Tucked among the lush golf courses and pools of Arizona’s The Phoenician resort, Il Terrazzo isn’t your typical Italian restaurant. Instead of lasagna and five-shades-of-healthy salads, this swanky spot turns out rich dishes that attract both local power players and shorts-clad resort goers. Before you go, here are five things we think you should know:
1. The staff is on top of their game. The staff throughout The Phoenician resort is incredibly accommodating, and the waiters at Il Terrazzo are no exception. Want a fruit smoothie for dinner instead of one of the outstanding options on the menu? No worries; they’ll have the chef whip up an exotic option from the fruits on hand. If you have food allergies, dislikes, are a picky eater or just have a bevy of questions, this is not the time to gracefully dance around them—spell out what you’re after and they will make it happen.
2. Dine alfresco. Phoenix is one of those rare spots where dining outdoors in February is often preferable to being sequestered indoors. Il Terrazzo takes full advantage of the gorgeous weather in Phoenix eight months of the year with covered outdoor seating. A view of the pool and up-lit palm trees highlights the space.
3. Try something from the reserved wine list. There are some serious cellars at Il Terrazzo (and throughout The Phoenician resort). Sommelier Greg Tresner keeps over 2,500 selections available, including some big wine world names such as Chateau d’Yquem. If you know wine (and even if you don’t) the offerings here won’t disappoint.
4. This is not your nonna’s Italian food. Don’t come here expecting lasagna and bread-coated chicken parm. The food at Il Terrazzo is refined, and sometimes surprising. The delightful linguini nero comes doused in a squid ink sauce, while the creamy polenta will likely forever transform the way you think about corn meal. This is Italian food from Italy—forget the Americanized red sauce (you don’t need it anyway).
5. The Phoenician is huge. Give yourself plenty of time before your reservation to find Il Terrazzo, especially if you aren’t staying at the resort. While the property is well signed, it is a sprawling complex with multiple restaurants, not to mention the hotel and golf course. While the main entrance to the restaurant is just off the hotel lobby, there is a second entrance from the outside. If you get lost (as we did) just ask. It’s hard to go wrong here when the resort staff will happily point you in the right direction.