You'd never know that fine dining has taken a downturn when you look at the restaurant scene in the Biltmore neighborhood. This upscale area surrounding the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa continues to be one of the best dining and shopping destinations in town. There's been a lot of growth in the area recently, but some of our favorite spots continue to be those that have been neighborhood staples for years.
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It's easy to love The Parlor, where gourmet pizza meets stylish design. For years this has been one of our go-to spots for a meal that feels fancy without breaking the budget. We're happy to pay $10 for a pie topped with Schriener's sausage, creamy burrata, or fresh rock shrimp. And just when you think you've eaten your way through the menu, they change it up with seasonal offerings like summer corn pizza or a new handmade pasta. The drinks are also worth your while, thanks to bartender Michael Allmandinger who makes award-winning designs on cocktail foam.
Located just next door to Mark Tarbell's namesake restaurant Tarbell's, The Tavern offers a more casual vibe and affordable price point -- at least, by Biltmore neighborhood standards. But trust us, the cuisine is worth every penny. The restaurant serves everything from burgers to oysters, though you really ought to give the Spanish bikinis a try. The miniature sandwiches are similar to a French croque monsieur and feature ingredients including truffle and chive oils, manchego cheese, and jamón serrano. For heartier fare there's a delicious lamb burger that pairs well with one of the restaurant's inventive cocktails.
There's a lot to love about Elliot Wexler's new American eatery, Noca. For one, there's the impressive dinners, during which the service is always as excellent as the food. The menu highlights a collection of top quality ingredients, including Waygu beef and Korobuta pork. Plus the restaurant offers a lunch service, Nocawich, during which you can drop by the restaurant and pick up a gourmet sandwich to-go or enjoy it while you watch the kitchen prepare for dinner. Lastly, Noca gives us a good reason to get out of the house on Sunday thanks to Sunday Simple Supper: $35 for a three-course meal that just might include Noca's well-loved fried chicken.
Pizzeria Bianco at Town & Country
The Town & Country shopping center has exploded during the last years and we like to think it has something to do with the fact that Chris Bianco opened a second location of his famous Pizzeria Bianco in the complex in January 2012. Though things had a rocky start and the restaurant has changed names twice (It was Italian Restaurant and then Trattoria Bianco before the chef settled on Pizzeria Bianco), this spot is arguably an even better version of the original restaurant. That's because this second Pizzeria Bianco offers an expanded menu with pastas and dinner entrees including braised lamb and roasted chicken. Plus, you'll probably never have to face a two hour wait.
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Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
Just because Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge at the Biltmore is a French restaurant -- and one of the best in town -- doesn't mean that it's a fussy place. Au contraire. This chic restaurant and bar comes courtesy of James Beard award-winning chef Christopher Gross, who specializes in top-notch French cuisine including pied de cochon, or pig's feet. But the restaurant also serves more approachable fare including gourmet burgers, truffled frites, and wood-fired pizzas. Snag them all half off during happy hour, offered seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m.
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