The Best Restaurants In Scottsdale

This desert escape’s must-hit meals include enchiladas under some wacky skylights, poke bowls to cool you down, and more.
The Best Restaurants In Scottsdale image

photo credit: Lauren Topor

Ah, Scottsdale—Arizona’s cactus-dotted desert escape and bachelorette party capital of the West. Maybe you have this idea that eating here is limited to overpriced tacos catering to group trips and wealthy retirees. But similar to next-door Phoenix, don’t underestimate Scottsdale’s food. Restaurants here are more than just quick stops for a bite before a pickleball match or pedal-powered pub crawl. There’s sauce-drenched Sonoran-style Mexican food, a bar with dessert so good it’s a perfect first course, and flaming cheese at a clubstaurant that packs equal parts flavor and fire into one dish. 


photo credit: Lauren Topor


Old Town Civic Center

$$$$Perfect For:KidsWalk-InsHappy HourBig Groups
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This Scottsdale darling has been serving excellent Mexican food since the ’40s, and now the historic building feels like a folklore fever dream. An abstract statue of a man’s head sits on the roof, columns are in the shape of huge vases, and there’s a room where you can drink margaritas under ocean-hued skylights and fake tropical birds the size of a third grader. Take it all in, then start with the cheese crisps, a satisfying play between crunchy tortillas and melted cheese piled on top that’s made even better with fresh table salsa. The Mexican Flag Enchiladas are the entree to order—that way you don’t have to choose between their green and red sauces. Stop by for a casual meal before climbing into a golf cart to watch the first pitch at a Giants spring training game.

Your vegan-curious, picky eater friend texts about grabbing dinner. Take them to FnB and split some of the most creative plates in town. There’s a funky-tiled floor and stained glass, not unlike the house of every family’s favorite aunt with stellar taste in artsy coffee table books. The menu changes often, but their salads always use whatever super fresh produce they can secure (like kohlrabi, watermelon, or radishes). If they’re available, definitely order the crispy-kale-outside, almost-melty-inside falafel. Ask for one of the Los Milics Vineyard reds to cheers with, and check to see if they have the brioche donuts for dessert.

Come to AZ88 for the fantastic french martinis, rotating art installations, and headbob-inducing electro-house playlists. The best way to settle in is with a round of drinks and house potato chips before starting with a dessert (like the menu suggests), such as the strawberry shortcake smothered in fluffy whipped cream. If you need some real food, the burger au poivre is a great option: the beef patty is from French’s Meat Shoppe, and it all gets punched up by a smoky red onion burgundy sauce. Hanging out here is the closest you’ll get to Studio 54 in Arizona, and if you start buzzing after shots with the dental hygienist who told you their life story in the line for the bathroom, take in some crisp desert air on the terrace.

Chula Seafood is a fast-casual spot that’s great for when you want more surf than turf. They have a dedicated following for their reinvented tuna melt with hatch chile, oaxaca cheese, and chimichurri. If it’s a scorcher outside, order one of the poke bowls for a raw fish cool down, but if you're after some heat, go with the spicy yellowfin tuna loaded with shishito peppers. Swing by for a quick meal, or take advantage of happy hour specials on oysters, spiked limeades, and more. 

photo credit: Lauren Topor



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This restaurant could easily be mistaken for the actual Old Adobe Mission next door—you’re looking for the place without the steeple, but with the tableside guacamole. The dim dining room has bronze angel statues and gothic crosses on the walls, along with shiny chandeliers that give the place a sexy vibe. Their roasted pork shoulder tacos, smoked and braised for 12 hours and served with hand-pressed tortillas, are your bible for date night romance. It’s a build-your-own plate prepared for two and a subtle way to test for dealbreakers, including whether or not your date likes cilantro or if they’re the kind of person who puts toppings before the protein.

Instead of maxing out your credit card for a table at an overcrowded nightclub, lock in seats for Shinbay’s omakase room for one of their two, reservation-only seatings a night. The seven courses are a parade of sea urchin, blue shrimp, ocean trout, barracuda, and other fish that you won’t usually see on menus around town. Everything is pretty relaxed at Shinbay, so you won’t have to shout at your date or fumble for a menu in the dark, and the wraparound bar is positioned in a way where every spot is the best seat in the house. 

Citizen has a divey pub vibe without the lingering cigarette smoke or sticky floors, making it an obvious contender for a Manchester United-loving dad’s 53rd birthday dinner. Expect sunburned tourists and hospitality industry folks snacking on the bacon fat popcorn, and excellent barrel-aged cocktails like the Rose Garland with bourbon and blood orange liqueur. The menu goes hard on comfort classics including fondue-dipped pretzels, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, and a salmon, buttermilk-herb dressed salad. Chat up the host and casually drop a question about Citizen’s private dining—you might be invited to the restaurant’s hidden speakeasy to drink whiskey in heavy glasses.

Weft & Warp is a stylish restaurant that’s like a night at the museum, with bougie guests who would unironically say they’re “patrons of the arts.” There’s a solar system of floating felt spheres, bookshelves with expensive-looking trinkets, and the kitchen plates on custom ceramic dinnerware. The dining room’s pièce de résistance is when the sun sets, casting a golden hour glow through the floor-to-ceiling windows. As for their menu, the lamb ribs and sumac spiced beet dip are good openers, and you can’t go wrong with the agnolotti squid ink pasta and Iberico pork chop mains. Make the patio your personal living room after eating by snuggling up next to a firepit while sipping a prickly pear margarita nightcap.

Clever is a counter-service spot where you can take a break from formatting spreadsheets and grab food before sending afternoon emails. Midday usually has a line out the door, so get here before 12pm, opt for a late meal, or order ahead to skip the queue. The space is our idea of an adult treehouse, with green ferns hanging from the ceiling and curvy wood paneling. You’ll be happy with the spicy karaage chicken bao or rich pork belly ramen, and their fries with kimchi and cheddar cheese sauce are great—they might make you want to nap after demolishing, but who gets any work done after lunch anyway?

Your “It Girl” friend who’s serious about making TikToks will find some mild milestone to celebrate at Cala. There’s a party brunch atmosphere with comically oversized espresso martinis and flaming saganaki that will torch any eyebrows that get too close. But it’s also one of the best things on the menu, so it’s worth the fire hazard. Waiters deliver sparkler-topped drinks like rush hour traffic while DJ sets thump in the background on the open-air misted patio. After enjoying the Mediterranean mezze platter and a couple of cucumber vodka cocktails, you’ll have the courage to play tipsy Marco Polo at the Senna House rooftop pool. 

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