10 Desert Getaways for Wine Lovers in Arizona

Check out these dining hot spots in the Valley of the Sun

10 Desert Getaways for Wine Lovers in Arizona
Soak up scenes of desert beauty on Talavera's terrace in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North)
Mar 16, 2017

Updated: Jan. 2, 2020

With Sonoran desert beauty, year-round sunshine and eclectic Southwestern cuisine, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., should be on your radar when considering your next wine-and-dining destination. These 10 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners are top-notch destinations for wine lovers in the Valley of the Sun.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 100 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Cafe Monarch

6939 E. First Ave., Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 970-7682
Website www.cafemonarch.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Exterior of Cafe Monarch
Cafe Monarch
Guests enter Cafe Monarch through a charming facade.

Cafe Monarch delivers top-tier dining experiences in historic Old Town Scottsdale, complete with a Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program of 485 labels. Overseen by sommelier Wesam Kawa, the selections excel in California, France and Italy. Premier bottlings abound from benchmark producers such as Opus One and Jean-Louis Chave, including more than two dozen available via Coravin. Chef Gustavo Lewkowicz sources local, seasonal and sustainably raised ingredients for his American tasting menu, where guests can choose four courses starting at $110. There’s also a vegetarian tasting menu that starts at $75. Wine pairings are available for an added $95, or $225 for the “grand cru” wine pairing.


J&G Steakhouse

The Phoenician Resort, 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 214-8000
Website www.jgsteakhousescottsdale.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Roasted main lobster with a white wine
J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician
Roasted Maine lobster is one of chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin’s offerings at J&G Steakhouse.

Lauded chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the brains behind the steak-house fare at J&G Steakhouse, located in the foothills of Camelback Mountain at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale. The experience doesn’t disappoint: Chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin’s menu includes luscious choices like black truffle cheese fritters and Parmesan risotto among the abundance of steaks, which can be made even more indulgent with the topping of a half lobster or Alaskan king crab. Beverage director Taylor Chandler’s wine list numbers 450 selections, two dozen of which are available by the glass, and highlights California and France. If you’re lucky, you may be able to grab a seat on the restaurant’s jaw-dropping sunset patio.


Lon’s at the Hermosa

The Hermosa Inn, 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 955-7878
Website www.lons.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Outdoor seating at Lon’s at the Hermosa
Lon’s at the Hermosa
Dine surrounded by natural beauty at Lon’s at the Hermosa.

In Paradise Valley, just north of Scottsdale, the Hermosa Inn has served as a desert retreat since the 1930s, when acclaimed Arizona cowboy painter Lon Megaree first began using it as a private getaway. Though the ownership has since changed, several original works by Megaree can still be found throughout the inn, including at its Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant, Lon’s at the Hermosa. There, indulge in chef Jeremy Pacheo’s globally inspired Arizona cuisine, including Himalayan salt–seared ahi tuna, braised beef short ribs with smoked tomato chutney and roasted branzino with chorizo emulsion. The wine list, engineered by food and beverage director William Parker, boasts 700 selections, offering breadth and depth in California and France, as well as a generous selection of Arizona bottles.


Orange Sky

Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 850-8606
Website www.talkingstickresort.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Orange Sky’s outdoor terrace
TSR Marketing
Witness captivating sunsets at Talking Stick Resort's Orange Sky restaurant in Scottsdale.

Some of the best views in Scottsdale can be found at Orange Sky. Located on the 15th floor of Talking Stick Resort, the restaurant pairs its Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program with 360-degree views of the sunset over the city for a picture-perfect special-occasion toast. The selections from California, France and Italy are particularly strong on wine director Wednesday Nowak’s list, which also includes over three dozen options for sparkling wine and Champagne. Chef Ron Dimas’ menu includes plenty of steak-house favorites, as well as dishes with a local twist, such as elk loin and marinated pork chop with pickled okra salad.


Talavera

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 513-5085
Website www.talaverarestaurant.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Paella at Talavera
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Various paellas are available on Talavera’s Spanish-leaning menu.

In the foothills of Pinnacle Peak at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, Talavera is a wine-and-dining lover’s dream, with stunning desert views. Wine director Katherine Janowiak program has earned a Restaurant Award since 2005 and is matched by an impressive cellar, with strong showings from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italy. Chef Chuck Kazmer’s Spanish-influenced steak-house menu specializes in steaks but also provides eclectic dishes like strip steak with carrot top pesto and ahi tuna crudo with anchovy and grapefruit.


Vincent Guerithault on Camelback

3930 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 224-0225
Website www.vincentsoncamelback.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Vincent Guerithault on Camelback dining room
Vincent Guerithault on Camelback
Vincent Guerithault on Camelback has long been part of Arizona’s dining scene.

Known for its charming French cuisine and neighborhood atmosphere, Vincent Guerithault on Camelback has been a Phoenix dining staple for over 30 years. Chef Guerithault’s menu includes classic dishes such as veal tenderloin with red wine and thyme sauce, alongside Southwestern-inspired plates like rack of lamb with spicy bell pepper jelly. Wine director Howie Buttrick’s program, a Best of Award of Excellence winner since 1997, has a longstanding history of serving top-notch bottles; today, the list offers 600 selections, with a focus on France, especially Burgundy and Bordeaux, as well as California. At the end of the meal, consider ordering your dessert in liquid form, and choose from well over two dozen Sauternes options, including a vertical of Château d'Yquem dating to the 1960s.


Beckett’s Table

3717 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 954-1700
Website www.beckettstable.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Short rib at Beckett’s Table
Jenelle Bonifield
Beckett’s Table’s short-rib entrée comes with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables.

Beckett’s Table, located in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, was born of the friendship between two husband-and-wife teams: chef Justin Beckett and his wife, Michelle, and sommeliers Katie and Scott Stephens. The wine list focuses on bottles from California, France and Arizona, with 16 local options available by the glass. The menu is filled with comfort dishes, like locally milled grits with shrimp and sausage and cast-iron petite chicken with bacon-biscuit stuffing. Chef Beckett makes a point to use fresh ingredients from farms within a 30-mile radius of the restaurant.


Durant’s

2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 264-5967
Website www.durantsaz.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Durant’s dining room
Durant’s
Durant’s delivers the quintessential steak-house experience.

Get nostalgic at Durant’s, an institution of Phoenix dining for over 60 years, where chef Ken Giordano serves classic chophouse fare—think broiled steaks, oysters Rockefeller, sautéed chicken livers and crab cakes. Choose from one of the 225 selections offered on wine director and co-owner Jack McElroy’s moderately priced list, which has earned an Award of Excellence since 2001 and focuses on California. Feeling festive, or celebrating with a large group? Three dozen options are available in large formats.


Kai

Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, 5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 385-5726
Website www.wildhorsepassresort.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Kai’s dining room
Kai
Kai celebrates the history and culture of the local Pima and Maricopa tribes.

For a family-friendly warm-weather getaway, look into the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. While kids will enjoy the resort’s 1880s Western theme park, 111-foot waterslide and multiple swimming pools, adults will appreciate access to two 18-hole golf courses and the spa. The resort’s crown jewel, however, is the Award of Excellence–winning Kai restaurant, where wine director Kevin Lewis’ list provides choice bottles from California, France and Italy. Chef Ryan Swanson’s menu is influenced by the cuisines of the local Pima and Maricopa American Indian tribes and uses ingredients farmed from the nearby Gila River Indian Community to create dishes such as cocoa- and mesquite-cured duck breast with blue corn tamale, grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo and steelhead trout and sturgeon roe.


Quiessence at the Farm

The Farm at South Mountain, 6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 276-0601
Website www.qatthefarm.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Outdoor seating at Quiessence at the Farm
Quiessence at the Farm
Get cozy at Quiessence at the Farm at South Mountain.

Making its home at the 10-acre Farm at South Mountain, Quiessence at the Farm is a gorgeous dining destination just a short drive from downtown Phoenix. Take a stroll through the breathtaking grounds’ groves and gardens to get a sense of what’s to come on chef Dustin Chirstofolo’s menu, which uses ingredients from nearby farms. Tasting menus are available on weekends in four to six courses, while à-la-carte options are offered on weekdays. The wine list also emphasizes local wines, championing a wealth of bottles from Arizona alongside options from California and France.


Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at @WSRestoAwards and Instagram at @WSRestaurantAwards.

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