10 Best Restaurants for a Taste of South Scottsdale

With its proximity to Old Town Scottsdale and Tempe, south Scottsdale is a busy part of town with plenty of good dining options.

Foodies won't want to miss FnB, one of south Scottsdale's most popular and well-reviewed restaurants. The seasonal menu features local ingredients full of unexpected culinary pairings, and there's a large selection of craft beer and Arizona wine.

A special occasion destination in south Scottsdale is Cafe Monarch, where a beautiful outdoor patio sets a palpably romantic mood. The seasonal, four-course menus are legendary here. 

For light yet delicious fare on the go, check out Noodles Ranch on McDowell Road. The small, family-owned eatery delivers a fragrant, savory pho, along with many other Vietnamese specialties. 

On this side of Scottsdale, you'll also find perennial culinary darlings like FnB, a farm-to-table staple from James Beard Award-winning chef Charlene Badman. While you're here, make sure to sample the menu of Arizona-made wines. 






Photo courtesy of Sel

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 South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Sel offers a satisfying fine dining tasting menu in south Scottsdale.

Patricia's expert tip: Although you can order a la carte, the best value is in the restaurant's signature prix fixe menu.

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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.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: If you're looking some of the most exquisite and fresh seafood dishes in town, you've found it at Chula Seafood.

Patricia's expert tip: Please note that Chula Seafood is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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Noodles Ranch in south Scottsdale specializes in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, as well as unique dishes inspired by the flavors of Vietnam. Dishes are prepared fresh to order and created with lean meats and minimal oil. Healthy substitutions include buckwheat noodles, brown rice, and gluten free noodles are also available. House specials include the starter sharing plate, which comes with spicy pork Vietnamese summer roll, crispy veggie pot stickers, and zen spring rolls with asparagus and Shitake mushrooms. There are also a number of seafood specials, wok stir-fried plates, and specialty salads. Take-out service is also available for fresh Vietnamese on the go.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Noodles Ranch makes authentic, fresh Vietnamese fare in south Scottsdale, including an exquisite pho.

Patricia's expert tip: If you have room for dessert, try the delicious bread pudding, made with a sweet and savory coconut sauce.

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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.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Roaring Fork in Scottsdale prepares delicious wood-fired cuisine in a rustic, homey dining room.

Patricia's expert tip: Roaring Fork may have one of the most generous and wide-ranging happy hour menus in the city. Enjoy discounts on signature cocktails, wine by the glass and popular appetizers like the pork wings and chicken flatbread.

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How about a late morning breakfast in a sun-drenched patio, with monarch butterflies fluttering at a respectful distance? Sound too good to be true? Fortunately, Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale is a very real place. Experience a truly unique dining ambiance in this cozy cafe, featuring one of the most romantic dining rooms and patios in town. The menu changes frequently to ensure fresh, seasonally-inspired dishes. The four-course prixe fixe menu allows guests to sample a long, leisurely meal that bursting with locally sourced ingredients and careful attention to detail. Be sure to make reservations well in advance to ensure your place at the table.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Cafe Monarch offers one of the most romantic settings for upscale fine dining in Scottsdale's south side.

Patricia's expert tip: Advanced reservations are highly recommended.

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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 iself by serving craft beers, classic and contemporary cocktails as well as a full menu of award-winning gastropub 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.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Citizen Public House brings the English pub concept to Scottsdale with winning results.

Patricia's expert tip: The restaurant/pub's social hour happens 3pm to 6pm daily.

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Savor the joys of an authentic Cornish pasty (pronounced pass-tee) without even having to jet off across the pond. The Cornish pasty is a traditional English comfort food featuring a variety of meats, veggies and cheeses, all stuffed into a pastry pocket. The pasty gets a twist at the Cornish Pasty Company, where diners can choose from an extensive menu of signature, premium, and vegetarian pasties. Try the Oggie, the traditional Cornish pasty made with steak, potatoes, onion, rutabaga, and served with a side of red wine gravy or ketchup. Pasty lovers will enjoy exploring the diverse menu, which also features Mexican, Italian, Greek, and Indian variations on this English classic. The large veggie pasty menu has made this a favorite stopping point for vegetarian foodies.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Cornish Pasty Co. has a huge menu of the traditional Cornish delicacies, along with an impressive beer menu and great lively ambiance.

Patricia's expert tip: Love the pasties? You can have them shipped to your home. Ask a server for details.

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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.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Defalco's Italian Grocery offers authentic Italian deli and hot food options that are comfort food heaven.

Patricia's expert tip: When you are craving authentic antipasto and imported Italian meats, Defalco is a surefire palate-pleaser.

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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 with Southwestern zest. 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.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: Virtu has earned rave reviews from critics and foodies across the country, offering artful, gourmet fare in south Scottsdale.

Patricia's expert tip: The grilled octopus is a simple but very popular starter.

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Sophisticated yet down-home, FnB is 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 yoghurt, oil cured olives, cilantro and pinenuts. Expect the unexpected at FnB, where the artful plates are served with locally crafted beer and native Arizona wine. FnB's new location also features a small wine shop and a bodega market.

Recommended for South Scottsdale's Best Restaurants because: FnB's James Beard Award-winning chef Charleen Badman are true Scottsdale originals, serving vegetable-intensive fare in a lively dining room.

Patricia's expert tip: FnB continues to be one of the best places in Scottsdale and metro Phoenix to explore and sample the world of Arizona-made wine.

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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.