The Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor is a spot that time forgot and redevelopment avoided – and we are grateful. The interior harkens back to 1958, a time when soda jerks and ice cream parlors were still the rage. And so, apparently, was pink: pink vinyl booths, pink stained glass lamps, pink menus at every table, it's as cavity-inducingly sweet as the treats Sugar Bowl sells.
Much of the authenticity of the place after all these years comes thanks to the Huntress family, which has managed to keep the Sugar Bowl for more than 50 years. Carroll Huntress III now owns the sugary sweet landmark after buying out his uncle, original owner Jack Huntress, in the late 90s. Jack Huntress had a talented pal in Bill Keane, whose Family Circus comics have graced Sugar Bowl's menus and walls for years. Keane even features the Sugar Bowl in his comics at times, and we hear he still makes it to Old Town every once in a while for a sundae. Many Sugar Bowl menu items pay homage to landmarks across the Valley, like fizzy ice cream sippers called Camelback sodas, or the Pinnacle Peak sundaes that come with 16 different possible toppings (opt for the fresh baked brownie, too).
Never celebrated a birthday at the Sugar Bowl? What are you waiting for? – Erica O'Neil
4005 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480-946-0051, www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com
The shabby-chic cowboy décor strikes a balance between masculine and feminine, making Cowboy Ciao the perfect place to take Mom and Dad. The wild mushroom pan fry and Stetson chop salad are always solid choices, and the sweet treats at the end are worth the splurge.
7133 E. Stetson Dr., 480-946-3111, www.cowboyciao.com
The Breakfast Club
This is where the pretty people end up after the glitzy clubs close and the hangover starts to set in. Look for your dancing partner from the night before while indulging in the Bar Harbor Flapjacks, packed with blueberries. Carbs are the only cure for a really killer hangover.
4400 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480-222-2582, www.thebreakfastclub.COm
Bottomless champagne brunch, happy hour nibbles, and great late night noshing.
3737 N. Scottsdale Rd.,
Posh Improvisational Cuisine
The name says it all. Check off the ingredients you dislike from a list, and then allow the chefs to fill in the rest of the blanks. From simple amuse bouche to seven-course tasting menu, Posh will take your taste buds on a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure.
7167 E. Rancho Vista Dr., Unit 111, 480-663-7674
This little spot's take on new American cuisine — with plenty of locally sourced products, from wines to veggies — has earned both local and national acclaim.
7133 E. Stetson Dr., Ste. 2,
Breakfast, lunch, and fresh-baked pastries like almond-cream croissants.
7014 E. 1st Ave, 480-941-5665, arcadiafarmscafe.com
The dimly lit garden is perfect for decadent French dining.
7216 E. Shoeman Ln., 480-991-6887, www.petitemaisonaz.com
Citizen Public House Everything bacon is on the menu at this upscale gastropub.
7111 E. 5th Ave., Ste. E, 480-398-4208, www.citizen publichouse.com
Strong martinis and an equally strong menu to balance the booze.
7353 Scottsdale Mall, 480-994-5576, www.az88.com
Geisha A Go Go
A quirky Japanese eatery with flirty cocktails and private karaoke rooms.
7150 E. 6th Ave., 480-699-0055, www.geishaagogo.com
Tapas and sangria are the way to our heart. The brandy-laced sangria is strong and goes well with the pollo colonial, tortilla española, and patatas bravas are our faves, but there are plenty of small bites on the menu for you to mix and match.
7217 E. 1st St., 480-398-3020, www.irunaaz.com
The retro-chic eatery is a perfect complement to the Hotel Valley Ho, with mid-century favorites like beef stroganoff and mac 'n' cheese sharing menu space with hoisin-glazed tofu and artisanal cheeses.
6850 E. Main St., 480-421-7997, www.hotelvalleyho.com/scottsdalerestaurants/cafezuzu.html
Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
Expect fresh-pressed linens and high-class treatment at this swanky steak house. The menu is packed with seafood, pork chops, and just about any prime cut of steak you could desire.
6991 E. Camelback Rd., 480-941-4700 www.mastrorestarurants.com
The manly atmosphere of this hunting den will have you craving a thick burger.
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4422 N. 75th St., 480-945-0828 www.scottsdalelodge.com
The Mission's pride is innovative and modern Latin cuisine.
3815 N. Brown Ave., 480-636-5005 www.themissionaz.com