Soon to celebrate its one-year anniversary at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Calistro Bistro opened to mixed reviews but has gone on to win over a loyal bunch of locals, Haute Living Phoenix included, thanks to its simple and elegant dishes.
Located northeast of Phoenix in Scottsdale, between Highway 101 and the McDowell Mountains, Calistro could be considered somewhat out of the way for central Phoenix residents, but that’s all part of its charm. Away from all the fuss of the city, Calistro, a member of the Green Restaurant Association, offers guests not just the promise of fine cuisine, but also a bit of reprieve in a calm environment with clean and crisp aesthetics.
The only curious aspect of the restaurant’s layout is the two-in-one stunt the architects tried to pull off by separating the bar and dining areas with a large partial wall (we would have preferred that the space remained open, keeping in line with the theme of simplicity), but overall, the look is a pleasing blend of minimalism and refinement, featuring simple furniture and place settings. However, that’s not to say the bistro lacks sophistication; everything from the decor to the centerpieces is well done and spot-on. Besides, as we said, this isn’t the kind of place to draw local fans who desire much to-do over tables and chairs – they want dishes comprised of locally sourced, organic and seasonal ingredients that can speak for themselves.
And that they do. While the menu selection here may not be grand, the depth and quality of the food certainly is. Perhaps the best way to describe owner and Executive Chef Devin Walsh’s style at Calistro is “California-meets-Mediterranean,” consisting of the freshest, highest quality ingredients, cooked in the bistro’s wood-burning stove. West Coast-inspired favorites include crab cakes with avocado mousse and a tomato-mango salad, pork roast with sweet potato mash and chimichurri sauce, and delicious paninis, such as chicken pesto, pulled pork and barbecue sirloin. The flavors of the Mediterranean make an appearance in the housemade hummus with flatbread, lamb meatballs with pomegranate barbecue sauce, the Calistro Caprese salad and the chicken puttanesca pasta with chicken sausage and housemade pasta.
During the day, Calistro is a bright dining space, serving appropriately sized portions and filled with lots of natural light; in the weeknight evenings, the restaurant is no less chill, but cozier with darker mood lighting, making it a great spot for a glass or two of wine with friends and some nibbles. On the weekend nights, the bar area can be more vibrant, rounding out Calistro’s nice range of atmospheres.
Our tips: Ask for the “Chef’s Experience” at the counter for an unforgettable gastro-adventure, or round up a group of 15 or more friends to reserve the Private Wine Room for a divine three-course meal and vino.
Calistro Bistro is located at 18221 N. Pima Road in Scottsdale 480.502.0325