The Valley of the Sun is best know for its array of great golf courses.
Now some of Scottsdale’s best-known courses are upping the ante on the culinary side. Heavily influenced by the city’s cutting-edge food culinary scene, golf courses in the area have sharpened their chops beyond a hot dog and turkey sandwich at the turn.
Nowhere is this trend more apparent than at celebrity chef Richard Sandoval’s Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar. Located in the clubhouse at the TPC Scottsdale, home of the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, Toro features a menu infused with distinct flavors of South and Central America, as well as a collection of more than 150 rums – the largest in the Valley of the Sun.
Guests overlook the 18th green of the famed Stadium Course as they dine on a variety of specialties, such as scallop and pork belly served in creamy polenta or “Mexican campfire-style” snapper, or selections from the restaurant’s signature, Suviche Bar, which plays upon the Asian influence in South American cuisine by combining Latin ceviche dishes with Japanese sushi creations. Toro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with brunch offered on Saturday and Sunday.
Just up the road, Grayhawk Golf Club has established itself as a hub for neighborhood and golf course activity with the opening of Isabella’s Kitchen. Styled after a country bistro with an artisan’s edge, Isabella’s Kitchen relies on a variety of simple touches to provide guests with a host of delectable handcrafted twists on classic Italian favorites, including lasagna, homemade pasta and a variety of pizzas.
Isabella’s also offers an excellent selection of wines, and its expansive patio overlooking the Talon Course practice facility is a popular gathering spot for golfers as well as neighbors, families and friends.
For great traditional American dishes with a distinctive Southwestern flair, try Mesquite Grille at McDowell Mountain Golf Club. The comfortable ambiance of the experience is solidified by the presence of an expansive stone fireplace which serves as the focal point for the indoor-outdoor dining room. This is accented further by impressive views of the neighboring McDowell Mountains and lights of the distant Valley. Favorite dishes include green chili pork, smoked baby back ribs, and mesquite-grilled steaks. The Grille is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Of course, sustenance can take many forms, and this is especially true for golf. One of Scottsdale’s most intriguing such experiences is the Scotch Library at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, a property well-known for its unique and intriguing experiences. The Scotch Library provides aficionados and those new to Scotch the opportunity to select from more than 300 distinct labels, including a number of rare whiskies, such as a 50 year-old Glenfiddich; a 50 year-old Balvenie; and a 62 year-old Macallen. For those looking to expand their understanding of Scotch, the resort offers a tasting experience led by the Westin’s Scotch Ambassadors on Friday evenings at 6 p.m
Finally, Scottsdale’s newest golf dining experience is just across the border between Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix at the excellent Papago Golf Club. Set in the Papago Buttes just south and west of downtown Scottsdale, Papago Golf Course has long been a favorite of Scottsdale golfers. Recently it became the home course for the Arizona State University Men’s and Women’s golf teams, with and a new clubhouse was built to elevate the overall experience. A centerpiece of the new clubhouse is Lou’s Bar & Grill, named in honor of Arizona businessman and philanthropist Lou Grubb. Lou’s is a fun, laidback place that specializes in simple food done really, really well. Specialties include burgers and artisan pizzas, poutine, beer-battered cheese curds, and cornmeal-dusted ruby red trout. Lou’s also offers an outstanding selection of local beers and craft cocktails. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner daily.
Feature Photo: Toro Restaurant (experiencescottsdale.com)