Food & Drink

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck This Fall at Arizona Restaurant Week

Published On 09/14/2016 Published On 09/14/2016

Get your appetites ready: Arizona Restaurant Week begins on Sept 16th, and is one of the best things to do this fall. Where else can you experience a three-course meal from five-star restaurants for less than an Uber ride across town? There are more than 100 restaurants around the state participating this year, so we did the hard work of weeding (read: eating) through them to find the best deals -- from fine dining in Tempe to alfresco experiences in Paradise Valley.

Lauren Topor/Thrillist

ZuZu

Scottsdale

Price: $33
Tucked inside Scottsdale’s retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho, ZuZu has earned a solid-gold reputation for its upscale comfort food, brunches, and cocktails -- but it also offers the most affordable AZRW experience. Some of its Restaurant Week starters include a perfect-for-fall sweet roasted acorn squash soup that’s topped with house-made cinnamon marshmallows and candied pecans, along with buffalo mozz served with grilled levain bread and heirloom tomatoes, plus seared wagyu beef with truffle and yuzu mignonette. As if that weren’t enough, ZuZu is offering entrees such as Ōra King salmon over a bed of jasmine rice and veggies in shiso and tomato lemongrass broth, a mustard-crusted New York strip steak, and seared maple leaf duck breast. The dessert lineup includes goat cheesecake with a blueberry-infused chipotle compote and chocolate torte served with Bavarian ice cream.

Courtesy of Awe Collective

Christopher's & Crush Lounge

Phoenix

Price: $44
James Beard award winner Christopher Gross is at the helm of this contemporary-meets-classic eatery where you can expect a beautiful mix of French- and American-inspired dishes. This year’s prix fixe Restaurant Week menu will feature a variety of first courses, including smoked salmon salad, foie gras torchon with brioche, and onion soup with Gruyere. Next, choose your entree of sautéed duck breast with sherry sauce, wood-oven-roasted chicken, or petite filet with a luscious red wine sauce. Finish the evening with a third course: an assortment of cheeses, a sweet lemon tart with berry sauce, or take your tastebuds to France with a slice of the gâteau marjolaine flourless pastry cake. It’s cheaper than an actual trip to France.

Lauren Topor/Thrillist

Coup Des Tartes

Phoenix

Price: $44
Cozy up with a date or chat intimately with friends at this unique restaurant inside a 1920s-era home with tables in private rooms and a decidedly French atmosphere. In addition to a stunning list of prix fixe options, including filet mignon and stuffed veal chop, Coup Des Tartes has a something extra delicious on the AZRW menu as well this fall. It's called pork belly creme brulee (no, not the dessert kind, but a slab of pork belly that’s been caramelized on top ), and it's served alongside frisee and shallot vinaigrette. The French bistro has made headlines for its dessert creme brulee -- so you can actually order brulee for two courses! -- and this spot is BYOB-friendly. Go ahead, bring that nice bottle of wine that’s been sitting at home and waiting for a special occasion.

Different Pointe of View

Phoenix

Price: $44
Some of Phoenix’s best restaurants are located in resorts and hotels around town, so it’s no surprise that Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs' Different Pointe of View is a contender for some of the best dining in town. Along with a view from the top of North Mountain, the resort-restaurant is offering up unbelievable dining deals for Restaurant Week. The approachable menu features familiar choices such as beer cheese soup and chicken and donuts alongside more advanced palate fare like charred octopus, Arizona sun tea brined quail, and ponzu-glazed lamb belly.

Durant's

Durant's

Phoenix

Price: $44
This top Phoenix steakhouse has been a staple in the Arizona dining scene for more than 65 years. The Durant’s AZRW menu is straightforward, featuring a slow-roasted prime rib, filet steak sandwich, or the pan-seared Atlantic salmon for entrees. Chef Ken Giordano is also churning out sweet desserts, including a southern pecan pie, tiramisu, and a chocolatey, delicious slab of soft cake (a crowd favorite called Chocolate Indulgence). Dinner also includes your choice of soup or salad, and coffee, tea, and sodas are complimentary.

El Chorro

El Chorro

Paradise Valley

Price: $44
El Chorro’s seasonally inspired, multi-course Restaurant Week menu offers fall favorites such as lobster bisque, center-cut filet, polenta and vegetable Napoleon, and grilled citrus branzino (European seabass). Dessert options include a booze-infused tiramisu with vanilla bourbon sauce, and a pie of the day. If that weren’t enough, and you don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks, El Chorro will offer expert wine pairings to complement your meal for a fee. As always, you’ll get those delicious pull-apart cinnamon sticky buns the Paradise Valley restaurant is famous for.

Courtesy of Bright Brothers Strategy Group

House of Tricks

Tempe

Price: $44
College towns aren’t exactly known for their fine dining, but this charming oasis is the exception. This essential Tempe restaurant is turning out an impeccable AZRW lineup, including seared diver scallop and squid ink caviar appetizers, along with entrees like the Sierra Nevada mustard braised rabbit leg, sauteed shrimp with bacon, and sweet peppers on a bed of lacy corn cakes. Who knew you could eat like ASU's homecoming king for such an affordable price in the heart of Tempe?

Nobuo at Teeter House

Nobuo at Teeter House

Phoenix

Price: $44
James Beard award-winning chef Nobuo Fukuda has worked in Arizona for more than 30 years, and his East-meets-West approach is strong at the Scottsdale eatery/hideaway, Teeter House. The modest, turn-of-the-century bungalow is one of the state’s best-kept secrets when it comes to imported seafood and five-star dining. Nobuo is offering a first course of hana-Japanese seasonal antipasto, followed by your choice of a meat or seafood bento box with braised Japanese vegetables, rice, and a salad with ginger dressing. Pick from the miso rice pudding with peach compote or the Yuku cheesecake for dessert.

POSH

Scottsdale

Price: $44
Joshua Hebert’s upscale Scottsdale establishment is all about improvisation and using unique ingredients -- goose, urchin, pheasant, escargot, and foie gras, to name a few -- in ways that you’ve never seen or tasted before. This improvisational four-course menu (really, no set menu at all) will be offered at a discounted price for AZRW’s fall event. Herbert also told us that there will be a five-course menu available for $55, a six-course option for $66, and even a seven-course choice for $77. If you’ve never dined here before, now is the time, and be sure to keep an eye out for POSH's to-die-for ramen.

Roka Akor Scottsdale

Roka Akor

Scottsdale

Price: $44
Catch a glimpse behind the scenes at this surf-meets-turf restaurant, where most of the food is prepared and plated in an open-area kitchen in which knives and fish are flying. Chef Jason Alford’s fixed menu is a series of decadent dishes including an albacore ceviche, Arizona grass-fed tenderloin, and the Two Wash Ranch half chicken with pickled cucumber and plum teriyaki. The milk chocolate panna cotta is a standout among the deserts, and be ready to wet your whistle -- included in the deal is Roka Akor's signature house cocktail, the Waitlist, made with EFFEN vodka, Peychaud's bitters, grapefruit, St-Germain, and fresh lemon.

T. Cook's

Phoenix

Price: $44
Tucked inside of one of Phoenix’s most storied and beautiful resorts, T. Cook’s offers an unparalleled dining experience for special occasions. It should also be on your radar for Restaurant Week. Executive chef Todd Allison has put together a menu of can’t-miss eats. Try the Dungeness crab citrus salad or garlic-roasted prawns as starters, pan-roasted branzino, beef short rib, or our fave, the wild arugula and truffle tremor ravioli. You can’t go wrong with any of the delectable desserts, featuring Jameson whiskey and Guinness chocolate sauce.

Courtesy of Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Tempe

Price: $44
Top of the Rock’s fresh, locally inspired menu takes from the bounty of Steadfast Farm, Hayden Flour Mills, Queen Creek Olive Mill, and Danzeisen Dairy (among others). Restaurant Week diners can expect a fixed menu of trout tartar, Arizona mushrooms en croute, and coconut custard with prickly pear. For an extra charge, Top of the Rock will offer wine tastings of Arizona and Western US wines.

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Lauren Topor is a Phoenix writer who can’t pass up a good dining deal. See where she dines next on Instagram and Twitter

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Café ZuZu 6850 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (Old Town Scottsdale)

Phoenix’s ZuZu is named for a beloved mother and grandmother who believed that food is best shared with the people you love. The American restaurant abides by this ethos and emulates Arizona’s neighborhood grills of the 1950s, where communities coalesced around hot meals and well-crafted cocktails. The décor is ravishingly retro; the polyester orange and blue mod chairs and booths will make you feel like you’ve hopped in a time machine express to your grandparents’ ‘50s living room. ZuZu’s dinner menu flashes back to giant shrimp cocktail and crispy pork belly with creamy corn polenta, but also stays fresh with orange and ginger seared ahi, served rare with an Asian slaw and soy mustard vinaigrette and a spicy, zesty Kung Pao game hen with forbidden fried rice, spicy baby bok choy, and roasted peanuts. Cocktails are expertly prepared at ZuZu; favorites include the Bramble and the Blackberry Mule.

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2. Christopher's & Crush Lounge 2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Consider Christopher's your sophisticated French escape from the mall crowds at Biltmore Shopping Center. This modern bistro is headed up by James Beard award-winner Christopher Gross, who's cooking up a beautiful mix of French and American-inspired dishes, such as foie gras torchon with brioche, wood-oven roasted chicken, and smoked truffle-infused filet mignon. Exhausted from trying on outfits at Macy's? Slip into the swanky Crush Lounge and kick back with a glass of wine, a cheese platter, or the fan-favorite truffled French frites with parmesan.

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3. Coup des Tartes 1725 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Housed inside a 1920s-era brick home, Coup des Tartes is the ideal spot to cozy up with a date. With tables in private rooms, ornate chandeliers, and stylish mirrors and prints on the walls, it has a decidedly French atmosphere, plus a stunning list of dishes, such as Moroccan lamb shank, salmon Grenobloise, and short rib pappardelle. Your meal isn't complete without its headline-making creme brulee either. Break out that bottle you've been saving for a special occasion -- this bistro is BYOB.

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4. Different Pointe Of View 11111 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85020

Some of Phoenix’s best restaurants are located in resorts and hotels around town, and Different Pointe of View at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs is no exception. This elegant space is packed with wooden tables overlooking the Valley from the top of North Mountain. Anything tastes good with that kind of view, but you'll want to try the coriander-crusted pork tenderloin or truffle-grilled filet mignon, and top it off with the Devil's Delight for dessert, made with devil's food cake, walnut-filled caramel, toasted marshmallow, and crispy pearl ganache.

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5. Durant’s 2611 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Durant's is an old-school, ultra-luxe chophouse that has been a Phoenix staple for more than 65 years. Although it's mostly applauded for filets, porterhouses, and T-bones, the family-owned restaurant is also known for its rich history and tradition. The servers still wear the same style of red tuxedo vests as they did when the doors first opened in the 1950s, and the walls are still plastered with crushed red velvet wallpaper.

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6. El Chorro 5550 E Lincoln Dr, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 (Paradise Valley)

Paradise Valley’s historic El Chorro was originally constructed in 1934 as a school for girls and was eventually transformed into a restaurant and lodge. While it no longer provides education in the formal sense, it does continue to enrapture its visitors with both its stunning views of Camelback Mountain against a cactus-spotted desert and all-around Western charm, which is, arguably, didactic in its own way. The food on offer at El Chorro is sustainable, locally grown, and made with all-natural ingredients, with highlights including Rocky Mountain Lamb Chops with white bean puree, cranberry chestnut relish, and seasonal vegetables, and seasonal wild salmon with purple forbidden rice and garden carrots.

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7. House of Tricks 114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

A piece of France located in what is now practically the middle of the Arizona State University campus, House of Tricks has excellent food in a charming remodeled cottage. Just walking in feels like taking a vacation to Europe.

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8. Nobuo at Teeter House 622 E Adams St, Phoenix, 85004

Award winning chef, Nobuo Fukunda creates visually stunning and palatably adventurous modern Japanese cuisine. From delightfully fresh salads to buttery soft meats and of course, all the fresh fish you could dream of, Nobuo is worth visiting and revisiting for the full experience.

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9. Posh Restaurant 7167 E Rancho Vista Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 (North Scottsdale)

If you're a fan of surprises, make your way to Posh. Chef Joshua Herbert is at the helm of this upscale, experimental restaurant where improvisation is the name of the game: he crafts his dishes based on each diner's preferences, creating a choose-your-own-adventure experience for every guest. There's no set menu whatsoever, but past dishes have included escargot with braised artichokes, lamb crépinette with yogurt mint sauce, and kangaroo loin with charred shishito peppers. Get ready for the most inventive meal of your life.

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10. Roka Akor 7299 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253 (North Scottsdale)

Roka Akor is a contemporary Japanese steak, seafood, and sushi restaurant featuring Robatayaki cuisine. The principle Robata Japanese dishes -- primarily steaks and pork -- are prepared atop 1,900 degree mesquite coals on the centrally located 12ft robata grill, providing an engaging and authentic atmosphere for guests. The grilled meats are accompanied by other classic Japanese menu items like signature sushi rolls, sashimi and nigiri, crispy tempura, and an omakase menu. And the extensive beverage list is leans heavily on Japanese libations as well, namely sake, Japanese whiskey and beer, and sochu -- the latter offered in traditional form and in house-infused flavors. An evening at Roka Akor is an all-encapsulating, sensory experience in Robata Japanese dining.

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11. T. Cook's 5200 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018 (Old Town Scottsdale)

Housed inside the Royal Palms Resort & Spa, T. Cook’s is a second-to-none fine dining restaurant serving fresh, flavorful cuisine with Mediterranean influences. It's established itself as one of the best restaurants in the Valley thanks to plenty of praise from food critics, and as a perfect spot for a romantic evening thanks to its chic decor. When it comes to the menu, you'll find casual lunch options like a sun-dried tomato grilled cheese and a pastrami reuben, and lavish dinner entrees such as sage-roasted filet mignon.

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12. Top of the Rock 2000 W Westcourt Way, Tempe, AZ 85282

Forget the food, the view of the city from this spot is incredible (but the food is good too). You get the view from the inside, but sitting outside around one of the giant fire pits is an opportunity too good to pass up.

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