There is nothing more unsexy than a pile of laundry, dinner that has to made, a child who reluctantly has to complete his homework and a baby who cries every time you put him down. Or maybe it’s just me. In any case, when my husband and I have the chance to escape the day-to-day grind for a much-needed date night (or lunch or brunch), we definitely try to maximize the opportunity. Here are a few of our favorite spots in the North Valley, some casual and some a bit more upscale and also a few on the list we want to try:
Spiga Cucina Italiana – This new Italian restaurant just opened in our hood, right at Pinnacle Peak and Miller. I haven’t been there for dinner yet, just drinks, but the menu looks amazing. The wines are diverse and reasonably priced. The menu itself is a bit more upscale, so perfect for a special occasion or celebration. I am dying to try the insalata di mare, with calamari and baby shrimp.
The Living Room – This DC Ranch spot is buzzing every time we go. Many know it as the former location of Armitage wine bar. The decor has been updated and it has a contemporary vibe. Head here before or after dinner for a drink, or you can snack on small plates and make this the destination. They also have a brunch menu, featuring $5 Bloody Marys and a pretty decadent-sounding French toast, offered every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Local Bistro – This is our “go-to” spot for date night when we can’t make up our mind. The service is always great and the bar is a good spot to people watch and sip on a dirty martini or gin and tonic. We love the mussels with roasted fennel tomato broth to start and the steak frites and roasted chicken are both winners on the dinner menu.
Kale & Clover – We have been here for “date lunch” three times already, and this spot just opened earlier this spring. Think of it as a True Food-type menu in the North Scottsdale area. I love the casual feel, because, honestly, sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to get dressed up for a big night out. I have gone in workout clothes and felt just fine. They offer a menu of cold-pressed juices, such as “Detox,” “Energize” and “Cleanse.” Although for date night, I probably would just stick to wine (which, yes, they do offer!).
North – North’s happy hour menu is kinda unbelievable. It is offered Monday to Friday, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and also all day on Sunday (there are also half price bottles on wine on Sundays). For $16, you can get a pretty decent bottle of red or white wine, or a pitcher of sangria. Or, opt for the “Bottle & Board” special, and you get a bottle of their house red or white wine, plus a pizza or bruchetta for $20. When a sitter for three kids is $15 – $20 an hour, this option is very attractive.
Proof, An American Canteen – This is a great spot for casual comfort food, live music on the weekends and a solid round of shuffleboard. You can make a meal out of the pretzel knots, or head straight to dessert with a boozy milkshake if you want. The restaurant is kid-friendly, but not overly kid-oriented, so you can feel at home with or without the brood.
Isabella’s Kitchen – We love this place with and without kids. But I do it differently on date night than with the littles. With the littles, we bring glow sticks, a soccer ball and request a table right by the grass so we can watch them run. For a date night, the bar or a removed from the kid-action is more our speed. The “glass and a half” is the perfect pour of wine and the bruschetta is great to share.
Sorso Wine Room – This spot just opened at the Scottsdale Quarter, so I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. But they are offering half off select bottles of wine every day between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m., and after 10:00 p.m. It could be a good place to grab a reasonably priced drink before or after a movie at nearby Harkin’s or iPic. And, they offer 32 rotating bottle selections, on tap, and guests can select their choice of pour (taste or full serving).
What are some of your favorite spots? Best places for happy hour? Brunch?