Look beyond this buzzy stretch, and there are plenty of other finds: fine dining destinations, date-night spots, and under-the-radar neighborhood gems.
Here are our top 10 favorite places to eat in Scottsdale.
Andreoli Italian Grocer8880 East Via Linda, Scottsdale
7501 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
480-614-1980Cala is, at its core, a hotel restaurant. But it breaks all stereotypes at its artfully decorated corner of Senna House Scottsdale. The restaurant is bright, light, and filled with neutral fabrics and hanging plants. A large wrap-around patio features fire pits and cactus pots. The food, dreamed up by celebrity chef Beau MacMillan and executed by his appointed head chef Peter McQuaid, is both crowd-pleasing and inventive. For those looking to order a simple salad or flatbread, the menu has got you covered. Want to dive deeper into Mediterranean flavors? The Moroccan Braised Chicken takes a standard chicken dish and enhances it with a warming, spice-filled jus, chickpeas, baby potatoes, and a sprinkle of sesame dukkah, an Egyptian blend of herbs, nuts, and seeds. The Paccheri pasta brings diners to the Italian coast with tender homemade pasta and just-cooked rock shrimp swimming in a chile and smoked tomato cream sauce good enough to inspire an extra order of bread to dip. The Flaming Saganaki, or fried cheese set ablaze tableside, provides a photo-friendly moment and plenty of oohs and aahs, but to start, we'd recommend skipping the flaming cheese in favor of the muhammara red pepper dip or the fresh fatoush.
From the outside, Call Her Martina looks like any other business in the fancy Scottsdale Waterfront strip mall. But inside, customers embark on an experience. Take a seat at a table in the modern black-and-white-themed dining room, snag a space at the bar, or hang out with friends at a large group high-top underneath glowing neon signs. Start with a couple of cocktails. The well-balanced creations are as beautiful as they are delicious, with garnishes of real flower petals and charred cinnamon sticks. Then dig into the meal. The stand-out guac comes complete with bright bursts of pomegranate seeds, cold creamy avocado, and the kicker — warm, salty, über-satisfying cubes of steak. Entrees range from extravagant charred octopus to simple birria tacos, but make sure to leave room for dessert. The flan, topped with shards of caramel and fresh mint leaves, is both classic and fresh — and an exceptional end to a meal at this swanky Scottsdale spot.
Citizen Public House, you can order one of the most famous chopped salads around, so popular it has its own Facebook page. You can also chow down on a flawless burger that throws it back to Kantak's bygone hamburger stand in The Churchill. So many of the dishes on this menu go their own way and leave a mark. The pork belly pastrami with spaetzle? Just one of many starters, and just one example of what Kantak can do. Don't miss the erudite cocktails, especially a selection of barrel-aged creations that go a few steps beyond the classics.
Fat Ox6316 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
480-307-6900 Fat Ox, a modern, high-end restaurant that sits on the border between Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, is a destination spot that treats customers right. Servers, who don black-tie uniforms, provide little stools to put your purse on, heaven forbid it touch the floor or hang on the back of your chair. Wine is served from individual decanters. And there's valet parking. All of this sets an expectation for excellence in the meal. A plate of fresh bread served first is an indication of what's to come. Scallops, salmon, and Ribeye fill the entrees section of the menu, but be sure not to look past the handmade pastas. In the Rosso Creste di Gallo, the individual pieces of house-made pasta are a wine-shade of purple and maintain a sturdy and satisfying bite. The gnocchi packed with Wagyu beef cheek is a crowd favorite, and the Garganelli sings with black truffle butter. Just like the decore and drinks at this high-end restaurant, the food is fit for a special occasion.
Though "seasonal" and "local" have become culinary buzzwords for many restaurants, Scottsdale's FnB restaurant embodies the spirit of these movements. FnB also takes both to another level. James Beard Award-winning chef Charleen Badman turns simple, local produce into fare that's at once comforting and novel. Drawing inspiration from international cuisine, she creates a menu that changes almost constantly but often includes dishes such as perfectly roasted locally raised chicken, Swiss chard falafel, and Badman's well-loved braised leeks, topped with mozzarella, fried egg, and mustard bread crumbs. The service is always friendly, and the restaurant's Arizona-focused wine list gives diners an opportunity to explore the state's offerings. The colorful FnBar, on one side of the restaurant, is an ideal space for opening or capping a night of eating.
4710 North Goldwater Boulevard, Scottsdale
480-690-6180Travel to a beautiful, modern, French countryside mansion without leaving Scottsdale at Francine. This swanky, high-ceilinged spot, located at the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, is the perfect destination for a date night or a celebratory meal. Start with a cocktail and a plate of salty, savory steak tartare or fresh hamachi crudo with pine nuts, before diving into an herb-crusted rack of lamb or crispy skin-on branzino served over a bright, chunky tomato sauce. If a full dinner isn't in your plans, grab a stool at the bar and watch as bartenders craft cocktails in gold shakers while you sip on a glass of wine or shot of espresso and people watch. This spot is both elegant and full of energy, making for an entertaining and delicious experience.
Hush Public House14202 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
480-758-5172 This small-but-mighty restaurant just south of Kierland Commons features one of the more freewheeling menus in town. Hush Public House is a minimally-decorated strip mall restaurant where the focus is on one thing, and one thing only: food brimming with flavor. Start your meal with chef Dom Ruggiero's most famous appetizer, an entire head of fried cauliflower. Next, move on to the shrimp and grits, a dish of plump, spice-rubbed shrimp sitting on top of a bed of creamy grits made with white cheddar. The Duck Fried Rice, served with a runny egg on top, includes a generous portion of duck confit strewn throughout tender rice and veggies. Finish your meal with the Date Cake, a sticky toffee pudding by another name, for a decadent, bourbon-tinged treat. Before or after your meal, stop by The Vanilla Gorilla, a bar-and-bottle-shop the Hush team opened next door.
3815 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale
7122 East Greenway Parkway, #140, Scottsdale
480-663-9797The name Virtù is becoming increasingly prevalent in Scottsdale, as owner and chef Gio Osso recently expanded his family of restaurants to include Piccolo Virtù. But of the three concepts — Virtù Honest Craft, Piccolo Virtù, and Pizzeria Virtù — we are partial to the pies. The most casual of the three concepts, this small restaurant resides inside a cozy bungalow with a patio in the yard. Start your meal with an exceptional burrata plate, before diving into the pizza. What sets these pies apart, other than outstanding toppings, is the crust. Thin and crispy in the center, with huge, fluffy walls that rise up to surround the sauce. Kisses of char from the wood-fired oven decorate the edges and beg you to dig in as soon as the plate hits the table. Bright salads compliment the cheese-heavy entrees and an extensive all-Italian wine list washes it all down. Make sure to ask your server about the specials, a rotating list of excellent additional options made with seasonal ingredients.