THE TOP TEN Romantic Restaurants in Phoenix/Scottdale
Sometimes we all need a little help when it comes time to impress a date. Certain restaurants may please the tongue and fill the belly but don't tug on our emotions. The selections we have gathered here have that certain something—perhaps a light-speckled patio, or a roving musician, or inspirational garden—that can wow a date, and put them in the mood to satisfy other appetites. Presented in alphabetical order, here are the top ten romantic restaurants in Phoenix/Scottsdale.
Sometimes we all need a little help when it comes time to impress a date. Certain restaurants may please the tongue and fill the belly but don't tug on our e... more
Coup des Tartes
4626 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016 / 602-212-1082
Wood-floored and cozy, this BYO (located in a cottage) is a popular choice for contemporary French and American food. Begin with salmon mousse and baked Brie covered with caramelized apples before moving on to spice-rubbed lamb shank with couscous and harissa or filet mignon with ratatouille. Everyone saves room for a tart---especially the signature banana crème brûlée.
Different Pointe of View
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, 11111 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, AZ 85020 / 602-866-6350
Sunset and city views make a fine combination for romance at the cliff-side resort. The seasonally changing menu offers French-Mediterranean cuisine from chef Anthony DeMuro, combining traditional dishes and inspired combinations. Many of the herbs and vegetables featured on the menu grow on the hillside below the restaurant. Highlights include appetizers like duck confit with mushroom gnocchi and sweet garlic, and lemon-habanero Gulf shrimp served with glazed mushrooms and roasted pancetta sauce. An entrée of milk-fed rack of lamb is paired with basil-garlic potatoes and braised artichoke, while the grilled Atlantic salmon arrives with a truffle portobello-mango salpicon, asparagus and citrus cream. A sommelier is on hand to help you find the appropriate wines from a notable list featuring nearly 1,000 selections.
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, 5700 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 / 480-607-2300
Situated on the northern slope of Camelback Mountain, amid the grounds of Sanctuary (a resort built on the ruins of the former John Gardiner's Tennis Ranch), this contemporary American restaurant---which borrows the clean lines, muted colors and natural materials of Japanese design---makes Zen simplicity look spectacular. Floor-to-ceiling windows capture the splendor of sunsets and nearby mountains, encouraging customers to relax and drink in the natural beauty from plush couches and private booths. The Asian-accented, contemporary American cuisine echoes the restaurant's elemental elegance. Seasonal ingredients are simply prepared, allowing their natural flavors to shine through. The menu changes monthly but might include entrées such as sesame-crusted ahi splashed with cilantro-cumin vinaigrette, flash-fried soft shell crab served with garlic mashed potatoes and lemon beurre blanc, or beef tenderloin accompanied by a Maytag blue cheese-baked onion and roasted mushrooms. If you're partnered up, don't miss cocktails on the patio. If you're not, try your luck in the Jade Bar (crowded with single professionals) or have dinner at the community table, knowing that this uniquely beautiful place positively breathes romance.
SouthBridge, 7134 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 / 480-970-4099
Think you know fancy? The upscale restaurant has a concierge, to help guests figure out what to wear and where to buy it, or to arrange the perfect romantic evening down to diamond rings in Champagne splits. Chef Ron Dimas pays as much attention to the meticulous food, titled “French-inspired wine country cuisine.” Oft-changing, seasonal starters may feature Nantucket Bay scallops with shaved black truffles, or winter squash risotto with trumpet mushrooms, while entrées might entice with braised pork osso buco that falls apart with the touch of a marrow fork, or duck that is at once rustic and elegant in a splay of ruby red sliced breast alongside a boldly herbed sausage of leg meat served on the bone like a huge lollipop. Look for a date-pecan pithivier for dessert. But through it all, the mood is charming, quietly grand and not at all intimidating. The wine list is ample but not overwhelming, with sampling made easy by a dozen each of reds, whites and Champagnes/sparklers by the glass. Savvy staff will even split a wine pour between two glasses.
Lon's at the Hermosa
The Hermosa Inn, 5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd., Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 / 602-955-7878
A quaint collection of adobe casitas, The Hermosa Inn sits nestled on an idyllic plot of desert in posh Paradise Valley, five minutes but a world away from one of the Valley's busiest intersections. The former homestead of famed cowboy artist Lon Megargee, its focal point---Lon's---is as notable as its namesake former tenant. Amidst a gallery of rooms dripping with historic charm and Arizona artifacts, chef Michael Rusconi features masa-fried oyster tacos, roasted canyon quail, Jalisco-style scallop and ahi ceviche, imaginative salads fresh from the Hermosa's gardens and sampler platters that are great for grazers. An underground wine cellar (and expanded wine list) makes Lon's more elegant than ever. And in spring, the patio is heaven on earth.
The Farm at South Mountain, 6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix, AZ 85042 / 602-276-0601
Set in the pastoral splendor of The Farm at South Mountain, Quiessence (meant to signify the quiet place) offers a unique dining experience. The old house from which the restaurant operates has been refurbished and redecorated, giving it a spiffy look without taking away from its former cottage-like charm. The contemporary American menu includes an array of the season's freshest ingredients, pulled straight from the farm's organic garden. Hearth breads are baked on premises in an outdoor wood oven and the menu features vegetarian dishes as well as meat and fish. Guests are invited to stroll through the flower gardens between courses, or for an even more romantic encounter, cozy up near the fireplace. There's a small wine bar too, where tastings are conducted.
6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016 / 602-287-8900
Walking into The Rokerij (which means smokehouse in Dutch) is like walking into a secret portal that leads straight to Europe. Dimly lit and filled with classic artwork, this candlelit place is romantic and unlike anything else in Phoenix. Owner Richardson Browne (who also runs Richardson's and Dick's Hideaway up the street) set out to emulate the smokehouses of the Netherlands, and he's done a wonderful job. The menu, however, features upscale American comfort food. Except for a few smoked meats, there's nothing remotely Dutch about it. But never mind. The generously portioned steak tartare is excellent, as is an appetizer of roasted elephant garlic served with crunchy garlic toast, white beans, bacon and sautéed spinach. Try the entrecôte (a wonderfully flavorful rib-eye), the veal chop or the ahi. Then save room for the B-52, an outrageous layered confection of chocolate infused with various liqueurs.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa, 5200 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018 / 602-808-0766
Housed in the historic, restored Royal Palms Resort & Spa, the restaurant's surroundings, grounds and décor are elegantly old-world. The menu adheres to a seasonally-changing Mediterranean theme; save room for top-flight architectural desserts.
Vincent Guerithault on Camelback
3930 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85018 / 602-224-0225
This restaurant offers some of Phoenix's most unique cuisine---Southwestern favorites fused with the techniques of French haute cuisine. Chef Vincent Guerithault re-creates the warmth and charm of his homeland in the restaurant's décor, while offering many great French wines. The menu features Southwest specialties such as duck tamales, smoked salmon quesadillas and pasta with habanero-spiked sauce, but there are also Provençal-style selections such as lavender beignets, wild mushroom tarts and duck confit with green olive sauce.
Wright's at the Biltmore
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85016 / 602-955-6600
The formal dining room at Phoenix's luxurious Arizona Biltmore, Wright's is highly regarded as a special-occasion spot. An innovative American Lodge cuisine concept showcases the fresh foods of America’s best small farms, ranches and dairies, with menus reinvented weekly (a five-course tasting menu is updated daily), based on what’s seasonal and special. Simple but striking appetizers include silky Champagne-cured salmon wrapped around caviar-topped sturgeon mousse with shaved fennel and brioche; and escargots stuffed in snackable turnovers paired with Parmesan-Gruyère cream and pesto-lemon oil. Entrées emphasize lodge fare of the ’30s, including rabbit, elk and pheasant, plus modern plates like lovely seared nairagi (Hawaiian striped marlin), served with apple-fennel purée, sautéed mizuna and yellow tomato marmalade. Do not miss the warm apple cobbler, impaled with homemade almond brittle and served in a cast iron skillet atop a cedar plank. And be sure to take advantage of the suggested wine pairings throughout your meal: with one of the Southwest's only working wine cellars and an extensive selection of global labels, this is one of the Valley’s best wine lists.
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