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.
James Beard Award Winner Chef Charleen Badman and front-of-the-house phenom Pavle Milic are the dynamic duo behind this Old Town gem. The veggie-forward menu, crafted from locally sourced organic ingredients, changes regularly and also includes artisan meats and seafood. If you see it on the menu, don’t pass up Badman’s award-winning Braised Leeks topped mozzarella and a fried egg. My favorite way to experience FnB is to go with a group of friends, uncork a selection from Milic’s hand-curated Arizona wine list, and order a variety of dishes to share with the table.
Located on property at Old Town’s Bespoke Inn, Virtú dishes up contemporary Mediterranean fare by Chef/Owner Gio Osso. 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 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 Carter’s concept for The Mission, which now boasts two locations - Old Town Scottsdale and Kierland Commons. Start with the 12-ingredient tableside guacamole, then peruse Carter’s robust menu of modern Latin cuisine that includes delights like the Pork Shoulder Tacos with pineapple-habanero glaze and Almejas al Vapor, a savory Peruvian clam stew.
If your ideal meal consists of pizza and beer, put Craft 64 on your must-try list. Another Old Town favorite, this cozy eatery features house-made mozzarella, fresh produce from local organic farmers, and more than 30 Arizona craft beers on tap. I recommend starting with the day’s Farmers Market salad, an ever-changing mix of the season’s freshest offerings, before moving on to the Aji pizza, a blend of fennel sausage, sautéed onions, three kinds of cheese and spicy aji jalapeno sauce served piping hot right out of the wood-fire oven. Wash it all down with Craft 64’s own Crafty Blonde lager or Hazy Hoperator IPA.
Tucked away in the heart of Scottsdale Civic Center Park, this upscale gastropub is known for its changing art displays and sleek design. By day, floor-to-ceiling windows and a sun-drenched patio provide gorgeous views of the park’s lush lawns and public art installations. 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 offers an eclectic menu 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.
You’ll find this intimate, family-owned bistro nestled among the galleries of the Old Town Arts District. Chef Branden Levine’s four-course, prix fixe dinners feature progressive, contemporary American cuisine bursting with bold flavors and culinary creativity. The menu changes regularly to reflect the freshest seasonal offerings, making return trips to Sel a given. A thoughtfully curated selection of fine wine, craft beer and artisan cocktails round out the offerings at Sel.