The Most Decadent Food & Drink in the Valley for Summer

The Editors | June 18, 2019 | Food & Drink

Take wining and dining to the next level with our picks of the best experiences in town.

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Devour Culinary Classic culls tastes of cuisine by top Valley restaurants.

BEST WINE CONNOISSEUR

Hidden Track Bottle Shop (111 W. Monroe St., Ste.120, Phoenix, 602.566.7932) If you’ve never tasted white Beaujolais or sparkly pét-nat, then you haven’t met Craig Dziadowicz, co-owner of Hidden Track Bottle Shop, who specializes in stocking rare, hard-to-find wines—and knowing every detail about every bottle.

MOST OUTSTANDING FEMALE CHEF

Samantha Sanz (Talavera, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, 480.513.5085) James Beard recently nominated the Talavera chef for the rising star chef of the year. Sanz completely overhauled the restaurant’s menu to have Latin flavors inspired by her Nogales, Mexico, heritage. She is the youngest chef in all Four Seasons restaurants to helm a kitchen.

MUST-TRY PRIX FIXE

Sel (7044 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 480.949.6296) Located in the arts district, this intimate space is perfect culmination to the Scottsdale ArtWalk, offering four courses of contemporary American masterpieces by chef Branden Levine.

MOST ANTICIPATED RESTAURANT OPENING

Maple & Ash (7135 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale) Set to open in late summer 2019 at the Scottsdale Waterfront, this Chicago import boasts wood-fired modern steakhouse fare by two-Michelin-starred chef Danny Grant and a wine list that Wine Spectator named “one of the most outstanding in the world.”

BEST PLATING

Kai (Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, 602.385.5777) The dishes at this AAA five-diamond/Forbes five-star restaurant are almost too beautiful to eat, thanks to the artful Native American fusion dishes by chef de cuisine Ryan Swanson.

BEST BAR COMEBACK

Kazimierz (7137 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, 480.946.3004) When news broke that this beloved speakeasy in Old Town Scottsdale would shutter, Second Story Liquor Bar owner Tommy Plato decided to resurrect it for its legion of loyalists—this time better than ever. Expect a refreshed look, a new whiskey program and an impressive daily lineup of live music.

BEST PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN

Ocean 44 (4748 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale, 480.867.0044) Ask any Scottsdale resort concierge where the wealthy gallivant these days and the answer is unanimous. Located in the new luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square, this new seafood shrine boasts 12,000 square feet of space, an 18-foot-long shellfish display on ice and a reserve wine list with more than 200 bottles.

BEST PRIVATE FARM TO TABLE DINING EXPERIENCE

Quiessence at The Farm’s Brick Oven (6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix, 602.276.0601) The chef’s expert team will guide you and up to five guests through the eight-course culinary adventure using ingredients straight from the farm’s garden with personal recommendations for which cocktails or wines should accompany each dish.

BEST PATIO

LON’s at The Hermosa Inn (5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley, 844.423.3981) Coated in a lush blanket of bright flowers and accented with trickling fountain, multiple adobe fireplaces and stunning mountain views, LON’s is one of the most coveted reservations for a patio table when the whether is mild.

BEST CULINARY EVENT

Devour Culinary Classic Lauded by The New York Times, this prestigious event (VIP tickets $205) brings together the biggest culinary talents in the region for chef demos, meet and greets, and tastings.

BEST PLACE TO TAKE A FOODIE

Restaurant Progress (702 W. Montecito Ave., Phoenix, 602.441.0553) Adventurous eaters are welcome at this tiny restaurant, where red-veined sorrel and sharp fennel dress beef carpaccio, and paper-thin radishes give bite to buttery snapper crudo.

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANT

Café Monarch (6939 E. First Ave., Scottsdale, 480.970.7682) From the warm glow of chandeliers to the heady scent of fresh roses, everything about Café Monarch spells romance. Linger into the evening over a four-course prix fixe dinner ($85 to $165).

MOST MAGICAL NEW PRIVATE VENUE

Candelas (6934 E. First Ave., Ste. 102, Scottsdale, 480.970.7682) Invite 50 of your closest friends for an intimate gathering at this vine-covered, lantern-hung, European-style courtyard. Tucked inside Café Monarch, this open-air venue offers elegant seclusion and white-glove service.

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Casa Terra’s tapas tacos with housemade tortillas, pibil mushrooms and escabeche

BEST VEGAN FINE DINING

Casa Terra (6835 N. 58th Drive, Glendale, 623.230.2289) The New York Times bestseller and executive chef Jason Wyrick decided to put the plant-based haute-cuisine concept to the test by opening this Glendale gem earlier this year. Expect hearty, comforting dishes inspired by Mexico and the Mediterranean.

MOST INDULGENT SATURDAY NIGHT

Champagne Saturdays (6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480.423.2530) On the first and third Saturdays of the month, The Phoenician’s Tea Room hosts decadent Champagne Saturdays. Indulge in your choice of three different Champagnes (Dom Pérignon is $199 per person) paired with an artisan cheese board and a three-course small-bites menu, including luxe offerings like coconut breaded lobster tail.

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The dining room at Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

BEST RESTAURANT TO WATCH THE SUNSET

Elements (5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, 855.421.0260) The signature restaurant at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa boasts a high perch and wraparound glass walls for front-row seats to panoramic views of the sunset and The Praying Monk, an exquisite rock formation on Camelback Mountain.

BEST HANGOUT FOR SCOTCH COLLECTORS

Westin Kierland Scotch Library (6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale) With over 300 bottles of scotch, 15 percent of which are rare finds, the Scotch Library is a whiskey connoisseur’s dream. Try the 50-year-old Balvenie—an ounce will set you back $2,000

BEST HAUTE ITALIAN FOOD

Fat Ox (6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.307.6900) Chef Matt Carter elevates Nonna’s Italian cooking with refined dishes featuring homemade pasta, slow-roasted meats and fresh fish that let the ingredients shine.

BEST RESTAURANT FOR 360-DEGREE VIEWS

Orange Sky (9800 E. Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, 480.850.8606) Perched on the 14th floor of Talking Stick Resort, Orange Sky takes its name from the amazing sunsets that set the backdrop for a romantic, gourmet meal with signature tableside preparations.

BEST CHEF’S TABLE

Table XII (5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, 888.584.4482) Limited to only 12 guests, the interactive dining venue inside Elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa features a glass wall that opens up to a state-of-the-art show kitchen, with front-row seats to witness the culinary mastery of celebrity chef Beau MacMillan.

BEST NOUVEAU CHOCOLATIER

XO Confections (2320 W. Peoria Ave., Ste. A103, Peoria, 602.368.3050) These chocolates look like bite-size works of art and are made from the finest cocoa, fruits and spices.

BEST SECRET WINE CLUB

Vinum 55 (15220 N. 78th Way, Scottsdale, 602.293.8069) Members receive a temperature-controlled personal wine vault, access to tastings, paired dinners with local chefs, meet and greets with top winemakers, and an on-site cellar manager to keep inventory of your collection and courier bottles to and fro’.

BEST CUSTOM CONFECTIONS FOR A PARTY

Ruze Cake House (7033 E. Main St., Ste.100, Scottsdale, 480.438.8692) Quality over quantity is the adage at this mother-daughter bakery, where orders are custom-made in smaller batches, and ingredients are sustainable and locally sourced. Cakes, cookies and treats are stunning works of art, some of them handpainted and inspired by desert flora.

HIDDEN GEM FOR WORLDLY FOODIES

Razz’s (10315 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.905.1308) The chef’s table at Razz’s is a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure through the word travels of chef Erasmo “Razz” Kamnitzer. After each summer’s closure, Razz journeys to new destinations and translates new flavors and experiences into his tasting menu.

BEST NEW CUSTOM COCKTAIL BAR

Little Rituals (132 S. Central Ave. 4th Floor, Phoenix, 602.603.2050) Enjoy innovative Instagram-friendly cocktails—including Big City Nights, with a foamy egg-white cap stamped with a printed mural on edible paper—with retro flair created by expert mixologists Ross Simon and Aaron DeFeo in this sleek lounge overlooking Downtown Phoenix.



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Photography by: Devour Culinary Classic photo by chanelle sinclair/courtesy of devour culinary classic | Elements photo courtesy of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa | Casa Terra by tylon blas/courtesy of casa terra