by Lisa Grimaldi | March 01, 2007

The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil


Tapping the flavors of Napa Valley:
The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil

Time was when hot dining spots were solely the domain of big cities and downtown hotels. But today, extraordinary restaurants presided over by talented chefs are as likely to be found in resort destinations as they are in traditional metropolitan haunts. In fact, nearly a third of the properties featured in Zagat’s top 100 hotel restaurants (; released in 2006) are in resort areas, most at properties that accommodate meetings and incentives.

Following are the details of these group-appropriate resorts and their signature eateries.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
(480) 585-4848;

Braised wild boar and cocoa-dusted foie gras are just two of the French, Italian and Spanish Riviera-influenced offerings at Marquesa. Zagat’s reviewers described this restaurant as a “foodie’s delight,” citing its “imaginative appetizers,” “exotic” entrees and “fabulous desserts.” Marquesa earned its 16th consecutive 2007 AAA Five Diamond award this year. A private dining room seats 20. Buyouts for up to 86 can be arranged.

Mary Elaine’s
The Phoenician, Scottsdale
(800) 888-8234;

Zagat’s reviewers cited the landmark Mary Elaine’s for its “heavenly views, extraordinary wine list, unparalleled service and exquisite New French fare.” The star attraction is chef Bradford Thompson, winner of the 2006 James Beard Foundation Award (the Oscars of the American culinary industry) for best chef, Southwest. If that was not enough, Mary Elaine’s was a 2007 AAA Five Diamond winner. The eatery has three private rooms seating 20, 40 and 80, respectively. The restaurant can be bought out for larger groups (up to 175 people).

T. Cook’s
Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Phoenix
(866) 579-3636;

Zagat’s respondents said, “It’s impossible to overlook chef Gregory Casale’s marvelous Mediterranean creations and the professional staff.” But don’t bring the entire office -- this restaurant is strictly for small groups: A maximum of 14 can be accommodated.