With year-round sunshine and one of the country’s top resort scenes, it’s no surprise that Phoenix offers great fine dining options for the serious gourmand. From stately dining rooms to romantic outdoor bistros, here are five picks for unforgettable fine dining in Phoenix.
T. Cook’s. This venerable restaurant, located at the posh Royal Palms Resort and Spa, is the very definition of fine dining. Spanish-influenced architecture and rich earthen tones create a warm, elegant atmosphere, while the panoramic views of Camelback Mountain make for an unrivalled dining experience. The ambiance and service here are perfect for special family celebrations or a romantic dinner for two. And the food? T. Cook’s is known for its Mediterranean cuisine specializing in seasonal dishes and fire-roasted specialties. Anything from the wood-fired menu is superb, including the Wood Roasted Pork Chop with Polenta Dumplings, Pancetta & Figs. Look for Chef Hillson’s Tasting Menu, featuring seasonal dishes paired with specialty cocktails.
House of Tricks. Known simply as “Tricks” by locals, this award-winning Tempe restaurant is an oasis of calm and charm in heart of this busy university town. The restaurant encompasses two historic properties connected via a wooden deck and outdoor patio, with a canopy of mature trees providing a quiet, cozy atmosphere that sets the tone for a special night out. The House of Tricks menu features seasonally-inspired contemporay American dishes made from scratch from organic and locally sourced ingredients. Chef Kelly Fletcher and his talented staff specialize in creative, flavorful dishes such as their Pumpkin Goat Cheese Ravioli with Pistachio-Spinach Pesto, Sauteed Kale, Blood Orange Balsamic, Sage Crème Fraiche and Pistachio Dust. House of Tricks also offers an extensive wine list.
Quiessence. This four-diamond restaurant was rated one of “America’s most romantic restaurants” by Travel and Leisure Magazine in February 2011. Quiessence is nestled in a small house at The Farm at South Mountain, a quiet, 10-acre working organic farm and artist’s studio located just minutes from the hubub of downtown Phoenix. This award-winning restaurant boasts a menu of handcrafted contemporary American cuisine, with an emphasis on traditional comfort food favorites. This is one of the few places in Phoenix to offer a true “daily menu.” Every day, Executive Chef Gregory LaPrad handpicks the best local ingredients and crafts an entire menu around these, resulting in fresh, flavorful meals you won’t soon forget. Adventurous diners will want to take a seat at “The Brick Oven Table,” where Chef LaPrad and Sous Chef Anthony Andiario prepare a multi-course market fresh dinner using the restaurant’s rustic brick oven.
Vincent on Camelback. Traditonal French cuisine meets Southwestern flavors at this local Phoenix institution. Chef and owner Vincent Guerithault applies French technique and craft traditional Southwestern and Mexican ingredients and dishes, resulting in a hybrid cuisine that successfully marries the old and new world in an explosion of color and flavor. Signature dishes include the Sautéed Veal Sweetbreads with Blue Corn Meal, Red Wine Thyme Sauce and Wild Mushroom Potato Cup. For an unforgetablle appetizer, try the Duck Tamale with Anaheim Chile and Raisins.
Deseo at The Westin Kierland Resort. Nuevo Latino Cuisine is the specialty at this sleek, trendy restaurant, located inside the The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. James Beard Award-winning Chef Douglas Rodriguez has pioneered a menu of bold new takes on traditional favorites. The specialty here is on ceviches. Try the Salmon Ceviche, featuring cucumbers, grapefruit, pink peppercorns, thai basil, and aji amarillo.