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Restaurant Rendezvous

Make a Date for Romance at These Seductive Spots

Love isn’t just in the air—it’s on the plates, in the glasses, and served tableside at the Valley’s oh-so-romantic restaurants all month long.  

Among the best is Bourbon & Bones (BourbonAndBonesAZ.com).This upscale boutique chophouse features a modern and innovative menu in a hip, sexy atmosphere. From the finest wet- and dry-aged cuts of beef, veal, and pork, both on the bone and off, to fresh seafood, appetizers, sides, and desserts, they offer the best ingredients and put them together in uniquely delicious ways.

Prefer a more intimate setting? Opt for Sel (SelRestaurant.com), owned and operated by long-time loves chef Branden Levine and his wife, May. Tucked into a cozy enclave in Old Town Scottsdale, expect progressive, brilliantly plated American cuisine by candlelight from Branden, the former executive chef of Café Monarch (also known for his appearances on the Food Network’s Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell and Beat Bobby Flay). Offering an à la carte menu, as well as traditional and vegetarian prix fixe menus, expect offerings to change with the season but to always deliver big bold flavors.

Marcellino Ristorante (MarcellinoRistorante.com) also boasts a love story. The burning passion between the owners, chef Marcellino and his wife, Sima, is the foundation upon which this passionate restaurant was born. Let the sultry warmth of Marcellino’s interior serve as the canvas, and the authentic, hand-crafted cuisine and exclusively Italian wine list be the brushes that together will paint the perfect date night out. Every morsel, from the chef’s infused pastas to the grilled lamb chops cloaked in a luxurious balsamic reduction, is swoon-worthy.  

While not run by a starry-eyed couple, LON’s at the Hermosa Inn (HermosaInn.com) has many romantic settings for an intimate dinner experience. First, there is the outdoor dining patio featuring gorgeous flora and fauna, a trickling fountain, and a massive fireplace. Then, there is also the ruggedly handsome indoor dining room illuminated by candlelight. And finally, perhaps the grandest option of all—an underground wine cellar for private dining that offers seating for 12 people total at any given time. Bonus: The adjacent LON’s Last Drop bar and patio is the ideal spot to begin or end a romantic evening, with its handcrafted cocktails and five fireplaces.

Speaking of patios, have you visited the Hearth ’61 (MountainShadows.com) patio at Mountain Shadows? It offers perhaps the best direct views of Camelback Mountain, especially at sunset. The food and cocktail program are as top-notch as the scenery, thanks in great part to the award-winning chef Charles Wiley at the helm. Choose the perfect pairing with a bottle from the award-winning wine selection. Enjoy the restaurant’s chic and sleek atmosphere, rounding out the evening at the oval-shaped bar. For the ultimate date night, visit on a Friday evening to catch the weekly Veuve Clicquot sabering and toast.

And finally, there is the granddaddy of dark, romantic, epic culinary adventures: Tarbell’s (Tarbells.com). Not that he needs any introduction, but restaurateur, wine expert and chef extraordinaire Mark Tarbell is the real deal. A meal at his namesake eatery is a meal from a two-time inductee to the Arizona Hall of Culinary Fame, who has won more than 50 awards for his restaurant—including “best restaurant” from Food & Wine Magazine and the Iron Chef America winner title on the Food Network. Each month, he also hosts luxe sake, bourbon, winemaker, and wine pairing dinners featuring world-renowned sommeliers from around the globe.

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