An overview of dining venues in Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale is known for its world renown public golf courses. But nestled in amongst the award winning greens are several award winning restaurants and culinary festivals. The following are just a few of the must try locations when visiting Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Culinary Festival offers diners a taste straight from the kitchens of several of the nation’s top chefs. It is the longest running culinary festival in the country and drawing more than 40,000 visitors during its 2008 campaign, it is one of the most popular as well. SCF runs during the first full week of April meaning that in addition to some of the best food in the world, visitors will enjoy some of the best weather too. Cooks & Corks gives visitors a taste of some of Arizona’s finest restaurants and a taste from over 100 wineries from across the country. SCF’s Southwest Festival of Beers offers more than 200 beers on tap and live music playing during the celebration. One of the highlights of the festival is the Challenge to the Chefs, a cooking competition involving four chefs required to produce an appetizer and entree with a “mystery basket” of ingredients all within a given amount of time. Although the festival runs a full week, it is extremely popular so plan ahead and buy tickets early.

One of the most popular spots around, Oregano’s offers patrons excellent Italian cuisine with a Chicago kick. What was once a family run door to door pizza delivery service has blossomed into eight restaurants across the state of Arizona, two of which are located in Scottsdale. Oregano’s is known for their pizzas, anything from Gorgonzola sausage to pesto stuffed chicken, this place has it all for the pizza lover in you. They offer thin crust, stuffed crust and pan pizzas, although the stuffed crust and pan pizzas are so thick they take nearly 45 minutes to bake they are well worth the wait. After you’ve had your fill with the entree its time for dessert, the original pizza cookie or “pizzookie” as its known to regulars. The “pizzookie” is chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia nut or peanut butter chocolate cookie dough, half baked and topped with vanilla bean ice cream, and will melt in your mouth. But, whether its a pizza pie or a pizza cookie you’re craving, you have to get there early because Oregano’s is busy seven nights a week.

No trip to Scottsdale would be complete without sampling some of the local fare. Scottsdale is located just outside of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, home of several Native American tribes as well as a large latino population. These two cultures combine for some truly amazing southwest cuisine at The Old Town Tortilla Factory. A favorite amongst locals and built from an adobe home over 75 years old, this location has more than great food going for it. Sit at the separate gazebo style bar, Margaritas Tequilarilla, and order a margarita with any kind of tequila your heart desires, featuring over 80 kinds. Or if its food you’re in search of, it is a must to sit outside on their 1,200 sq ft patio. Featuring a misting system and several shady pecan trees, you’re sure to stay cool regardless of the season. The Shawnee Seabass cannot be avoided, served with a rock shrimp and cheese quesadilla and shoestring sweet potatoes it is easily one of the most popular menu items.