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The goofy moniker might start spaghetti Westerns playing in your head, and the shabby-chic interior may be designed to appeal to yupper-class Scottsdalians with graying temples, money to burn and the fervent need to see themselves as still cool after all these years. But the food is intriguing, inventive and skillfully prepared, and the wine list is longer than a 19th-century Russian novel, with plenty of offbeat and affordable choices. Menu highlights include starters like the buffalo carpaccio -- paper-thin slices of seared bison rubbed with cumin-espresso -- and entrees such as the elk strip loin with hazelnut pesto and the sumptuous mushroom pan-fry with double-cooked polenta. Can't go wrong with the sticky toffee/chocolate cake for dessert.
Just because the weekend is over doesn't mean you have to starve. Here's what we've got on the books this week. More events this week: - Heirloom Tomato Dinner at Binkley's in Cave Creek June 19 - ... More »
Arizona has an up-and-coming food scene, and there's a lot to be proud of, for sure. But when Chow Bella published a list of things that make Phoenix a better food town than New York City, I just had... More »
Looking for something to put in your mouth this weekend? We've got you covered. Check out what's on our plate. See also: - Mother's Day in Metro Phoenix: 12 Recommendations Based on Time, Budget, a... More »
Ah, mac and cheese. Whether it comes from a blue box or your mother's oven, few childhood comforts can compare. These days, your cheesy noodle perfection can be customized with additions ranging from ... More »
We've been known to sup at one end of town, hop in the jalopy, and cruise over to the other end of town just to finish off the night with one or two of Cowboy Ciao's deservedly famous meal-enders. And thanks to pastry chef and dessert diva Country Velador, there isn't a clunker on the menu. The Bread Pudding Overboard gets a lot of buzz (with its brown sugar streusel and American Oak ice cream), but what really knocked us out was the Spumoni Americano -- a delicious twist on the classic... More »
We sure love hot chocolate, although in the warmer months (when we'll only drink iced lattes) we can hardly stand the thought of it -- unless it's Cowboy Ciao's unforgettable take on the classic cold weather treat, the Cuppa Red Hot Chocolate. Here, pastry chef Tracey Dempsey interprets it as a cool, utterly decadent dessert: a rich chocolate-cinnamon pot de crème that's almost as thick as fudge, served in an oversized cup fit for cocoa. The only thing "hot" about it is a froth of oozy c... More »
This category should actually be named "Best Use of Several Mushrooms," since the chefs at Cowboy Ciao mix a combo of cremini, oyster and button 'shrooms -- topped with grilled portabellini -- to create the best mushroom fry we've ever tried. The dish -- served as an appetizer or hefted up for an entree -- is accompanied by double-cooked polenta and dressed with cotija cheese, avocado and tomatoes. Heaven in a pan. More »
The folks at Cowboy Ciao are good cooks and good writers. Their menu is a work of art, with funny quotes from customers ("Sprinkle my ashes over Cowboy Ciao"), thorough descriptions (the Buffalo Carpaccio is rubbed with espresso and cumin) and creative names (an octopus/spinach mix is called the Big Biceps Salad). But no name, no description, can do justice to our favorite dessert at this cowboy-chic spot. The menu dutifully lists the ingredients of the Cuppa Red Hot Chocolate:... More »
What, exactly, is New American food? Nobody really knows. But ultimately, it seems to come down to presenting diners with dishes they think they might know, but then, surprise! There's some crazy twist to keep you scratching your head. Often, it's delicious in an exciting kind of way; at Cowboy Ciao, the surprise is always spectacular. Executive chef Bernie Kantak has come up with dishes like chile gratin (elk, beef loin, white beans, smoked Cheddar and Gouda); rare tuna with ground hops and... More »
Like all our great Valley restaurants, Cowboy Ciao changes its menu on a regular basis, all the better to keep us interested in its creative cuisine: modern American food influenced by the flavors of Italy, the Southwest and Mexico. But we can always count on something special, manly and cowboy charming. Sometimes it's pesto-crusted elk loin, the strip grilled medium rare and served with pan-grilled vegetables, polenta and Cabernet wild and exotic mushroom ragout. Buffalo carpaccio makes a... More »
Folks who've never been to Phoenix are convinced that we dine solely on hunks of steak, barbecue beans, baked potatoes and paint-peeling coffee made with eggshells. Leave it to Cowboy Ciao, with its ultra-stylish, spaghetti Western ambiance, to show them creative American cuisine, spiked with influences from Italy, Mexico, and, of course, the Southwest.The Stetson chopped salad is legendary, and we crave the calamari, tossed with chasoba noodles, sesame vinaigrette, chile oil and daikon... More »
There are other restaurants in town with longer wine lists. But they don't have what makes Cowboy Ciao so special to us -- wine flights.What a wonderful concept -- giving us three different wines, at three-ounce pours each, for one fixed price. It allows us to sample and savor fine new wines we might never have tried otherwise.The presentation is clever -- a heavy wooden board carved with three nooks for the wineglasses, and three nooks for the mini carafes. A long strip of paper... More »
The Stetson Chopped is amazing! It's the strangest non-salad-salad and absolutely addicting! I get cravings for it all the time but unfortunately this place is a bit on the higher-end so it's a special treat! Very cool wester/european theme and great atmosphere tucked away in a beautiful part of Old Town. Make a reservation!
My parents took me here for lunch, I didn't know what to expect. The decor is a little cheesy for my taste, but the food is amazing! I had a bit of everybody's meal from the table and all of them were great. Worth visiting even with the weird decor!
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