10 Top Picks for Arizona Restaurant Week, Fall 2015

Believe it or not, Fall Arizona Fall Restaurant Week is just around the corner. And if you want in on the action, you'd better start making some reservations, fast. 

The 10-day event will run from Friday, September 18 to Sunday, September 27, during which time dozens of local restaurant's will offer special menus for either $33 or $44 per person. Most menus include three courses (appetizer, entree, and dessert) and some restaurants are further sweetening the deal with drinks or other add-ons. 

Not all the participating restaurants have menus or prices posted on the Arizona Restaurant Week website quite yet. But here are our top picks among those that do. 

Nobuo at Teeter House
$44/person for three courses 

It's not every week you can enjoy a three course meal from a James Beard Award-winning chef for $44 per person. But that's exactly what you'll find during Restaurant Week at Nobuo at Teeter House in downtown Phoenix. Located in a charming converted home at Heritage Square, this modern Japenese restaurant specializes in elevated Japanese cuisine created by chef Nobuo Fukuda. The Restaurant Week menu includes a vegetable antipasto, daily meat or fish bento box, and a final course that's up the to the chef. Fukuda's known for his omakase menus, and this deal offers a little taste of the chef's specialty.  

The Dhaba 
$33/person for three courses, wine, and masala chai 

For $33 per person you can feast like a king during Restaurant Week at The Dbaha in Tempe. The restaurant specializes in food from Punjab and is offering three courses with wine and masala chai for Restaurant Week this year. You won't be limited to just a few options either; for the first course diners can choose from Ambala Tikki Chaat, Amritsari Samosa Chaat, or a house salad, while entree options include Lakhnavi Shahi Paneer, Kashmiri Chicken Tikka Masala, and Sharabi Kababi Gosht. Of course, your entree includes basmati rice and naan — and that's on top of a desserts such as Gulab Jamun and Kulfi. With gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, this deal is also universally friendly for diners. 

Handmade pastas from Marcellino Ristorante
Handmade pastas from Marcellino Ristorante
Lauren Saria

Marcellino Risorante
$44/person for three courses

At Marcellino Ristorante in Old Town Scottsdale chef Marcellino Verzino makes handcrafted pasta every day. It's a laborious process that's done almost entirely by hand — but the fresh noodles truly shine in dishes such as Gnocchi Sorrentina and Ravioli Del Giorno. During Restaurant Week you can experience the beauty of fresh pasta for yourself when Marcellino Ristorante offers three courses for $44. The meal starts with options such as Scallops con Pesto, Polenta ai Funghi, and Ensalada Organchie and then continues with a second course of dishes such as Fillettino as Tartufo and Paccatelli, or short pasta in a tomato and sausage ragu. For dessert, options include panna cotta and tiramisu. 

Butterscotch banana pudding at Southern Rail
Butterscotch banana pudding at Southern Rail

Southern Rail 
$33/person for three courses and a draft beer or pre-selected glass of Arizona wine (red or white) 

Chef Justin Beckett's Southern Rail is an undeniably stylish restaurant located at The Newton in Phoenix. And for Restaurant Week the restaurant's going all out with a three course deal that also includes a glass of wine or beer. There are plenty of options to choose from, too, including appetizers such as a cup of red beans and rice, cornmeal fried local organic okra, or chopped shrimp remoulade with butter lettuce. For the main courses diners can choose from options including wood fired shrimp and andouille sausage, grilled pork loin with braised red cabbage, or duck confit with collard greens and farro. Diners will still need to save room for dessert, which includes butterscotch banana pudding, brown sugar sweet potato tart, or black forest cake “push-up.” 

Talavera at the Four Seasons 
$44/person for three courses 

The views from Talavera at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale simply can't be beat and they're still just the cherry on top of restaurant's dining experience. Chef Mel Mecinas just made a trip to cook at the James Beard House in Scottsdale earlier this summer, so getting to enjoy three courses of his cuisine is quite a treat. The menu includes luxurious options such as lobster and corn bisque, medallion of New York strip loin with chorizo mac and cheese, and a trip cream Brie napoleon for dessert. We suggest either getting there early to catch the sunset on the restaurant's patio or staying late to admire the starry night sky over a cup of coffee. 

The Gladly 
$33/person for three courses 

We love when restaurants offer some of their most famous dishes on Restaurant Week menus and that's exactly what chef Bernie Kantak has done this time around at The Gladly. For $33 for three courses you can try some of the Biltmore restaurant's most well-loved dishes including the Original Chopped Salad (a salad so famous it has its own Facebook), Duck Meatloaf, and Pan Seared Scallops with sweet corn grits, Tender Belly bacon lardon, sautéed pea tendrils, and cola gastrique. The meal of contemporary American fare will wrap up with The Gladly's ever-original desserts — think, a banana pudding jar or chocolate bread pudding. 

Rancho Pinot 
$44/person for three courses 

We're still giddy with excitement that chef Chrysa Robertson started participating in Restaurant Week last fall. Robertson's restaurant, Rancho Pinot, has been around for more than 20 years, serving rustic American comfort food that's inspired by our local ingredients. For $44 you can try some of Robertson's most famous dishes including Nonni’s Sunday Chicken, made with braised thighs, white wine, mushrooms, herbs, and crispy polenta. Other plates to look forward to include grilled butternut salad and chilled golden beet soup, followed by dessert options including coconut panna cotta, Asian pear crisp, and bittersweet chocolate pecan cake. 

Beaver Choice 
$33/person for three courses plus pre-selected wine 

With nearly a half dozen options for diners to choose from for each of three courses, Beaver Choice in Mesa takes the prize for most flexible Restaurant Week menu. But the wide array of options is far from the only draw: this restaurant also serves some of the only Swedish, Polish and Northern European food in town. If you're not familiar with these cuisines, take Restaurant Week as an opportunity to try Canadian poutine, Polish perogies, Hungarian goulash, and Rødgrød (a Danish fruit dessert) That's quite a culinary adventure for $33 — including a glass of wine. 

Gertrude's
$44/person for three courses plus one glass of wine 

We have to admit, the Restaurant Week menu at Gertrude's is pretty intriguing. And when you consider the restaurant's unique venue at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, it's a pretty powerful motivation to go check the place out. Some of the highlights from the seasonally-influenced menu include burrata with black garlic, Americona almonds, and grilled AZ ciabatta; Carolina Gold Rice Grits with acorn squash, wild mushroom cream, and rosemary bread crumbs; and Donuts + Sauces, a dish that includes ricotta donut holes, smoked hot fudge, salted caramel, and prickly pear jam. 

Christopher's & Crush Lounge
$44/person for three courses with optional wine pairings for $20 

Chef Christopher Gross is hands down one of the Valley's best chefs and his Biltmore-area restaurant, Christopher's, should be on every food lover's must-try list. At the sleek restaurant Gross serves both French classics and contemporary American cuisine; you'll find Duck Confit Cassoulet and Terrine of Duck Liver on the Restaurant Week menu, but also Cedar River Hanger Steak Frites and a Fish of the Day. There's something for everyone on the special menu, including those with a strong sweet tooth. Desert options include Parnassienne of Chocolate or a Lemon Tart with sorbet. Every table also gets a whole loaf of the restaurant's freshly baked bread; even so, you'll still want more of because it's just that good. 

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