The Scottsdale Restaurants You Should Be Dining at Right Now
From cozy neighborhood gems to luxurious French-inspired bistros.
Yes, Scottsdale is glamorous and full of luxury shopping, high-end resorts, and parties with the rich and famous. But Scottsdale is a little misunderstood. Traverse the city that is Phoenix-adjacent and you’ll find quiet developments in North Scottsdale that sit next to McDowell Mountain Preserve and Frank Lloyd Wright historic designs scattered throughout. There’s history and charm to this city that visitors may flock to for the Waste Management Open or the Barrett-Jackson car auction, but locals know there’s so much more, which includes the dining.
Yes, there are restaurants that will cost you a pretty penny (and be worth it) but there are also neighborhood outlets with craveable dishes and a relaxed atmosphere. To try and list all of the best restaurants in Scottsdale is simply impossible; there is an endless and ever changing selection. With some new and old favorites, here is our list of the best restaurants in Scottsdale right now.
The wood-fired restaurant has three other locations in the country but their Scottsdale location has just celebrated its first anniversary. Clean, modern decor with homey touches combines well with the elevated comfort food. You cannot skip starting with the light-as-air focaccia smeared with ricotta, honey, and black truffle before diving into the rich and spicy lumache alla vodka. Dishes are served with an encouragement to share with the table, so feel free to order a few of the wood-fired entrees, including the signature yogurt marinated chicken that is impossible to stop eating.
Fire At Will
There will always be a need for neighborhood restaurants. They provide reliable comfort, almost like an extension of your home kitchen. Fire at Will is such a place, tucked into an unsuspecting strip mall and bursting with flavor. The comfortable chairs lull patrons into lingering over shared appetizers of Iberico ham croquettes, bacon wrapped dates with muhammara, and crispy brussel sprouts with nuoc cham. The eclectic entrees are exactly what you want, enough variety to handle any craving. Keep an eye out for the signature Hush Burger, a rich and cheesy amalgam that melts in the mouth.
Hush Public House
If you go to Hush Public House, you can see some resemblance to the upscale yet warm atmosphere at Fire at Will, chef Dom Ruggiero’s other restaurant. But that’s where the resemblance stops, as Hush Public House’s menu takes things up a notch. Start with the butcher’s country pate or the crab hush puppies before moving onto some superb pasta dishes; the Gnocchi Sardi and Malfadine are both made with Sonoran Pasta Co. ingredients. Meat entrees include Scallops with a Chorizo Risotto or an Italian Beef dish that is made with Tender Oxtail. Save room for the Chocolate Budino with olive oil to round things out.
While we may be miles away from the nearest ocean, the seafood is always fresh at Chula. Having your own boat and family owned and operated fishery in Point Loma undoubtedly helps. The family business off-loads directly from the boat in California and delivers straight to Arizona. And for that, we are all so grateful. The three Valley locations, two of which are in Scottsdale, are one of the best places in town to not only purchase fresh seafood, but sit and chow down on some. The poke bowls are notoriously good and you can wrap your hands around one of Chula Seafood’s famous sandwiches, like the green chile tuna melt. There’s also a daily special to keep things interesting and a bar with Happy Hour pricing Monday to Friday.
Citizen Public House
Heralded by James Beard Foundation award nominee Chef Bernie Kantak, Citizen Public House offers a contemporary approach to gastropub eats. The unpretentious Old Town restaurant has nabbed numerous awards and accolades since its opening in 2011. And guests come back again and again for their fine cocktails and pub-style fare, which includes the signature mac and cheese, crab cakes with oaxacan chile remoulade, sauced short ribs, and of course, the original chopped salad. Don’t miss Benjamin’s Upstairs on your next visit to this Scottsdale staple. The swanky, speakeasy-style lounge is an extension of the restaurant that’s effortlessly hidden above the main floor.
Fat Ox’s elegant and contemporary setting matches the modern and sophisticated approach to Italian cuisine. It is definitely worthy of a special evening but the atmosphere is welcoming enough for a casual night out. And, quite frankly, whenever you can get chef Matt Carter’s handmade pasta, you should. New bar director, Christiaan Röllich, is using his years of top-tier libation creation to redesign the cocktail menu. The new drinks are impeccable, light, and easy to savor; make sure to try The Bartender’s Handshake for a fernet cocktail you will devour. Besides the expertly made pasta dishes—which you absolutely cannot miss—meats are fired to perfection, including the Pluma Iberico de Bellota, the best piece of pork you’ll ever have.
James Beard Foundation award winner, co-owner and Chef at FnB, Charleen Badman, is a vegetable whisperer. While this inviting Old Town restaurant doesn’t lack in its protein offerings—think grilled quail, ribeye with onion jam, and pink grouper—it’s the veggies that are the true stars of the show. Locally grown ingredients sourced from Arizona farmers and purveyors like heirloom cauliflower, in-season squash, and fresh greens, to name a few, all take center plate at FnB. Always a treat, FnB offers a seasonally driven approach to its farm-to-table cuisine. The restaurant's ever-changing menu will surprise you on each visit. And after you clean your plate you’ll likely ask yourself, who knew vegetables could taste this good? FnB offers an unparalleled, truly Arizona dining experience, with a global wine list to match.
Francine’s light and bright atmosphere makes it easy to pretend you’re living the good life in the South of France alongside the regionally inspired plates. The upscale, ultra-luxe restaurant offers French flavors with carefully plated creations like the rack of lamb, duck breast with huckleberry, and Mediterranean branzino. The brunch menu covers everything from Croque Madame to grilled octopus to crab and shrimp salad. Happily, they’re also open for lunch, which means you can grab your midday Quiche Lorraine all week long.
The House Brasserie
Not many restaurants are garnished with a white picket fence, a shaded brick patio, and a romantic fireplace. But Old Town Scottsdale’s House Brasserie isn’t just any old restaurant. This family home-turned-restaurant was originally built in 1939, making it the second oldest house in Scottsdale.The ambiance and setting harken back to the Victorian-era and chef Brandon Jedd has crafted a New American-style menu that offers a contemporary approach on the French technique with a Mediterranean twist. From the heirloom cauliflower steak with eggplant compote to the umami ribeye served with garlic mashed potatoes and trumpet mushrooms, House Brasserie offers something for every palate and preference. And save room for dessert. The citrus olive oil cake with whipped mascarpone and peach balsamic sorbet is not to be missed.
With two locations in Old Town and Kierland, The Mission is deftly serving modern Latin cuisine, drawing influences from Mexico, Spain, Central America, and South America. The Old Town location is aptly positioned next to The Old Adobe Mission, built by hand by Mexican immigrants who settled in Scottsdale in the late 1910s; appropriately, the Kierland counterpart has a sexier, more contemporary vibe with two stories of seating, a giant amber-colored cross anchored behind the luxe bar, backlit Himalayan salt stairs, and a spacious patio that overlooks Kierland Commons. Either way, you can expect signature tacos and favorites like empanadas, tostadas, aquachile, and plancha-kissed proteins. The menu certainly offers a variety to ponder over, but whatever you do, please put in an order of the Peruvian duck fried rice—you’re welcome.
Shinbay Omakase Room
A James Beard semifinalist, Shinbay is one of the city’s ultimate destinations for anyone who appreciates food and is a bit adventurous. Should you be lucky enough to score a reservation at the Old Town omakase room, you can expect an expertly crafted and carefully curated selection of Japanese seafood and exotic ingredients presented to you via a parade of small plates directly from the hands of chef Shinji Kurita. The food, with tantalizing flavors and flawlessly displayed, will not disappoint. The intimate dining experience is highly personal and the restaurant offers just 12 seats. Reservations book up quickly. And you’ll need one for this unforgettable dining endeavor.
Asonta Benetti is a Phoenix-based freelance writer specializing in travel, food, and beverage. Her credits include Food & Wine, VinePair, AFAR, Eater, and Bon Appétit, among others.