Where to Eat and Drink Near Salt River Fields
Butternut-kale salad at Rancho Pinot Grill.
Hannah E. Williams
Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies: Salt River Fields 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, saltriverfields.com The most important advice we can give you regarding finding food near Salt River Fields: avoid the Pavillions shopping center, unless McDonald's and 5 & Diner are your idea of fine dining. You will have to drive a bit to get to the good stuff, but it's there -- usually hidden at the back of a strip mall or inside a hotel. We're not listing dessert in this guide, so we'll just have to tell you up front to be sure to make a stop at Sweet Republic for a scoop of ice cream or a sundae; the name sounds familiar because you've seen it in the pages of national food mags and on the Food Network.
El Chorro's sticky buns.
Café ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
Breakfast starts early - 6 a.m. - at the in-house restaurant at Hotel Valley Ho, a fab revamp of a '50s-era motor inn that's now a boutique hotel in all the right ways, including when it comes to dining. Cafe ZuZu will welcome you in shorts and Ts, tuck yourself into a booth, and order strong coffee and the crispy, thick Belgian waffle with cherry butter. This place is all about the comfort food, and even if you're eating healthy, somehow they made a bowl of fruit or a plateful of whole wheat pancakes sound downright indulgent.
Rita's Kitchen at the Camelback Inn
Another spot tucked in the back of a hotel, Rita's occupies prime territory on the grounds of the venerable Camelback Inn, a Valley institution. Skip the game and stay for a day at the spa, or enjoy the same yellow gazpacho served to the robed crowd on the lovely patio at Rita's. Fare includes Mexican favorites, burgers and salads. Don't forget a glass (or two) of red sangria, a New Times staff favorite.
Chryssa Robertson's Rancho Pinot is - as most good things in this city are - tucked into a strip mall, next to a hair salon, and down the way from a Trader Joe's. Don't let that fool you, because this is world-class dining with a Southwestern twist. The menu can and will change without notice, but no matter - you are assured a wide range or pasta, roasted meats, and perfectly prepared fish dishes. Cocktails are a true joy in the hands of Travis Nass, a man who was sporting a mustache and the title "mixologist" long before both were trendy.
Ah, El Chorro. The view is to die for and the location's supreme, and since the Dorrance family (heir to the Campbell's Soup fortune) bought the joint a few years back and redecorated, you won't likely break the furniture when you sit down in the lounge at this longtime favorite among locals and tourists alike. The sticky buns (served with every meal) are renowned, and beyond that, our best advice is that you skip the food and go directly to the cocktail list, which we hear has been revamped recently. Ask the bartender if he's still making that drink with muddled grapes from a couple of springs ago - we still can't stop thinking about it. One more thing: Be sure to snag a seat on the patio if the weather's even close to good.
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