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“There is a 'NEW MEXICO".....(the Simpsons)”
Review of Carlsbad Tavern

Carlsbad Tavern
Ranked #92 of 1,284 Restaurants in Scottsdale
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Southwestern, Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Families with children, Local cuisine, Bar scene
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: Founded with the mission of bringing unique New Mexican cuisine to Scottsdale diners, Carlsbad Tavern & Restaurant has been serving up authentic, spicy and flavorful food for nearly two decades. Created by Michael P. Capriola and named in homage to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico, the restaurant opened in 1995 at Scottsdale Road and Earll Drive. The original location was developed with an eclectic New Mexican theme, including bats, Mexican movie posters, Roswell memorabilia and a newspaper menu called The Daily Guano. In 1998, the restaurant moved to Hayden Road, just south of Osborn where the bat cave theme was further developed, making the most of the water feature, The Guano Canal, on the patio and providing a cave-like interior in the dining room and bar. Carlsbad Tavern’s philosophy centers on providing guests with an entertaining environment, excellence in the kitchen and friendly, efficient service. While the sign touts New Mexican “grub,” the quality of food and attention to detail in preparation has always been of utmost importance. Many of the original and core dishes are still being served today. Favorites (carne adovada, osso bucco, crab-stuffed poblanos) requested by regulars – aka “bat fans” – are daily specials. Over the years, Carlsbad Tavern’s menu has consistently won accolades on the local and national level, including: • 20 Places for Hispanic Dishes: Enchantment Platter, Arizona Republic, September 2011 • 10 Favorite Spicy Dishes: Habanero Cheeseburger, Phoenix New Times, September 2011 • Top 100 Dishes in the Valley: New Mexican Potstickers, Phoenix New Times, August 2011 • One of 51 Ways to Beat the Heat, Phoenix Magazine, July 2011 • Best Burger in Phoenix/Scottsdale in Travel and Leisure Magazine, May 2011 • One of the Top 85 restaurants in Phoenix Magazine, January 2011 • Habanero Cheeseburger, Best Burger in Arizona, Food Network Magazine, 2009 • Best Restaurant, Food Lover’s Guide to the Valley; Phoenix Magazine, 2007 • Best Pork Dish for Carne Adovada, 50 Best Dishes in the Valley; Phoenix New Times, Jan. 2009 • Best Patio Dining, Best of Phoenix; Phoenix New Times, 2001 In addition, Carlsbad Tavern prides itself on providing locally-brewed and micro-brewed beers on draft, as well as a comprehensive wine list with wine pairings suggested on all entrees. Happy hours offer a discounted menu, and a reverse happy hour and menu in the evenings draws out industry workers from throughout the Valley, who appreciate the atmosphere, the quality of food and the company. Carlsbad Tavern continues today under the ownership of Andrew Capriola and Judith Merritt. As a family-run restaurant, Carlsbad Tavern welcomes all ages and offers excellent food and service in a relaxed and welcoming environment for casual dining, special occasions, group events and parties and just hanging around the bat cave with a draft beer.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

This place is a gem, despite their location on Hayden, north of Thomas, this place has been doing great for years ! The food is great, the drinks and beer, wine selection adequate and well priced, the decor inside (the inside of a mine shaft with bats everywhere) might be funky, but it works!!!! After all it is a casual place serving "quite refined New Mexican cuisine", their followup is big, amongst a lot of restaurant industry people as they open late and have a very nice after hours offering on food and drinks.....I will repeat , everything is VERY GOOD there...service included, if you are visiting AZ, a must to try real southwestern cuisine with the route 66 atmosphere, the radio play oldies and 80' rock and blues....the fresh fish tacos are killers, the burgers absolutely flawless and the prices are truly low for that quality of food!!!

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1  Thank irrawady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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239 - 243 of 323 reviews

Reviewed January 10, 2013

Nice place to go and get a great New-Mex dinner...Great service, very friendly and if you want to sit in the bar, grab a booth and watch the game. Sit outside around a gas fireplace as well. Really enjoyed the visit and went there twice for dinner while there. Was handy to the condo we stayed at just up the street.

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1  Thank amtiii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

This casual New Mexico restaurant serves some of the best Mexican food in the valley...their Green Chili Burrito is filled with spicy green chili chicken and their Machaca Chimichanga is packed with lean, spicy beef, grilled onion, cheese and the special red sauce, covered with their salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Both are served with spicy black beans and rice. Spicy, fresh and large portions is what this excellent restaurant is all about...want American food...it is excellent, too! Their steaks are excellent with a great price. Their patty-melt on Texas toast with batter coated fries is amazing. They offer a full bar with sport TV's, a casual separate dining room and a large tiered outside patio. Having eaten here many times, we have never been disappointed...

2  Thank John T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

The Habernero Burger is hands down the best burger in town. Just don't touch your eye's after your meal. Good drafts, good service, and amazing ambiance.

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2  Thank Keith E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

Thank you for choosing to visit Carlsbad Tavern and for sharing about your experiences on Trip Advisor. We appreciate your high praise for our Habanero Burger. We hope you return again soon!

Andrew Capriola
Owner

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Reviewed December 11, 2012

If you love authentic northern New Mexican cuisine--like carne adovada and green chile pork stew or posole--you'll love Carlsbad Tavern. Though this wonderworks is housed in a hokey "cave with moat," don't let the funk discourage you. It's there to evoke the caverns part of Carlsbad, and the rest is what you'd expect from a regular restaurant with a sit-at bar en route to the great outdoor patio for dining when the weather is just right.
Food here is delicious. For Phoenicians in the know, go here to equal or surpass Los Dos Molinos and to whip Richardson's tail in creative cookery of the inimitable northern NM style. The menu is diverse and imaginative, ranging from lime/tequila shrimp or habanero burgers to delectably creative, upscale dinner fare, many delivered with Hatch chiles, of course. My personal favorites are the carne adovada, the green chile pork stew, and the enchantment platter--three chicken, cheese, and carne adovada enchiladas drenched in red or green or Christmas, with sides of Spanish rice and black beans and a sopapilla! Expect to need a doggie bag, and expect picante; yes, milder dishes are available, but what's the point of going to a New Mexican-style restaurant for "mild"?
The tone at Carlsbad is casual-nice -- this isn't a taco shack-- with a friendly attitude.Its cavern-like interior (not overdone) is a welcome bolt-hole in blistering Phoenix summers when frosty cervezas and iced tea just can't come soon enough. Service is prompt and welcoming without being obtrusive, and everybody decent is welcome, from Anglo, Native, and Hispanic families, to singles, GLBT couples, cowboys, birthday parties, seniors, and even kids (outside the bar, of course). Go here without fear for generous portions of very well-prepared and creative chow. We can't get enough of it.

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1  Thank J Sidney O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this reviewResponded December 13, 2012

Thank you for visiting Carlsbad Tavern and for taking the time to share about your experiences with Trip Advisor readers. We truly appreciate your patronage and your review of our food, ambiance and service. We look forward to serving you again in the near future!

Andrew Capriola
Owner

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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