Go see about seafood for dinner while in Phoenix and Scottsdale, based on your companions, occasion, or level of curiosity.
1. Just say “no” to gummy, fried rings and tentacles. The Clever Koi serves calamari as civilized people should—in “steak” form, grilled and plated with potato salad and pickled onions.
2. Curious about cuttlefish? It’s another highly snackable sea treat, very mellow, almost velvety like scallops. The Scottsdale restaurant Cuttlefish treats its namesake with gourmet gloves, frying it gently and delivering it with lemon aioli for dipping.
Fun with Fins
3. There’s a bit of playfulness evident at Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend, as in the experimental sturgeon “bacon” with crème fraîche and toast appetizer alongside the no-pretense fish ’n’ chips platter.
4. Choose from three fishes and six preparations (coconut-crusted or jerk-spiced among them) at Hula’s Modern Tiki, or allow the spirits in your totem-faced Dr. Funk cocktail glass to sway the decision.
5. End an afternoon of shopping with one final catch. Resort-casual lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama sells flowered shirts in its ground-level store and dinners of spice-rubbed mahi mahi or macadamia-crusted snapper in its second-floor restaurant at Kierland Commons.
6. The oyster bar at Eddie V’s sits within earshot of the piano player—fun with coworkers during happy hour. With a significant other, adjourn to the big-boothed dining room and go for the twin lobster tails with drawn butter.
7. Bluewater Grill cuts its own fish in-house and feels like it could be dockside, but it’s conveniently high-and-dry off “commuter” Highway 51. Sauteéd sand dabs aren’t on every menu in town, so try them here.
Meet, Not Meat
8. The dark woods and linen tablecloths of the Salt Cellar are “hidden” in a basement that no one keeps a secret. Have a tableside clambake with the in-laws, or a solo cup of chowder in the bar.
9. Ocean Prime is a brassy, classy place for surf and/or turf. Focus on sea scallops with risotto or halibut with gnocchi; you can eat beef in winter.