One of the great benefits of participating in programs like Next Iron Chef is that I get to meet chefs from all over the country. There are so many talented and awesome people in kitchens from California to Maine who have unparalleled knowledge of their craft. One of the great people I’ve met during my travels is the fun and ebullient Beau MacMillan. Originally from Massachusetts, Beau Mac, as he often is called, is the chef at Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
Chef Beau’s knowledge of the best restaurants in that desert state is great for Arizona natives or anyone planning a visit in the near future. Check out his picks for Top 5 Restaurants in Arizona and make sure to visit his website for more about this talented chef.
Chef Beau MacMillan’s Top 5 Restaurants in Arizona
Chef and Owner Mark Tarbell has created a restaurant with a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere and a seasonal menu. Organic produce is locally grown and fish is sustainably harvested and flown in fresh. The menu also features wood-oven pizzas, meats, and pastas. Try house specialities such as Mark’s Famous Spaghetti and Meatballs, Mark’s Mom’s Mac ‘N Cheese, and Tar’s Scotch Beef.
3213 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Binkley, owned by Chef Kevin Binkley, boasts a daily-changing seasonal menu featuring some unique offerings in a hip but casual environment. Chef Binkley prefers to avoid restaurant stand-by entrees like salmon and chicken and instead presents more unusual protein options such as partridge, tilefish, pheasant, and sturgeon. Try one of the tasting menus, which include a choice of 4, 5, or 6 courses and an extensive series of amuse-bouches served throughout the meal. Diners can also order a la carte, but the tasting menu is the best deal.
6920 East Cave Creek Road
Cave Creek, Arizona 85331
James Beard Award-winning chef Nobuo Fukuda opened Nobuo at Teeter House in hopes of combining the concepts of the Japanese teahouse and the izakaya – a pub-style place for drinking and gathering with friends. The restaurant serves as a teahouse by day and an izakaya by night. Chef Fukuda creates a nightly features menu using fresh-from-the-farm ingredients and includes East-meets-West items like Steamed clams with Napa cabbage and bacon and Kumamoto oysters with uni. Nobuo also offers a private evening Omakase service by reservation only.
622 E. Adams Street
Chef Carleen Badman’s FnB (it stands for food ‘n beverage) is a bright, cozy, bustling eatery serving up eclectic American comfort food. The menu changes frequently and is sourced from local farmers and vendors, including the wine selection, which features wines made exclusively in Arizona. One super-popular dish, the braised leeks with mozzarella and fried egg, even resulted in a Twitter hashtag, #leekapalooza. The leeks are currently in season for the spring, so give them a try!
7133 E. Stetson Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
T. Cook’s Executive Chef, Lee Hilson, provides diners with Spanish, Moorish, and Mediterranean-inspired dishes in the spacious and luxurious atmosphere of Phoenix’s Royal Palms Hotel. The restaurant offers a seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. Come in to enjoy T. Cook’s signature mussels, their popular Bergundian escargot appetizer, and the house Spanish paella. There’s also a 3-course custom dinner option on Sundays-Thursdays that allows diners to choose 3 courses for $50.
5200 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018