Fun, festive decor creates a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy heaping portions of Mexican favorites. If you're famished, an appetizer of beef gorditas will more than tide you over until the main course arrives. Blue corn crab enchiladas, grilled chicken with spinach in chipotle cream sauce, and to-die-for guacamole are just some of the crowd favorites here. For an exquisite and unforgettable entree, order the lamb adobo, a lamb shank drenched in adobo sauce and served with grilled vegetables, beans and tortillas. After dinner, head to the patio for a change of pace and to tackle a luscious dessert. That's right, with chocolate tamales on the menu, who can resist?
Recommended for Southwestern because: Los Sombreros is a popular and reliable option for Mexican food in Scottsdale.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the delicious queso fundido as a starter.
Blue Adobe Grille is the brainchild of Chef and Owner Jose Leyva, who brings traditional "New" Mexican cuisine to Scottsdale with his unique take on such regional favorites as chimichangas, enchiladas and rellenos. The menu branches out into American comfort food staples, with pizza, sandwiches, and even meat loaf making an appearance on the eclectic menu--all infused with traditional Mexican and Southwestern ingredients and flavors. The fire wood grille with pecan wood and 100% Hatch chiles make for a perfect balance of flavor and spice. Try the tasty and authentic pork posole stew, or one of the house favorites, carne adovada.
Recommended for Southwestern because: The Blue Adobe Grille in Scottsdale is one of the city's finest purveyors of authentic New Mexican-style Southwestern cuisine.
Patricia's expert tip: This is a friendly neighborhood spot with a revolving calendar of events and specials. Come on a Thursday for live music and try the "Killer Margarita," a house favorite.
This pleasant hotel restaurant offers views of the surrounding McDowell Mountains from indoor and open-air dining areas, not to mention superb service and casual, relaxed atmosphere. Pan-seared maple-glazed salmon and a roasted rib-eye with grilled asparagus are two dinner favorites, as are wood-fired roasted chicken and smoked baby back pork ribs, served with ancho chile barbecue sauce and roasted corn. For dessert, try the house chocolate brownie, a warm spiced brownie made with bittersweet chocolate sauce and dulce de leche ice cream. An unforgettable treat. Sunday brunch is a tempting highlight as well. Sit back and watch the chefs create wood-fired Southwestern specialties using fresh seasonal ingredients.
Recommended for Southwestern because: SWB Southwest Bistro serves regionally-inspired dishes in a relaxing resort atmosphere offering stunning views of the McDowell Mountains.
Patricia's expert tip: For breakfast, try the SWB Breakfast, eggs prepared your style with a side of smoked pork, black beans, salsa, guacamole and tortillas.
This family-owned restaurant, tucked into a shopping center in far north Scottsdale, offers an accessible menu of regional Mexican specialties. You'll find everything from nachos to Yucatan-style cochinita pibil. Regional dishes from Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara and Puebla, to name a few, are well-represented on the menu, which means there is something here to please pretty much everyone. Whether you're craving a silky mole or Baja fish tacos, chances are you will find it here. Dishes are carefully crafted and plated, and the restaurant itself is pleasant and casually upscale, with a full bar offering signature Mexican-inspired cocktails.
Recommended for Southwestern because: La Hacienda offers a refined take on traditional Mexican dishes in an unfussy but upscale setting.
Patricia's expert tip: Happy Hour happens Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
If ever there was a place to enjoy a sophisticated dinner amid the flicker of candlelight, The Mission in Scottsdale is it. This casual upscale restaurant specializes in "modern Latin cuisine" skillfully prepared by Chef Matt Carter using a traditional "plancha" style grill. Kick your meal off with the Crispy Cola Pork, pork belly infused with cola, lime, chiltepin, peanut, pickled red onion and gem lettuce. Try the Pork Shoulder tacos, which features a house pineapple glaze, cilantro, red onions and ten hand made corn tortillas. Another stand-out is the Chorizo Porchetta, pork shoulder, chorizo, rosemary, cotija, white bean puree and sweet garlic crema. Dishes are infused with the traditional essence of pecan and mesquite wood and feature a creative fusion of Spanish and Latin American flavors.
Recommended for Southwestern because: The Mission is a Scottsdale restaurant that marries Southwestern, Mexican and Old World sensibilities for a unique dining experience.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the Premarita Margarita, made with Partida Tequila and organic agave nectar.
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 Southwestern because: Roaring Fork is the place to go when you're craving Mesquite-grilled meats and veggies in a warm, Southwestern setting.
Patricia's expert tip: Come hungry - the plates here are famously huge.
This small, unassuming south Scottsdale cafe dishes out delicious Mexican food. The Blind Pig may not sound like your typical Mexican restaurant, but the plates are brimming with traditional flavors. For starters, try the guacamole, made fresh daily and featuring a zesty kick. There's also the decadent queso fundido, made with beans, serrano peppers, butcher shop chorizo, and creamy white cheddar. For something more refreshing, try the tangy and fresh ceviche. The eclectic entree menu features everything from Mexican-style pork chops with mole to the house Mexican pizza and burrito combos. A full wine, beer and cocktail menu is also available.
Recommended for Southwestern because: The Blind Pig is a long-time Scottsdale favorite for southwestern cuisine.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the nachos, a house favorite.
Lon's pays homage to Arizona's rustic Southwestern cowboy history in the most elegant of ways; 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 Southwestern because: Lon's offers creative Southwestern-infused dishes served in one of the Scottsdale's most beautiful patio dining rooms.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the fresh-baked Brioche, aka "Monkey Bread."
Fuego Bistro is a staple of Phoenix's uptown dining scene, bringing southwestern and Latin American-inspired panache to a strong menu. This cozy bistro is tucked away inside Fountain Court Plaza, and features a small but comfortable dining room, a picturesque patio beneath the stars, and a full service bar. The menu offers a collection of classic Latin American dishes, including Cuban and Puerto Rican staples like Pernil Asado, Ropa Vieja and Arroz con Gandules. The restaurant also offers a social hour, which happens 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
Recommended for Southwestern because: Fuego Bistro is an uptown Phoenix staples, serving refined takes on Latin American dishes.
Patricia's expert tip: Fuego Bistro is located in uptown Phoenix, but it's convenient to Scottsdale.
Weft & Warp brings southwest-inspired flavors, ingredients and panache to what might otherwise be a stale hotel restaurant. Instead, this art-inspired restaurant offers sleek design and a creative, well-composed menu. The dining room is sunny and casual, featuring a sleek open plancha-style kitchen, chef's table seating and a patio with views of palm trees and Camelback Mountain in the distance. The menu incorporates Sonoran Desert in dishes like Arizona-grown Medjool dates, sliced and served with fresh cream and pistachio crumbles. Even more intriguing are the Crow's Dairy goat cheese dumplings. Mains include a Sonoran "risotto" made with local wheat berries, wild rice, and quinoa.
Recommended for Southwestern because: Weft & Warp offers refined, Sonoran Desert-inspired flavors in a chic resort dining room.
Patricia's expert tip: Weft & Warp offers a strong brunch menu on the weekends.