Do you enjoy a little wine with your food – or vice versa? Arizona offers great spots for sipping and supping, from romantic, off-the-beaten-path inns to buzzy urban boîtes. Along with extensive wine lists, the following places host frequent wine tastings and dinners.
Tucson and Southern Arizona
A creative Southwest menu, a gracious historic setting and dazzling city vistas make The Grill at Hacienda del Sol a Tucson go-to for special occasions. Oenophiles love the War and Peace-length wine list, winner of practically every award imaginable, but it’s also accessible to newbies.
The friendly staff at Pastiche, a casual-chic neighborhood favorite, can help you pair contemporary American food – think fried avocado and bourbon salmon – with a fun, eclectic selection of reasonably priced wines.
Do you and your dining companions have different grape preferences? The on-site wine shop at Feast carries an unusual number of half-bottles to accompany the stylish dining room’s modern global fare; mango-lassi fried chicken might be on the monthly changing menu.
In the heart of Sonoita-Patagonia wine country, Overland Trout riffs on ingredients traditional to the region, including oysters, once shipped cross-country by rail. The wine list is naturally strong in Arizona bottles, but also aims to keep local winemakers inspired with far-flung labels.
The speakeasy-style Kazimierz World Wine Bar in downtown Scottsdale offers many offbeat options – ice wine from Israel, for example, or sparkling sake from Japan – on its huge list. Settle into a cushy sofa and listen to jazz while noshing on global small-plate food.
Also in downtown Scottsdale, the homey FnB highlights Arizona wines almost exclusively but garners national press for such seasonal farm-to-table fare as grilled asparagus with chiltepins. A tiny wine shop and greengrocers on the premises focus on the local too.
Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley shows its roots as the home to cowboy artist Lon Megargee with its artful American menu; bold reds, which complement such dishes as grilled beef tenderloin, are among the wine list’s strengths. For a unique experience, book the table in the underground wine cellar.
Striking conversions of historic spaces and exclusive wines – several on tap – are hallmarks of Postino Wine Cafe, with several Valley locations, including the original in a former post office in Phoenix. The cafés are also known for their bruschetta, creative salads and paninis.
Bet on a wine trifecta in central Phoenix: Tarbell’s, a white-tablecloth standby for gourmet comfort food – perhaps spaghetti and meatballs or pan-roasted chicken – is flanked by The Wine Store and the more casual The Tavern, where wine cocktails and Spanish bikini sandwiches are in demand.
Flagstaff and Verde Valley
At Sedona’s L’Auberge Restaurant on Oak Creek, a bucolic, leafy setting and dishes like crab crèpes and beef tartare transport you to the French countryside, but bottles from Arizona’s burgeoning Verde Valley wine region sit alongside Cognacs and Champagnes in the impressively stocked wine cellar.
Sure, a hospital-turned-hotel in a former ghost town may seem like an odd place to find sophisticated dining, but The Asylum in Jerome lets you match dishes like Sonoran-spiced chicken or achiote-rubbed pork with glasses, half-bottles...even magnums from around the world. And, oh, those hilltop vistas!
A cheery patio overlooking a garden doubles the seating capacity of Flagstaff’s cozy Brix, where New American fare – say, seared duck breast or shrimp and grits – is regionally sourced whenever possible. While the wine list travels farther afield, it shares the menu’s emphasis on small purveyors with organic, sustainable practices.