Scottsdale and the surrounding cities of the Valley of the Sun, including Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe and Paradise Valley, are booming with exciting culinary experiences, both casual and upscale. In addition to fine-dining stalwarts — such as Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Kai Restaurant, Four-Star Talavera or hilltop Elements restaurant at Four-Star Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Spa & Resort — there are plenty of new restaurants from notable chefs to try as well.
Here are just a few of our favorite new additions to Scottsdale and beyond.
The celebrity chef takeover of Scottsdale continues with Branden Levine’s latest, Sel. The Food Network veteran specializes in crafting a fine-dining experience that supercharges the senses.
To that end, opt for the four-course, prix fixe menu — it changes often to keep things fresh and seasonal. The current offerings include a Spanish octopus and hamachi ceviche, shiitake mushroom dashi, and Iberico Bellota pork loin with white cheddar and black garlic grits.
Tip: the craft cocktail menu is as carefully curated as the fine food. For the full Southwestern experience, start your evening off with a Cerise Fumée, the signature smoky, spicy mezcal libation.
New Italian restaurants are opening all over the Valley these days. At the center of this renaissance is Fat Ox, a chic, upscale eatery run by Phoenix-born chef Matt Carter (owner of other favorites, like Zinc Bistro and The Mission).
The menu is modern Italian, and Carter adds a contemporary flair to the classics. The result: can’t-miss dishes such as ricotta cavatelli, squid ink pappardelle and a roasted banana tiramisu.
Cocktails are elegant and creative while an exquisitely crafted wine list features regional Italian selections.
Second Story Liquor Bar
Although Second Story isn’t new, the chef takeover is. Before Jordano Sessions grabbed the reins, this Old Town Scottsdale joint was just a bar with food. Now, it’s a must-visit foodie destination that is also a den of divine drinks.
Who knew you could expect serious, head-turning plates in a whiskey-soaked, retro-mod bar? Don’t miss the colorful garden charcuterie board. You also have to try Southwestern-inspired dishes like the rabbit tamales and tres leches.
Pair each course with any of the more than 200 whiskeys on hand.
Buck and Rider
You may not get an ocean view at Buck and Rider, but noshing on signature fresh crab dip on the patio at sunset with a pristine look at Camelback Mountain will almost convince you that fish swim in the desert.
Enjoy the vista with one of the whimsical cocktails, like the Hit the Road Jack (Frida Kahlo Blanco tequila, coconut water, green tea and ginger).
Go for the high-quality seafood, such as a platter of expertly shucked oysters, sushi or grilled fish of the day. Bonus: you can call ahead and purchase the fresh seafood to prepare at home.
Walking the grounds of Octotillo feels as much like an interactive modern architecture showcase as it does a trendy new restaurant. Beyond the dining room, Octotillo features a coffee shop, a chef’s garden, an event space and a beer garden.
While reveling in this design masterpiece, dig into one of its locally inspired signature dishes, like the Octotillo chicken, made with chilies, citrus, local honey and herbs, or fried house mozzarella sandwich with spicy tomato jam, ricotta, baby arugula and basil.