Native Florentine and longtime Valley restaurateur Franco Fazzuoli brings fresh, 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.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Looking for a quiet romantic spot in the heart of downtown Scottsdale? Check out Franco's Italian Caffe.
Patricia's expert tip: Be sure to book a reservation. Franco's Italian Caffe can fill up fast.
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.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: You'll feel like you've stumbled on an elegant villa in the desert at Sassi in Scottsdale. The food tends to be as good as the views.
Patricia's expert tip: Although you can order a la carte, the best value is in the restaurant's signature prix fixe menu.
Lon's pays homage to Arizona's rustic Southwestern cowboy history in a surprisingly elegant way, the ambiance is strikingly different from what you would expect. The decor suggests cowboy, but the menu and staff dress it up and give the whole place an air of luxury. Menu highlights might include two-pepper roasted pork tenderloin or breast of duck with cranberry and jalapeno glaze. The unique Sunday brunch menu offers such things as braised beef short ribs with a sunnyside-up egg or strawberry and mascarpone stuffed brioche French toast. Additionally, everything on the menu is organic, humanely raised, and from ecologically sound sources.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The homey ambiance of this historic southwestern inn makes Lon's at the Hermosa one of Scottsdale's most romantic brunch, lunch and dinner spots.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the fresh-baked Brioche, aka "Monkey Bread."
Hand-crafted Italian cuisine is the star of the show at Marcellino's Ristorante in Scottsdale, where Chef Marcellino creates classic Italian dishes with a fresh and modern twist. Some of the stand-outs on the hand-crafted pasta menu include the Gnocchi Sorrentina, a hand-rolled potato pasta in a tomato sauce tossed with fresh mozzarella. Don't skip your antipasti though, because you'll want to sample the Caprese made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted pepper and homegrown basil. Try the Insalata di Pera, made with pear slices served on fresh watercress with shaved pecorino and a made-from-scratch lemon dressing. This Old Town gem is ideal for date night or special occasion.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Live music, a lovely dining room and garden patio make Marcellino a romantic spot in downtown Scottsdale to enjoy fresh-made pasta with your sweetie.
Patricia's expert tip: Enjoy the tiramisu for dessert, made in the kitchen and featuring drenched espresso and layered with creamy marscapone and dusted with unsweetened cocoa.
As you'd expect in a sumptuous resort setting, Talavera delivers exquisite cuisine, well-considered wine pairings, and a truly spectacular view. While the menu is partially comprised of upscale Spanish Steakhouse, juicy, well-prepared steaks, game, and seafood also find a welcome place. A variety of beef options includes domestic and foreign selections, including grass-fed Southwestern beef and Australian Wagyu. Look for venison, duck, and buffalo as well. The menu sources many ingredients from local farms, including fresh heirloom tomatoes, locally-crafted olive oil, and Arizona ranch-raised meats. Great sunset views of Pinnacle Peak draw many diners to enjoy their meal on the restaurant's stunning outdoor patio.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Mountainside patio views and excellent service make this Spanish Steakhouse restaurant shine. Talavera is a great spot to celebrate a special occasion.
Patricia's expert tip: For a truly memorable experience, try the "Taste of Talavera," the six-course tasting menu.
Asian-inspired place settings and touches of black and white provide a clean, minimal backdrop for elements' glorious mountain views, the restaurant's true centerpiece. While the dinner menu has an Eastern bent, breakfast options are decidedly classic. Go light with Irish oatmeal or a smoothie, or consider an omelet ranchero, eggs with turkey sausage, or pineapple rum pancakes with almond butter and toasted coconut. Feeling decadent? The filet of steak version of eggs benedict boasts foie gras and truffled hollandaise sauce! Brunch adds in salads, burgers, and pasta. For an unforgettable dining experience, call ahead and reserve a spot at the chef's table, including the private chef's table, XII, where you can enjoy the kitchen activity from a front-row seat.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Along with a gourmet Asian-inspired menu, Elements offers some of the best sunset patio views in Scottsdale, perfect for a romantic celebration.
Patricia's expert tip: Die-hard gastronomes will want to reserve a seat at the chef's table, which offers a front row seat of the action.
Bold, bright colors and an attractive open kitchen make Deseo an appealing prospect. Secure a much-coveted seat at the ceviche bar, where you can watch the preparation of your dish and scope out the kitchen. Seafood dominates the menu; sample shrimp marinated in roasted tomato and avocado, juicy lobster tails, or for something different, Colombian corn cakes with a quail egg. Your server can recommend a South American wine to accompany your meal or try a fresh, minty mojito for an extra kick. For a truly special night out, call ahead and reserve the "Epicurean Experience," a three-course dinner where diners get to interact with their chef.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Attentive service, gorgeous plating, and one of the swankiest dining rooms in Scottsdale make Deseo one of Scottsdale's most romantic date night destinations.
Patricia's expert tip: For an unforgettable meal, call ahead and reserve the "Epicurean Experience," an interactive three-course meals that lets diners watch chefs prepare the feast.
EVO is a vintage-inspired Italian restaurant and bar delivering timeless Italian cuisine and high-quality drinks in a sleek, inviting setting. On the food side of the menu, EVO dishes out fresh appetizers and small plates, delicious specialty pizzas, house-made pasta dishes, fish and meat dishes, and luscious desserts. EVO also has an extensive drink menu where you'll find handcrafted cocktails, draft beers, draft spirits, bottled beer, beer on tap, bubbles and wine by the glass. For a refreshing summery drink, make sure to try the Grapefruit Basil cocktail, made with three olives citrus vodka, fresh basil, grapefruit and lime.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: EVO offers a chic yet charming dining room that seems perfect for late-night dining with your favorite date.
Patricia's expert tip: Looking for late night coffee and conversation? Kitchen is open until 1:30 am.
How about a late morning breakfast in a sun-drenched patio, which gracefully transforms into a candlelit oasis in the evenings? Sound too good to be true? Fortunately, Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale is a very real place. Experience a very romantic dining ambiance in this romantic restaurant, which is located in Old Town Scottsdale. For dinner, you'll want to reserve your spot for the four-course prix fixe menu, which changes regularly. The food is seasonal, chef-inspired high-end fare that leans toward classic fine dining (filet mignon and foie gras are mainstays). Café Monarch also has a comfortable 12-seat bar to enjoy a drink before dinner.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Cafe Monarch is a fine date night spot to take your favorite foodie. The seasonal menu features multi-course meals served on a gorgeous patio.
Patricia's expert tip: Come ready to indulge in a prix fixe multi-course meal. Reservations are pretty much required.
Tucked away in the Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale, Virtu Honest Craft 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 on Esquire Magazine's annual Best New Restaurants in America list. The menu incorporates Mediterranean flavors with southwestern sensibilities. Try the grilled octopus, a house staple, which is cooked tender and served with fennel, arugula, lemon chickpeas, 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.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Intimate and refined, Virtu makes for an ideal date night destination for discriminating foodie couples.
Patricia's expert tip: The seasonal tasting menu is probably the best way to experience Virtu.