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Best of Arizona Restaurants | Luxury Dining in the Desert

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The Best of Arizona Restaurants | Luxury Dining & Wining, AZ Style

Christopher's

Photo by Mark Sacro

We’ve spent decades tasting our way through the best of Arizona restaurants. Now, it’s your turn to experience our luxury dining scene.

The Arizona culinary scene has flourished with renowned chefs, innovative cuisine and luxury dining options to fit every taste. From amazing brunches to impeccable fine dining, the best of Arizona restaurants offer delicious and upscale experiences that both locals and visitors will rave about from sunup to sun down.

BEST BRUNCH

THE AMERICANO | NORTH SCOTTSDALE

The Americano

Photo courtesy of The Americano

Celebrity chef Scott Conant, known for his many “Food Network” appearances, opened The Americano, a modern Italian-inspired steakhouse in North Scottsdale in 2020. In addition to dinner and happy hour, The Americano offers an upscale Sunday brunch with offerings like a chamomile honey bun with orange blossom crème fraiche, Wagyu beef cheek hash with poached egg and seasonal vegetables, steak and eggs with a choice of ribeye or filet and polenta ricotta pancakes with huckleberry compote and whipped mascarpone butter. 

Known for inventive cocktails, The Americano’s brunch libations include the Americano Mimosa with kumquat liqueur, Heirloom Creme de Flora and orange; the Rosa Mimosa with Malfy Gin Rosa, Ramazzotti Aperitivo Rosato and sparkling rose; and the Vampiro Americano, the restaurant’s house-made bloody Mary garnished with black sea salt rim, spicy pickle and crispy pancetta.

BUCK & RIDER | NORTH SCOTTSDALE

Photo courtesy of Buck & Rider

While you might not immediately think of a seafood restaurant for brunch, head to the recently opened 10,000-square-foot Buck & Rider in North Scottsdale to have your tastebuds tantalized by baja shrimp ceviche, crab cake benedict and Brent’s lobster & waffle. 

Designed by Phoenix’s renowned restaurant architect, Cathy Hayes, the new restaurant (and third location of Buck & Rider) is grand, timeless and intimate. Complete with a 10-seat sushi bar, a popular raw bar that is continuously updated to reflect the best fish and oyster selection from around the world, two patios that bridge the indoor and outdoor connection and two fire pits, perfect for enjoying brunch with friends and family.

ZUZU AT HOTEL VALLEY HO | OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE

ZuZu

Photo courtesy of ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho

Located in the chic mid-century modern Hotel Valley Ho, ZuZu offers brunch daily from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with creative dishes like cinnamon roll bread pudding and breakfast fried rice, and Southwestern favorites like huevos rancheros, as well as traditional options. 

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Indulge in a brunch cocktail like an espresso martini made with chili chocolate infused vodka and cold brew, and the Sunny in Scottsdale with vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and cucumber juice. ZuZu also has a private room that can accommodate up to 24 guests.  

CHIC LUNCH

FRANCINE | OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE

Francine

Photo by Mark Sacro

Located in the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square, Francine opened in 2020 and has received several awards for its Mediterranean-inspired menu highlighting dishes from the south of France, which is the homeland of founder Laurent Halasz. The restaurant is named for his mother and the elegant meals she used to host. 

Lunch options include salad Niçoise, grilled octopus, Croque Madame and mushroom pasta. Francine’s menu focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients utilizing local suppliers and farms.

TIA CARMEN AT JW MARRIOTT RESORT AND SPA | NORTH PHOENIX

Tia Carmen

Photo courtesy of Tia Carmen

In April 2022, celebrity chef Angelo Sosa, known for appearances on “Top Chef” and Food Network, opened Tia Carmen at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in North Phoenix. The restaurant is named for his aunt who inspired his passion for cooking. Tia Carmen’s menu highlights local ingredients and suppliers including gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.

Locals and resort guests seeking an elevated lunch experience can enjoy beef cheek tostada, tuna crudo with corn coconut broth, chicken guisado, grass fed burger topped with bone marrow and hatch chile bacon jam and more. For dessert, try the vanilla flan with tequila caramel and manchego cheese, or the pan dulce tres leches ice cream sandwich.  

BEST PATIO

LON’S AT THE HERMOSA INN | PARADISE VALLEY

Photo courtesy of the Hermosa Inn

For a truly Arizona dining experience in a tranquil desert setting, visit LON’s at the Hermosa Inn. In the 1930s, the Hermosa Inn was the residence and art studio of cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee and features traditional Southwestern architecture, including adobe bricks, wood beams and hand-painted Mexican tile, as well as stunning views of Camelback Mountain and lush landscaping. 

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LON’s offers local and seasonal ingredients, a beautiful outdoor patio and LON’s Last Drop bar, named after one of Megargee’s ICONIC paintings, many of which are displayed throughout the resort. Shareable plates on the lunch menu include the Sonoran chopped salad with grilled corn, black beans and avocado, shrimp tacos with avocado lime crema and the Stetson burger. Lunch is served on weekdays and weekend brunch offerings include monkey bread with salted caramel and cream cheese icing, short rib hash and the Palo Cristi frittata with foraged mushrooms and local cheese. 

EL CHORRO | PARADISE VALLEY

El Chorro

Photo courtesy of El Chorro

A historic restaurant in Paradise Valley and a landmark for locals, El Chorro has a long history of rich tradition and culinary excellence. The property was originally opened as the Judson School for Girls by Dr. John C. Lincoln in 1934, while he was building the neighboring Camelback Inn. The property’s 22 acres were later purchased by Jan and Mark Gruber in 1937, who converted it into a restaurant and lodge, and El Chorro was born. 

After a green-focused renovation to the facilities, a solar-energy water heating system, insulation made of recycled blue jeans and solar electric panels that reduce energy use by more than 50 percent were implemented into the property. El Chorro became the first restaurant in Arizona to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Gold Certification.

Famous for their sweet sticky buns served before each meal, El Chorro focuses on what they call “Arizona cuisine with a Southwestern flare.” With a variety of fresh, seasonally inspired and innovative dishes to pick from, guests can order dishes like flash fried lobster tail, roasted pork tenderloin or beef stroganoff.

FINE DINING

CHRISTOPHER’S AT THE WRIGLEY MANSION | PHOENIX

Christophers

Photo by Mark Sacro

Celebrated chef Christopher Gross has been an Arizona culinary icon for decades. In March 2021, Christopher’s opened at the famous Wrigley Mansion offering an intimate, multi-course fine dining experience. 

The space is a great complement to the exquisite dishes with floor-to-ceiling windows and dramatic views of the Phoenix cityscape and Camelback Mountain. Diners can opt for wine pairings with each course or select a bottle from one of the largest wine lists in Arizona. The tasting menu is available Thursday through Saturday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Christopher’s offers a classics menu featuring some of the chef’s most renowned dishes such as house-smoked Scottish salmon, foie gras terrine and the chocolate tower dessert created in 1982.

SEL | OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE

Sel

Photo courtesy of Sel

Tucked among the art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale, Sel, which means salt in French, offers beautiful plates, exceptional service and an intimate ambience. Owned and operated by husband and wife, Chef Branden and May Levine, Sel uses organic, fresh and local ingredients to create balanced and flavorful dishes. Chef Branden learned to cook from his mother and has worked in kitchens around the world which has inspired his global cuisine. 

Sel is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Diners can enjoy a tasting menu with wine pairings which is also available as a vegetarian option, as well as a la carte items. Recent items on the regularly changing menu include seared Chilean sea bass with clam dashi chowder, truffled lobster tagliatelle, roasted mushroom ramen and duck breast with butternut squash pudding. 

TARBELL’S | PHOENIX

Tarbells

Photo courtesy of Tarbell’s

After growing up in a small town in New Hampshire and working in Amsterdam and Paris. Chef Mark Tarbell opened Tarbell’s in Phoenix in 1994 followed by the Wine Store in 2013 and the Tavern in 2014. In addition to receiving several awards, Chef Tarbell is known for supporting the community and aspiring chefs, as well as his television appearances including hosting a local television show highlighting local restaurants. 

The menu at Tarbell’s features fresh dishes with local and seasonal ingredients including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, as well as an extensive wine selection. Favorite dishes include pulled-to-order mozzarella with basil pesto, pasta, seafood and cheesecake with rosemary caramel sauce.

AUTHENTIC CUISINE

KAI AT SHERATON GRAND AT WILD HORSE PASS | PHOENIX

Photo courtesy of Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

With a focus on exceptional service and indigenous ingredients, Kai at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is a truly unique and refined experience, as evidenced by its impressive accolades, including being the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant in the state. 

Kai, which means “seed” in the Pima language, immerses diners in the culture and cuisine of the local Pima and Maricopa tribes. Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, Kai offers a tasting menu that changes based on local and seasonal ingredients to showcase Arizona agriculture.

PHOENIX CITY GRILLE | PHOENIX

Photo by Timothy Fox Photography

A local favorite since 1997, Phoenix City Grille highlights ingredients from regional farms and suppliers, and offers an extensive list of libations. The menu at Phoenix City Grille changes seasonally and specials are offered regularly. Popular dishes recommended by restaurant regulars include bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with cotija cheese, braised short ribs, green chile pork and buttermilk pie. 

The hummus highlights fresh naan from a local bakery, as well as garbanzos from a local farm. The Ramona Farms Super Food Salad features local produce including arugula, winter squash, tepary beans and wheat berries.

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