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A foodie’s guide to Scottsdale

It may look and feel like the typical Southwest, but Scottsdale is as far from Tex-Mex and cowboy hats as a town in New England. The city — dubbed the “Beverly Hills of the Southwest” — has a food scene that is nationally acclaimed, giving it a truly unique position in the Southwestern market.

Scottsdale skyline

Not to be confused with its big brother Phoenix, Scottsdale has its own distinct vibe, which is a little bit country with a dash of posh and luxury. This trendy hotspot is home to over 600 restaurants, and most of the food and flavors pay homage to the many cultural influences of the area.

Breakfast & brunch

Some of the most popular restaurants in Scottsdale are those whose food directly reflects the Native American, Latin and Mexican heritage of its founders. The Mission, a modern Latin restaurant in the heart of Old Town, is one of the best spots to grab brunch on weekends. They have great spins on old-time classics, like chorizo grits with scrambled eggs and a to-die-for spicy Mission Mary made with hefty dose of tabasco, horseradish and olive juice.

Another top-rated pick by the locals for breakfast is Arcadia Farms. This elegant bistro has a “ladies who lunch” vibe, fantastic patio seating and a French-inspired menu. Get the fresh berry crepes, which are topped with sweet mascarpone cheese, or the homemade granola parfait. Another great brunch spot for people watching is Cafe Zuzu, located in the hip Hotel Valley Ho. Begin your meal with a trip to the Bloody Mary bar, where you can whip up your own lethal hangover cure. The scones (some of the best we’ve had), the California eggs benedict and the thick Belgium waffle are all great choices.

Lunch spots

If you’re looking for a view with your lunch, stop by the Relish Burger Bistro, located above The Phoenician’s golf clubhouse. The burgers are made with only premium Kobe beef and are topped with a wide range of garnishes, from ketchup and cheese to fries and onion rings. If you’re watching your carbs, order the “knife and fork” variety, which is a hearty burger sans the bun. If you have the time, sample some tequila since the bar has one of the largest selections in the state.

For a healthier lunch, stop by the Pita Jungle. This restaurant has multiple locations across the state, but the restaurant in Scottsdale is one of the best. From the colorful local art hanging on the walls to the great prices (and huge portion sizes) this hot, healthy eatery is a favorite among locals. Order the tubule and pile it high with chicken and vegetables. If sushi is more your vibe, head to Sapporo, which is one of the city’s hottest lunch spots. The prices are moderate, with rolls ranging from $6-12. The rainbow roll is a must and so is the seared tuna rice bowl.

Trendy dinner locales

If you’re looking for pomp and glam, grab a table at the hip Olive and Ivy, located across the canal from downtown and a few blocks from the Fashion Square. If you can, dine outside under the lush, shady trees. The inside is also hip, with glittering bulbs hanging down and a very open seating plan with views inside the kitchen. The food is mostly Mediterranean and Italian inspired, with dishes like mushroom tortelli and flatbreads. The prosciutto flatbread is a must, especially when paired with one of their specialty cocktails, like the Giaco’s Italian Shady made with Campari and topped with Peroni.

Olive and Ivy

Photo credit: EriQ

Another must-visit restaurant is Talavera, which sits comfortably in the ultra swanky Four Seasons. The food is spectacular, but the views of the valley and the foothills of the Pinnacle Peak Park are what make dining here such an occasion. The focus of the restaurant is local, so you’ll find ingredients indigenous to the area. We recommend the Chilean sea bass, which is served with a potato risotto and braised oxtail, or the locally raised cedar beef rib-eye, served with giant onions and a spicy chipotle sauce. Pair your dinner with one of their 485 different wines.

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