Who doesn’t dream of eating at a fancy restaurant with impeccable food and flawless service? The kind of top-shelf experience in which the waiter anticipates filling your water glass before you think to ask, and who deftly whisks the trail of fresh bread crumbs from the white tablecloth without notice. While such meticulous dining focus is a case of food fiction in many restaurants, the one-of-a-kind treatment and penchant for detail is a reality in these high-end Phoenix restaurants, which cater to customer’s dining expectations from the first plating to final course in gracious style.
It’s not easy to command the wait staff’s attention at some restaurants, but that isn’t the case at Kai, the upscale dining establishment located at the Sheraton Grand Wild Horse Pass Resort. As the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurant in Arizona, Kai takes service—and a carefully crafted menu—seriously. Course by course, guests are treated to a creative and culturally significant food presentation representing elegant Native American fare, which unfolds in a dynamic storytelling journey guided by the wait staff who masterfully deliver the dining narrative without being intrusive.
Breathtaking scenery combined with elegant fare give guests an upper-level dining perspective at the Different Pointe of View, nestled atop North Mountain. Floor-to-ceiling windows with dramatic panoramas of the desert landscape; a tastefully decorated, but relaxed, chic environment; and AAA Four-Diamond regional American cuisine with Mediterranean influences have made Different Point of View a special dining destination for both locals and guests for three decades. An acclaimed wine list featuring more than 500 selections that complement the bold and flavorful menu also is par for the course at this elevated mountain top dining spot.
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, 11111 N 7th St, Phoenix
Earthy adobe meets sophisticated setup with a world-class view at Lon’s at the Hermosa, where old-age methods of smoking, roasting and grilling converge with classic European cooking techniques for an exceptional modern culinary event. The artful cuisine created with herbs and heirloom fruits, vegetables and grains picked from the inn’s garden are incorporated into the extraordinary dishes that define New American flavors.
Discerning guests also can sample above-board picks from Lon’s subterranean wine cellar and three wine vaults, a lineup consistently recognized by Wine Spectator, which house more than 500 food wines from American appellations to classic Old World vintage.
The Hermosa Inn, 5532 N Palo Cristi Rd, Paradise Valley
Don’t let the quaint rustic appearance fool you. Quiessence, located in a historical house at the end of a tree-lined lane at The Farm at South Phoenix, is a high-end epicurean adventure for those with a taste for market-driven, American-inspired, sustainable food and wines. The seasonal, farm-to-table selections help set the stage for an idyllic evening of pure fine dining without pretense in an off-the-beaten path destination that is worth the trip to the “country.” The refined, but simple menu includes house-made breads, fromage, handcrafted pastas and local produce from The Farm and other Valley farms.
While walk-ins are welcome, you might want to book a table at Barrio Café Gran Reserva, an exclusive, upscale Mexican restaurant that seats less than 30 people, but delivers in grand cosmopolitan style. Instead of typical south-of-the-border cuisine, those lucky enough to get a spot can savor a fusion of innovative, multi-course tastings that include hand-ground, single-source heirloom corn for masa; shrimp sourced live from Baja waters; two dozen dried chilies; tejocote, a crab apple-tasting Mexican fruit; xoconostle, a prickly pear-like cactus fruit found in regional cooking; a daily steak and fish special; and more than six varieties of house-made chorizo.
1301 Grand Ave, Phoenix
Once the winter estate for a New York financier in the 1930s, the Royal Palms Resort exudes the gracious sophistication and timeless glamour of Phoenix as a desert retreat for the rich and famous. At T. Cook’s, executive chef Todd Allison creates inspired, ingredient-driven dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Feast like a king on such creations as herb-roasted Norwegian halibut served with ruby grapefruit; or handmade forest mushroom lasagna with Blue Sky Farms spinach, Japanese eggplant and celery root. Whether you’re dining in the lush dining room, the cobblestone patio brimming with flowers, or tucked away in a candlelit romantic nook, you’ll experience Phoenix fine dining at its best.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa
5200 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix 85018
For a truly unique dining experience, reserve a seat at Binkley’s, owned by acclaimed chef Kevin Binkley. Come prepared, however, because dining at Binkley’s is a commitment—one that explores 20 courses stretched out over more than three hours. The dinner is truly experiential, featuring tempting first bites, bar “snacks,” inspiring main dishes, and creative desserts—all served by Binkley himself, who engages and interacts with diners throughout the evening. Past menus have included scallop mouse and sweet potato puree with uni; charred poke salmon; milk-fed lamb with freshly baked pita; and chocolate “puddin’ cake.” There is one seating and one set menu each evening, and reservations are required in advance.
2320 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix 85016
The desert Southwest meets the cafés of France at Vincent on Camelback, one of the longest-running restaurants in the Valley. Opened in 1986 by chef-owner Vincent Guerithault—who received the James Beard Award for America’s Best Chef: Southwest—the restaurant is decidedly intimate and intriguing, serving classic French cuisine infused with Southwestern ingredients. The dinner menu changes daily, but expect such creations as lobster chimichanga with goat cheese and basil buerre blanc; duck confit with pommes Lyonnaise and citrus sauce; and raspberry clafoutis with amaretto ice cream. C’est magnifique!
3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix 85018