Elements at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain looks like a Manhattan martini lounge but has views right out of a John Ford picture. Try one of the Asian-influenced entrées like the honey five-spiced pork with sweet-potato grits and sugar-cured pears, and save room for the ridiculous-sounding (but great-tasting) banana fluffernutter.
Beard Award winner Nobuo Fukuda serves up equally inventive Japanese fare at the 28-seat Sea Saw in downtown’s Waterfront district, overlooking the Arizona Canal. The omakase menu—eight courses with wine pairings for $125—is worth the splurge.
Next door, Cowboy Ciao has a cheesy name and cowboy-kitsch décor but also a knockout chopped salad—smoked salmon, Israeli couscous, arugula, trail mix, dried corn, and bruschetta-cured tomatoes tossed in a buttermilk pesto. Both Cowboy Ciao and Sea Saw make use of a 3,300-bottle wine cellar at the neighboring Kazimierz (Kaz Bar for short).
At Café ZuZu at the Valley Ho, chef Charles Wiley serves upscale renditions of comfort-food classics: His beef Stroganoff is made with filet mignon, and a tuna slider is crowned with seared ahi, curry mayo, and pickled beets.