Great Patio DiningAs the weather heats up, so does ambience
The Scottish linguist Walter Elliot once said, “The desert has its holiness of silence, the crowd its holiness of conversation.” But perhaps there is another experience to be had — that of straddling the embrace of both desert silence and crowd conversation. As the weather warms up, there is no better time to enjoy the beauty of this straddling than in the ambience of great patio dining. This is particularly true when seated in El Chorro’s patio, nestled strategically between Camelback and Mummy mountains. At night, the looming mountains emanate a stillness while the soft lull of conversation and satellite radio invites in a cozy charm. El Chorro restaurant prides itself on providing an authentic Arizona dining experience, and, with its lush landscaping of cacti and blooming bougainvillea, it is easy to see why. The lower patio is elegant with carved wooden chairs and doorways and green landscaping surrounding the walls and enclosures. It seats 25 with a partial view of Camelback Mountain and is perfect for cultivating intimacy. It is on the east and south patios that the mountains can be sighted in clear view. The east and south patios seat 100 guests and are available for private events and dinners.
Carlsbad Tavern’s décor, on the other hand, works to seduce you into keeping your eyes on the patio itself. Carlsbad Tavern, a family-run restaurant located in South Scottsdale, is situated where Camelback Mountain’s detail can be seen from afar, but it is the striking yet rustic fountain standing in full glory that captures attention. The restaurant serves “authentic, spicy, and flavorful” Mexican food, and the atmosphere matches the spice and flavor. The fountain stands tall with a large moat surrounding it so that those seated on the upper deck can enjoy the waterfall’s murmur. The patio has a number of cozy fireplaces and porcelain falling lights that illuminate the hanging paintings on the walls. The upper deck is incredibly spacious, seating up to 80, with tall patio misters on deck to keep guests cool from the heat. The adobe-style walls create a cave-like atmosphere that encourages a communal mood.
A great patio dining experience in the desert seems to beckon both enchantment and delight. The Old Town Tortilla Factory lures, as it does enchant. Located in Scottsdale’s Arts District, the Tortilla Factory boasts of having one of the largest restaurant patios in Scottsdale. The combination of airy, wide-open space, quaint décor, and sparkling lights makes guests feel as though they are eating in a resort. In fact, guests living in the area often remark that they enjoy dining at the Tortilla Factory because “it feels like going on vacation in my own home.” A fire fountain juts out in the center of the floor while ficus trees and 100-year-old pecan trees envelope the patio, creating quite the spectacle. Tortilla Factory is known for its premium tequila selection — more than 140 types of tequila to choose from. This means enjoying delicious margaritas on warm evenings while being inspired by the Southwest character of the restaurant.
But life is not just about the holiness of rustic enchantment — there must also be space to enjoy the casual and relaxed. Here is where Chelsea’s Kitchen excels. This restaurant just off of Camelback Road describes itself as an “Arizona Roadhouse on the canal.” Its promise is “high-quality, honest food that is always fresh and never frozen.” This is quite a feat in such a competitive industry, but quality, honest food makes sense when seated in the colorful patio. Strung lights are intertwined with tree branches, casting a warm glow over the tables. This glow is enhanced by the canal that runs behind the patio. At night, this provides an almost romantic allure. But Chelsea’s Kitchen is versatile, and during the day sangria pitchers and bottomless mimosa specials are frequent favorites. While sipping something sweet, guests can be seen casually lounging in the sun with their canine companions at either table or booth seating. Friendly chatter keeps the atmosphere lively and spirited.
All in all, great patio dining experiences abound in our vicinity. Stunning views, picturesque décor and attention to detail inspire a patio dining experience worthy of desert decadence.
Carlsbad Tavern and Restaurant serves dishes that are spicy, flavorful and authentic to New Mexico cuisine. The interior décor is bat-and-cave-themed in order to highlight The Guano Canal on the patio and to celebrate Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. The bat and cave theme is so prevalent, favorite customer dishes and daily specials like carne adovada and crab-stuffed poblanos are called “bat fans.” The highlight of Carlsbad Tavern’s patio is the large waterfall fountain and moat.
3313 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
Chelsea’s Kitchen, like the other restaurants also created by La Grande Orange Hospitality, was inspired by the 1930s and the youthful exuberance that exuded from that decade. The food served is made fresh with no hidden ingredients because Chelsea’s Kitchen believes in making sure “ingredients reach their full potential.” The décor is industrial-chic, and the menu is seasonal American comfort cuisine. The highlight of Chelsea’s Kitchen’s patio is its overlook of the canal, and it is dog friendly.
5040 N. 40th St., Phoenix
El Chorro restaurant was founded in 1937, and has welcomed high-caliber guests like Milton Berle and Clark Gable. Serving upscale seasonal cuisine made of “sustainable, locally grown, all-natural ingredients,” some of it from its own garden, El Chorro was the first restaurant in Arizona to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Gold Certification. The highlight of El Chorro’s patio is the view of Camelback Mountain.
5550 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley
Old Town Tortilla Factory
Renovated from a 75-year-old historic adobe home, the restaurant serves “Mexican food with a twist.” The hand-pressed and homemade tortillas are well known, as are the award-winning margaritas. The restaurant was featured and praised in US Airways magazine in 2013 for providing an exciting dining experience for both locals and out-of-town guests. The highlight of the Old Town Tortilla Factory’s 1,400-square-foot, flagstone patio is the fire fountain.
6910 E. Main St., Scottsdale
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