By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
Be My Valentine: If your sweetie requires high-end, high-up dining, the Valley offers plenty of choices. Among the best:
Top of the Rock (the Buttes, 225-9000): This beautiful room provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the Valley. The Southwestern-themed food looks just as good. If the lobster Napoleon is on the menu, don't hesitate. Mary Elaine's (Phoenician, 941-8200): Gaze at the Valley from the same spot that enchanted Charlie Keating and wife Mary Elaine. Rumor has it you can still hear their words echo: "Look at all those suckers down there." The food, though, is no rumor. It's first-class, inspired by the Mediterranean. The obsequious service is sure to impress. Etienne's Different Pointe of View (Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs, 863-0912): A dazzling view, a snazzy room and elegant food make this a real special-occasion spot. Rack of lamb will have you oohing and baaing. If the only view you need is of each other's eyes, these places serve exceptional fare:
Cafe Terra Cotta (Borgata, Scottsdale, 948-8100): Gorgeous Southwestern fare that joins meat, fruit, chiles and spices in artful combinations. Scrumptious gourmet pizzas, too. Franco's Trattoria (9619 North Hayden, Scottsdale, 948-6655): One of the town's premier Italian kitchens. Bresaola, veal chops, risotto--a genuine Florentine delight. Ruth's Chris Steak House (7001 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 991-5988): Nothing romantic about a slab of meat, you say? This place will change your mind. About the best steaks you're likely to run across, and everything else--appetizers, side dishes, desserts--is just as good. Vincent Guerithault on Camelback (3930 East Camelback, 224-0225): The ideal spot for couples who no longer have anything to talk about--the food here will inspire plenty of conversation. Terrific veal sweetbreads, and expertly prepared grilled fish. If you've got more love than money, there are still a few budget options:
Honey Bear's BBQ (5012 East Van Buren, 273-9178): Honey Bear's great Tennessee barbecue sauce doesn't smell like Chanel No. 5, but it gets most fellas just as excited. Munching these ribs is a sensual delight. Guedo's Taco Shop (71 East Chandler Boulevard, Chandler, 899-7841): Terrific marinated beef, pork and chicken, charbroiled to perfection. If tacos be the food of love, play on. Pho Bang (1702 West Camelback, 433-9440): Vietnamese food that will spice up any relationship. Grilling your own beef and shrimp should start your evening off with a romantic sizzle. Gung Hay Fat Choy: It may be the Year of the Dog, but that's no reason not to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
If you want to turn Valentine's Day into an all-day eating orgy, you can start by feasting on dim sum. Both China Doll (3336 North Seventh Avenue, 264-0538) and Great Wall (5055 North 35th Avenue, 973-1112) serve a huge variety of these brunchtime treats. For authentically exotic fare, check out C-Fu Gourmet (6438 South McClintock, Tempe, 831-8899). It features seafood so fresh, it's alive when you order it. In the same league is Big Wong (616 West Indian School, 277-2870), where you can enter the mysterious world of clay-pot cooking.