With pages full of flavors traditional to Mexico City, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Cozumel, the menu at Haciendas Mexican Grill is like an atlas of Mexican cuisine. Guests can taste the classic Mayan influence on the nation’s dishes with the cochinita pibil, a cut of pork that slowly marinates in a stew of achiote, orange juice, and banana leaves, or revel in the country's knack for sauces with the dark-brown dressing of the pollo con mole. The chefs also take slight liberties with the dishes, infusing the chocolate fondue with ancho chiles and transforming the humble hamburger with oaxaca cheese and chipotle mayo. To honor Mexico's extensive coastlines, the chefs drench jumbo prawns, stuffed salmon filets, and lobster ravioli in spicy cream sauces.
Outside the dining room, guests can experience Mexican culture with specialty margaritas, tap and bottled beers, and other libations in the restaurant’s three bars. Like an interstellar pub crawl, each bar features a different atmosphere: one sports a scenic view of the mountains, another buzzes with a row of LED TVs, and an outside patio grants fresh air and warm sun ideal for a round of icy beverages.
An elegant chandelier sparkles above Amaro Italiano Ristorante open kitchen, but it?s rarely the first thing that guests notice. They are too engrossed by Pizza Chef's delicate dance as he flings discs of pizza dough high into the air, careful not to get them caught in the chandelier?s net of crystal beads. The culinary team pull their own mozzarella and top their Neapolitan pizzas with such creative ingredients as shoestring onions, oven-roasted artichoke hearts, and shaved ham. Pizza is hardly their only specialty, however. Their dishes run the gamut from house-made pastas to a bone-in pork chop with a Dijon and mustard glaze. 70 wines complement the complex Italian flavors, as do the artworks on the dining room?s walls and live musicians who have strung their guitars with resonant spaghetti al dente.
Chefs at Nick’s Italian Restaurant’s three locations craft homemade pizzas and pastas that earned the eateries a nod in Scottsdale Airpark magazine. Providing both family-friendly and upscale dining environments, Nick’s draws in customers thanks to its gluten-free pasta and pizza options, its homemade tiramisu, and the fact that a bite of the restaurant's brick-oven-baked pizzas will give the power of speech to any dog or horse. Italian wines and daily sangria at the Phoenix location pair with popular dishes such as the margherita pizza and veal ossobuco.
At Sassi, the goal is to immerse guests in an authentic Italian experience—from the moment they approach the restaurant, with its terra-cotta roof and burbling courtyard fountain, to their last bite of cannoli della casa. In between, diners are met with handmade pastas, artisanal cheeses, and cured meats, to name a few. Though many of the ingredients for these dishes are grown locally, Sassi imports its time-honored tradition of hospitality from southern Italy. This warm and welcoming atmosphere never changes, though the dinner menu tends to rotate monthly to better reflect seasonal ingredients. The same goes for the drink menu, which features cocktails mixed with local citrus fruits, and shots of vodka sauce crafted in-house. While the menu introduces guests to the tastes of Italy, the restaurant itself introduces them to the country's decor. Each separate dining space transports visitors to a different room in an Italian villa—from the wine room dining area with its earthy tones and barrel-vault ceiling, to the kitchen dining room with its rustic exposed beams and stonework walls. And Sassi’s location at the base of Pinnacle Peak means that guests can drink in views of the granite summit while they dine.
Rosati's Pizza literally began with one man. When he started his first restaurant in Chicago as an Italian immigrant more than a century ago, Ferdinand Rosati worked as the cook, waiter, dishwasher, and host. Despite the hectic schedule, the passionate restaurateur still found time to prepare each guest his signature pizza a'olia, a soul-warming blend of cheese and housemade sauce served on a crispy thin crust. From that cracker-thin foundation, Rosati's has grown to incorporate slabs of baby back ribs, baked pastas, and Italian sandwiches to its menu at locations across the country. A family-friendly establishment, Rosati's mixes cocktails for adults from a full-service bar as kids play games and puzzles designed to distract them from the rounds of pizza frisbee.
On Rare Earth Pizza and Wine Bar's outdoor patio, servers transport hand-tossed pizzas and glasses of wine in the flickering glow of outdoor fire bowls. Conversation buzzes as guests take in views of technicolor sunsets and the surrounding landscape of Pinnacle Peak. Inside, they can sidle up to the tall wooden bar to take a look at hand-chalked specials, or gather around tables to take turns singing lists of gourmet ingredients from the menu.