It is that time of year again when we Phoenicians can revel in the joy of dining and cocktailing outdoors, which has become a preferable way of gathering with friends and family during these COVID times. I have compiled a short list of my favorite outdoor dining patios in Phoenix and hope you make it out to try a few. Big apology to folks in the West Valley. I haven’t lived out there since 1995 when I first moved to Phoenix and I am sure much has changed, so please send me a comment if you have any recommendations for me! xoM
Paradise Valley and Scottsdale
Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
The Hermosa Inn is an upscale resort in a quiet patch of Paradise Valley just off 32nd Street between Camelback and Lincoln. Lon’s is the resort’s fine-dining restaurant named after Lon Megarge, a famous cowboy artist who in 1930 built the original structure. The property is the definition of Southwest Charm, with adobe buildings situated among beautifully manicured lawns, bubbling fountains, and quaint sitting areas. When weather permits, outdoors on the patio is one of my favorite places for lunch, dinner or just a cocktail, sitting next to a chiminea soaking in the stunning views of Camelback Mountain. Chef Rebecca Tillman is the newly hired Executive Chef at Lon’s and I am looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the new menu.
5532 N Palo Cristi Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, www.hermosainn.com.
Dining on the patio at El Chorro in the shadows of Camelback and Mummy Mountains is a long-standing Phoenix tradition. Renown for its famous sticky buns, El Chorro offers an authentic Arizona desert setting where generations of Valley residents and visitors have enjoyed Southwestern-inspired cuisine. El Chorro is perfect for a variety of occasions, whether savoring a relaxed weekend brunch, relaxing with friends over drinks and live music, or celebrating a special occasion. The menu offerings center on fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients – including herbs and produce from the El Chorro garden located right outside the kitchen. El Chorro just reopened October 1st…just in time to usher in the cooler weather. See the website below for reservations.
5550 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, www.elchorro.com.
Virtù Honest Craft
Nominated by the prestigious James Beard Foundation for “Best New Restaurant” in 2014, Virtù is Chef Gio Osso’s intimate, stylish gathering spot tucked inside Old Town Scottsdale’s charming Bespoke Inn bed and breakfast. Chef Osso is a long-time Phoenix area favorite, having cooked in countless award-winning local kitchens before fulfilling his life-long dream of opening a restaurant of his own. At Virtù, his ever-changing menu features a modern, global approach to his Mediterranean family roots, but there are a few perennial favorites. Pre-COVID they had the best brunch in town, but are currently only open for dinner. Don’t miss the octopus appetizer – Polpo – the Spaghetti alla Chitara, and the butterscotch pudding for desert.
3701 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, www.virtuscottsdale.com.
Chelsea’s is a long time favorite of our family. They won us over with free kids’ meals during Happy Hour, and kept us returning for the Deviled Eggs, the Trout Dip, the Brussels Sprouts Salad and the Short Rib Tacos. Chelsea’s has a wood burning rotisserie and grill, a smoker and chili roaster that gets a lot of use during hatch chili season. It doesn’t hurt that Chelsea’s is centrally located to just about every school or sports function that we attend. The patio is attractive and overlooks a city canal bank popular with joggers and dog-walkers.
5040 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018, www.chelseaskitchenaz.com.
When it comes to outdoor dining in Phoenix, Postino’s patios never disappoint. Each of the valley’s 7 Postino’s locations are set in comfortable, rustic and beautifully restored buildings. I happen to choose the one near my house because we can bike to it, which makes it handy if I have a glass of wine, or two. Postino’s serves up a popular menu of salads (try the Hannah’s Field), sandwiches (I am a sucker for the vegetarian panini) and bruschetta, along with more than 30 wines by the glass and noteworthy Arizona craft brews. The weekend brunch menu is sure to please with $5 mimosas, and $5 wines by the glass and pitchers or beer until 5 pm.
4821 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, www.postinowinecafe.com.
Lylo Swim Club
Lylo Swim Club is a sleek poolside bar and restaurant at the newly opened 79-room ARRIVE Hotel at Camelback and 4th Avenue. Lylo, apparently an English slang word for “pool float,” offers a playful all-day menu of Japanese/Hawaiian bites paired with inventive cocktails designed by acclaimed cocktail guru, Ross Simon, of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals. Open 7-days a week in an intimate and lush pool setting that actually succeeds in disguising the noise and traffic off Camelback, Lylo is a refreshing escape within the city that is delightfully far enough away from the bachelorette party trappings of Old Town Scottsdale. See more about my experience at Lylo here.
400 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013, www.lylophx.com.
The Farm at South Mountain
Located just south of downtown Phoenix, The Farm at South Mountain, is literally an oasis in the desert, born from an ancient riverbed that blessed the grounds with naturally-rich soil. A pecan tree grove provides the shade for organic gardens and three separate restaurants: the Morning Glory Café offers house smoked meats, seasonal omelettes, and fresh baked goods for breakfast, The Farm Kitchen serves sandwiches, fresh soups, and seasonal salads packed in picnic baskets (perfect for exploring the grounds!), and Quiessence delivers a “farm-to-table” dinner experience using local produce, meat and wine to create a choice of 4 to 6-course tasting menus. There is also an art gallery and gift shop onsite.
6106 S 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85042, www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com.
Pomelo at The Orchard
Pomelo is part of the Orchard Phoenix, a unique union of eateries, event venues and community gathering spaces nestled into a quiet block off 12th Street and Lincoln. Conceived by the same team behind Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, Pomelo serves lunch and dinner with a variety of dishes ranging from their signature pizzas to healthy salads and chicken, salmon and grass-fed beef. At the center of the Orchard is the Lawn, where you can hang out, have a drink, wait for your table or gather with friends. Also check out the gourmet groceries and cool gifts at Luci’s at the Orchard, and have desert at Splurge, a vintage ice cream and candy shop. Pomelo is currently closed except for private events…let’s hope they reopen this fall!
7100 North 12th Street Building One, Phoenix, AZ 85020, www.pomelophx.com.
The East Valley
Garage East is a wine bar located in the very cool craftsman community of Agritopia in Gilbert. The Agritopia community houses 12 highly skilled craftsman that sell their arts to the public. The building is enclosed with shiny metal from WWII planes. Brian Ruffentine and his wife Meagan operate this bespoke winery that specializes in Arizona grown grapes. I highly encourage all to head out east to Garage East, settle in with a glass of wine and a charcuterie platter, have a wine tasting, or even pick up a bottle or two of wine to bring home. The food selection also specializes in locally sourced Arizona cheeses and meats. Most likely, you will find Brian behind the bar entertaining guests. They also have events that showcase their wine paired with food, wine tastings, and live music. Check the website for up-to-date information.
3000 E Ray Rd # 7, Gilbert, AZ 85296, www.garage-east.com.
House of Tricks
Robert and Robin Trick opened House of Tricks 1987 in a remodeled, charming 1920’s cottage in downtown Tempe, and expanded in 1994 with the purchase of an adjacent property. The patio bar and wooden deck were built in the landscaped area between the two buildings and link the two houses together, creating one of the most lovely spaces for outdoor dining in Phoenix. Two other uniquely distinct patios outside offer additional space for alfresco dining and private events. It is particularly a very popular spot to dine prior to an event at nearby ASU’s Gammage Stadium.
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281, www.houseoftricks.com.
Highly recommended and can’t wait to try: The Mick, Gallo Blanco, Windsor, Cibo, Different Pointe of View, and Ocotillo. So much to eat…so little time!