If you're looking for one of the finest dining experiences in Scottsdale, Arizona, look no further than Cafe Monarch, located in historic Oldtown Scottsdale (at 6939 E 1st Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85251). My husband and I have been invited to this restaurant by another couple, and all of us had the most romantic dining experience you can imagine. It's, no doubt, one of the best restaurants in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area of Arizona. I was so impressed (as a food blogger), I took a ton of pictures to share their amazing culinary creations and describe the elegant ambiance of this fine-dining establishment.
Restaurant Review of Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale, AZ
This is not my usual post, as I usually post recipes, but in this article, I will provide a detailed review of my dining experience at Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale, AZ in June of this year (2023). Get ready for lots of pictures of amazing food (my iPhone photography did not do them justice, but you can still see how yummy everything looks) and the general ambiance of this amazing fine-dining restaurant.
- The location couldn't have been better either - Cafe Monarch is located in the heart of historic Old Town Scottsdale.
- Cafe Monarch has been rated as the #2 Fine Dining Restaurant in the U.S. in 2022, according to the 2022 Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Award Best of the Best.
- It's also been awarded Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence 2022. Quite impressive! And deservedly so! It's definitely the best restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, in my book!
The experience at the bar
As you enter Cafe Monarch, you are immediately greeted by a friendly host/hostess, and you can't help but notice their impressive and classy-looking bar area. It's a full bar that serves creatively crafted cocktails and a wide variety of other drinks. The attention to detail is impeccable. Take a look at the shape of this martini glass:
The dress code
The restaurant does have a dress code since it's an elegant fine-dining restaurant. I wouldn't wear T-shirts, jeans, tights, or activewear. Cafe Monarch gives you a great chance to get dressed up in those nice clothes that you have sitting somewhere in the back of your closet. I loved having an excuse to wear a dress and to make my husband wear more formal clothing. By the way, this is me, enjoying the quietness of the bar area (we arrived very early):
My first impressions about Cafe Monarch
I loved the formal interior and stunning decor of Cafe Monarch - it's very conducive for a nice romantic dinner. And there is a stunning outside area with a small garden and the fountain - a perfect backdrop for beautiful photos! The food is delicious and beautifully presented, the staff is attentive, and the service is impeccable. This is truly the best of the best restaurants not only in Arizona but in the US, too.
The staff is sensitive if you have any dietary restrictions. I am gluten-free, and we mentioned that when we made the reservation. I did not have to remind the restaurant staff about my gluten-free preference even once during the entire dining experience. Every time, when a new dish was served, the waiter would point out to me the changes they made to ensure it was gluten-free - I loved that attention to detail!
It's such a nice change from many other restaurants that simply don't care about food sensitivities, don't provide gluten-free options, or where you have to double-check every dish to make sure it meets your dietary restrictions. Not at Cafe Monarch - they are so thoughtful and caring about your food preferences. And, they pay attention to you!
This is me, by the way, outside in a small garden in front of the Cafe Monarch building. This area provides a beautiful backdrop for photos. Our party took many. 🙂
I took this picture of our dining table from above - you can see the five of us in the photo and a beautifully set dining table with 2 trays of Caviar Service and menus:
Perfect spot for a romantic evening
I loved the formal decor of the restaurant, complete with beautiful chandeliers, high-quality table linens and tablecloths, beautiful furniture, and low lighting. What a perfect setting for a romantic evening. This place is great for couples, to celebrate anniversaries, and other special life events. I am sure this place is 100% booked for Valentine's Day.
The restaurant offers a four-course dinner menu. The first 3 courses have 2 choices each. The fourth course is the main course, and there are lots of choices there! From Monarch Signature Steak Cuts, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, and Bone-In Iberico Pork Chop to some seafood dishes.
The top option on Cafe Monarch's menu is Caviar Service. You can choose from several kinds of Osetra caviar. The caviar comes served with a set of beautiful and delicious side dishes, including chives, hard-boiled eggs, shallots, creme frache, lemon, and blinis. The presentation is stunning as you can see on the photos below.
There are 2 choices for the first course. Because there were 5 of us, we ordered both choices. Both were beautifully presented and delicious!
Argentinian Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado and Plantain Chip.
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho.
The second course also offered 2 options, and we ordered both. Both were amazing. I wanted a double serving - they were so good!
Pork Belly with Arugula, Grilled Peaches, Cashews, Goat Cheese, and Honeycomb.
Big Eye Tuna with Crispy Rice and Sesame Seeds.
The third course also had 2 options to choose from. We got both (since there were 5 of us at the dinner table). My favorite was venison.
Venison with Sauce Lyonnaise, Demi, and Mustard Greens.
Maine Diver Scallop with Creamy Salsa Verde and Street Corn Succotash.
The fourth course is the main course at Cafe Monarch, and you have lots of choices there! We ordered 4 different types of main dishes, but there are many more to choose from. You can choose from a large variety of items: 5 options of signature steak cuts (as of June 2023), rack of lamb, pork chop, seafood, and surf-and-turf.
New Zealand Rack of Lamb with Herb Crust, Arugula, Almond, and Apricot Demi-Glace. This dinner choice was super impressive. Generous amount of lamb and delicious side dishes paired with a stunning presentation. This was my second favorite dish on the fourth-course menu.
Fruitti Di Mare - Main Lobster Tail, Diver Scallop, Prawns, Tagliatelle, and Chorizo Lemon Cream Sauce. This was a seafood dish on the menu - everyone loved it!
Steak with seasonal root vegetables, fingerling potato, manchego butter, and bordelaise sauce. We ordered one of Monarch Signature Steak Cuts - I honestly don't remember which particular cut, but it was incredibly tasty! This was my third favorite main course.
Bone-in Iberico Pork Chop with Black Bean Succotash and Salsa Verde. This was my #1 favorite dish on the whole menu! And it pains me to say that because everything was so good! But this particular dish was so unique and so flavorful, with meat falling off the bone. Again, you can't go wrong with any other courses or any other main dishes on the menu. This pork chop was just off the charts - I've never had pork that tender and delicious! My second favorite was lamb. My third favorite was the Monarch signature steak cut.
We got 2 kinds of desserts, both of which were so tasty!
White Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse.
Ciccolata - Chocolate Dessert with Buttermilk Foam, Fudgy Brownie, Honey Comb, and Caramel.
The ambiance of the restaurant speaks for itself. The restaurant's interior is beautifully decorated. Everything is carefully thought through. Beautiful linens and table clothes, candles, high-quality dinnerware, and silverware. Low lighting. The staff is very engaging, helpful, and professionally dressed. It's truly the best fine dining restaurant I've been to in Scottsdale, Arizona. It will be a perfect choice for a romantic evening, anniversary celebration, or special birthday dinner.
Questions or comments?
Have you been to Cafe Monarch in Oldtown Scottsdale, AZ? If so, what were your impressions? Did you find it as lovely and accommodating as I did?
My husband and I (together with my husband's sister and another couple) had a wonderful romantic dinner at Cafe Monarch in June of this year (2023). I described our amazing fine dining experience in this article. If you found my review of Cafe Monarch helpful or interesting, or want to share your thoughts and impressions of this restaurant, I'd love to hear that in the comments section below.