Popular spots and best kept secrets

Here are some suggestions for hot dinner spots in the area, and what we like. We’ve categorized this based on conversations we have when deciding on where to dine. Hope it helps!

Carlsbad Tavern

az-scottsdale-carlsbad-tavern-01Located just a about a mile down Hayden Road, Carlsbad Tavern has a cool atmosphere and great New Mexican cuisine. This food is not for the faint of heart (or sensitive of stomach). New Mexican grub almost always contains some type of pepper and therefore serious heat. Whether you opt for the blue corn enchiladas with hatch green chili sauce or decide to brave their famous habanero burger you’ll want a cold brew to wash it down. Whether you chose to sit inside or enjoy the patio, Carlsbad is a good choice for a fun evening.


banderraOn Scottsdale Road right in the heart of OldTown, Bandera is an upscale casual restaurant known for their rotisserie chicken. The macho salad and one of their steaks are some of our favorites – the jalapeno iron skillet cornbread is a must!

Make a reservation if possible, otherwise you will most likely wait for a table.

Uncle Sal’s

unclesalsJust down the road at the corner of Hayden and Osborn, you’ll find Uncle Sal’s Italian restaurant. Great food and pizza, Uncle Sal’s is not a hole in the wall Italian joint. Nice setting and ambiance, it is great for a nice dinner and is family friendly.

If you’re in the mood to stay in, but don’t want pizza or chinese, Uncle Sal’s is a great option for takeout as well.

Cowboy Ciao

cowboyDescribed as New American cuisine with Southwest influences, Cowboy Ciao is definitely a local, unique and fun choice for a nice dinner out while in Scottsdale. The Stetson Chop (salad) is amazing. The bone in chop (pork) and the Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry have put this place on the map.

Known for their wine menu, occasionally they host a Sommelier Showdown!

Olive and Ivy

oliveivy-02Keith didn’t want me to include Olive and Ivy as he finds it “too girly,” but it is definitely a favorite among many. Southwest meets Mediterranean, Olive and Ivy has small plates, salads and flatbreads if you want a little something, or pasta, fish and steak if you are really hungry. Great ambiance, and nice patio with beautiful views of the Scottsdale Waterfront. It’s located right near Fashion Square Mall.


ZippsAbsolutely our favorite sports bar. Mainly due to the focaccia wraps. They are crazy good! I love the Monaco and Keith digs the buffalo. Our kids no longer order off the kids menu – it’s focaccias all around!
They actually have good wings, burgers and salads too. Great place for good food and a cold beer. In the mood for a local sports bar – go to Zipps.

Warning – if you get it to go, the fries and focaccias get soggy and aren’t nearly as good.

Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers

coldSpeaking of cold beer, Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers located on Scottsdale Road is another casual sports bar with good food. Obviously you want to get a burger, but the question is – which one? Many types of burgers on the menu – personally, I like the plain old cheeseburger with cheddar.

Stax Burger Bistro

staxAnother great place to grab a burger on Scottsdale Road is Stax. A little bit swankier than a traditional sports bar, but no need to dress up. Make sure you try the tots!


oreganos-logo-2Oregano’s is listed twice. Once under lunch and again under pizza. It really is good enough to warrant both placements. Recipes originating in Chicago, but not that super thick deep dish. Great pizza, pasta and salads that will cause to you work Oregano’s into every trip to the Valley.

Joe’s NY

joesnyBest New York style pizza in the Valley. Stop by and grab a slice – it’s legit. The menu is large, but don’t bother reading it – trust me, you want a slice! And it’s open until 3am. So if your trip gets a little crazy and you end up in Old Town at 2:30am. . .

Pizzeria Bianco

bianco_01Okay, you can’t visit the Phoenix area and not at least know about Pizzeria Bianco. It has it’s own Wikipedia entry. Homemade mozzarella cheese, a menu that changes daily according to what ingredients are freshest and available, it is not uncommon for Pizzeria Bianco to be on a 3-4 hour wait. Chris Bianco was practicing farm to table before anyone knew what that meant. Recognized as Best Pizza in the U.S. by Bon Appetit, Vogue and Rachel Ray, Pizzeria Bianco is a Phoenix hot spot and has been for more than 20 years!

Old Town Tortilla Factory

oldtowntortillaHomemade tortillas anchor the Mexican menu at this adobe house with many tequilas & a garden patio. It is located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale in the charming art district. Built from an historic 75-year old Scottsdale adobe home, Old Town Tortilla Factory captures timeless charm and distinct atmosphere that exemplifies the essence of the Southwest.



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