With over 800 downtown Scottsdale restaurants including over 100 in Old Town Scottsdale, you can sample different options for years and not get to them all. While Mexican/Southwestern cuisine dominates, you will find cuisines of all styles and flavors and the city has earned accolades from food critics and diners alike. In fact, in 2019, Scottsdale was named one of the “Best Small Cities for Foodies” by Travel + Leisure.
Whether you’re in the mood for a casual brunch, a fancy dinner, or a quick snack on the go, the downtown Scottsdale food scene has something to satisfy every craving. What I love is the range of modern, “cool” restaurants — the kind that make you fall in love with a destination. While Scottsdale may appeal to the snowbirds, its vibe bridges the generations.
Since I love exploring a destination through its food, on my recent visits I’ve started off by sampling some of the best Old Town Scottsdale restaurants before branching out and taking advantage of Scottsdale’s red-hot brunch scene and abundant options for outdoor dining to soak up all those days of sunshine.
I have rounded up my favorites, from casual restaurants and coffee shops to fine dining and tiki bars. If you are planning a Scottsdale weekend getaway and wondering where to eat in Scottsdale, I’ve got you covered.
Best Downtown Scottsdale Restaurants
Note: My visits to Scottsdale were hosted by Experience Scottsdale. Many of my meals, but not all, were provided as part of my stay. All opinions are my own.
Best Brunch Restaurants in Scottsdale
In Scottsdale, brunch isn’t limited to Sunday or mid-day. Brunch is bigger because so many people can take advantage of weeklong brunch dining from breakfast through lunch. Here are some picks for the best brunch, breakfast, and coffee in Scottsdale.
Hash Kitchen has multiple locations across the Scottsdale and Phoenix metro area and its sole function is brunch so who could do brunch better? From the Instagrammable interior to the spacious patio, Hash Kitchen is perfect for a brunch date. It is home to the “Build Your Own” Bloody Mary bar and offers a very robust menu of sweet and savory dishes from the hangover hash to cannoli pancakes.
For a unique start to your day, order a slice of the Billionaire’s Bacon featuring thick-cut applewood smoked bacon with a yuzu and honey glaze over a brown-sugar chili rub and topped with 24K gold flakes. Talk about rich!
Hash Kitchen Gainey Ranch is located at 8777 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Located right in Old Town Scottsdale, Breakfast Club offers all the usual suspects — coffee, eggs benedict, yogurt parfaits, omelettes, and southwestern favorites. But the locals go for the famous french toast!
Breakfast Club is located at 4400 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Snooze A.M. Eatery
Sure Snooze is a bit of a chain, but it is so popular because it is so good. I’ve also visited its locations in Tempe and Tucson, and I love the variety and creativity of the menu, especially all the southwestern options that I don’t see at home. Plus the cool, retro vibe is just plain fun for brunch. Pro tip: join the waitlist online before you arrive!
Snooze Kierland Commons is located at 15054 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
For something more casual, pop into the Comoncy Cafe. They have drip and cold-brew coffee, fresh pressed juices, smoothies, and breakfast sandwiches.
Commonly Cafe AZ Galleria is located at 4343 N. Scottsdale Road, #135, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Cartel Coffee Lab
I love the vibe of the Cartel Coffee Lab. Not only is it a fun workspace, but the aroma hits you as soon as you walk through the door. Plus, what can be wrong with a coffee shop that also sells beer? While they offer drip coffee as well as pour over, they tend to focus on a lighter roast so if you prefer dark roast, you may want to look elsewhere.
7124 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Scottsdale Restaurants for Lunch
If you think brunch in Scottsdale is good, lunch is even better with so many options to have an al fresco lunch or head inside to beat the heat.
This Mexican restaurant is exactly what I would expect to find in Arizona. A cool design with inside and outside seating. A great menu that goes way beyond typical Mexican fare. Plus Diego Pops has its own parking! You must try the grilled streetcorn with spicy “Cheeto dust”! The grilled shrimp and pineapple pork tacos are also delicious.
Diego Pops also serves up some great happy hour specials including 1/2 off appetizers,
$2 off beers, $6 Diego Margaritas, and $6 wine + sangria. Plus, they offer $3 tacos on Mondays (move over Taco Tuesday!)
4338 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Farm & Craft
Farm & Craft is focused on healthy and sustainable food. In a city where heat dominates, it is so refreshing to find light and healthy options. The menu features four paths to health: anti-inflammatory diet, increasing probiotic levels, antioxidants, and reducing stress by providing sustainable, gluten-free, organic and hormone-free ingredients.
You order at the counter and then your meal is delivered to your table. Note: if you order a flatbread, make sure you are hungry or plan to share!
Farm & Craft is located at 4302 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, A 85251
The Mission is located in Old Town Scottsdale and offers up a mix of traditional and modern Latin flavors. While located next to the old Mission, the inside is actually quite modern and sophisticated. You can also enjoy a meal in the outdoor courtyard when the weather cooperates. The brisket torta is amazing, as is the shaved kale salad. Also be sure to get a side of the grilled street corn (don’t worry, it is actually off the cob and won’t get stuck in your teeth!)
The Mission is located at 3815 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
HULA’s Modern Tiki
HULA’s Modern Tiki is a modern, urban twist on the classic tiki restaurants from the 50s and 60s with a restaurant that opens to a large patio at a location in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. The menu is a fusion of Polynesian and American flavors, with small plates that are great for sharing. Definitely don’t skip the Hilo Luau pork sliders!
HULA’s Modern Tiki is located at 7213 E. First Avenue, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Postino is another Arizona chain that I’ve tried out in both Tempe and Tucson, and now Scottsdale. I love this wine cafe for its interesting wine list, great happy hour specials, and bruschetta boards and small plates that are perfect for sharing. Each bruschetta board lets you select up to four toppings to be included and each piece of bread is sliced into slivers to share.
Postino Kierland Commons is located at 7030 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Scottsdale Restaurants for Dinner
From casual to fine dining, traditional to experimental, Scottsdale has plenty of options for dinner.
After many trips to Italy, I’m a bit of a food snob when it comes to Italian. Still, Fax OX did more than surprise me, it delighted me with every mouthful. Named after the Italian cattle, Fat OX serves up modern takes on the authentic recipes of rural Italy.
The decor is stylish and sophisticated, making it perfect for a date night, without feeling too fancy or stuffy. You really must try the garganelli pasta with truffle butter, speck, and parmesan. Every bite is perfection without being too heavy.
Fat Ox is located at 6316 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Piccolo Virtu is this is the latest restaurant from acclaimed Chef Gio Osso of Virtù Honest Craft & Pizzeria Virtù, offering elevated Italian in an intimate, tucked away location in Old Town. The focus is on smaller shareable plates, but there also some large entrees perfect for a group, like the wood-grilled Branzino with crispy skin and the 55 ounce prime bistecca fiorentina.
One dish you can’t miss (even if you don’t think you will love it), is the grilled octopus with agrodolce, pancetta, and pepperoncino. It is so tender and flavorful that it completely changed my mind about octopus. Chef Osso also offers a variety of crudo dishes, delicious salads, and creative pastas.
Piccolo Virtu is located at 7240 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Citizen Public House
Citizen Public House was named one of the top 10 restaurants in Scottsdale by USA Today in 2016. This gastropub offers upscale American fare, as well as craft beers and contemporary cocktails, including many which are barrel aged.
For me, it is the kind of place where I love to sample various small dishes so I started with the heavenly pork-fat buttered popcorn with bacon. Because really, how could I say no to the convergence of bacon and greasy popcorn? I finished that off with the roast chicken. Roast chicken is typically the gimme on the menu to satisfy picky eaters and uninspiring. Not so at Citizen Public House. The accompaniment of mascarpone and chili pepper risotto really set it apart. Meanwhile Glenn was in heaven over the pork belly pastrami.
Citizen Public House is located at 7111 E 5th Ave, Suite E, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Old Town Tortilla Factory
Built from a historic 75-year old adobe home, Old Town Tortilla Factory offers a beautiful patio, a world-renowned tequila bar, an award-winning margarita, and delicious Sonoran-influenced southwest cuisine. If you like spicy, go for the roasted jalapeño margarita and also try the red chile pork chop.
Old Town Tortilla Factory is located at 6910 East Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
SWB at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
If you are looking for a foodie experience, the Wine Me, Dine Me chef’s tasting and wine/tequila pairing at SWB in the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is the way to go. You can sit right in front of the open kitchen and learn about each dish as it is prepared and presented. The chef takes into consideration your dislikes and sensitivities and then builds out a delicious four-course tasting experience featuring a modern take on southwestern flavors.
SWB is located in the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at 7500 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician
Mowry & Cotton serves up modern American cuisine in a warm and approachable restaurant with a large porch for outdoor seating at the beautiful Phoenician resort. A large, hearth oven is the central focal point of the restaurant, which uses timeless cooking techniques using fire, coal, and smoke. The buttermilk buns are not to be missed and the charred hanger steak is another popular favorite.
Mowry & Cotton is located in The Phoenician resort at 6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Sweets In Scottsdale
The cupcake ATM is something that I had seen on Instagram and needed to experience in person. Despite the fact that the cupcakes in the ATM might be less fresh than those inside, it is the novelty that I loved. Like most fancy cupcake joints, Sprinkles features unique flavor combinations with an excessive amount of sweet frosting (but none stuffed in the middle of the cupcake.) Frankly, the cupcake isn’t worth the nearly $5 you pay, but the novelty of the cupcake ATM is worth trying at least once.
Sprinkles is located at 4501 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor
Since 1958, the Sugar Bowl, Scottsdale’s first ice cream parlor, has served up spectacular ice cream sundaes, milkshakes, and malts. This pink-themed, retro-styled ice cream parlor is just as sweet as the confections it serves up. The gift shop even features artwork from Bill Keane, the artist behind the Family Circus comic strip.
Sugar Bowl is located at 4005 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
I am very much looking forward to returning to Scottsdale and continuing my food exploration. In the meantime, don’t miss my suggestions for planning a romantic getaway to Scottsdale!
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