By Alison Bailin Batz, Becky Bracken, Niki D’Andrea, Christina Fuoco-Karasinski,
Wynter Holden, Kenneth LaFave, and Lara Piu
In terms of culinary cachet, there may be no place more compact in the Valley than the Scottsdale Airpark Corridor. There are more than 60 restaurants in and around its 8.6 square-mile area, and the number grows monthly as new eateries continually open their doors to serve the 55,000 people who work and live around the Airpark.
The explosion of the Airpark’s food-and-beverage scene is not surprising to the city’s tourism professionals. “Today, (greater) Scottsdale is home to nearly 800 restaurants. As Scottsdale’s restaurant scene has grown, so has its acclaim. In recent years, Scottsdale has earned accolades from Esquire, Food & Wine, the James Beard Foundation, AAA and more. That recognition is due in large part to the talented, innovative chefs steering Scottsdale’s resort restaurants and independent restaurants,” says Stephanie Pressler, community affairs manager for Experience Scottsdale. “Because of the Airpark’s proximity to resorts and shopping centers popular with both residents and visitors, the area is home to a wide variety of restaurants that appeal to all tastes and price ranges.”
Restaurateurs are drawn to the Airpark for its proliferating population and thriving businesses. Sam Fox, founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, has a handful of restaurants in the Airpark area including The Greene House and Zinburger. “It’s got a great demographic. There are a lot of families that live up north, and there’s also a great mix of business and tourism, as well… we have incredible support from our locals,” Fox says. “[The Airpark] just has a great, dynamic mixture of regulars, locals, businesspeople and tourism.”
Here is a guide to the best restaurants in the Airpark area, divided by cuisine. Bon appétit!
The overall vibe at Bitters is comfortable and welcoming, with a wraparound bar surrounded by flat-screen TVs and a large, dog-friendly patio. Recommended dishes: honey hot popcorn with curry dust, honey, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese drizzle; amaretto cheesecake with salty pretzel crust, blueberry sauce and caramel.
1455 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Executive Chef Chris Lenza and his staff serve creative dishes made from farm-fresh Arizona ingredients at this bright café embedded in the Musical Instrument Museum. Portions of the menu change daily; the fixtures, including Arizona grass-fed burgers and Schreiner’s hot dogs, are found at the grill station.
4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix
Chloe’s Corner is more than just a place to score a 50-cent cup of killer coffee; it’s where the whole neighborhood comes to meet, eat and dash. The Corner Chop salad heaped with turkey, cheese and candied nuts is always a favorite. There’s also an extensive case of grab-and-go items.
15215 N. Kierland Blvd., Scottsdale
The Greene House
California cuisine is served in a breezy, open environment at this Kierland Commons lunch favorite. Try the chicken tortilla soup, sesame chicken pot stickers or horseradish potato gratin.
15024 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
This family-owned sports bar founded by legendary poker player Kevin O’Donnell is known as “Scottsdale’s neighborhood Cheers.” Expect great bar food and a full line of beers.
14850 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale
Meaty wings and man-size meals are par for the course at Grayhawk’s masculine eatery named after Grayhawk PGA ambassador Phil “Lefty” Mickelson. The menu is a hit list of comfort classics paired with Southwestern favorites such as chicken enchiladas, quesadillas and tacos.
8620 E. Thompson Peak Pkwy., Scottsdale
The environs at this restaurant (a highlight of Four Seasons – Troon North resort) resemble a stop along Route 66 in its glory days – wood-paneling, vintage sign reproductions, a 1950s-style ice cream bar and a shuffleboard table. Menu highlights include Buffalo wings, duck pastrami salad and smoked New York strip steak.
10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale
This popular San Diego-based sandwich shop just opened an outpost in the Airpark, bringing its premium, fast-casual sandwiches and salads to Scottsdale, along with its famous fresh-baked bread and chic industrial setting.
14601 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Although the name is Italian, Rusconi’s serves inspired American fare like creamy mac and cheese with an upgrade of white truffle and goat cheese; grilled sustainable salmon with blackberry glaze; and pork chile verde. Menus are seasonal and updated frequently, so each time you visit, there’s something new to taste.
10637 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
The culinary programming at this edgy golf game haven is surprisingly sublime and seasonal. Spring offerings include a palate-pleasing spring meatball platter with a Mediterranean influence, watermelon salad and bao bun tacos.
9500 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
The Vig McDowell Mountain
An expansive patio filled with yard games and cooled by misters makes this Vig location less than a mile away from the Gateway Center’s hiking and biking trails perfect for post-recreation dining. House specialties like pad Thai, crispy chicken and steak and fries are elevated versions of comfort food.
10199 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale
Kodo Sushi Sake
With contemporary design, a traditional and expansive sushi roll menu (try the Ahi Tower roll) and a sizeable sake selection, Kodo is true to its name. The black rice is rave-worthy, as are the udon noodles.
15040 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale
OBON Sushi + Bar + Ramen
OBON’s light wood furnishings, natural stone and waving tree triptych create a refreshing, Zen-like atmosphere. OBON walks the fine line between traditional Asian fare and modern fusion, replacing foreign ingredients with the familiar. Peppers and heady spices dominate.
15037 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
For 17 years, Sapporo has been an Airpark staple, offering Pacific Rim-style seafood and steaks, interactive teppanyaki tables and, of course, fresh sushi.
14344 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Thai Chili 2 Go
Located in The Promenade, Thai Chili 2 Go boasts nearly 70 menu choices, including starters such as spring rolls, dumplings, and two varieties of Thai hot and sour soup. Main entrée dishes include pad prig pao, spicy eggplant and red curry.
16203 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The massive menu here has something for everyone, from egg dishes and fruit parfaits to pancakes and waffles to skillets and creative crêpes. Standouts include smoked salmon Benedict and the breakfast burrito with jalapeño and chorizo.
6990 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
Restaurateur Joey Maggiore opened this brunch and Bloody Mary restaurant in 2017, and each season, he incorporates new dishes. The menu has included items like cannoli pancakes, shrimp Oscar hash, and a bacon and rosemary potato frittata. A mainstay is the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar with more than 50 topping options.
14838 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale
Whether the craving is for a fancy croque-monsieur or a simple Caesar salad, NCounter has it covered. The fast-casual restaurant has a south face that opens to an expansive patio with clear views of McDowell Mountain. The menu is a balance of innovative and traditional breakfast and lunch selections.
7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix
New York Bagels ‘N Bialys
The owners of New York Bagels ‘N Bialys are transplants from the Big Apple who mix their bagel dough daily. After broiling and baking them to perfection, they put them out for hungry Scottsdale residents (there’s also a location at SkySong), who eagerly eat them up.
10320 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Snooze an A.M. Eatery
This bustling and bright breakfast joint has a retro-futuristic aesthetic and a colossal menu packed with flavor, from traditional bacon and eggs to six styles of eggs Benedict, including versions with grilled corn, prosciutto, and salmon.
15054 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Located at DC Ranch Crossing/AJ Center, Lush Burger serves 11 flamboyantly named variations, ranging from the classic build-your-own to the “Hello…?!?!? Can Anyone Get Me a Bacon Cheeseburger Around Here?!?” Mushroom lovers will dig “Jay Does ‘Shrooms,” while pizza fanatics can order the Pepperoni Burger.
18251 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale
The Rooster Tavern
Dubbing itself a “luxury neighborhood dive bar,” The Rooster Tavern gives guests elevated pub grub in a stylish but homey atmosphere. Popular menu items include the Boursin burger slathered in Boursin cheese and topped with crispy applewood-smoked bacon, and Rico’s Street Tacos packed with shredded beef.
14202 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Sophisticated bar bites, a friendly atmosphere and perfectly prepared meats make this eatery at Grayhawk a popular nosh spot. Try the lauded pulled pork sandwich or the Tavern Burger.
20469 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
Part gas station, part fresh market and barbecue restaurant, The Thumb is a place where you can scarf down some savory brisket with your choice of sauces while your ride gets spruced up. All meats are smoked in-house and sublime, but the andouille sausage sandwich makes an extra tasty impression.
9393 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale
Haute hamburgers and decadent milkshakes make this Scottsdale Quarter concept a gloriously gluttonous experience.
15257 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Creamistry – the made-to-order, liquid-nitrogen frozen ice cream sensation – lets you pick your serving size, then your ice cream base (premium, organic, sorbet or coconut). Choose from flavors ranging from cereals like Cap’n Crunch to coffee and fruit flavors, and classics like chocolate and vanilla. Choose your toppings and then science takes over to produce tasty frozen treats.
15059 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
This candy store in Scottsdale Quarter is a cornucopia of classic and oversize candies, as well as novelty treats like candy sushi and edible bras. Everything from chalky and colorful Necco Wafers to a huge Hershey chocolate bar weighing 3 lbs. can be found here among the colorful and shiny displays of future sugar rushes.
15147 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
6 Degrees Urban Kitchen
6 Degrees Urban Kitchen is a New American mélange of ingredients and cultures. On one end, you’ll find chicken yakitori and seared ahi, just inches away from poutine and guacamole. The globally inspired menu is intriguing, and Chef Jose Morales’ flavors are succinct.
8989 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Char Kitchen + Bar
The menu at Char is inspired by owner Peter Micakaj’s Albanian roots, with eastern European influences. Kabobs are a mainstay, with steak, chicken and shrimp options served with basmati rice. Gyros and lamb burgers shake up Char’s burger and sandwich selection.
6107 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The menu at this Irish restaurant and bar emphasizes modern Irish food: grilled lamb cutlets, black puddings, Irish bangers, braised pork belly, grilled seasonal vegetable skewers, and stellar soups and Shepherd’s Pie. Food and drink aside, Skeptical Chymist is known as an apothecary-themed eatery. The owner received items for the restaurant from the wife of Phoenix Poison Control’s founder.
15688 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale
The owner of Sonata’s is Lithuanian and the menu favors eastern European and Russian recipes. If you’ve been hankering for a place that serves chicken Kiev, borscht and perogies in an elegant setting at moderate prices, this is it.
10050 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The menu at this stylish restaurant in Scottsdale Quarter is modest in size but mighty in flavor: hot and cold Italian sandwiches, tableside house-made mozzarella, meatball and calamari starters, seafood and steak. In addition to the expected egg dishes, the innovative global brunch menu includes truffles and caviar.
15257 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The food at Dominick’s Steakhouse is, unsurprisingly, focused on meat. Selections include filet mignon, jumbo scallops, steak and caramelized onions (with gorgonzola and creamy horseradish), and highly regarded bone-in KC strip and rib-eye steaks. The bar area and dining room are dark and chic, and the shallow indoor pool attracts many diners to Dominick’s rooftop.
15169 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The Fat Ox
The concept here is “a new approach on Italian food,” meant to be “simple yet bold.” The menu includes decadent dishes worthy of a Robin Leach voiceover – Scottish salmon with faro risotto and apricot agro dolce, Duroc pork tomahawk chop with baby fennel in a balsamic glaze, and a mind-blowingly good 40-ounce prime porterhouse that will set you back $110.
6316 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
This green/eco-conscious eatery with a menu of salads and wraps is located a little outside the Airpark area, but worth the wander.
10460 N. 90th St., Scottsdale
Fresh Mint does vegetarian cuisine right. This is, as Chef Mai Ly describes it, “vegetarian food with a Vietnamese twist.” Though there are a handful of dishes prepared with faux soy-based meats, many of Chef Mai’s signature dishes put veggies, fungi and legumes center stage.
13802 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
These franchised stores focus on pre-measured salads, protein bowls and juices ranging from around 200 calories to upwards of 700 calories for more filling pasta meals. Seafood lovers will appreciate the shrimp- and avocado-studded Gulf of Mexico salad, while the Patagonia bowl uses a potent olive oil and herb blend to boost the flavor of chimichurri-sauced steak.
Multiple Scottsdale locations
The Original ChopShop brand serves healthful fare that’s dependable. Every ChopShop features the same menu of salads, sandwiches, protein bowls, fresh juices and desserts. The farmhouse look is also consistent. Salad options range from a basic kale Caesar to beet, barbecued chicken and protein-packed kale with quinoa.
10625 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
True Food Kitchen
Healthful, chef-driven, seasonal and locally sourced dishes drive this thriving farm-to-table concept in Scottsdale Quarter. The attached Juby True serves cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
15191 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Owner Matt Pilato prepared and tested countless pizzas before landing on the thin-crust neo-Neopolitan-style pizza Lamp serves. He creates balanced, flavorful pies with exactly the perfect amount of chew and crunch. Aside from the pizzas, a must-try is the mignulata, a Sicilian bread stuffed with sausage, pecorino and cauliflower.
8900 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Scottsdale
This lively trattoria in Kierland Commons serves classic and contemporary Italian dishes.
15024 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Rinaldi’s Italian Deli
Rinaldi’s made-to-order sandwiches are crafted only with Boar’s Head premium cold cuts. There are also several salads on the menu, in addition to traditional Italian favorites like lasagna and eggplant parmesan.
16211 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Sauce Pizza and Wine
In addition to its handcrafted gourmet pizza classics, like the signature mozzarella, Fontia and basil pie, Sauce offers a number of panini, pastas, salads and house-made soups.
14418 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The Sicilian Butcher
The latest restaurant concept from Chef Joey Maggiore is exceptional. There’s a little Italy in everything, from the mobster-figure murals painted above the bar to the wall-size photo of Joey’s father Thomaso Maggiore. Excellent bruschetta boards, flatbread, panini and salads abound on the menu, but the stars of the show are the handcrafted pastas and ten kinds of homemade meatballs.
15530 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
Since 1996, Chef Nina Vincenti has been serving diners the finest Italian dishes, from antipasto appetizers and fresh pastas to thoughtfully prepared meat and fish dishes. The pastas and sauces, both homemade, steal the show with their potent aroma and fantastic flavors.
6339 E. Greenway Rd., Scottsdale
This authentic Italian eatery recently celebrated 20 years in business, and still offers original house specialties baccala mantecato (salt-cured cod) and fegato alla veneziana (calf’s liver), but the cuisine is lighter than one might expect. This is Northern Italian food – Americanized Italian’s slimmer and more sophisticated cousin.
6137 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Asadero Cocina + Cantina
Asadero Cocina + Cantina took over the former En Fuego space in Hilton DoubleTree Resort, but some fan favorites remain – like the tongue-tingling, jalapeño-bacon-wrapped shrimp, which has been on the menu in some form for at least 14 years and is a popular go-to item for locals. Also popular: piquant lamb meatballs, avocado toast and shrimp aguachiles.
5401 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Caramba Mexican Food
Massive portions heaped with cheese and sauce are Caramba’s thing. Mexican pizzas, nachos, tacos and colossal enchiladas overflow with ingredients like fresh shredded lettuce and black olives. No one leaves hungry. The chimichanga is siesta-inducing.
7318 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
The Mission Kierland
Opened in January 2017, The Mission Kierland shares a menu with the Old Town Scottsdale location (established in 2008). Tortillas, salsas and arepas (a popular breakfast food in Venezuela and Columbia, made from ground maize flour) are made fresh on-site daily, and The Mission’s meats are smoked over mesquite or pecan wood on a flat-top grill to imbue them with rich flavors.
7122 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale
SOL Cocina’s Baja-Mexican dishes pair well with their margaritas (try the 12-ounce house margie), whether you’re eating a sloppy-good Mexican hot dog or one of the taco options, which include beer-battered fish and carnitas.
15323 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale