Old Town Scottsdale is full of restaurants, many of which are locally owned and family run. At any time of the day, you can find a perfect place to fulfill your craving. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.
1. Hula’s modern tiki
A modern take on a tiki bar means fun cocktails and an interesting mix of food to eat. Modern Hula Tiki. Start with one of their 14 signature tropical cocktails. My favorite is the Hula Hurricane. They also offer four alcohol-free fruity mocktails. Start a fun evening with friends by sharing some of the 14 entrees on the menu. Pork Stuffed Potstickers and Hilo Sliders are good choices. Their extensive dinner menu includes pork plates, tacos, rice bowls, fresh fish, burgers and sandwiches. I enjoy the Duke’s Luau pork plate with slow roasted pulled pork, soy glaze and pineapple. Top it off with a rich brownie or lime pie.
Pro tip: Take advantage of happy hour and daily specials to expand your selections.
2. Chez Grimaldi
The delicious pizza made in the charcoal brick ovens of at Grimaldi started in Brooklyn in 1990 and has spread to 12 states across the country. They first entered Arizona with their location on Scottsdale Road in Old Town. For the thin crust pizza, you have the choice between the classic tomato sauce made with their secret recipe, a white pizza with garlic or a pizza with pesto. All are topped with hand-cut mozzarella and a perfect blend of spices. Then add as many of the 23 toppings as you want.
You can start with a nice salad or bruschetta and even choose a calzone if you’re not in the mood for pizza. Their range of cannoli and cheesecake options change with the seasons, although they are always amazing. For a pizzeria there is an impressive number of good wine choices, mostly from Italy.
Pro tip: Grimaldi’s offers gluten-free and cauliflower crusts that come out of the brick oven with a lovely texture. My usual choice is the gluten-free pesto pizza with fresh sliced Roma tomatoes.
3. The Beverly
At first glance, The Beverly may look more like a bar than a restaurant, but they offer a full menu of appetizers, salads, tacos, wraps, kebabs, flatbreads, and burgers. I have yet to be disappointed with anything I order, as they put their unique twist on all of their menu items. I don’t usually like Brussels sprouts, but I couldn’t get enough. The truffle fries are just as addictive.
The dark interior reveals a trendy cocktail bar with the choice of seating at the long rectangular bar or intimate groupings of dark leather sofas. You can also sit on the cozy terrace along Main Street and watch the gallery-goers go by. The drinks menu includes more than 50 classic and signature cocktails as well as numerous selections of wines, beers and ciders.
Pro tip: Happy hour lasts until 8 p.m.
4. Farm and crafts
As you approach the comfortable, bright sofas and chairs occupying the long patio of Farm & Craft, it feels like you’re on a sunny country road. The menu focuses on healthy, organic and sustainable foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for a light meal, their blended juices and smoothies offer many interesting and refreshing choices. There are also plenty of pressed juice and kombucha cocktails, fruit shots, and a full bar to suit all tastes.
Brunch is served until 3 p.m. and includes protein pancakes, farmhouse scramble, and avocado toast. You can select one of their cereal bowls or create your own bowl with 10 vegetable choices and four protein options. Salads, flatbreads and sandwiches are loaded with fresh, wholesome ingredients. At dinner they add starters like steak and salmon and 10 options for delicious sides. I love their veggie lasagna or build a bowl.
In a relaxed and fun atmosphere, Brat House offers seven types of kids with five different toppings to choose from. Don’t miss the Belgian fries; they are crunchy and flavorful and come with a choice of five dipping sauces. My choice is usually the sweet kid with sweet onion jam and truffle aioli dip for my fries. Another specialty is the Bavarian pretzel, the perfect mix of crispy and soft. They also offer burgers and vegetarian dishes. It’s not hard to find a beer you like from their list of 17 craft beers. Some indoor seating is available, but weather permitting, choose the spacious and fun patio.
Pro tip: Ask your server to sample a beer that sounds interesting so you can try something different.
6. Craft 64
Crafts 64 is the place to go for local craft beer of all types. Their list of over 30 beers means there’s something – or several things – for every taste. It’s a place where I have a choice when it comes to dark beer; my favorite is the Vanilla Caramel Porter. Many wine and cocktail choices, like their custom mules, are also available. The restaurant sits on the edge of the old town and offers a cozy interior and a secluded patio. Enjoy an authentic wood-fired pizza, a bruschetta or a charcuterie board. The farmer’s market salad is packed with fresh seasonal vegetables from local farms.
Pro tip: Be sure to check out the daily specials where you’ll find the best seasonal ingredients.
The mission has an elegant, old-world charm with modern Latin cuisine. A wall is made of Himalayan salt blocks and shines with light. Outside, a small patio with a brick fireplace. The restaurant sits next to the Old Adobe Mission, which was built in the 1910s and is Scottsdale’s oldest standing church.
The food is a sophisticated mix of Spanish, Mexican and South American flavors. They make their tortillas, salsas and sauces fresh daily, and you can taste it in every dish. The meat is grilled over pecan and mesquite wood. They serve lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. From the guacamole and range of tacos to the chorizo porchetta, you can experience the chef’s attention to quality. Finish with espresso churros for a memorable meal.
8. Bourbon & Bone
With the intention of outdoing a stuffy steakhouse, Bourbon & Bone strives to create a lively and inventive atmosphere. If the long list of bourbons and whiskeys seems too overwhelming to choose from, try a flight of three one-ounce tastes. For those of us who aren’t in it for the bourbon, there’s an equally long list of cocktails and wines.
When it comes to food, there’s more than just bones to fill you up. There’s enough in the raw bar, appetizers and salad menu to make a meal. The steaks, however, are the main feature. You have your choice of cut type with nine different sauce options and nine different toppings. My red wine glazed filet mignon topped with truffle butter tasted amazing and was very tender. There are 16 sides to accompany your meal, and seafood dishes are also available. Saving some room for dessert is well rewarded.
9. Preparation and baking
A relative newcomer to the Old Town breakfast and lunch scene, Preparation & Pastry offers a bright and tasty start to the day. The grand interior with its white walls, oak floors, white wicker chairs and gilded chandeliers is reminiscent of a French country house. The patio, surrounded by ferns and featuring wooden tables and chairs and iron light fixtures, gives guests the feeling of dining in a garden.
The menu includes the usual breakfast and lunch items with a healthy and colorful twist. My goat cheese, pesto, avocado, spinach and tomato omelet was beautiful and delicious. The potatoes were cooked well enough to be as crispy as I like them. There are many gluten-free and vegetarian options.
I love when a restaurant gives you enough hot water to keep your tea chilled, and I enjoyed my baby blue teapot sitting on my patio table. If you’re looking for something stronger than their many tea flavors, however, 18 types of mimosas and cocktails are waiting for you. Another indulgence is the incredible presentation of pastries. Choose one of these works of art to accompany your meal or bring back a few to remember your visit.
10. Squeeze in the morning
Another wonderful brunch spot is on Scottsdale Road. Although technically half of morning press is inside, the large openings on the patio allow fresh air to circulate everywhere. You can sit at the tables watching the traffic go by or sit in a comfortable semi-circular cabin inside. It opens at 7am for early risers who want to start their fun day. You can accompany a liquid meal with a fresh fruit smoothie or protein shake. Or if a liquid meal means something different to you, cocktails, Bloody Marys and wine are on offer.
Pancakes tend to be my staple here. They offer regular, gluten-free and protein pancakes topped with your choice of various fruits or chocolate chips. You can also order omelettes, eggs Benedict, burritos, avocado toast, chicken, and waffles. Not on my list, but maybe you’ll enjoy the Hangover Bowl with green chili pork, potatoes, black beans, jack cheese, eggs, and red or green sauce. They also offer lunch options like salad and BLTs.
The Old Town offers plenty of options for enjoying a meal while visiting. Park your car and take a walk to explore your options.
Pro tip: Follow any meal with dessert or grab a mid-day snack at Fresh ice cream. Nestled across from the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and right next to Civic Center Plaza, Cool Gelato offers authentic ice cream with incredible flavors.