Scottsdale, Arizona may be located in the Sonoran Desert, but this charming town is far from dusty old streets and saloons. Boutique shopping, mountain adventures and a polished old town make this an exciting destination in the Southwest. But the food scene may be one of the most appealing aspects, as offerings range from ultra-fine dining experiences to more humble kitchens with authentic Hispanic cuisine. Foodies should add Scottsdale to their radar, and these are the best restaurants to add to the list.
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Randy’s Restaurant and Ice Cream
Come for the ice cream, then return for lunch, and more dessert, like pie—flakey delicious pie with warm cherry filling. Randy’s Restaurant and Ice Cream dominates the dessert scene with indulgent frozen concoctions like the vanilla ice cream topped fudge brownie, smothered with more fudge, peanuts and whipped cream, with a cherry on top, of course! Breakfast is also spot on, with tasty omelets, hash browns, and so on.
Simon’s Hot Dogs
Simon’s Hot Dogs is a “cheap eats” joint whipping up elaborate Columbian versions with unique sauces, chorizo, mozzarella cheese and other awesome toppings. But if you were to strip it down to bread and bun alone, it would still be heavenly. Sides range from fries and chips to patacones, aka crispy fried green plantains. Vegans can even find delicious options.
Maria’s Frybread and Mexican Food, Scottsdale
Frybread is crisp but chewy circles of goodness that are used when making “Navajo tacos,” for example. But it can be enjoyed simply with a dusting of cinnamon or powdered sugar, and Maria’s Frybread and Mexican Food has perfected them. Local cuisine is excellently depicted amongst the flavorful menu of tacos, tostadas, burritos and so on, and the chips and salsa have a crave-worthy kick. Affordable, mouthwatering, no fuss—this place is the real deal.
Cornish Pasty Co
A Cornish pasty, also known as a type of pastry, is known for being generously filled with harmonious combinations of meats, veggies and sauces. At Cornish Pasty Co, you get to experience something truly special from another country—these bad boys are hearty, flavorful and comforting to the soul. Try the lamb and mint, or bangers and mash, then round out the flakey delicacy with a dessert version brimming with apple and caramel, or peanut butter and jelly.
Casella’s Italian Delicatessen
Casella’s Italian Delicatessen is one of those places with less noteworthy decor, that happens to actually house a complete gem. Sandwiches here will blow your mind, from chicken salad to steamy cheesesteaks. The pizza hoagie is pretty out of this world as well. Pair your tasty sammie with macaroni salad, followed by a crisp vanilla treat with a textured creamy center for dessert.
If we are looking at restaurants all across the board, across all price ranges and cuisines, Cafe Monarch ranks at the top. Elegant, ambient lit and high end, the meal is broken into four or five finely prepared courses, featuring delicate dishes such as sea bass and steak tartare. Dessert doesn’t veer away from the masterful flavors, with rum cake and banana’s foster beignets being amongst the crowd-pleasers.
Citizen Public House
Citizen Public House whips up hearty favorites like short ribs and meatloaf, while having an excellent selection of seafood. The chopped salad with smoked salmon is unexpected and incredible, while other gluten-free options are easily identifiable. Who would guess amongst all this awesome food, a favorite would be popcorn? But it’s bacon popcorn, so we actually would have guessed it.
Salt Cellar Restaurant
A narrow wooden staircase leads to the underground Salt Cellar Restaurant, which serves fresh seafood from all around the United States. Get fancy with some escargot, or stick to the familiar with the shrimp scampi. The stuffed lobster is praised for being perfectly flavored, while forgoing any breading. The seafood is great, but the location gives the Salt Cellar it’s wow factor.
Diego Pops has some pretty cool Southwestern dishes, with a twist of course. While you can down tacos and margaritas, we’d recommend going for the more outlandish options. How does street corn with flaming hot Cheeto dust sound? Or nachos topped with brussel sprouts and an over-easy egg? As a bonus, the environment is lovely and eclectic.
Rehab Burger Therapy
Craving a burger that’s dressed with a bit more than just cheese? Rehab Burger Therapy, in Old Town, will deliver. All kinds of aioli sauces, barbecue, various cheese and veggies are just a few of the elaborate options, however, the peanut butter and jelly burger is touted as strange but totally delicious. Too indulgent? The salad offerings are quite complex and impressive.
Terra cotta roofing and twinkling string lights accent the quaint outdoor dining space at II Bosco, which happens to serve up the best pizza in Scottsdale. Made fresh daily, the dough is adorned with fancier ingredients like cured meats and fresh greens—customers love the sweet-savory element of pies topped with fig jam. Stuffed peppers, Caprese salads with Burrata cheese and a list of unique appetizers round out the menu.
The Rooster Tavern
Looking for a cozy local hangout? The Rooster Tavern fits the bill with its gritty yet warmly welcoming atmosphere. Come to watch the game, to have a drink, or to chow down on signature American grub, and some Southwestern goodies too. Simple but tasty burgers, tacos, wings and famed meatballs are on the menu—the tavern is pleasantly straightforward.