Thomas J. Story
Scottsdale has 600-plus restaurants―and more important, both it and neighboring Phoenix now have quality to match the quantity. In fact, as popular as the cities already are with sun seekers and spring-training baseball fans, the food alone is now attracting tourists.
Ask an old-timer in Phoenix or Scottsdale what the food scene used to look like, oh, 10 or 15 years ago, and you'll be painted the bleak picture of a ghost town in a spaghetti Western―minus the spaghetti. But that was before chef Nobu Fukuda ingeniously introduced sushi to tapas at Sea Saw, before the young William Bradley redefined the American steakhouse at Vu, and before the Barrio Café's Silvana Salcido Esparza gave the grateful barrio her own inspired take on Mexican fare.
Read on for the tables where we're most excited to pull up our chairs―and look for the sun icon, sun seekers: Several of these have great outdoor patios.
This little high-energy spot is a riot of color. You won't find burritos, but you won't miss them with such comforting, robust fare to choose from as poblano chiles stuffed with chicken, apples, nuts, and cilantro, or blue-corn enchiladas with crab and Mexican goat cheese. $$$; lunch and dinner Tue-Sun, brunch Sun. 2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix; 602/636-0240.