Welcome to the 2018 edition of The Essentials, our catalog of indispensable and quintessential Phoenix food and drink. From now until May, we'll be sharing 50 dishes, drinks, and food experiences that make up the culinary backbone (and personality) of metro Phoenix. This list is highly eclectic, mixing classics with newer and lesser-known favorites. But all The Essentials have one thing in common: We think they're required eating (and drinking) in metro Phoenix.
6: Tasting Menu from Different Pointe of View
When it comes to romantic fine dining options, metro Phoenix has no shortage of beautiful dining rooms with dazzling views.
But few fine dining restaurants marry romance and culinary substance as well as Different Pointe of View, the mountaintop restaurant located at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in north-central Phoenix.
Perched atop the North Mountain Preserve, 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 patio, which affords sweeping panoramic views of the Salt River Valley. The patio at sunset has been the site of countless marriage proposals and wedding receptions. It's a popular place to take out-of-towners.
Different Pointe of View could probably coast along on the strength of its dramatic, one-of-kind setting. Fortunately for us, though, the restaurant offers more than prime real estate views. 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.
If you can swing it, the five-course tasting menu, which changes nightly, regularly delivers a parade of elegant and seasonally-inflected dishes.
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But there are several consistently great signature dishes and ingredients that regularly turn up on the menu. These include buttery shrimp agnolotti; beautifully pan-seared diver scallops paired with a delicate nest of fresh angel hair pasta; and seared pork belly served on a sweet potato hash, topped with a fried quail egg. Seasonal vegetables are often gently roasted and slightly charred, brimming with natural sweetness. Desserts, meanwhile, are generally terrific, including the restaurant's popular Peanut Butter & Chocolate dessert with butter honey ice cream.
Different Pointe of View, with its upscale menu and rarefied setting, has all the virtues of a special occasion restaurant. But it's also simply a good restaurant serving well-crafted food and drink. In other words, it's worth a visit any day of the year.
Different Pointe of View. 11111 North 7th Street; 602-866-6350.
Monday to Thursday 6 p.m. to 9:30, Friday 6 p.m. to 10, Saturday 5 p.m. to 10., Sunday 5 p.m. to 8.
The Essentials So Far:
50: Soul food platter at Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles
49: The Bear at Short Leash Hot Dogs + Rollover Doughnuts
48: Grilled squid and other specialties at Andreoli Italian Grocer
47: I-10 Nachos at Cocina 10
46: Coffee made from ROC2 beans
45: The Haturo Sub Sandwich at Cheese 'n Stuff
44: Zookz at Zookz
43: Jade Red Chicken at Chino Bandido
42: Tasting menu at Quiessence at The Farm
41: Single-origin Papua New Guinea Bar at Zak's Chocolate
40: Green chile at Casa Reynoso
39: Brûlée burger from Paradise Valley Burger Company
38: Hand-pulled noodles from China Magic Noodle House
37: Carne adovada sliders at Dick's Hideaway
36: Crispy Pig Ear and Amaro cocktails from Crudo
35: Chile-laced specialties from Cafe Ga Hyang
34: Martinis at AZ88
33: Nooner at Duck & Decanter
32: Eggs Maximilian at Harlow's Cafe
31: Beef Tacos from Asadero Norte De Sonora
30: Orange Blossom from Huss Brewing Company
29: Rye bread from Yasha From Russia
28: Scotch Beef and Mashed Potatoes from Tarbell's
27: Griddled Corn Cakes and Ramona Farms Super Food Salad at Phoenix City Grille
26: Soup from Reathrey Sekong
25: Lamb tongue sandwich at Haji Baba
24: The Special at Grand Avenue Pizza Company
23: Red chile at Elmer's Tacos
22: Marranitos at La Purisima Bakery
21: Kronuts from Karl's Bakery
20: Beef pies at Chou's Kitchen
19: Bavarian pretzels & schnitzel at Haus Murphy's
18: Red chili burro and sopapillas from Los Dos Molinos
17: Camelback Soda at The Sugar Bowl
16: Brisket Sandwich at Chelsea's Kitchen
15: Taco Hazz from Ta'Carbon
14: Barnone at Agritopia
13: The Jazzy from Emerson Fry Bread
12: Flour Tortillas from La Sonorense Tortilla Factory
11: Peach picking at Schnepf Farms
10: The Purple Fusion at Snoh Shaved Ice
9: Sours from Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company
8: Umi No Sachi at Hana Japanese Eatery
7: Carne Asada Tacos from Taquería Los Yaquis
6: Tasting Menu from Different Pointe of View