Central Downtown Scottsdale

Restaurants in Central Downtown Scottsdale

This Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant and bar specializes blending exotic flavors, and its craft cocktails are no exception.

Arizona’s burgeoning wine county—located in the state’s southeastern grasslands—has gained of momentum in the past decade, producing an impressive lineup of reds and whites made from varietals from Italy and Southern France.

Just the mention of AZ88 to its devoted regulars brings the same response: Oh, the martinis! This place knows how to shake (or stir) a mean dirty martini. And they’re big—I mean double the size of your average cocktail.

The margarita is Arizona’s unofficial state cocktail, and with 10 salt-rimmed options to choose from at the Mission, you’ll understand why.

Mexico City’s street food gets an Iron Chef makeover from Jose Garces at his Scottsdale outpost. Hand-painted Dia de los Muertos skulls, glittery tabletops and boldly colored patterns provide a suitably vibrant backdrop for the satisfying collection of innovative small plates and tacos.

Owner Azucena Tovar draws upon her Central Mexican roots in crafting a deliciously original menu. For something on the lighter side, try the fig and panela cheese salad, and salmon with mango pico de gallo.

The adjacent Old Adobe Mission serves as the inspiration for this chic restaurant’s candle-lit, modern-colonial décor. Start with one of the ten specialty margaritas and almejas al vapor, a simmered hot pot of steamed clams, rock shrimp, chorizo, and yucca.

Chef Richard Sandoval regularly earns kudos for his high-end take on Mexican cuisine: grilled trout with Poblano cream, lobster tacos, and chicken in a pistachio mole.

For my money, Barrio Queen has the city’s best guacamole, a tableside affair with fresh avocados and tart pomegranate seeds. This causal spot at the canal side of the Scottsdale Waterfront serves hand-pressed tortillas, slow-roasted carne asada tortas, and stuffed burritos and enchiladas.

A recent renovation transformed Camelback Inn’s outdoor R Bar into a beer and wine oasis, complete with water features, fire pits, desert landscaping and unspoiled mountain views. Live bands play the courtyard’s small stage, while inside, TVs broadcast national games.

Shade is a little slice of L.A. smack dab in the middle of downtown Scottsdale. The all-day, all-night party at the W Scottsdale lounge spills across an indoor-outdoor, poolside playground, with guest DJs and a gorgeous crowd of bar-hoppers.

The upscale Mediterranean restaurant offers decent food, but it’s large outdoor patio overlooking the Scottsdale Waterfront’s Arizona Canal that has made Olive & Ivy a place to mingle. The people-watching hits its prime at 9 p.m.

With its first-class martinis and killer comfort food, this perennial favorite has attracted Scottsdale’s natty set for decades.

Clark Gable, John Wayne and Milton Berle have all sidled up to the “classroom bar” at this former girls school built in 1934.

A long-time favorite for special occasions, T. Cook’s at the Royal Palms Resort is better than ever following a recent makeover.