10 Best Restaurants in Scottsdale: From Casual Patio Spots to Fine Dining



Scottsdale is home to a lively culinary scene featuring everything from trendy gastropubs to rustic Western saloons.

The Scottsdale restaurant scene is a melting pot of well-known chefs, popular brunch parlors, and with more than 300 sunny days every year, some of the best al fresco dining in the country. 

Virtu, a tiny yet upscale cafe tucked away in a B&B in downtown Scottsdale, has collected accolades from chefs and food magazines across the country for its take on globally-influenced, Mediterranean-inspired, homemade "honest craft" cuisine.

Another Scottsdale gem is FnB, where the kitchen uses farm-fresh ingredients and culinary creativity to put together pleasing small plate ensembles.

Fat Ox features the work of well-regarded local chef Matt Carter and his team of top-tier Arizona talent. Expect to find a strong antipasti menu, unique pasta selections that are refined yet delicious, and fine dining entrees featuring premium ingredients. 

Finally, if you're a fan of prix fixe fine dining, check out Sel. The small, chic restaurant on Main Street offers a quiet respite from busier stretches of Old Town, and a menu filled with seasonally-inspired, skillfully-prepared dishes.



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Fat Ox in Scottsdale is full of modern, upscale riffs on Italian cuisine. You won't find a menu that hews strictly to specific regions, but you will find an expansive selection of bold takes on stalwarts like pasta, antipasti, salumi and entrees. The antipasti menu is strong, and the restaurant offers tableside Caesar salad service. You should not miss the small pasta menu, a vaguely estoteric selection of extruded and stuffed pastas, made in-house daily. A highlight is the casoncelli: small bundles that are sealed and twisted to evoke the shape and size of a candy wrapper, stuffed with butternut squash and kissed by sage. If you're feeling extra-hungry and spendy, there is also a shareable $110 dry-aged porterhouse steak.


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Chula Seafood is a popular, family-owned and operated south Scottsdale neighborhood market and eatery that specializes in sustainably sourced, quality seafood. Shoppers can drop by and shop for fresh seafood like smoked fish, fresh poke, tuna, California halibut and other fish by the pound. Or, stop by for lunch or dinner. Check out the chef-driven chalkboard menu at the eatery, which features a regularly changing assortment of dishes. Popular dishes you might spot on the menu include a spicy tuna bowl, Hawaiian style poke, and a confit tuna sandwich. For a dazzling array of fresh seafood, try the chef's choice sashimi platter.


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Native Florentine and longtime Valley restaurateur Franco Fazzuoli brings upscale Italian flavors to Scottsdale at Franco's Italian Caffe. The restaurant, located in downtown Scottsdale, offers Florentine Italian dishes like Filet Mignon All'Arrabiata, Bistecca Fiorentina and Spaghetti Salsa Cruda. There are also specialty salads, including a lovely Beet Arugula salad that comes with goat cheese. But before you get to the secondi courses, start with one of the restaurant's trademark bruschetta, including a popular tuna bruschetta. Other small plate appetizers include prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella. The restaurant offers a comprehensive wine list, as well. Gluten-free options are available with pasta dishes.


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Sel is a small fine dining outpost situated amid the art galleries and shops of Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale. Chef Branden Levine, who has appeared on Food Network cooking competitions, offers a four-course prix fixe menu of contemporary American cuisine (diners can also order dishes a la carte). The restaurant is small and chic, and the menu is constantly in flux. But no matter what is on the menu du jour, expect to find skillful fine dining renditions of roasted kabocha squash panisse, roasted Romanesco soup, filet mignon and upscale seafood dishes. The restaurant also has a strong cocktail and dessert menu.


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Roaring Fork


 

The wood fired cooking and classic American cuisine of the Roaring Fork makes this a favorite gathering spot for the Scottsdale lunch crowd. Inspired by the history and essence of the Old West, the Roaring Fork seeks to recapture and celebrate the simplicity of open fire cooking and the bold flavors of wood-fired cuisine. Choose from lamb, beef, chicken, pork, and fresh fish entrees, all cooked to perfection using wood fire rotisserie, open flame grill, or classic wood oven roasting. An inviting atmosphere and impeccable service make this a perfect lunch spot for fans of rustic, boldly-flavored Western American cooking.


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Citizen Public House is what the English pub concept looks like in Scottsdale: thoroughly contemporary and upscale, yet still managing to retain the homey charm of a traditional public house. Nestled comfortably in Old Town Scottsdale, Citizen Public House has made a name for itself by serving classic and creative cocktails as well as a full menu of modern, contemporary comfort food cuisine. For cool nights, there is a cozy patio, a semi-private 12-seat dining alcove and lively public space. Mahogany accents, leather booths and a stainless steel-topped bar combine old and new design elements for a sleek, modern look. Don't skip over the start menu, which features house favorites like pork belly pastrami and Bernie's mac 'n cheese.


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Owner and chef Giovanni Scorzo and his team deliver hand-crafted Italian dishes at this charming Italian grocery and cafe in Scottsdale. Scorzo and team makes all the breads and pastries in-house, including the house tiramisu, cannoli, and even hand-made chocolates. Daily specials include Italian specialties like rosticianna (grilled pork ribs), pasta e fave (pasta and fava bean soup), bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine-style T-bone steak), and other homemade specialties. There's also a well-stocked deli counter where you'll find high quality imported meats, cheeses, and olives. It's no use resisting the bakery counter, which is filled with cookies, cake and Italian pastries.


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If you're craving tasty Mexican grub in Scottsdale, Mucha Lucha Taco Shop is here to serve. As its name implies, you'll come to this stylish fast-casual restaurant - which features bright pink walls and oversize murals of Mexican luchadores - for its craveable menu of classic Mexican street tacos like carne asada and barbacoa. But the expansive menu also includes specialty burritos, chimichangas, seafood, taco salads and classic snacks like nachos. Almost everything is prepared on site, including an assortment of homemade salsas. If you can't decide what to order, try the five street taco combo, which gives you a taste of the various meats on the menu. Of course, you'll want to top off your meal with an order of hot churros.


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Tucked away in the Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale, Virtu is a charming cafe with a world-class menu. After only a few months in operation, the small eatery made a big splash by appearing in Esquire Magazine's annual Best New Restaurants in America list. The menu incorporates Mediterranean flavors, finely tuned and delivered with haute sensibility. Try the grilled octopus, which is cooked tender and served with fennel, arugula, lemon chick peas, and calabrese chile butter. Don't miss the hand-crafted cocktail menu. A seat in the tiny dining room here is in high demand, so make sure to make reservations to secure your place at the Virtu table.


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Sophisticated yet down-home, FnB remains the darling of the Scottsdale culinary scene. The menu, which changes frequently, is based on seasonal ingredients sourced from local vendors and farms. The farm-fresh ingredients are carefully selected to create unexpected and delightful pairings. On any given visit, you'll find succulent combos such as leeks and grilled broccoli, brussels sprouts with meyer lemon, chile, and mint, or roasted beets with yogurt, oil cured olives, cilantro and pine nuts. Expect the unexpected at FnB, where the artful plates are served with locally crafted beer or ative Arizona wine. Don't miss the homemade butterscotch pudding for dessert, or the sticky grapefruit cake.


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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