10 Top Picks for Arizona Restaurant Week, Spring 2015

Check out one of Arizona's best restaurants for $44 a person? Yeah, we're into it.
Check out one of Arizona's best restaurants for $44 a person? Yeah, we're into it.

Twice a year restaurants across Arizona motivate diners to get out and eat by offering prix-fixe menus at a more affordable then usual price point. For 2015 Arizona Spring Restaurant Week, which runs from Friday, May 15 to Monday, May 25, nearly 100 restaurants around the state will serve up special menus for either $33 or $44 per person.

With all those options it's going to be difficult to narrow down your best bets for the 11-day dining spree — but don't fear. We've picked out 10 restaurants that deliver on both value and quality with their Arizona Restaurant Week menus. Reservations are sure to fill up for just about every night of the event, so you're going to want to act on these suggestions fast.

See also: James Beard Awards 2015: Arizona's Kevin Binkley Loses "Best Chef Southwest" to a Texas Chef Again

Binkley's Restaurant Three courses and amuse bouche for $44

Though you won't have any choice about the dishes you get on the Restaurant Week menu at Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a spectacular dinner. James Beard Award Best Chef Southwest finalist Kevin Binkley puts out artistic and dramatic plates of food that showcase local and seasonal ingredients such as beets, radishes, and peaches. And while the three courses are sure to be stunning, the many amuse bouche that will come between each plate will be equally as memorable. Binkley's been known to deliver playful little plates such as miniature Sloppy Joe sandwiches and dramatic showing that include dry ice and flashing lights.

Word to the wise: Start with The Original Chopped Salad.
Word to the wise: Start with The Original Chopped Salad.
The Gladly/Facebook

The Gladly Three courses for $33

Chances are good that by now you've dined at chef Bernie Kantak's Old Town Scottsdale restaurant Citizen Public House. But I'm always surprised to hear how many people have yet to check out CPH's sister spot The Gladly, located in the Biltmore neighborhood. For Restaurant Week the restaurant is offering three courses for $33 with options such as Kantak's well-loved The Original Chopped Salad, pan seared scallops, and duck meatloaf. The chef has a talent for taking familiar fare — such as meatloaf and chicken breast — and adding a playful, innovative twist that makes his restaurants the kind of place that anyone can enjoy.

This Old Town Scottsdale restaurant is a favorite industry spot for late-night eats.
This Old Town Scottsdale restaurant is a favorite industry spot for late-night eats.
EVO/Facebook

EVO Three courses for $33

If you're the kind of diner-in-the-know that likes to dine where the chefs do, then you'll be wanting to head to EVO in Scottsdale. This Italian restaurant flies largely under the radar but is a popular spot with restaurant industry folk who love that the kitchen stays open until 1:30 a.m. everyday. During Restaurant Week you can sample three courses for $33 with options including heirloom tomato gazpacho, espresso crusted bistro steak, and grappa scented berries.

This Gilbert restaurant is well worth the drive.
This Gilbert restaurant is well worth the drive.
Liberty Market/Facebook

Liberty Market Three courses and a beverage for $33

During the day Liberty Market serves the Gilbert community as a bustling neighborhood restaurant and coffee shop and by night you'll find an impressive locally-focused menu that's well worth the drive from whenever you might live. For Restaurant Week the well-designed dining spot will be drawing in diners with three courses and a drink (either a glass of wine on tap or a non-alcoholic beverage) — options include everything from mussels Rockefeller and salad nicoise to chicken pot pie and heritage grain primavera. Many of dishes highlight produce grown at the nearby farm at Agritopia and for dessert you'll have the option of affogato featuring Stumptown espresso.

Located at The Yard in Phoenix, this restaurant exudes East Coast cool.
Located at The Yard in Phoenix, this restaurant exudes East Coast cool.
Little Cleo's Seafood Legend/Facebook

Little Cleo's Seafood Legend Three courses and an amuse bouche for $33

When it comes to seafood in this town there seems to be an ever-increasing number of options, and Little Cleo's Seafood Legend, located at The Yard in Phoenix, is one of the best. During Restaurant Week you can get a pretty sweet deal that includes three courses and an amuse bouche of either three shrimp or three oysters for just $33. The appetizer and entree options include the restaurant's excellent crispy frog legs and grilled octopus, as well as traditional fish and chips and a satisfying bouillabaisse loaded with scallops, mussels, and shrimp. With a sleek, retro, East coast-inspired design, this little restaurant will have you feeling worlds away from Central Phoenix.

Let chef Josh Hebert take you on a real culinary adventure during Restaurant Week.
Let chef Josh Hebert take you on a real culinary adventure during Restaurant Week.
Posh Scottsdale/Facebook

Posh Four courses for $44

Chef Josh Hebert's Posh restaurant is a perennial favorite pick for Restaurant Week. Not only will Hebert be offering a four-course dinner for only $44 during the week-long event, but he'll also be offering discounts on all the other coursed dinner options. For the discounted price, diners will get to experience the chef's improvisational cuisine — meaning Hebert and his talented team will ask customers for their dining preferences and then craft a menu that's tailored to please. With impeccable technique and creativity, Hebert and the Posh team always make a good impression.

For a classic Arizona restaurant, look no further than Rancho Pinot in Scottsdale.
For a classic Arizona restaurant, look no further than Rancho Pinot in Scottsdale.
Heather Hoch

Rancho Pinot Three courses for $44

For any serious Phoenix diner Rancho Pinot, the 22-year-old restaurant owned by chef Chrysa Robertson, has got to be on your must-go list. Robertson offers diners Southwestern inflected comfort fare including dishes such as the famous Nonni's Sunday Chicken made with braised thighs and mushrooms and served over polenta. The Restaurant Week menu offers diners three courses for $33 — a fair price to pay for experiences one of the Valley's longstanding top restaurants.

For rustic fare and a scenic view, try Tonto Bar & Grill in Cave Creek.
For rustic fare and a scenic view, try Tonto Bar & Grill in Cave Creek.

Tonto Bar & Grill Three courses for $44

If the drive up to Cave Creek has kept you from visiting Tonto Bar & Grill until now, then perhaps the $44, three-course Restaurant Week menu will be enough of a motivation. The restaurant serves Southwestern cuisine and focuses on using native Arizona ingredients often grown on the restaurant's own property. Dishes from the Restaurant Week menu include a Harvest Salad made with bibb lettuce, spinach, strawberries, melon, honeyed Marcona almonds, chia seeds, Fossil Creek Shiraz Wine goat cheese, and balsamic-fig vinaigrette and 6 oz. ancho chili rubbed filet served with manchego scalloped potatoes, grilled asparagus, and Arizona roasted corn cream.

Expand your culinary horizons at this well-loved Tempe restaurant.
Expand your culinary horizons at this well-loved Tempe restaurant.
The Dhaba/Facebook

The Dhaba Three courses and a beverage for $33

If you're not familiar with Indian cuisine, why not take Restaurant Week as an opportunity to explore the country's cuisine at Tempe's well-loved restaurant The Dhaba. For $33 diners can enjoy three courses (which come with basmati rice and naan bread, naturally) as well as masala chai tea and a glass of wine. Options on the Restaurant Week menu include classic starters such as samosa chaat and ambala tikki chaat, while entrees include chicken tikki masala, palak paneer, and lakhnavi shahi paneer.

The uptown Phoenix restaurant is putting the flavors of spring on the table.
The uptown Phoenix restaurant is putting the flavors of spring on the table.
The Clever Koi/Facebook

The Clever Koi Three courses and a beverage for $33

Though it's no longer the new kid on the block, The Clever Koi still has plenty of new dishes. On the Restaurant Week menu, which includes three courses and a beverage for $33, you'll find a few new spring menu items including spring pea ramen with pickled white asparagus and tempura peas, as well as goat cheese and beet dumplings and wood grilled octopus. For dessert, diners will have a choice between the restaurant's housemade soft serve (always a hit) and banana fritters or Oreo pudding.

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