Spend a fair amount of time in the area, and was lucky enough to visit with NUHusker in the area. Would like to share with you the following:
In Scottsdale, this is an inexpensive place with very good food. Close to shopping and worth a special trip.
If you like Escargot, this place has some of the best.
Not a fancy place, but good food!
Abuelo's has fallen to the national chain syndrome, I'm afraid. Only their salsa is edible anymore, most of the other dishes are just a homogenous mess. Won't ever return (not that they were ever my first choice). As to El Paso, is this the local chain, or a new one? I thought they had gone under (the one at 43rd Ave/Peoria closed a couple years ago).
Very cool restuarant in a great setting
Thanks for the input. I'm heading there with my family gaggle over the Christmas holidays and I was down to a few several last picks and you helped me make the decision. Now, I'll swing by the Orange Sky lounge at the Talking Stick Resort (no way I'm financing a meal there for the gaggle - but a wine and a few drafts and the great view - now that's a different story). Thanks for the help, this will go great with the new Hillstone that another insider recommended and Bandera.
These are all long-time, reliable standby's for me:
Mexican: La Parrilla Suiza (La Parrilla Suiza) or Manuel's (Manuel's Mexican Food - Voted Best Mexican Restaurant & Best Salsa). LPS is "Mexico City" style, and Manuel's is Sonoran, through & through.
French: Le Chalet (Home,le Chalet,Creperie,Crepe,Fondue,Swiss,French Restaurant)
Steak: Fleming's ( Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar)
BBQ: Bobby Q's (Catering in Phoenix - BBQ Restaurant | Bobby Q)
German: Haus Murphy's (Haus Murphy's)
Pizza: Pizzaria Bianco (Bianco Resaurants) or Piazza al Forno (La Piazza Al Forno | Brick Oven Pizzeria Napoletana & Italian Kitchen | Glendale, Arizona)
Chinese (specifically dim sum): C-Fu (C-Fu Gourmet Chinese Food 480.899.3888)
In general, I avoid anything in Scottsdale or the Biltmore district. Not because they're bad, but they're generally too full of themselves, overly trendy, and overpriced. The 'burbs offer some amazing places, you just got to dig a little.