Just because Arizona is in the middle of the desert doesn’t mean you can’t get fresh fish here, and we know a few restaurants that would certainly back us up on that. Still have doubts? Try these Top 5 restaurants in Phoenix for stunning fish and seafood dishes, then get back to us.
The Grill at the Fairmont Scottsdale
The Grill at the Fairmont Scottsdale specializes in high-quality seafood, and partners with the CleanFish Alliance in order to serve to its diners the freshest, safest fish products possible. The Alliance is an organization that carefully selects fishermen and artisan fish farmers to support sustainable practices that are healthy for the fish population, consumers and the environment. Start with Pacific oysters, soft shell crab or calamari to start, and then get to the good stuff: Loch Duart Salmon Filet (kale, watercress, spicy croquette, tomato-caper pan sauce), Gigha Island Scottish Halibut (pearl pasta, scallion aioli, sweet and sour vegetables), or that day’s market fish, whole and grilled to perfection with a touch of mesquite and your choice of a chimi churri, Cajun or lemon-herb rub. The Grill also has a recommended dress code in order to ensure your dining experience stays classy; resort wear, tailored shirts, collared shirts and slacks are encouraged for dinner.
The Grill at the Fairmont Scottsdale is located at 7575 E. Princess Drive in Scottsdale 480.585.4848
Mastro’s Ocean Club
Located in the high-end shopping district Kierland Commons, Mastro’s Ocean Club has such an impressive list of appetizers, soups and salads you’ll be tempted to just keep nibbling away at the small plates while sipping cocktails — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Caviar, escargot, Alaskan King Crab legs, shrimp and lobster cocktails, steamed mussels, and oysters on half shell, oh my. Or, you could also choose to start with the seared Ahi tuna or Ahi tuna tartare before diving right into your farm-raised salmon filet, Florida grouper filet, Chilean sea bass, Alaskan Halibut, swordfish, mahi mahi, or 16-ounce Oreganata filet of Arctic char. And if you like sole, you can have yours either sweet or sour: vanilla-battered or lemon-grilled, your choice. Mastro’s also conveniently allows you to choose your sides, so be prepared to narrow it down from close to two dozen.
Mastro’s Ocean Club is located at 15045 N. Kierland Blvd. in Scottsdale 480.443.8555
Ocean Prime doesn’t just pull off excellent cuisine, it also offers one of the finest overall seafood dining experiences in North Phoenix. Situated in the upscale mixed-use CityNorth community, Ocean Prime delivers outstanding service in an environment that fills the eye and dazzles the senses. Don’t even think about what to order to start, just go ahead and ask for the white truffle and caviar deviled eggs; they’re out of this world. As far as the “Chef’s Compositions” entrees on the menu are concerned, the Chilean sea bass with glazed carrots and a champagne truffle sauce is a definite standout, as is the blackened swordfish with wilted spinach and a jalapeno corn tartar. The ginger salmon with stir-fried snap peas and soy-butter sauce is elegant in its simplicity and won’t let down anyone in the mood for a tried and true dish for dinner. You can also order off the “Fresh Fish” menu, which includes all prime cuts flavored with a housemade seasoning and broiled at 1,200 degrees; choose from blue tilapia, Scottish salmon, swordfish, Alaskan halibut, Chilean sea bass and others. And again, we’ll save you the trouble of deciding: the side dish you want to accompany your fish are the twice-baked scallion, cheddar cheese and bacon potatoes. Yes you can.
Ocean Prime is located at 5455 E. High St. in Phoenix 480.347.1313
Salt Cellar Restaurant
You’ve probably driven by the Salt Cellar a dozen times not even knowing it was there. Or, if you noticed it, you may have mistaken it for a storage unit of some kind. Yes, we know it doesn’t look like much from street level, but that’s because the restaurant is underground. Descend the steps to find yourself transported to a cozy East Coast hangout where the staff is friendly and the food is, well, award-winning. The Salt Cellar has been honored with the “Best Seafood” distinction by Ranking Arizona, Phoenix New Times, Phoenix Magazine, Scottsdale Magazine, Citysearch and AOL City Search. On your visit, start with the spicy halibut ceviche to wake up your taste buds, then graduate to one of the “Captain’s Specials,” such as crispy Florida black grouper with a Thai dipping sauce, salmon wellington, Yakimono Hawaiian Ahi, Alaskan halibut with lemon-caper butter, or the Georges Bank monkfish. Other great selections include the Cajun-style blackened sea bass (from New Zealand), King salmon with cucumber-dill sauce (from British Columbia), and the stuffed mountain trout (from Idaho). Of course, we would be remiss not to mention the Salt Cellar’s incredible live Maine lobster entrees. The next time you’re in the mood for a steak and lobster dinner, head straight here.
The Salt Cellar Restaurant is located at 550 N. Hayden Road in Scottsdale 480.947.1963
Elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa
Elements specializes in simple, exquisite cuisine to complement the beautiful Sonoran setting at Sanctuary Camelback. In all their dishes, the kitchen staff use fresh, local ingredients that change monthly to reflect seasonal availability. Unique appetizers at Elements include the carpaccio of Pacific albacore with green papaya, tamarind and spiced cashews, and the sake-cured salmon with sticky rice cake, frisee, purple basil and toasted almonds. If you had your heart set on salmon as your main instead, the restaurant serves a miso-glazed fillet with braised leeks and “forbidden” rice. Another wonderful option is the Mediterranean sea bass, served with braised clams, chorizo and fennel, and the grilled jumbo asparagus, cooked in local Queen Creek olive oil and sea salt, perfectly accompanies almost any dish. To add an interesting side note: Did you know that Elements was named one of the top 100 restaurants in the U.S. by Gourmet magazine, or that Sanctuary is the first resort in Arizona to have one of its chefs defeat a celebrity chef on the TV program “Iron Chef America”?
Elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa is located at 5700 E. McDonald Drive in Paradise Valley 480.948.2100