The stigma of the hotel-embedded eatery is getting better, with no small thanks to the daring fine-dining shenanigans of the following restaurants, each of which makes its home in a metro Phoenix hotel or resort.
Blue Hound Kitchen + Cocktails (Hotel Palomar)
Fresh, seasonal, Southern-inflected food complemented by craft cocktails make this Downtown eatery an epicurean destination. Recommended: fried green tomatoes, braised pork shank, the “Lawless” rye-based cocktail.
Talavera (Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North)
They call it a “steakhouse,” but in the hands of Chef Mel Mecinas, Talavera's more like global fine-dining with Mexican twists – and the best balcony view in the Valley. Recommended: Sunizona heirloom tomatoes, chilled cucumber soup, Mexican jumbo prawns.
Distrito (The Saguaro)
Chef Jose Garces gives Mexican street food a nudge upscale, and offers a custom taco bar for those who like to have it completely their way. Recommended: Nachos Libres, a Mezcal Mule to drink, and a couple servings of the best esquites (sweet corn with chipotle mayo) we've ever had.
Virtu Honest Craft (Bespoke Inn)
With nods from both the James Beard Foundation and "Esquire" magazine, Virtu's reputation is way bigger than its accomodations (just a few tables). Menus change with the seasons, but the grilled octopus seems to be a perennial favorite.
J&G Steakhouse (The Phoenician)
Boasting the second-best balcony view in the Valley (see Talavera, above, for the best), J&G Steakhouse also lays claim to some of the best beef cuts around, all expertly seasoned and cooked uner the auspices of Chef Jacques Qualin.