Transport your valentine to Mexico and make your evening las delicias! Here are the most romantic spots in Scottsdale.
Seductive music fills the dining lounge at Toca Madera, along with fresh chef’s specials from its menu.
Authenticity and quality of ingredients are at the heart of this award-winning eatery. Each menu item is made from scratch and utilizes authentic mouthwatering recipes that give a glimpse of many regions of Mexico. Their proteins are marinated and made fresh every day, along with housemade tortillas. Chiles en Nogada, which is a roasted poblano pepper filled with chicken, apples, pears, dried apricots, golden raisins, walnuts, onions and garlic, covered in a light creamy almond sauce is chef Julio Mata’s favorite. “Chiles en Nogada celebrates Mexico’s independence and the colors represent the Mexican flag,” he says. To ensure pure authenticity, founders Linda and Steve actively travel throughout Mexico to find the newest trends and traditions and bring them back to share with their guests. Along with creative and colorful menu options, sourced artwork from native Latino artists paints the walls and invites customers to embrace Mexican culture. The sweet Mexican hot chocolate, spiked with 1921 Crema de Tequila and topped with whipped cream and Mexican shaved chocolate, is a must-try. 7114 E. Stetson Drive, Ste. 105, Scottsdale, barrioqueen.com
Leisurely lounge and drink up! Blanco provides a relaxing vibe that’s great for socializing. The dining room exhibits a large inviting atmosphere with plenty of bright light, while the patios offer cheeriness and warmth. With a coastal twist on Mexican food, Blanco creates tangy tequila flights, fruity and refreshing blackberry sangria, and a spicy kick—the michelada. For savory comforts, guests can turn the braised chicken, caramelized sweet potato and carne asada into a burrito, bowl or enchilada. And no one can go wrong with classic orange and chile carnitas, slow-cooked barbecue pork or grilled mahi tacos. To satisfy a sweet tooth, there’s an array of brown sugar caramel traditional flan, rich Mexican chocolate cake, or fruity frozen margaritas and tropical frozen palomas. 6166 N. Scottsdale Road, #601, Scottsdale, blancotacostequila.com
With a twin location in Kierland, Old Town Scottsdale now has the modern Latin cuisine of The Mission, a blend of old-world allure and modern elegance. Guests are surrounded by the captivating glow of a Himalayan salt block wall and immersed in flickering candlelight for a romantic atmosphere. From inside to outside seating, seductive aromas from the grill capture the senses and create an amazing dining experience. Chef Matt Carter creates tasty cuisine blending influences from Spain, Mexico, Central America and South America. Spanish griddles like Faroe Islands salmon combine chimichurri, Peruvian potatoes, charred onion, cauliflower and caper agrodolce over a grill using pecan and mesquite wood. 3815 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale, themissionaz.com
Located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, this charming eatery offers a Southwestern taste with a Mexican twist. House specialties rock the house including sweet tequila-glazed shrimp, pan-seared spicy sea bass and soy-glazed grilled salmon. But it doesn’t stop there: Those delicate delights don’t outshine the regional favorites, including bacon-wrapped chipotle-smothered Sonoran meatloaf, chop-cut steak with a homemade sweet and spicy honey chipotle sauce, or the trademark build-your-own Old Town tacos. The property hosts a 1,400-square-foot flagstone patio and is shaded by 100-year-old pecan trees. The bistro was built from a historic 75-year-old adobe, so for a charming dining experience, cozy up in the unique customized dining area or ask for an intimate dinner for two. 6910 E. Main St., Scottsdale, oldtowntortillafactory.com
Authentic, simple and fresh. This unique Mexican cocina delights itself in preparing simple coastal dishes with fiery wood-grilled tacos, ceviches and cocktails. “The grilled sweet corn served tableside fills the palate with a light smoky flavor that is balanced with the sweetness of the corn,” says head chef Ernesto Lopez. “We have a love for the diversity of flavors throughout Mexico and wanted to bring the wood-fired flavors of Baja to our guests,” says SOL owner Randy Sharpe, who decided to open the tasty grill after many trips to the Peninsula. And, best yet, this spot is perfect for a romantic escape. For February, it will have a prix fixe menu for two featuring a new aphrodisiac margarita. “We constantly hear of guests having their first dates and then returning for their engagement,” says Sharpe. “This brings us so much joy, as we have naturally become a romantic dining destination.” 15323 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, solcocina.com
Two cultures come together in this trendy melting pot known as SumoMaya, combining Mexican and Asian flavors for a unique cultural fusion cuisine. With so many different things to choose from, the chefs recommend guests choose three to five dishes to enjoy on their own or with the table in order to maximize the experience. Classic appetizers like crispy calamari are reinvented with a sweet Thai-infused Argentinian chimichurri. Authentic Mexican pozole and savory Japanese green broth come together to create the pork belly pozole ramen, and the signature Maya sushi roll offers a spicy tuna with authentic masago arare. From regular spirits and wines to Sumo fusion cocktails, there are plenty of creative drinks to choose from to keep you on your toes. 6560 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, sumomaya.com
Fresh, seasonal ingredients put this ultimate fine dining restaurant at the top. By using fresh local produce to create these dishes, Toca Madera offers a distinctive take on traditional Mexican cuisine. Menu picks like the light and fresh Chilean sea bass ceviche, citrusy vinaigrette Mexican fattoush and the crowd-pleasing sea bass taco are chef adored. “Consuming fresh, local produce is more sustainable—fresh ingredients have not lost a bunch of moisture, flavor or nutrients,” says chef AJ. “This is one of the main reasons fresh items taste better. Think of the difference between freshly baked bread and two-day-old bread.” Along with using fresh ingredients, Toca Madera owners Tosh Berman and Mikey Tanha wanted to provide Scottsdale with an elevated social dining experience. Carefully curated sensory experiences like stunning design and seductive music fill the dining room, making this dining experience one you won’t easily forget. Along with its monthly Roses and Rose Party Brunch, Valentine’s Day will have additional chef’s specials and specialty cocktails, along with live entertainment for you and a special someone. 4736 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale, tocamadera.com
Photography by: Shelby Moore/courtesy of Toca Madera Scottsdale