Wright's at Arizona Biltmore stands out as Phoenix's holiday version of Tavern on the Green
Everyone knows that if you’re looking for a special holiday season restaurant meal in New York City, Tavern on the Green is the place. The food’s not great (especially for New York) but there’s no way to match the celebratory season atmosphere. It’s the kind of place that wows mother-in-laws with all its lights, crystals, dining room choices and specific seating where everyone’s lined up at the door under that red tunnel awning in their Christmas finest.
It turns out there’s a restaurant in the Phoenix-Scottsdale resort corridor that is at least in Tavern on the Green’s neighborhood when it comes to over-the-top decorations that could make an atheist see some value in Christmas though. Only the food’s much better.
Check out Wright’s at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. The Biltmore does the holidays like Bill Belichick runs up the score - with complete, focused drive. It’s tree is 60-feet tall, which isn’t quite as large as the one in New York’s Rockefeller Center (typically 75 to 90 feet tall), but for Arizona it’s huger than huge. Plus, the Biltmore doesn’t stop there.
It has a gingerbread house that’s so big that a small family could practically move in.
The real bonus though is the holiday menu at Wright’s that doesn’t taste like it’s from a high-end dining factory. Wright’s actually seems to cook its dinners for the people eating them rather than having almost everything ready even before you sit down. I haven’t been as pleasantly surprised by a meal at a restaurant in a long time the way I was a recent one at Wright’s.
You expect the Biltmore with all its history and well-healed clientele to be stuffy. Wright’s isn’t. It’s just good with a menu that has much more game on it (elk and the like) than almost any hotel restaurant is willing to do these days. Yes, it’s actually more daring than the typical steak and salmon variations.
If you’re looking for a spot to celebrate the remainder of this holiday season (and around here with everyone on vacation it seems to stretch well into mid January, heck this year it might go all the way to the Super Bowl), Wright’s and the Biltmore is a good choice.
On the other hand, the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch needs to work on its tree program. Watching some people pose in front of this puny tree (likely for their Christmas cards) made me feel almost embarrassed for them a few weeks ago. This is an otherwise good hotel (they even have gondola rides) that should have better quality control in its holiday decor.
Everyone can’t be Tavern on the Green or the Biltmore, but let’s have a little pride.
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