Sure, there's the drive, but the North Scottsdale restaurant scene is worth the trip.
At the moment, the five best restaurants in the area feature diverse, expertly crafted cuisines from some of the Valley's most noteworthy chefs who employ top-notch ingredients like homemade sausage, Lingonberry relish, and kumamoto oysters to take their creations from satisfying to superb.
Most may mean an extra few shakes of the piggy bank, but with food this good, they're worth the occasional splurge.
See also: 5 Best Restaurants in Tempe Right Now
The daring new restaurant from chef Michael O'Dowd, whose decade at Kai earned it national acclaim, takes diners on an exotic ride with an electrifying menu of re-invented foods from around the globe. Served up in an edgy atmosphere, O'Dowd's multi-layered creations, accented with ingredients like Wolfberry relish and marble-size balls of goat cheese, are presented in ways that make necks crane at nearby tables.
The kind of restaurant that could hold its own in any major city, this decidedly refined spot of Japanese cuisine from James Beard Award-nominated chef Shinji Kurita, is nothing short of exquisite. Go all out with one of Kurita's omakase, or chef's choice dinners, and be treated to meticulously prepared, elegant works of art that may include whole blue crab, Santa Barbara prawn with dots of caviar, and a breathtaking selection of sushi.
Thanks to a trio of culinary school chums from India, this exceptional South Indian restaurant serves up bold, vibrant creations packed with handfuls of ingredients like chiles, tamarind, ginger, cumin, and cardamom. Don't miss the smoky and spicy curry of baby eggplants stuffed with onions and spices; fish cooked in coconut sauce with red onions and green chilies; and thin and crispy stuffed dosas, the crispy-hot Indian-style crepes.
Combining Neapolitan techniques with his own style, chef-owner Matt Pilato churns out nearly 20 varieties of red and white artisan 12-inch pies at this casual yet classy pizzeria. The bready crusts -- charred and crisp at the rim and thin and soft in the center -- can be had with choice ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, hand-stretched mozzarella, and heady sausages prepared by DeFalco's Italian Deli & Grocery in Scottsdale.
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Is there anything chef Giovanni Scorzo doesn't do exceptionally well at his well-heeled Italian market and restaurant? With a show-stopping selection of Old World eats like a fantastic arancino siculo (Sicilian-style rice ball), classic sandwiches, luscious housemade pasta dishes such as the near-perfect seafood risotto, and a tempting selection of scratch-made Italian desserts, the answer, it would seem, is no.
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