best places to eat in Scottsdale


My friend Laverne and I really loved all the meals we had in Scottsdale. But the amazing dinner we had at Toro Latin American Restaurant and Rum Bar at sunset was our favourite.

As you’ve probably realized from the past couple of posts, We really loved spending time in Scottsdale, Arizona. My friend Laverne and I both agreed that the culinary scene in Scottsdale is second to none, and every meal or snack we had was amazing. I figured I’d highlight the best breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack we had while in this culinary centre of Arizona, and open the conversation up to you, so that we could share our own best places to eat in Scottsdale for the next time we (or you) visit.

best breakfast or brunch in Scottsdale


The Bourbon-Ginger Peach French Toast at the Herb Box made for a terrific brunch.

We had brunch on the weekend at The Herb Box on East Stetson Drive (at the Southbridge location in Old town Scottsdale) and loved it. Could it have been partly due to Roberto, our great server who could strike up a conversation about anything?


I think Roberto wins for best smile, but Laverne and I were both pleased with our delicious breakfast at The Herb Box.

Possibly, but the food was amazing, too. I ordered the Bourbon-Ginger Peach Brioche French Toast. Creme Fraiche and a bourbon-ginger peach topping adorned the deliciously crunchy French toast with maple syrup and bacon as a sidekick. The Herb Box has a terrific location, with nice outdoor patio and a great vibe.

best lunch in Scottsdale


Cobb Salad in the foreground, pretzel knots with cheese sauce in the background, and a side of bubbly made for a great opening course at Proof American Canteen.

PROOF, An American Canteen at the Four Seasons Scottsdale was the site of our best lunch. I love the grounds of the Four Seasons, with beautiful desert landscapes to enjoy in every direction. We loved sitting out on the patio and enjoying that desert landscape at PROOF, and every bite (and sip!) of the creative menu we had the opportunity to sample.

We were told by at least two people that we should not miss the pretzel knots appetizer, and they were right! Super tasty, and a nice soft chewy texture served with a warm cheese sauce. Next up was the Cobb Salad. We opted for half each so we could fit in another course. But if I get back there again, I would have the full Cobb Salad as it was fantastic. We also had a seafood course–the Lobster Roll and Shrimp and Crab Lettuce Wraps which were light and flavourful.


The Apple and Cranberry Pie at Proof was a perfect ending to a great meal. And yes, one piece was plenty for two.

For dessert, blueberry tea made from pressed fruit and the Apple Cranberry Pie. The cinnamon that flavoured the ample fruit would have made this dessert good enough. But to our surprise, the pie was served atop a pond of delicious butter creme sauce with a side of salted caramel ice-cream. True perfection to end an absolutely delightful meal.

best dinner in Scottsdale

Our best dinner was enjoyed at the Toro Latin Restaurant and Rum Bar at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. I love Latin American cuisine and I love rum, so this was a no-brainer even before they mentioned the chocolate desserts!

Our meal began with a special cocktail using Kracken, my favourite kind of rum. The bartender paired the delicious spiced Caribbean rum with banana liquer, lime juice, and vanilla syrup to create a special cocktail topped with fresh flower petals. It was a lovely way to begin an evening of culinary delights.


Toro offers 200 kinds of rum and had my favourite–Kracken–which the bartender used to create this special cocktail for us.

Because we knew that the dessert course would be wild and wonderful, we ordered a light appetizer of steamed edamame to accompany the complimentary basket of buns.

For the main course, I ordered the Brazilian Picanha Steak–beef marinated in a spicy blend and served with fingerling potatoes and a mildly spiced chimmichurri sauce. The meat was done to perfection, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and beautifully sliced on the angle. Paired with a fine glass of Tempranillo (wine), my taste buds were in heaven!


Next, came the reason I had been invited to Toro. To taste the “La Bomba,” a massive orchestration of chocolate, cake, sorbet, ice-cream, and fresh fruit, topped with raspberry sauce, passionfruit puree, and a white chocolate sauce. This is definitely a chocolate overdose to be shared, and is quite the show, when your server smashes the dark chocolate shell to reveal all the goodies inside.


The massive “La Bomba” is a perfect chocolate dessert for 2-4 people who just want to share it all.


The Peruvian Chocolate Crunch Cake at Toro was an exquisite finale to a perfect meal.

Without question, my preference was the Peruvian Chocolate Crunch Cake. This beautifully crafted dessert was served in the Sacher Torte style with a hazelnut layer on the bottom, and a whipped ganache made from Illanka Peruvian chocolate, adorned with cocoa nibs, fresh raspberries, and raspberry sorbet. Absolutely heavenly, and the perfect ending to a perfect dinner. Oh, and did I mention the breath-taking sunset as the backdrop to the 18-hole Championship-level TPC Scottsdale Stadium Golf Course–our view from the patio of Toro? It doesn’t get any better than this, folks.


Thanks to executive celebrity chef Richard Sandoval who gifted me a copy of his bright and beautiful book, “New Latin Flavours.” I can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

Those were our most memorable meals during our all-too-brief visit to Scottsdale, and my personal recommendations for the best places to eat in Scottsdale. For those times when you’re not looking for a fancy or expensive meal, but you don’t want to sacrifice taste, I highly recommend Chipotle Mexican Grill. Fast food, full flavour.

best snack in Scottsdale


We ate at the Chipotle location in the Fashion Square Mall.


The Barbacoa beef burrito at the Chipotle Mexican Grill was full of flavour and texture. I loved it!

I’d not previously heard of Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill fast food chain prior to our visit to Scottsdale, but we both loved it. I ordered the Barbacoa beef burrito with lots of grilled onions and red peppers and loved it. Fast, inexpensive, and made-to-order. Might just be the best Mexican food I’ve had outside of Mexico.

Have you been to Scottsdale? Where do you think is the best place to eat in Scottsdale? Please join the conversation and share some of your favourites.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

78 Responses

  1. Vipin Sharma says:

    I never would have considered Scottsdale as a foodie paradise. I’d love the recipe Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Shanaya Ahuja says:

    Mouthwatering dishes. Thanks for showing to us these tasty-tasty dishes. well, If I ever come in Scottsdale, I will definitely look for them.

  3. Abhishek Rathore says:

    The food all looks fantastic. Scottsdale has a lot of great restaurants to choose from. I haven’t tried any of these. I will surely go to these places on my next trip.

  4. ravi says:

    Such huge numbers of awesome resorts in Arizona and Scottsdale. I adore the look of that pool territory at the Fairmont. We’re aficionados of Fairmont properties so I’m certain we’d appreciate this one as well. At this moment taking a gander at all that daylight makes me yearn for spring.

  5. Most people like to eat chocolate. In the Scottsdale area, there appear to be many great places to eat chocolate. So Scottsdale sounds like a great place for chocolate lovers to visit.

  6. Researching about various foods and cuisines at different places was always my favorite. But, this particular post would always be special to me. It not only showcases a large variety of food available but also makes me think about the kind of nutritional values they have. Thanks for an amazing post Doreen!

  7. Ity williams says:

    This is Good News, I didn’t know Scottsdale had all these great places. Thanks for letting us know. We will soon visit.
    Best Wishes

  8. Tadej says:

    Love how The Brazilian Picanha Steak looks!

  9. Shaily says:

    Wow! The food looks super delicious! I would love to try all these tantalising flavours! Sounds like you had a amazing time trying all those dishes and cocktails.

  10. This is a fascinating tour de force of best places to eat in Scottsdale. but of course, the piece de resistance has to be chocolate when Cocolattour is involved. I was not disappointed at all. La Bomba looks really magical, a mesmerizing cocktail of chocolate, fruits, sorbet, et all.

  11. neha says:

    All the food looks so appetizing. “La Bomba” in particular sounds really indulgent. Just like you, I am a lover of chocolate. I would definitely want to give it a shot. It is already making me crave for some similar chocolate dish that we get back home, but definitely different than La Bomba.

  12. I never would have considered Scottsdale as a foodie paradise. I’d love the recipe for that rum cocktail, and also for that French toast!

  13. When I first saw the topic of food in Scottsdale, I first imagined the Diet, that was popular back in the 70’s, of course that was named after a town in NY.
    I am glad you had the Picanha which is a very nice cut of sirloin, except the fat is not cut off, giving the meat a better flavor when it is cooked. I hope you enjoyed it.

  14. Monika says:

    Oh my goodness Doreen, my mouth is salivating. I particularly liked the look of the steak (unlike Phoenicia, I think it looks cooked to perfection) and that cocktail! Sadly I don’t think I will ever visit Arizona (although you never know) but luckily for me it 5.30pm as I read this so not long before I can satiate myself. Thanks for this post!

  15. Those are some lovely snaps of food. Also, you appear very happy in the selfies. Well, food does that to you, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

  16. What wonderful looking/sounding meals, Doreen. It’s been too long since I’ve been to Scottsdale–our last trips to AZ focused on Phoenix and Tempe. You’ve provided good incentive to return since I am married to a crazed foodie!

  17. I feel rather full reading about your eating experiences in Scottsdale! It all sounds wonderful, but I think I’d have enjoyed that brunch the most (french toast with bourbon-ginger peach topping sounds like a great way to start the day).

  18. What a delicious article. We loved the pictures and found ourselves drooling over the dishes you showed off. It’s early morning, but we are already hungry (Need to try the Bomba). Thanks for sharing.

  19. Jeri says:

    Chipotle is awesome! Haha, but seriously it’s pretty good stuff. The Brazilian Picanha Steak is making my mouth water as well, and that rum cocktail is absolutely beautiful. My friends parents have a condo in the area. Maybe I could tag along with her one of these days.

  20. Judy says:

    We’ve not been into Scottsdale, other than to the Musical Instrument Museum. Thanks to this wonderful post, we now have an excuse for another road trip, If for no other reason than to eat!

  21. I’ve never been to Scottsdale but I can see no one goes hungry, or thirsty, there! I’d especially like to try that Kracken cocktail.

  22. Ooh, everything sounds so good. I’m sold on the pretzel bites with cheese and that salad looks delicious. Love avocados!

  23. I have not been to Scottsdale but you’ve convinced me. And you were right, I shouldn’t have read this post on an empty stomach.

  24. Doreen,
    Your photos certainly give a great idea of all of the delicious food available in Scottsdale. Friends of ours are in AZ for the winter so I’ll be sure to pass on your blog as they might be up for another road trip from Mesa soon. It looks like you had a great time.

  25. noel says:

    OMG, all those amazing meals look so delicious – I think I would have to do a lot of walks outdoors with all that food and drink. The phots also look amazing Doreen.

  26. I’ve only been to Scottsdale once, but I loved the area and want to go back. I’m not gonna lie…the Bourbon-Ginger Peach French Toast at the Herb Box is calling my name and it would be great for any meal, not just breakfast!

  27. Mina Joshi says:

    Scottsdale looks amazing and a food bloggers heaven. Would love to visit Scottsdale one day

  28. Denny George says:

    For me, food is one of the primary motivators for travel. By that logic, Scottsdale seems like a great place to visit. Your photographs of the food, especially of the steak entice me endlessly. πŸ™‚

  29. Claire says:

    Your post is making me hungry haha ;P
    Seems like you have had a wonderful trip, would love to visit Scottsdale someday πŸ™‚

  30. Gwendolyn says:

    Hi Doreen! I will definitely be heading to The Herb Box for brunch one day after seeing your pictures! I am also a lover of Toro; I went with a girlfriend for one of their prixe fix meals and we were both in love by the end of the night.

  31. Tom Bartel says:

    We were just in Scottsdale a couple of weeks ago. We found a couple of places we liked: Barrio Queen and a whole in the wall barbecue joint that was in a gas station, Tom’s Thumb. Loved them both. Of course we ate in another couple that were overpriced and mediocre, which will remain nameless. I wish we’d seen this post before we went.

  32. Wow, what a feast. I kept wondering when you’d get around to the dessert — chocolate, of course. Looks like a wonderful meal and glad you had such a great experience.

  33. The food all looks fantastic. Scottsdale has a lot of great restaurants to choose from. I haven’t tried any of these and they all look well worth a visit.

  34. Lenie says:

    Doreen, it’s 9am and looking at all these wonderful food pictures and hearing the description you’ve made me so hungry and I am so far away from Arizona delights.
    I am definitely going to try to copy the breakfast – never thought of using a brioche to make french toast.
    Wish I could sent the La Bomba to my chocolate loving daughter-in-law. Wow.
    It all looks so good. Glad you enjoyed your Arizona trip.

    • Thanks so much, Lenie. Yes, this trip really brought me to life after some difficulties in the rest of my life. I’m glad you enjoyed the pics. And do let me know how your birch French toast turns out. πŸ™‚

  35. Phoenicia says:

    Ooh food – I never tire of looking at photographs of meals. The ginger peach toast looks delicious. Is that bacon in the Cobbs salad – I could not quite make it out. The Brazilian steak and jacket potato look tasty, however I eat my meat well done which I know takes away some of the flavour but I can live with that!

  36. michele h peterson says:

    I haven’t yet been to Scottsdale but that Bourbon-Ginger Peach French Toast is enough to inspire me to get on a plane right now. I imagine the sweetness of the bourbon would be nicely balanced by the ginger.

  37. Janet May-Hewson says:

    It all looks so yummy. A foodie’s dream!!!

  38. Thanks for information. I will surely go to these places on my next trip.

  39. Carol Colborn says:

    Oh Doreen, your post gave me back the Christmas Eve dinner we had at Toro in Fairmont Scottsdale Princess!!! We each had New York Strip, our fave cut. We always have a version of chocolate cake for dessert but no we didn’t choose the La Bomba but the same Peruvian Chocolate Crunch Cake you like! Those are what I remember plus the long horizontal fire pit and Christmas decor all around the hotel

  40. Pat says:

    We love Chipotle’s also!! We have had lunch there a couple of times in Seattle. I just realized that we have 3 restaurants in Vancouver. Guess where I will be taking you out for lunch on your next visit?

  41. Laverne says:

    I could remember the taste of everything when I saw these photos. There were so many mouth watering places to eat. The cinnamon buckwheat pancakes I had were excellent at The Herb Box. I also remember the juicy burger and orange double chocolate ice cream in Cave Creek. The sandwich and salad from the Italian deli not far from our hotel was great. All delicious!

  42. Linda Strange says:

    Good grief ! What tempting photos and delicious descriptions ! That steak at Toro makes my mouth water.
    Warm weather, an interesting companion and great food. What more could you ask? It certainly makes Arizona a desirable destination.

    • Thx so much for your comment, Linda. Yes, this really was a great trip. As Laverne and I were discussing at the end of it, there were no hiccups–with the logistics, what we experienced, or with our friendship into the new world of travelling together. Scottsdale made everything easy to enjoy. You and Doug would love it, as the golfing is also great! πŸ™‚

  43. I has no idea Scottsdale had all these great places. Been thinking about going on the way to the Southwest as it were , so this is great Doreen. Thanks.

    • Thx so much, Kathy. I never know if I’m giving too much info about a destination, but I found there was so much about Scottsdale I wanted to share, so I’m thrilled that you’re finding the info useful. Stay tuned for more! πŸ™‚

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