly prepared plates like braised pork shank and chicken served with Arizona-grown grapes.
This Central Phoenix urban pizzeria is situated in a restored 1913 bungalow, making it the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, authentic stained glass windows and a working fireplace means that you'll have much to admire while you nosh on your salad, antipasti, made-from-scratch pasta or artisanal pizza. Each pizza is made-to-order and hand-tossed by Chef Guido Saccone, native of Sicily, and then topped with a delicious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Stop by in the late afternoon for the new happy hour menu, which features classic Italian small bites like arancini, rice balls stuffed with fresh cheese.
Quiessence at The Farm at South Mountain offers a unique fine dining experience in a bucolic slice of South Phoenix. The restaurant, located inside a historic home at the end of a pecan tree-lined path at The Farm, features excellent farm-to-table fare in a relaxed yet lovely dining room. Many of the dishes feature ingredients hand-picked steps away from the kitchen at Maya's Garden. The menu is constantly changing, but expect seasonal New American fare tinged with exotic ingredients and unexpected flavor pairings. One of the best ways to experience Quiessence is by enjoying Chef Dustin Christofolo's six-course tasting menu.