Under the canopy of an endless Scottsdale sky lies one of the most dynamic and burgeoning dining scenes in the Southwest. The city’s culinary influence can be felt—and tasted—throughout the region, thanks to its vibrant mix of flavors and experiences. From regionally-focused cuisine made with local, farm-fresh ingredients; to food trucks dishing out globally-inspired street fare; to luxurious resort restaurants helmed by the world’s top chefs and sommeliers, Scottsdale is the dining destination of your dreams.

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Surf’s Up Scottsdale

By Dawson Fearnow

Thanks to a fresh catch of trendy fish houses – and FedEx – Scottsdale is suddenly swimming in world-class seafood restaurants.

Chula Seafood Market

Tucked away inside an anonymous strip mall just south of Downtown Scottsdale, Chula Seafood Market is a family-owned fishmonger with a simple promise: They sell the freshest seafood, because they caught it themselves. It all starts off the coast of San Diego, where the Heflin family operates their own custom-built commercial fishing boat, specializing in harpoon-caught swordfish and other fruits of the California Pacific. However, after selling to restaurants for years, in 2015 the family decided to get back to its Arizona roots by opening a small storefront in South Scottsdale. Swing by today and pick up and ever-changing selection of fresh, never frozen and sustainable fish-by-the pound, or savor made-to-order dishes such as Hawaiian-style poke, seafood salads and tuna sandwiches.

Mastro’s Ocean Club

As the salt-kissed sister to the swanky Mastro’s Steakhouse, Mastro’s Ocean Club is all about over-the-top opulence, from the impeccably dressed wait staff to the sky-high Seafood Tower overflowing with the finest fruits del mer. And naturally the entrées lean toward steak-sized chops of everything from Florida Grouper to Pacific Swordfish, alongside a deliciously decadent Vanilla Battered Twin Lobster Tails. Then truly treat yourself with the beyond-rich Warm Butter cake.

The Montauk

Named after the iconic New York fishing village, The Montauk brings a little yacht club charm to the heart of downtown Scottsdale. This open, whitewashed space features a large central bar and cozy booth seating, but also opens to a series of rambling dining patios. That said, this Hamptons’ inspired hotspot can get a little ‘nightclub-y’ on weekends, so your best bet is lunch or especially soaking in the sun at weekend brunch with their delightful Rosé Sangria.

The Salt Cellar

Where to begin with the Scottsdale landmark that is The Salt Cellar Restaurant? No seriously, you might have a hard time finding the entrance to this underground eatery because there’s only a chimney and a couple of wooden sheds aboveground. But stroll down the wooden steps and you’ll find yourself awash in nautical nirvana, from the live Maine lobsters sulking in the waiting room water tank, to the massive chalkboard listing today’s fresh catches from across the globe. And happy hour sets sail twice daily at 4 – 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close.

Wildfish Seafood Grille

Settle in for a show at Wildfish Seafood Grille, a sweeping space in downtown Scottsdale where you can watch your cocktail being made in the central bar, and then your fish being sautéed or oysters shucked in the gleaming exhibition kitchen. Like Mastro’s Ocean Club, the menu’s brimming with fresh fish chops flown in from across the globe, but don’t miss the boat on the daily happy hour’s Kung Pao-Style Calamari and $7 hand-shaken cocktails.


local contributor

Recognized for crafting clear, compelling and impeccably researched content, Dawson Fearnow is a marketing copywriter and an award-winning freelance reporter (guess which one pays the bills?) based in Phoenix, AZ. A longtime travel junkie and food fanatic, when he’s not crisscrossing the state in search of his next favorite dish, Dawson is daydreaming about scuba diving in far-away places.