Throughout the year, Mark and I have had the pleasure of dining at some stellar restaurants. We love eating at all kinds of different places, like food trucks and hole-in-the-wall gems, but sometimes we splurge and dine at some pretty fancy places. Every time I eat somewhere noteworthy, I take a few photos and towards the end of the year I compile my Top Elegant Eats list (see last year's here). I have so much fun putting these lists together and really enjoy looking back through the photos. It almost feels like I am reliving the experience! So here there are, the Top Elegant Eats of 2016.
Top Pick for 2016: Cafe Monarch - Scottsdale, AZ
Cafe Monarch is one of the best restaurants we have ever dined. Right in our own backyard of Scottsdale, Arizona, Mark and I decided try a new restaurant while celebrating our two year anniversary. The ambiance is not stuffy or manicured. It's cozy, romantic, and inviting - which is also how I would describe their menu. Cafe Monarch serves a weekly prix fixe four course menu using locally grown, seasonal ingredients. Each dish is unique and comes with an optional wine pairing, perfectly picked by one of their Sommeliers.
I could go on and on about the food but what I thought was just as impressive was the service. The service was flawless, down to the tinniest of details. The waiters at Cafe Monarch wore secret service style earbuds and tables celebrating special occasions received a small gift jewelry box wrapped in a bow.
I cannot recommend Cafe Monarch enough, you surely will not be disappointed!
There are a few other noteworthy restaurants that I absolutely loved but didn't quite make it to the top spot. Some of the runner-up restaurants might appear in upcoming blog posts where I'll go in more detail about the menu, location, and overall experience - but for now, feast your eyes on some 2016 elegant eats!
Taverna Banfi - Tuscany, Italy
Cassia - Santa Monica, CA
Perch - Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Bachelorette Party Wine Tasting - Napa, CA
SUR - West Hollywood, CA
Hakkasan - London, England
Sketch - London, England
The Garden Court - San Francisco, CA
The best way to end this 2016 restaurant round-up is with a sweet finish - dessert! And I can't think of a better dessert than a Mastro's signature warm butter cake topped with ice cream. They kindly wrote 'congratulations' around the rim because we were celebrating me becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist! More on that to come.
Not every fancy restaurant has the best food and not every restaurant with the best food has to be fancy. However, it's fun to celebrate my top elegant eats while bringing in the new year.
I am excited to taste what 2017 brings!