Gentlemen, the pressure is off. Ditch the flowers before your date because upgrading your culinary experience is easy in Phoenix. Couples don’t need to settle for a typical restaurant when sitting outside means dining with brilliant sunsets and mountains playing in the horizon. Whether you are a tourist yearning for a special touch or a local craving a night on the town, here are a few spots where setting the mood isn’t a problem.
Photo courtesy of Different Pointe of View
As soon as you take a seat at Different Pointe of View, it is hard to deny the splendor of pink and purple hues in the sky. The views are not only breathtaking, but you and your date might think you are on the set of La La Land with this one-of-a-kind perspective. Couched on top of North Mountain, the elegance is hard to deny. It isn’t all about the ambiance, though. The Mediterranean-based menu features appetizers like smoked tomato and parmesan risotto, lobster bisque, grilled chef’s creek oysters—good news, this is just the beginning. The main courses offer a wide variety of selections including seared diver scallops, seared blue nose sea bass and rosemary scented grilled venison tenderloin. The bold taste accentuates the natural ambiance—the best recipe for a couple spending a milestone anniversary together or for the gentleman who wants to pop the question.
Photo courtesy of Elements
Chef Beau McMillan isn’t intimidated by adding Asian flair to his American cuisine. Farm-to-table ingredients satisfy even the pickiest palate, while the eyes are able to indulge in a panoramic view of Camelback Mountain. Elements offer daytime diners a charming look at the color of the desert with cacti, bougainvillea and the option to not only admire the mountain view, but also to experience it in person with a hike to the top. The menu surprises with unexpected pairings like carrot and quinoa dumplings, kimchi bacon and coffee-rubbed maple leaf farms duck, but this is the charm of Elements, learning that the traditional can be heightened with the unusual. Want to top your dining experience with dessert? The banana miso upside-down cake and the brown butter gingersnap tart are worthy considerations.
Photo courtesy of Sassi
With a restaurant backdrop that also can double as a wedding venue, Sassi is meant for couples who are craving a rustic feel within a natural landscape. Quaint and quiet, this location is reminiscent of an Italian villa with the Sonoran Desert at your feet. The Italian cuisine is not processed or overbearing, but you can taste the appeal of handmade pastas and sauces. This isn’t an accident. Executive Chef Chris Nicosia styles his menu to welcome fresh ingredients grown locally and combines it with imported cheeses. The antipasti menu includes prosciutto that is aged for 600 days, as well as Sicilian-style eggplant cakes. The menu accommodates special considerations in diet for those who prefer vegetarian cuisine or have gluten-free requirements. If you’re looking for intimacy in your surroundings and an upscale Italian dining experience, Sassi delivers on both counts.
Romance isn’t hard to find at Orange Sky. Located on the 15th floor of the Talking Stick Resort, patrons love fine dining, but are also eager to observe the spectacular sunset that makes the Valley seem endless. Orange Sky is an upbeat restaurant with a vibe that caters to youth, but also appeals to older couples looking to recreate the nostalgia of the past. It’s located on expansive property that allows couples to gamble in the casino or experience downtime in the spa. However, you don’t want to linger in these options for too long—the sunset is not only a vision, but something to be witnessed. Celebrate new beginnings with a chilled seafood platter, nosh board or spice-rubbed lamb chops and don’t forget to complement your meal with the award-winning wine menu. This destination is for couples who may feel restless in one spot and like the opportunity to indulge in variety without having to drive all over town.
Photo courtesy of Talavera
Those who want an intimate setting coupled with upscale steakhouse fare need to make a reservation at Talavera. Ask for patio seating and gaze at the Pinnacle Peak foothills while waiting for your entrees. The main courses are comprised of New American Fare with meat and poultry heavy dishes, like steak, game and seafood. There are also options that you aren’t likely to find elsewhere in the Valley-antelope steak, as well as imported and domestic beef dishes. Be prepared to be dazzled with presentation as Talavera doesn’t skimp on giving its guests a fine dining experience. End the evening with a deep breath as the sun decides to set—you and your date may want to pinch yourself to make certain you aren’t part of a dream.