10 Phoenix-Area Restaurants With the Best Desert Views

Feel like king (or queen) of the hill at Top of the Rock.
Feel like king (or queen) of the hill at Top of the Rock. John Bellenis
Despite the drastic high temperatures of Phoenix summers, it’s always sunset season in the Valley. That means you can enjoy some of the most gorgeous views of our desert oasis from the climate-controlled comfort of a posh dining room. Talk about an elevated dining experience (had to say it once).

That’s not to say springtime isn’t a particularly perfect time of year to dine before the stunning scene of a Sonoran landscape or a sunset. And since it’s about that time, here are 10 restaurants in greater Phoenix with a view to match the menu.

Different Pointe of View

11111 North Seventh Street
Perched atop the North Mountain Preserve within the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Different Pointe of View has been a go-to special occasion restaurant for many Phoenicians for more than 30 years. The restaurant’s featured attraction is its spacious outdoor Terrace Room, which affords sweeping panoramic views of the Salt River Valley. The kitchen has been on solid culinary footing since executive chef Anthony DeMuro joined the restaurant in 2008. The menu, which straddles the line between New American and Continental fine dining with a modern Mediterranean twist, changes around three times a year to reflect the season.

click to enlarge Discover how much you like Carefree in the Discovery Lounge. - COURTESY OF BOULDERS RESORT & SPA
Discover how much you like Carefree in the Discovery Lounge.
Courtesy of Boulders Resort & Spa

Discovery Lounge

34631 North Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree

You’re not going to find a bad view anywhere on the grounds of the Boulders Resort & Spa, but if you’d like to pair the scenery with food and drink, we recommend the Discovery Lounge. Upon entry, it’ll be a dead giveaway as to why they call the place Boulders. More of a reception area, Discovery Lounge has cushy furniture, a crackling fire, and lengthy bar adjacent to floor-to-ceiling windows. The short menu offers shrimp ceviche, fish and steak tacos, and the The Bobby Slayer steak torta for those who care. There’s also a patio and waterfall you’ll have to see.


5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley

Views of the Valley from Camelback Mountain are in your future if dinner plans are being made for Elements. The dining gem of the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, this spot blends seasonal American staples with Asian accents under the supervision of chef Beau MacMillan. But it’s also the heavily windowed dining room with panoramic views of Paradise Valley that sets this place apart. Elements often hosts special dinners and holiday sittings, or you can visit the neighboring Jade Bar for similar views of the Valley.

click to enlarge JACKIE MERCANDETTI
Jackie Mercandetti


2501 East Telawa Trail

Tucked behind Biltmore Fashion Park, William Wrigley's 1930s-era mansion is known as much for its views of the Phoenix skyline below and Phoenix Mountains Preserve above than it is for the history and food. Geordie’s only serve Arizona-raised Cedar River Farms prime beef, a killer Sunday brunch, and distinct dishes like the Wrigley House Smoked Salmon, Black River Caviar, and Jamie’s Whole Roast Chicken (for two). And if you can steal yourself away from the view, do have a drink in Jamie’s Wine Bar.

click to enlarge The view from the table. - COURTESY OF J&G STEAKHOUSE
The view from the table.
Courtesy of J&G Steakhouse

J&G Steakhouse

6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Sometimes, you just want a really good steak. J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician resort recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by undergoing a redesign that included a desert-inspired color scheme and improvements to the patio area. Fortunately, the stunning views, outstanding food, and impeccable service haven't changed. Beef is the restaurant's raison d'etre, but it's by no means the only good choice on the menu — there's fresh seafood, craveable sides, and a beverage menu that ranges from domestic beers to bottles of wine that cost more than a mortgage payment.

click to enlarge When an Arizona menu meets an Arizona view. - COURTESY OF KAI
When an Arizona menu meets an Arizona view.
Courtesy of Kai


5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, Chandler

As a AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Kai at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass Resort is one of the most highly praised restaurants in Arizona. What really makes Kai uniquely Arizonan, though, is its singular menu of Native American-influenced fare. Chef de cuisine Ryan Swanson's menu weaves elements of Pima and Maricopa culture and tradition into an uncommon menu that you won't find anywhere else in the country. Many of the dishes feature heirloom Arizona ingredients, game, and vegetables that have been sourced locally from the Gila River Indian Community. The menu changes seasonally, but don't miss staples like the grilled tenderloin of buffalo, a gorgeously cooked, lean steak paired with a saguaro blossom syrup. And the view of the Valley its enclosing mountain ranges is spectacular.

click to enlarge Bad a bad seat in the house. - COURTESY OF ORANGE SKY
Bad a bad seat in the house.
Courtesy of Orange Sky

Orange Sky

9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale

Some impressive, 360-degree views of the Valley await from the 15th floor of Talking Stick Resort. You get a little bit of a colorful flicker from Top Golf, a little bit of Scottsdale’s city lights, but a whole lot of mountains and desert sky views. The dinner-only menu covers surf and turf, including popular order like the agave-chile beef tenderloin, shrimp and scallop steaks, grilled elk loin, and foraged mushrooms with sunchoke risotto. Reserve a spot in the dining room or grab a drink in the lounge and see why the whole operation is called Orange Sky.

click to enlarge The scene from the Rooste. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The scene from the Rooste.
Lauren Cusimano

Rustler's Rooste

8383 South 48th Street

One the most carefree cowboy bar you'll ever visit, this massive restaurant offers steak dinners, fish options, ribs, and rattlesnake, plus, every table gets a hearty post-dinner serving of cotton candy. Inside Rustler's Rooste, you can wander around two stories and head down the famo us slide. Outside, you can catch a nice view of Arizona's mountains and — if you time it right — a breathtaking sunset that will slowly dim the Valley below. It's a family-friendly spot and can be reserved for private parties or receptions. The saloon opens at 4 p.m. and stays open late; the steakhouse serves from 5 to 10 p.m.

click to enlarge The views of Pinnacle Peak from Talavera are unbeatable. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
The views of Pinnacle Peak from Talavera are unbeatable.
Jacob Tyler Dunn


10600 East Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale

If a film director wanted to capture desert beauty in an upscale setting, we suggest the Four Seasons Resort's Talavera. The views of Pinnacle Peak from this restaurant and bar are majestic. Plus, it’s far enough to make one feel out of town — though it's just minutes from north Scottsdale. Think of it as a desert hideaway. Steak and seafood dominate the menu. Go all out and order the 20-ounce prime bone-in rib-eye — or try lighter fare like the ahi tuna tartare (served with pineapple and pine nuts). Want to enjoy the view without putting a serious dent in your bank account? Do dessert or drinks at the restaurant's bar and be sure to sit by that fireplace.

click to enlarge Feel like king (or queen) of the hill at Top of the Rock. - JOHN BELLENIS
Feel like king (or queen) of the hill at Top of the Rock.
John Bellenis

Top of the Rock

2000 Westcourt Way, Tempe

Set at the Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at The Buttes, Top of the Rock pretty much lives up to its name. Here you’ll get amazing views of nearby Papago Park and the outline of Camelback Mountain, plus all of Tempe and a little bit of Scottsdale below. The scenery complements menu items like chicken and doughnuts, wagyu short rib, the Gem Caesar with Noble bread, and the Buttes Mac & Cheese. It’s dinner only, but happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m. with specialty drinks like the Tempe Cape Cod. Around since the late 1980s, Top of the Rock Restaurant feels elegant but accessible above the bustle of our Valley college town.
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano