Surf’s Up Scottsdale

By local contributor
Dawson Fearnow

Thanks to a fresh catch of trendy fish houses – and FedEx – Scottsdale is suddenly swimming in world-class seafood restaurants.

Siren’s Song

Downtown Scottsdale’s newest fishmonger, Crab & Mermaid Fish Shop hooks you right away with its white tile walls and blindingly blue seats, not to mention the pier-like patio that turns into a see-and-be-seen spot every weekend. Fortunately the food tastes as good as the space looks, including the finger-licking-good G.B.C. (garlic baked clams), plus seafood specialties representing America’s three coasts: Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. But the best bet here might be the build-your-own seafood meals, where you pick a fish, a sauce/spice, a preparation (grilled, blackened, etc.) and then a style (tacos, salad, sandwich or plate). Either way, finish Florida-style with the killer Key Lime Pie. 

Welcome to the Club

As the salt-kissed sister to the swanky Mastro’s Steakhouse, Mastro’s Ocean Club is all about over-the-top opulence, from the impeccably dressed wait staff to the sky-high Seafood Tower overflowing with the finest fruits del mer. And naturally the entrées lean toward steak-sized chops of everything from Florida Grouper to Pacific Swordfish, alongside a deliciously decadent Vanilla Battered Twin Lobster Tails. Then truly treat yourself with the beyond-rich Warm Butter cake. 

Hang in the Hamptons

Named after the iconic New York fishing village, The Montauk brings a little yacht club charm to the heart of downtown Scottsdale. This open, whitewashed space features a large central bar and cozy booth seating, but also opens to a series of rambling dining patios. That said, this Hamptons’ inspired hotspot can get a little ‘nightclub-y’ on weekends, so your best bet is lunch or especially soaking in the sun at weekend brunch with their delightful Rosé Sangria.

Deep Dive

Where to begin with the Scottsdale landmark that is The Salt Cellar Restaurant? No seriously, you might have a hard time finding the entrance to this underground eatery because there’s only a chimney and a couple of wooden sheds aboveground. But stroll down the wooden steps and you’ll find yourself awash in nautical nirvana, from the live Maine lobsters sulking in the waiting room water tank, to the massive chalkboard listing today’s fresh catches from across the globe. And happy hour sets sail twice daily at 4 - 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close.

Go Wild

Settle in for a show at Wildfish Seafood Grille, a sweeping space in downtown Scottsdale where you can watch your cocktail being made in the central bar, and then your fish being sautéed or oysters shucked in the gleaming exhibition kitchen. Like Mastro’s Ocean Club, the menu’s brimming with fresh fish chops flown in from across the globe, but don’t miss the boat on the daily happy hour’s Kung Pao-Style Calamari and $7 hand-shaken cocktails.