It seems the dense dining destination of Old Town gets most of the attention when it comes to Scottsdale restaurants. But the truth is there's plenty to eat outside of the central part of this East Valley city.
Head north and you'll not only find a great selection of restaurants, but also some incredible views and a few cozy, mom-and-pop eateries that we couldn't imagine existing any where else.
Chef and Lamp Pizzeria owner Matt Pilato offers some of the Valley's best pizzas at this casual North Scottsdale spot. Pilato studied Neopolitan pizza-making at the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli Academy in San Francisco, but strays somewhat from tradition with pizzas that feature perfectly-blistered crusts that give way to thin, soft centers. One of our favorite pies is the Dirty Little York, which combines spicy sopressata, provolone cheese, roasted artichoke hearts, red peppers, and red onion for a meal that's well-balanced and surprisingly sophisticated. And don't forget to leave room for dessert — the restaurant's Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake is not to be missed.
Looking for great sushi? Then you'll want to head to Hiro, a small family-owned and operated Japanese restaurant located off the Loop 101 at East Via Linda. There's not much style inside the space, but there are large boards filled with special menu items that range from savory hamachi kama (yellowtail collar) to conch dressed in a sweet miso sauce. The regular menu is also worth exploring; it's filled with pretty much every kind of sushi you could want — even rarely found specialties such as jellyfish, sea urchin, and amberjack — and some excellent cooked dishes including ginger pork and shrimp tempura.
Andreoli Italian Grocer
Part grocery and part restaurant, this Scottsdale spot is a haven for diners seeking a real Italian experience. Andreoli Italian Grocer's chef Giovanni Scorzo knows his strengths and plays to them well with a daily menu of specialties such as luscious seafood risotto and fried potatoes and leeks that come with a creamy dipping sauce. Perhaps most famous are the chef's pizzas, which come out of the oven in under two minutes and have a perfect, pillowy texture. The restaurant's selection of pastries, such as house-made cannoli and tiramisu are also worth exploring — and while you're there, you may as well stock up on imported Italian olive oil, olives, prosciutto, and other specialties.
Chef Matt Carter's north Scottsdale Zinc Bistro serves French fare that appeals to Francophiles and Americans alike. At this chic eatery located at Kierland Commons, you'll find classic dishes such as crepes and croque monsieur, as well as a well-loved burger and house fries that come tossed in marjoram and paprika for an exotic twist. For the full experience, be sure to start with the onion soup gratinee, a rich liquid covered in a melted layer of cheese, then move on to entrees such as filet mignon with foie gras or diver scallops with ricotta gnocchi, English peas, and mushrooms.
You don't have to able to afford a stay at the Four Seasons in order to enjoy the resort's signature restaurant, Talavera, but having a small fortune to drop on dinner will make the experience less of a stress. This fine-dining destination offers splurge-worthy views of Pinnacle Peak and the Valley, as well as a menu of modern steakhouse fare, which Executive Chef Mel Mecinas spices up with a Southwestern twist. Take the restaurant's pork chop as an example: The top-quality Kurobuta pork gets an earthy achiote glaze and comes with goat cheese and tangerine salad.
Originally published February 10, 2015. Updated April 19, 2016.