Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak/La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval (pictured)
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess excels in everything it does—and dining is no different. Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak is a modern fine-dining mecca with some of the finest cuts of beef and fanciest digs in the state (and the duck fat fries are heaven on earth). La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval's recently unveiled extensive renovation touched on every part of the beloved restaurant. Though diners can still expect some of their favorite dishes (like lobster tacos!), the bill of fare will see can’t-miss newbies like a larger-than-your-face pork chop, creative guacamole offerings and an amazing new cocktail lineup.
Boasting some serious indoor/outdoor dining goodness, Ocotillo is Phoenix is a super-cool spot to linger once the temperature is right—and it doesn’t hurt that the food is top-notch, too. The menu has a stocked salad and veggie lineup for light eaters, while those with a hearty hankering can dig into housemade pastas and larger entrees.
Fans of Phoenix’s Little Miss BBQ are hardcore; they can be seen waiting two or more hours for a taste of the popular spot’s Central Texas-style barbecue. While diners aren’t overcome with a posh presentation—the eats are served by weight on butcher paper with onions, pickles, jalapenos and white bread—the freshly barbecued meats are where it’s at. Good news: a second location opened in Sunnyslope for easier access to its eats.
The signature restaurant at The Boulders offers the Southwestern cuisine that visitors crave when visiting Carefree—but with a modern twist. The elegant restaurant offers hearty meat and seafood entrees as well as a selection of lighter offerings that get the taste party started. Must-tries at the recently renovated restaurant, which overlooks the golf course, include the striped bass and Sonoran-spiced beef tenderloin. (Note: Palo Verde is closed for summer.)
You have to head up north to Flagstaff for this last one, but Pizzicletta is a must-try spot--and not just because it whips up jaw-droppingly-good wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas. The cozy space can only seat about 20 or so indoors, and there is something so special about sipping some wine or local beer and munching on warm olives and crusty bread in this intimate, welcoming space while the air is cold outside. While you can't go wrong with any of the usual offerings from its limited pizza menu, the daily special is always a favorite--especially if its topped with the house-made 'nduja (spicy Italian chorizo).