Old Town Scottsdale is a very distinct part of both Scottsdale and metropolitan Phoenix. But even Old Town can be divvied up into a few zones. A go-to is the Southbridge on the Waterfront area and the quaint shops and eateries along Fifth Avenue, Stetson Drive, and neighboring streets. It’s also kind of a food fan favorite, home to some of the most well-known restaurants and tasting rooms in the city.
Let’s break it down.
Cartel Coffee Lab7124 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Fifth Avenue location of Cartel Coffee Lab is almost always shaded by the surrounding multistory buildings — which makes it feel like a comforting and tucked-away spot for you to refuel. This spot offers espresso, filter drip, and other coffee creations, plus tea, pastries, and plenty of outlets.
Berdena's7051 East Fifth Avenue, Suite I, Scottsdale
Berdena's is a cozy specialty coffee shop serving organic and local coffees, pastries, and food (when possible). Think honey lavender latte, cardamom rose, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, plus quick breakfast options like cinnamon toast and smashed avocado toast.
Alien Donuts7111 East Fifth Avenue, Suite D, Scottsdale
Alien Donuts almost seems out of place in this part of Scottsdale, which is exactly why the sign out front requests you “donut stop believing.” Alien invaded Fifth Avenue in 2018, and has since served doughnuts, coffee, ice cream, and its own Rocket Shakes. Some fun, signature options include the Red Planet, Galaxy Donut, Alien Head, Cinnamon Vortex, Moon Rocks, and the Alien Probe.
Breakfast Club4400 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Ever wanted a breakfast grilled cheese sandwich? How about a Tinga Chicken Frittata with Potatoes O'Brien? The aptly named Breakfast Club has all that and then some. Those keeping it light can go for the Irish oatmeal or Greek yogurt, while patrons with those early hunger pangs may opt for signature omelets, breakfast burritos, and Breakfast Club plates like the steak and eggs or chicken-fried chicken. And to drink, the Club has everything from bulletproof coffee to carrot juice, smoothies, and kombucha.
Farm & Craft4302 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Farm & Craft is a great breakfast and lunch spot, meaning it’s an even better brunch place. The menu lists everything from protein pancakes and other breakfast options to vegan ceviche, plus salads, sandwiches, protein bowls, and flatbreads. But the best part about dining out on that open patio or inside the sleek dining room is the drink menu. morning cocktails include go-to choices like the mimosa or Bloody Mary, plus drinks from the forbidden fruit menu — where all drinks are served inside a grapefruit or watermelon. Think the Paloma, the Greyhound (Tito’s and fresh grapefruit), and the Spicy Melon (made with Hanson Organic Sonoma Vodka).
The Herb Box7051 East Fifth Avenue, Suite J, Scottsdale
Light lunchers, this place is for you. The Herb Box offers salads, wraps, sandwiches, cold bowls, and entrees from the grill, plus a list of shared plates. Think Korean fried cauliflower or crisp Brussels sprouts chips to start, followed by the Urban Market Steak Salad or the Herb Box BLT. Bowls include the sweet potato Baja bowl, while larger dishes can entice with names like the short rib enchiladas, grapefruit and sugar charred salmon, and Arizona grass-fed burgers. And if it’s a half-day, the drink menu does include reds, whites, bubbles, and cocktails like the La La Lavender.
Barrio Queen7114 East Stetson Drive, #105, Scottsdale
Sometimes a good lunch of Mexican fare is necessary, complete with warm chips, chunky salsa, and a margarita. Barrio Queen has you covered right in the thick of Scottsdale’s Southbridge area. Opt for the Barrio vegetable bowl, tortilla soup, the shrimp and calamari salad, or maybe a quick quesadilla with pork carnitas.
Kelly's at Southbridge7117 East Sixth Avenue, Scottsdale
Kelly's serves upscale pub fare in the form of Stetson Nachos, the Bourbon Egg burger, and a whole menu of craft cocktails — all of which is best enjoyed on that expansive patio. This can also be your go-to lunch spot on weekends, as it has become an NFL and college football viewing destination. Kelly's is known for airing football games on 27 high-definition flat-screen TVs.
Citizen Public House7111 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
When tiki culture was hot in Phoenix (much more than it is now), Trader Vic’s was definitely the spot. The space is now Citizen Public House and is still marked by the structural steeple at the entrance off Fifth Avenue. A great time to visit the middle-of-the-room bar is during Good Citizens Social, held daily from 4 to 6 p.m. Order up some Heirloom Popcorn or rosemary roasted nuts while waiting for your cocktail to be hand-made right in front of you — usually. Barrel-aged cocktails are $6, as is the cocktail of the day, while draft beer is half price and featured wine is $5 a glass.
The Drunk Munk7133 East Stetson Drive, #1, Scottsdale
The tiki-themed Drunk Munk is found at Sixth Avenue and Stetson Drive in Old Town Scottsdale — or, more specifically, the Fifth Avenue Shopping District. Yes, the Polynesian bar and restaurant is in the old Cowboy Ciao spot and comes with a high-priced menu. Therefore, go during happy hour. It’s from 3 to 7 p.m. daily, and it’s half-off appetizers, house sushi, well drinks, wine, beer, sangria, and most importantly, specialty cocktails. Drinks are called the Almond Joy, Bikini Girl, and Pele’s Eruption. And some speak to those fun mugs, in the shape of Buddhas, the lucky cat, tiki gods, and, of course, hula girls. The Alota Colada is recommended.
FnB Restaurant7125 East Fifth Avenue, #31, Scottsdale
Though "seasonal" and "local" have become culinary buzz words for many restaurants, Scottsdale's FnB Restaurant embodies the spirit of these movements. 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 breadcrumbs. The service is always friendly, and the restaurant's Arizona-focused wine list gives diners an opportunity to explore the state's offerings. Don't miss the bar adjacent to the restaurant.
Bourbon & Bones4200 North Scottsdale Road
Set inside its midcentury modern building, Bourbon & Bones offers a boutique, 4,000-square-foot interior with all the fixings — reclaimed wood, walnut tabletops, distressed leather booths, and more. The menu offers seafood, wet-aged and dry-aged cuts of beef, and many signature side dishes from Executive Chef Kevin Gage. Diners will also find more than 300 varieties of bourbon and whiskey, an impressive wine list, and a whole menu of custom cocktails.
Marcellino Ristorante7114 East Stetson Drive, ScottsdaleMarcellino Ristorante is the best of both worlds: a long-beloved destination for fans of classic Italian fare and discerning foodies alike. Everything is done with care and artistry here, from the food to the service. We like to start with an appetizer like scallops with pesto, then move on to something more substantial, perhaps the strozzaprete with broccoli di rape in olive oil, white wine, and garlic. If we save room for dessert (it's hard, but worth it), we love the warm apple galetta served with gelato.
PussyCat Gelato7134 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
Looking at the sign, you can easily make some assumptions about PussyCat Gelato — and you’d probably be right. One of three locations in Arizona, the Scottsdale gelato shop offers that lower-calorie Italian dessert in flavors like Dulce Amore and wild raspberry, with many vegan and gluten-free options. But the best part may be PussyCat Gelato’s dining area — all retro with the black-and-white checkered tile and ‘70s movie posters.
New Wave Market7120 East Sixth Avenue, #20, Scottsdale
When you need both a jar of AZ Queen Bee Desert Bloom Honey and a dozen mesquite chocolate chip cookies to go, don’t fret — go to New Wave Market. Located in the heart of Old Town’s foodie hub, the Sixth Avenue spot feels somehow tucked away. Sit down for the menu of made-from-scratch goodies, like the Hawaiian bread French toast topped with blueberry balsamic jam or the ghee-fried egg sammie on a sea salt bagel — seriously yum — but stay for the shelves or take-home gourmet goodies beckoning from the sidelines. We’re talking jars of pickled blueberries, spice blends, salsas, and cocktail bitters. There’s even a wall devoted to small-batch chocolate bars. Oh, and don’t forget Super Chunk Sweets & Treats is in the same suite.
Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale7133 East Stetson Drive, #4, Scottsdale
If it’s a glass of good Arizona wine you seek, Merkin Vineyards’ outpost in Old Town Scottsdale is certainly the place. We’ve told you about Jim Cunningham, the experienced general manager, and the wine program over at Merkin, but there are also small plates and some gelato in the mini-fridge. It’s an after-work wine room, maybe a stop along Stetson Drive during a night of barhopping, or a quick before-dinner place for wine.
Scapegoat Beer and Wine7150 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
Scapegoat Beer & Wine is an intimate spot where guests can enjoy some peace and quiet in the middle of the busy Old Town Scottsdale scene. Wine-lovers will appreciate the concise menu that only features beer, wine, and small bites, as well as the variety of options. Expect glasses from all over the globe including selections from New Mexico to New Zealand. Prices are reasonable, too. Best of all, you can pair your wine with fare from a menu dominated by rich small plates like marinated olives and fancy cheese puffs.
LDV Winery Tasting Room7134 East Stetson Drive, Suite B-100, Scottsdale
Open daily near the Old Town Scottsdale waterfront, the little LDV Winery Tasting Room offers wine tastings for a small fee of its 100 percent estate-grown wines from a Cochise County vineyard. But what's better, you can go for a glass or bottle of LDV wine right on the patio. In addition to the daily operations, the LDV Winery also hosts wine release parties in its tasting room like celebrating bottles such as The Signature — LDV’s recent estate-grown 2014 petite Sirah, featuring rich blackberry flavors with hints of spice hints and toasty notes.
Carlson Creek Vineyard Scottsdale Tasting Room4142 North Marshall Way, Scottsdale
Carlson Creek Winery is a family-owned vineyard set in Willcox wine country. And if you've never tasted something from the heart of Willcox's wine country, it's been made easy for you thanks to the Scottsdale tasting room. Open daily from noon to 8 p.m. in the Scottsdale Arts District, the tasting room offers opportunities to sample the wines for a $10 fee, plus you could meet the winemakers and shop a little. Carlson Creek's varietals include chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, syrah, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, malbec, rosé, mourvedre, and locally sourced chenin blanc and merlot.
EVO4175 North Goldwater Boulevard, Scottsdale
Those looking for a late supper or an upscale fourth meal will want to check out EVO. The Scottsdale restaurant and bar is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., but dinner is served until 1:30 a.m. Specializing in Italian food from its central and northern regions, EVO offers handmade pasta, pizzas, entrees like lobster carbonara, and desserts — plus beer, wine, and cocktails. And an especially recommended dish? The arancini, complete with crispy risotto, peas, mozzarella, Pomodoro, and parmesan. Mangia!
Editor's note: This story was originally published on July 15, 2016. It was updated on April 28, 2021.