Distrito - What I Liked
Distrito - Be Aware
- Cool, colorful, fun vibe
- Real food of Mexico, not those taquitos or chimichangas
- Good for a business day lunch, casual date, friends evening out.
- Small plates designed for sharing.
- Like tequila? You'll like it here!
- Nice patio, adjacent to Scottsdale Civic Plaza Park.
- Small plates means prices can add up.
- No complimentary chips or salsa.
Distrito - The Mood
I loved the atmosphere at Distrito. Colorful decor without being gaudy or hurting your eyes! The dining room has an absolutely Mexican appeal without resorting to the barrio design or to the tacky. Another plus, while Distrito is associated with a hotel, this isn't your typical dull hotel dining room.
Kudos for NOT having a television in the bar or in the dining room! You can, however, watch staff prepare fresh guacamole, salsa and tortillas -- now that's entertainment!
Distrito opened in Scottsdale in the fall of 2011. It is the creation of award-winning Chef Jose Garces. Among his many accomplishments, Chef Garces defeated Iron Chef Bobby Flay at Food Network's Kitchen Stadium in his Iron Chef America debut.
Distrito - The Damages
Carne en Adono with Chorizo & Poblano Corn Muffin© 2012 Judy Hedding
Two of us shared two appetizers, a soup, three small plates, a side dish and a dessert. We were not able to finish all that food! The bill came to $40 per person, excluding beverages, tax and tip. If you'd rather have the Chef decide what's good tonight, try one of the two Chef Tastings offered -- they change often. Tequila pairings are available.
At lunchtime the special allows you to choose an appetizer and a small plate with a soda or iced tea for $15. Other a la carte items are also available at lunch, but that menu is rather limited. Yes, the chorizo & poblano cornbread is available at lunch, so I'm happy!
What I thought of Distrito
Two of us stopped in to Distrito on a weekday evening. Make sure you don't try the spicy peanuts on the table before they bring your water! We decided to start with Traditional Guacamole with cotija cheese ($10). The chips were clearly homemade, although I like mine crispier. Deliberate or a bit soggy? The guacamole was refreshing and delicious. If tortilla soup is on a menu, we're usually trying it, so we ordered it here ($7). Very nice, with an abundance of chicken. There is a ceviche section of the dinner menu, so we ordered the Ceviche Atun ($13) with Yellowfin Tuna, Serrano Coconut Sauce and Lime Sorbet. This was one of the highlights of the evening for me, and I would definitely order it again on a subsequent visit. In the menu category of "JG's Favorites" I decided to try something that was meatless, and ordered the Mexico City Style Quesadilla ($9) with calabaza, squash blossom, goat cheese and poblano espuma. Compared to what we had already tried, it wasn't extraordinary (although I loved the poblano mixture). Moving on to Tacos de Carnitas ($7) with pulled pork, black beans and pineapple salsa, I enjoyed one of the street tacos, but it wasn't my favorite dish of the evening. The last plate we ordered was from the Barbacoa (barbecue) section of the menu, a source of pride for this restaurant. The Carne en Adobo (black angus beef brisket with a wet adobo rub) comes in a small plate or full plate size ($9/$18), and was incredibly tender and delicious. We paired it with the side order of Pan de Maiz ($7) which is chorizo & poblano cornbread. Oh my, I'll have a dozen of those, please! For dessert we were enticed to share the El Fuerte for Two ($12) which is a flourless chocolate cake with caramel and espresso ice cream. Although it might be difficult to do at Distrito, try to save room for that dessert.
Distrito offers margaritas, Mexican Sangria, seven varieties of Mexican beer, special coffees from Garces Trading Company Coffee and more than 100 kinds of tequila.
I am looking forward to many more visits to Distrito.
UPDATE: About three weeks later, February 2012, we stopped at Distrito for lunch. The experience at that visit was very different, and would not have been a 4-1/2 star review. You can read my comments about that lunch here.
How to Find Distrito
Dessert: El Fuerte© 2012 Judy Hedding
Distrito is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (call on holidays to make sure). Brunch is also offered.
There is only one Distrito in Arizona.
The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale
4000 N Drinkwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
That's on the southwest corner of Drinkwater (east of Scottsdale Road) and Indian School Road.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy
. All prices and offerings are subject to change without notice. Date of review: January 2012.