Locally Owned Restaurants
One of the joys of visiting a new city is seeking out those one-of-a-kind, locally owned restaurants that will give you an authentic taste of the town. Here are six home-grown Scottsdale gems that are loved by locals and visitors alike.
Award-winning Chef Charleen Badman and front-of-the-house phenom Pavle Milic are the dynamic duo behind this downtown gem. The menu, crafted from locally sourced organic ingredients, changes regularly and features specialties like Creekstone Farms Ribeye with chimichurri sauce, Risotto with chanterelles and pesto, and Badman’s award-winning Braised Leeks topped mozzarella and a fried egg. Our favorite way to experience FnB is to go with a group of friends, uncork a bottle of Milic’s fabulous Arizona wine, and order a variety of dishes to share with the table.
Combining a casual atmosphere with delicious prime steaks and barbecue, Don & Charlie’s has been a Scottsdale tradition since 1981. The restaurant also houses one of the largest privately-held collections of sports memorabilia in the nation – a passion of the restaurant’s owner and namesake Don Carson. Start your meal with Don & Charlie’s famous Chopped Liver Platter, served with sweet bell pepper strips, carrot slaw, diced onions and a chopped egg. Then move on to the Filet Duo, two prime filets broiled with a parmesan and blue cheese crust, or a rack of succulent baby back ribs slathered in Arizona Southwest Sauce.
Located on property at downtown’s Bespoke Inn, Scottsdale’s only luxury B&B, Virtú dishes up contemporary Mediterranean fare by Chef/Owner Gio Osso. A local favorite almost from the moment it opened, Virtú was named one of Esquire magazine’s best new restaurants for 2013. The menu, which changes regularly based on seasonal ingredients, is known for elegant shareable dishes like the Charred Octopus drizzled with calabrese chile butter and the Asparagus with feta, bacon candy, foie gras hollandaise and a duck egg. A variety of pasta, seafood and wagyu beef dishes round out your options. Enjoy them all on one of the city’s most romantic patios.
Chef and restaurateur Matt Carter has a serious taco habit – and we’re glad he does! What began as a fondness for authentic Mexican street food evolved first into epic backyard pig roasts for friends and family, then eventually into the concept for The Mission, Carter’s culinary venture that now boasts two locations - Old Town Scottsdale and Kierland Commons. Start with the 12-ingredient tableside guacamole or Grilled Street Corn, then peruse Carter’s robust menu of modern Latin cuisine that includes delights like the Pork Shoulder Tacos with pineapple-habanero glaze, Malbec-Braised Short Ribs and Almejas al Vapor, a savory Peruvian clam stew.
Tucked away in the heart of Scottsdale Civic Center Park you’ll find this upscale gastropub known for its changing art displays and sleek design. By day, AZ88’s floor-to-ceiling windows and sun-drenched patio provide gorgeous views of the park’s lush lawns and bubbling fountains. By night, AZ88 transforms into a hip, artsy hangout with DJ-spun tunes to accompany their award-winning cocktails. Staying true to its gastropub roots, AZ88’s menu is an eclectic mix of gourmet burgers and sandwiches, savory chicken wings and farm-fresh salads. Don’t miss the St. Petersburg Potatoes – house chips topped with Scottish smoked salmon, sour cream, cream cheese, radish, onion and cucumber – and the Burger Au Poivre, covered with peppercorns and sautéed in a burgundy sauce.