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Green Chili Mac n Cheese at Lovecraft

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Menus Worth the Miles

Make the Drive to These Delicious Dining Destinations

With so many bucket-list-worthy restaurants nearby, it is all too easy to stay in the Scottsdale bubble when deciding where to dine. But why not branch out? Arizona offers a melting pot of diverse flavors and ingredients around every turn.

Litchfield’s, for example, is a must for any wine lover. The iconic West Valley restaurant, which is located inside the historic Wigwam resort, is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner many years over for its perfectly curated selection of sips by the glass and bottle. It also boasts one of the best wine dinner programs in Arizona. Offered one weekend each month—yes, over multiple days—each dinner features a mouth-watering five-course meal for the ages with a selection of wines from one of its personal favorite partners. This Dec. 16-17, Litchfield’s welcomes Silver Oak Cellars. Unable to make the wine dinner? Visit any night of the week for a locally sourced and ultra-romantic meal over the pecan wood-stocked grill.

Anhelo, which recently moved from its original location at Heritage Square into a beautiful, custom-designed space on the ground floor of the 1930s-era Orpheum Lofts in Downtown Phoenix, is another must. Similarly lauded by Wine Spectator with a 2022 Award of Excellence, this contemporary concept marries chef/owner Ivan Jacobo’s talent and soul on each plate. Jacobo first earned the hearts of Arizona diners through a series of successful, word-of-mouth pop-up dinners before investing in himself and his dream restaurant. His menu, a celebration of ingredients from around the world and classics done right in a fine dining setting, proves it was an investment well made, indeed.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails is also located in Downtown Phoenix. Recently, the locale welcomed both a new chef and a mixology lead. Diners can check out their creations on the new fall menu. Cheeky and fun where they can be and pitch-perfect when it comes to pairing food and spirits, you won’t be disappointed with this long-time favorite.

Quiessence at the Farm is equal parts wine and foodie heaven and farm-themed fairyland. Located at The Farm at South Mountain, this is farm-to-table dining on a whole other level. The on-property organic garden provides seasonal specialty vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers year-round, which serve as key ingredients in each guest’s choice of a three-, four- or five-course tasting menu. Dinner here—which is served under all under the glow of sparkling lights strung from above—feels like a dream, but it is all too real, and really, really special.

Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert is another one for those obsessed with all things farm-to-fork. The owners are so dedicated to sourcing locally that they harvest the fruit, vegetables, and herbs for the restaurant at their own Farm at Agritopia, supplementing them with local and regional vendors to round out their dishes. The venue itself is also special in that it used to be the owner’s actual ranch-style home. Pro tip: Do not miss the smoked meat and farm favorites menu sections.

Lovecraft takes its smoked meats as seriously as Joe’s, and it shows in every bite. Though initially opened in Phoenix as more of a craft beer bar with tapas, the New Mexico native owner soon fell in love with the concept of combining barbeque favorites with the rich, spicy flavors of her home state. Today, Lovecraft offers a full menu of meats by the pound including 12-hour smoked prime rib, pork shoulder, and pulled chicken breast that has been smoked on the bone, as well as starters and entrees featuring house-smoked bacon, and smoked pork combined with spicy red or green chili sauces.

Hidden House is one for those who keep hearing all the buzz about the Southeast Valley but have yet to see its culinary evolution for themselves. Housed in a cozy 1939 cottage located in Downtown Chandler, and truly hidden from direct view of the street, the concept was recently named among Open Table’s 100 best Neighborhood Gems in America for its elevated-but-approachable menu and intimate setting. The menu’s most ambitious offerings include multiple foie gras dishes, an eye-popping prime ribeye, and the crave-worthy Gochujang glazed pork belly.


Chop, Block & Brew is not quite as hard to find as The Hidden House, but due to its location inside Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa, it is close! Chop dry ages its meats, allowing them to rest in a carefully controlled state to develop a deeper layer of flavor, and select cuts are cooked sous vide, producing a more consistent taste and size. The 3,454-square-foot modern restaurant also features Native American-inspired artwork and design elements that highlight the culture and traditions of the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

Any good bucket list should also include a few stops up north, notable Atria and Teatro in Flagstaff, Mariposa in Sedona, and Crema Craft Kitchen in Cottonwood. Atria is a James Beard Award-nominated fine dining concept from the mind of chef Rochelle Daniel of Fat Ox fame, while Teatro Italian Food & Wine is the newest eatery from THAT Place Projects, beloved across Northern Arizona for its Tinderbox Kitchen, Annex, Tourist Home, and Corn & Flour restaurant. Latin-inspired Mariposa is among the most scenic restaurants statewide, perfectly situated amid some of the most beautiful views of Sedona’s Red Rocks in nearly every direction. And its food? It is just as good as the view. Finally, Crema Craft Kitchen & Bar is the brainchild of the Haunted Hotel Group out of Cottonwood and home to a menu of love-at-first-bite brunch favorites and clever cocktails.;;;

  • Anhelo. Photo courtesy of Jones Creative
  • Anhelo. Photo courtesy of Jones Creative
  • Mole Mussels at Atria. Photo by Debby Wolvos
  • Tea Smoked Duck Breast at Atria. Photo by Debby Wolvos
  • Burger at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Chop, Block & Brew
  • Chop, Block & Brew
  • Litchfield’s
  • Joe's Farm Grill. Photo by Timothy Fox
  • Green Chili Mac n Cheese at Lovecraft
  • Quiessence at the Farm
  • Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Litchfield's