All hail the hotel restaurant. What used to be reserved for guests who didn’t want to climb too far out of bed has evolved to include waitlist-only brunch stops, happy hour hot spots, and ritzy dining rooms with views that entice travelers and discerning locals alike. Here are 11 hotel restaurants totally worth checking out — even without checking in.
Lylo Swim ClubArrive Phoenix
400 West Camelback Road
It’s easy to see why the cocktails at Lylo might steal the show. Designed by Ross Simon, mixology maestro and proprietor of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals, the drinks menu is as playful as the poolside setting. Sips include a swirly rum-spiked play on Dole Whip and a bright and bubbly spagliato with strawberry-infused Campari, sweet vermouth, and prosecco. But the Asian-inspired bites deserve equal billing, especially the Spam musubi, shrimp tempura, and karaage-style fried chicken by the bucket.
ElementsSanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa
5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley
Elements at Sanctuary is no secret. Executive chef Beau MacMillan, who’s thrown down with Bobby Flay and cooked for Jay Z and Beyonce, helped put Scottsdale on the food map with his seasonal menu focusing on local ingredients infused with Asian flavors. (Chef de cuisine Samantha Sanz is no slouch, either.) Not only will you have an unforgettable meal — think braised volcano lamb shank with smoked eggplant, or black truffle lobster risotto with chanterelle mushrooms — but the mountain views are also so swoon-worthy that you’ll at least feel like you’re on vacation.
Virtù Honest CraftBespoke Inn
3701 North Marshall Way, Scottsdale
It’s best to whole-heartedly hand yourself over to chef Gio Osso when dining at Virtù Honest Craft. The James Beard Award nominee’s frequently changing, three-course Mediterranean-meets-Arizona tasting menu takes your taste buds on a sensory odyssey. Journey through potato pillows of gnocchi with house-made sausage and chanterelles followed by crisp-skinned branzino studded with golden raisin gremolata and capped off with a salted butterscotch budino flecked with hazelnut praline. The romantic, old-world setting of the aptly named Bespoke Inn, an eight-room charmer in Old Town, only adds to the trip.
Breakfast BitchCambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix
222 East Portland Street
How's this sound for brunch: Mimosas — make it a flight — with a lobster benedict (the Boujee Bitch), French toast-style croissants topped with fresh strawberries and cream cheese drizzle (the Frenchy), and chicken on a biscuit (Bitchin Chicken), all served well past noon on a packed patio blasting hip hop. Lovely? Then Breakfast Bitch is your place. Warning: The wait can be hours, but the people-watching never gets old. Plus, on weekends, you can wait things out around the corner at the boozy food-truck patio.
Blue Hound Kitchen & CocktailsKimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix
2 East Jefferson Street
At Blue Hound, start with the blistered shishito peppers, a flash-fried frenzy of heat and acid paired with citrus aioli. Follow that with bone-in short rib, a slow-cooked seductress bathed in red wine with citrus gremolata. But don’t call it a day until you’ve sipped one of its signature cocktails. May we suggest Blue Hound’s Old Fashioned, a hearty whisky sip with hints of mesquite, caramel, and anise?
Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum BarFairmont Scottsdale Princess
17020 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale
Deciding what to order at Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar can be tricky. Ask the staff their favorite dish and you’ll get a variety of answers, everything from “You will not have better sushi” to the adobo rib-eye steak, the Chifa-style fried rice, or the surf-and-turf roll. On the drinks side, Toro has a damn fine selection of rum that’s 150 varietals strong and bartenders slinging next-level cocktails with Tom Cruise-like panache. Choosing where to sit is easy: Overlooking the 18th hole of TPC Scottsdale, where there’s not a bad seat in the house.
401 West Clarendon Avenue
You don’t come to Fuego for dessert. You come for its signature beef and potato stuffed empanadas, slow-cooked pernil adobo, short rib enchiladas, and, of course, the flowing mojitos, margaritas, and mai tais. But then you order the bread pudding, because why not, and out comes a hunk of bolero bread soaked in horchata and cinnamon, heaped with chocolate malted crunch ice cream and doused in hot fudge and dulce de leche rum sauce. It's a monstrous dichotomy of hot and cold, creamy and crunchy. Before you even finish, you’re already planning to come back for the ancho chocolate chili torte.
Lon’s RestaurantThe Hermosa Inn
5532 North Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley
The biggest perk of dining at Lon’s is the patio. A dreamy escape within a dreamy escape, the sprawling courtyard is surrounded by flowers, fountains, and fireplaces with frameable mountain views in the distance (and at night, the twinkle lights make it all dance to life). The ambiance has you at hello, but it’s the food that keeps you coming back. Highlights include the pan-seared Chilean sea bass, the wood-fired filet mignon, and the Tristan de Cunha Lobster Tails.
Hearth ‘61Mountain Shadows
5445 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale
There’s a lot to love about Hearth ‘61 at Mountain Shadows. The pedigree of the chefs — a culinary trio that includes luminaries Charles Wiley and Alfred Muro — is part of it. Then there's the kitchen’s centerpiece, an impressive, wood stone hearth oven that imparts a rustic charm and nuanced smoky flavor to signature dishes like tender short ribs with crispy Brussels sprouts and pork chops with tempura sweet potatoes. Finally, the ambiance: midcentury-modern decor and floor-to-ceiling windows offering scenic views of Camelback Mountain. Hard to go wrong here.
Litchfield’sThe Wigwam Arizona
300 East Wigwam Boulevard, Litchfield Park
Litchfield’s, nestled inside the historic Wigwam resort, is full of surprises. At first glance, it's simply a steakhouse with a cowboy-sized “cowboy rib-eye” as the show-stopper. But peruse the menu closer and it’s singing with nuanced creations, like perfectly tender Kurobuta pork cheeks, Mexican grouper spiked with chile oil, and homemade pappardelle with king trumpet mushrooms. The biggest surprise, though, is the wine list — a robust revelry through France, Italy, and California that traverses from whites to old world wines, with servers schooled in the subtleties. No wonder it was awarded the 2020 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
Alter Ego108 East University Drive, Tempe
Alter Ego, located on the ground floor of Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown, impresses. Veteran Valley chef Ken Arneson oversees the kitchen here, ensuring guests are treated to well-executed specialties like the skirt steak chimichurri, the katsu chicken sandwich, and sweet Thai shishito peppers. Don't even get us started on the goat cheese gelato, mixed with fresh berries and served with the In "The Pot" Cobbler. Part of Alter Ego's menu is seasonal, so you may not get to try everything mentioned above. But some of Alter Ego's food also can be ordered up to the hotel's rooftop bar counterpart, meaning you can enjoy dishes like the Filipino-style empanadas while sipping the joint's signature cocktails.
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version.
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