Valley restaurants are gearing up for the fall edition of Arizona Restaurant Week, with 130 restaurants vying for your appetite and attention.
The twice-yearly prix-fixe celebration gives chefs the opportunity to flaunt what they do best with set multi-course meals at budget-friendly prices. 
A full list of all participating restaurants can be found on the Arizona Restaurant Week website. Narrowing down the field can be daunting, as even the most ambitious diner knows there’s only so many meals you can squeeze into a 10-day span. 
We did the initial research for you, and what follows are the menus that deserve a first look, either because of the creative offerings, value or both. 
All menus are available Sept. 16-25.  Reservations are highly recommended.
Begin an elegant Italian feast with burrata and prosciutto accompanied by roasted tomatoes, balsamic pearls and toast points or a seafood salad tossed with fennel, red olives and citrus. Next up is the salad course followed by the choice of one of four entrees: shrimp parmigiana with herb-breaded jumbo prawns, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella; aromatic herb and vegetable-braised short ribs served atop gnocchi in a vodka cream sauce; eggplant parmigiana and ricotta-stuffed gnocchi; or chicken and sausage scarpariello with Tuscan potato and rapini. Tiramisu or Sicilian cannoli are offered for dessert. 
Details: 3225 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-956-0836,
A fun butternut squash soup shooter topped with creme fraiche and toasted pumpkin seeds joins a seared tenderloin carpaccio with Noble Bread focaccia on the starter menu. Four main course options feature red wine braised lamb shank simmered with mirepoix and served with Israeli couscous and mint pesto; Sonoran Pasta Co. spaghetti tossed with extra virgin olive oil, elephant garlic, Castelvetrano olives, parmesan and hazelnuts; crispy chicken breast seared in a pan sauce of white wine, shallots and garlic and accompanied by Yukon gold potatoes; and pan-seared crispy salmon with olives, capers, Roma tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Choose a sweet ending by Tracy Dempsey Originals like a red wine caramel chocolate tart with macerated berries or blueberry peach upside-down cake with salted caramel and whipped cream. 
Details: 3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. 602-626-5050,
Start your Southern feast with cauliflower served with pickled celery, smoked blue cheese and Cutino’s hot sauce or vegetable beignets with black garlic peanut romesco sauce for dipping. A smoked and braised pork collar served with Anson Mills hominy and corn giardiniera and Ethiopian fried chicken, chakalaka and charred lime make equally strong cases for the main course. A roasted apple cobbler with French vanilla ice cream and thick molasses caramel is the dessert. 
Details: 200 W. Portland St., Ste 101, Phoenix. 480-409-8520,
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This restaurant is offering both a $33 and a $44 menu. For $33, choose a salad or spicy veggie tostada to start. Entree options include paella with green chile cornbread, chicken chile relleno with Cuban black beans, vegetable enchiladas or pernil asado, a marinated and slow-roasted pork served with rice and peas and corn tortillas. An ancho chile torte and horchata bread pudding are the dessert choices. For $44, begin with your choice of salmon croquettes, beef empanadas, coconut shrimp or pernil nachos. For the main course, pair mahi mahi, seafood chile relleno, short rib enchiladas or surf and turf pasta with two sides of your choosing such as green chile cornbread, jalapeno cream corn, chipotle cheddar mashed potato or Cuban black beans. Finish with ancho chile torte, horchata bread pudding or key lime pie.
Both menus come with a glass of red, white or blackberry sangria. 
Details: 401 W. Clarendon Ave., Phoenix. 602-469-1730,
Enjoy a meal that starts with your choice of passion fruit ceviche, shishito tempura served with arugula puree or crispy fried elote with togarashi and lime crema. Pan-seared crispy fried chicken with arugula, microgreens, watermelon radishes, chimichurri and romesco sauce; bone-in pork loin rack accompanied by roasted red pepper sauce, crispy potato coins and couscous; or chorizo with mussels and linguica chorizo bathed in a Mexican lager broth with Noble bread on the side are main course options. Decide between flan adorned with rock candy cherry blossom dust and caramel deco or a warm cast iron apple crisp partnered with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and passion fruit marmalade for dessert. Add a beer pairing for $7.
Details: 225 E. Monroe St., Phoenix. 602-607-5370,
Get things started with roasted pepper and gouda soup, beet salad with goat cheese and hazelnuts or fig crostini adorned with whipped ricotta and lavender honey. For the main course, ponder a Peruvian roasted half-chicken served with yucca fries and fried plantains; striped bass with crab, shrimp and haricots verts; or acorn squash stuffed with forbidden black rice and smoked walnut chimichurri and accompanied by broccolini and heirloom carrots. Finish with red velvet cake or New York cheesecake.
A glass of red or white wine or a spicy pineapple daiquiri are part of the package.
Details: 13225 N. Eagle Ridge Drive, Scottsdale. 480-333-1880,
Savor focaccia with ricotta, honey and black truffle for the table while looking over the remaining three course options. For starters, consider the bubbling shrimp with chiltepin chile, smoked tomato and mint, rack-roasted oysters and ricotta pillows with black truffle, lemon and chives. Wood-fired chicken coated in hearth drippings and served with potato puree; fire-seared branzino with capers, fennel and charred lemon; casarecce pasta Bolognese with parmesan fondue; and a classic cacio e pepe are main dish choices. Chocolate cake with peanut butter ice cream or a cannoli ice cream sandwich with ricotta ice cream and toasted feuilletine are tempting, but the Celebration Shot birthday cake cookie paired with a coffee-tequila back sounds like the most fun ending. 
Details: 15301 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480- 939-4444,
Meat, vegan and gluten-free menus mean there’s something for everyone.
The meat lineup features starter choices of golden corn chowder with applewood bacon and pulled chicken, tortilla crusted crab cake and arugula salad with manchego and candied Arizona pecans in a tart green apple and pistachio vinaigrette. Choose from wood-grilled salmon with couscous and hummus, coffee and port braised short rib with brown butter whipped yams or gemelli pasta with garlic chicken and artichokes in a basil cream sauce for the main course. A chocolate fudge brownie cake and the signature lemon lime prickly pear margarita tart topped with an almond Florentine twist and fondant bumble bee are dessert choices.
The vegan menu features options like watermelon gazpacho; babaganoush, hummus and pita; vegetable tacos; a roesti potato cake with sauteed broccoli, forest mushrooms and asparagus; and house made sorbet.
Among the gluten-free menu offerings are arugula salad with manchego and candied Arizona pecans in a tart green apple and pistachio vinaigrette; wood-grilled salmon; a roasted poblano chile stuffed with braised mojo pork, roasted hatch chile salsa, escabeche vegetables and charro beans; and vanilla bean creme brulee with honey mango chutney. 
Details: 5736 E. Rancho Manana Blvd., Cave Creek. 480-488-0698,
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Chowder fries, brussels sprouts with candied bacon in balsamic reduction and Old Bay shrimp cocktail are good starting points. For the main course, choose from a fried pork chop with goat cheese whipped mashed potatoes and wilted greens; sesame encrusted ahi with pancit noodles, bang bang sauce and sambal lime vinaigrette; or for $6 more, choose the Collins Bros. prime rib seasoned with magic rub, goat cheese whipped mashed potatoes, creamy horseradish and au jus. Chocolate mousse pie in an Oreo crust and New York cheesecake with caramel drizzle are dessert options. 
Details: 8220 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale. 480-699-0811,
Grilled Spanish octopus paired with pork belly, cherry barbecue sauce and peanut brittle and sweet corn agnolotti with chanterelle mushrooms and Swiss chard are eye-catchers on the appetizer lineup. For the main course, consider achiote roasted chicken with charcoal roasted potatoes, Palacios Spanish chorizo and three sisters succotash; charbroiled New York strip with yucca fries, fried plantains and truffle chimichurri; spicy citrus glazed salmon with squash and salmon chicharron; or the vegetable wellington stuffed with mushroom duxelle, zucchini, asparagus, roasted pepper and boursin. Choose between the gelato trio and the orange creamsicle cheesecake made from Arizona citrus for dessert.
Details: 11 E. Seventh St., Tempe. 480-968-8885,
Chicken tortilla soup, herb hummus and grilled flatbread and crispy calamari are among the starter choices. Al pastor-style pork tenderloin with elote, crispy potato and charred pineapple salsa; spinach pappardelle with grilled shrimp; braised short rib with fregola risotto and grilled asparagus salad; roasted half chicken with creamed corn and green beans; and Atlantic salmon served with beets, baby potatoes and horseradish vinaigrette compose the entree lineup. The dessert menu flaunts raspberry almond torte, chocolate mocha bar and a banoffee trifle with dulce de leche mousse, bananas, vanilla crema and graham cracker crumbles.
Sip on a glass of the featured red or white wine that comes with your meal. 
Details: 15024 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-889-9494,
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No passport is needed for this taste trip to Spain. Commence with a charcuterie plate of serrano ham, manchego, fruit and preserves; Spanish-style panzanella salad with roasted peppers and anchovies in a lemon sherry vinaigrette; or crispy fried smelt with a kick of Calabrian chile aioli. Choose from four entrees: smothered short rib in chile Colorado with sherry glazed mushrooms and garlic polenta; pork Milanese with a sunny-side egg and salt potatoes; paprika crusted cod with saffron rice; or red peppers stuffed with pimento cheese, ancient grain pilaf and pesto. Orange olive oil cake accompanied by Queen Creek Olive Oil gelato and Amarena cherries, cinnamon sugar rosquillas Spanish doughnuts with chocolate sauce, and toasted almond flan garnished with raspberry coulis and spiced Marcona almonds are dessert options. 
Details: 108 E. University Drive, Tempe. 602-612-7871,
The team behind San Tan Brewery and San Tan Spirits offer a sweet date night deal. The air fried brussels sprouts, whiskey bacon mac and cheese and smokehouse nachos made with kettle chips, whiskey cheese sauce and pickled jalapeno are attention grabbers on the shared appetizer list. Next, each of you choose an entree, such as the smoked chicken pot pie, broccoli cheddar pot pie or burger with guacamole, hatch chile jack cheese and chili lime mayo with bacon fat fries. Split a trio of warm oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and lemon blueberry cookies, a gelato-filled cookie sandwich or an espresso-meets-gelato affogato.
Details: 8 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler. 480-917-8700,
Enjoy Italian comfort food with appetizers such as charred octopus with Sicilian olives and Calabrian chiles or mini arancini stuffed with three-meat ragu. After choosing a salad, dive into a plate of wide ribbon pasta with Tomaso’s famous meatballs; shrimp parmigiana, pork rollatini rolled with prosciutto, mascarpone and mozzarella that’s served with rigatoni in a vodka sauce; or baked fazzoletti’s handkerchief pasta stuffed with meat ragu topped with bechamel. End on a sweet note with tiramisu or a cannoli topped with chocolate and candied cherry. 
Details: 9780 W. Northern Ave., Peoria. 623-471-5721. Other locations in Chandler and Phoenix at
Savor New Mexico cuisine by starting with al pastor chicken empanadas or crispy cauliflower with sweet-spicy garlic dipping sauce. Choose from three entrees: grilled lobster and crab-stuffed poblanos served with cilantro rice and black beans; half-rack smoked baby back ribs with pineapple habanero glaze and mom’s mango coleslaw; or slow-braised prime short ribs in a cabernet chipotle-honey demi-glace with sour cream-roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Finish it all with fresh margarita lime pie or peach bread pudding with fresh whipped cream. 
Details: 6685 W. Beardsley Road, Glendale. 623-561-6674,
The charred baby octopus and salmon croquettes are appealing, but tempura squash blossoms filled with local Crow’s Dairy chevre and citrus quark aioli steals the spotlight on the starter list. Four dishes vie for main course attention: bison New York strip with shoestring fries and Brussels sprouts; duck confit carbonara tossed with pancetta, sweet peas and hen egg; black truffle risotto with local mushrooms, pea shoots and mascarpone; and a deconstructed shepherd’s pie features lamb loin, baby carrots and duchess potatoes in a roasted bone and hydrated tomato jus. For dessert, choose from three-layer lemon curd, chocolate lava cake or bourbon pecan pie.
Details: 21067 W. Main St.,  Buckeye. 623-594-6788,
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