Scottsdale boasts one of the liveliest culinary scenes in the US; it’s brimming with brave and ambitious chefs, bold and memorable flavors, and underexposed restaurants that guarantee top-quality dining without that intimidating ‘reputation’, or that noisy table next to you. Here’s our heads up on where to go and what to eat; featuring restaurants that have perfected their take on artful American cuisine, whilst embracing the occasional international influence.
A Classic and a quintessential Scottsdale menu; Cowboy Ciao’s staple, quality American cuisine also incorporates global influences with some noticeable Italian and Latin-inspired flavors on their menu. A feature in the Scottsdale culinary scene for over 15 years, Cowboy Ciao offers various big plates and little platers for guests of varying appetites. Steaks, seafood, quesadillas and various pan-fry dishes form the backbone of a menu that is equally reflective of the energy and buzz that is to be found at Cowboy Ciao. Their menu is lined with hilarious quotes from former diners (“It’s like the fourth of July in my mouth…”) and their colorful baroque-esque décor captures the imagination. It doesn’t hurt that their wine list is inching ever closer to the mightily impressive number of 1800, so when it comes to wine accompaniments, ‘spoiled for choice’ is an understatement.
Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse
Sophisticated and modern, but thoroughly versed in the classic steakhouse ways, Mastro’s is a popular destination for hungry locals and travelers alike. With a vast array of high-quality steaks on offer (cooked to perfection, no less) Mastro’s is keen to avoid overcomplicating the process of trimming, drying and cooking that has worked for years. Instead, they divert their attention to top quality service and to creating an atmosphere that is as fit for romantic dining as much as it is fit for business and family dining. This joint is more than capable when it comes to dessert as well, and If there’s one dessert you have to try before you leave Scottsdale (if you ever do), then make it Mastro’s warm butter cake; a sweet way to round off a delicious meal.
Virtu is Scottsdale’s dining secret that is slowly getting out… Virtu excels in its ability to present a warm and inviting atmosphere whilst offering a menu that would impress (if not intimidate) even the most decorated of Michelin star chefs. Offering a finely-tuned menu that also caters for vegetarians and vegans, Virtu’s head chef Gio Osso is known to change this menu seasonally, and sometimes even daily, in order to serve clients the finest and freshest dishes around. Far from being a concern, this flexibility makes Virtu all the more alluring, and diners can expect prime meats, exquisite seafood, pasta, and the best regional produce.
Olive & Ivy
For higher-end, but still casual dining, Olive & Ivy is a prime destination. Their amazing veranda and waterfront location makes this restaurant perfect for Al-fresco dining on one of Scottsdale’s 320 days of sunshine. The menu consists of Californian cuisine with heavy Mediterranean influences, and their flatbreads, salads, and soups are particularly well received. Olive & Ivy more than holds its own when it comes to meat dishes, however, and their selection of chicken, pork and lamb offerings will certainly hit the spot. Oh, and not to worry if you’re in a rush; you can always grab their renowned shortbread cookie or some delicious gelato to go…