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“Fun atmosphere”
Review of Carlsbad Tavern

Carlsbad Tavern
Ranked #97 of 1,250 Restaurants in Scottsdale
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Southwestern, Bar, Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Bar scene, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Brunch, Late Night, Lunch, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
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.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
101 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Fun atmosphere”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

I had drinks and appies here on a Saturday night. Sangria was delicious! Guac and salsa were good - not great. The starter tacos and brochette were delicious (except for the black beans served with the tacos - spicy and yuck tasting).
The decor is a little pirates-of-the-Carribean meets the old west. Pretty fun : )
I think there is better tex-mex and/or mexican in the area though. Depends on what kind of experience you are looking for.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jabulani26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Thank you for choosing to give Carlsbad Tavern's New Mexican cuisine a try. We truly appreciate your business. We've carefully reviewed your comments and thank you for your feedback. If you find yourself craving some spicy New Mexican food, we hope you will come back in.

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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308 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
San Mateo, California
Level Contributor
78 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Spicy Good”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

My crab stuffed peppers were very good maybe a little spicer than I would normally have. But the product was fresh and well prepared. Beer was cold and the service attentive and timely.Ambiance was charming. Of course when you go you think they left some leftover Holloween decorations on the wall, it's just what you would find in the Carlsbad Cavern.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Ipswitch00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this review, March 1, 2013
Thank you for choosing to dine with us at Carlsbad Tavern! We're glad to hear you enjoyed your crab stuffed poblanos, our service and our cave theme decor. We hope to serve you again soon!

Best,
Andrew Capriola
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great atmosphere; Good food”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

It was our first time to Carlsberg Tavern. The atmosphere and food are great! Portions are huge so none of us finished our entrees, but we did have appies. We were impressed with the service...friendly and informative. The manager made of point of coming to our table to ensure we enjoyed our evening and covered an appy to welcome us to the resaurant. It was a cool evening so we chose to sit inside, but the outside areas looked very inviting and we will try the patio next time. We would definitely come back!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Karin Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this review, March 1, 2013
Thank you very much for choosing to visit Carlsbad Tavern. We very much appreciate your business. We're so very glad to hear you enjoyed the food and the atmosphere during your meal. We look forward to your return!

Best wishes,
Andrew Capriola
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
377 reviews
283 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“Great Tex Mex Food”
Reviewed February 22, 2013 via mobile

It was recommended that I try this place out while in Scottsdale and I'm glad I did. As I entered the parking lot I was impressed with the decor and it got even better as I walked up to the front door. The atmosphere is great and very comfortable. Very clean and well kept. Dont let the Tavern in the name fool you. It is not a typical bar.

When I sat I asked what was recommended. The first recommendation was the Carne Adovada Plate amongst others. I went with the first suggestion and was glad I did. It is a slow roasted pork dish served on top of a tortilla with rice and black beans. It does have a bit of spice to it. I would definitely return to this restaurant and order this again.

The service was great and very friendly. Can't wait to return.

Helpful?
Thank Vitamin_Vito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Thank you for choosing to dine with us on the recommendation of your friend. We are so glad you did and very pleased to hear you enjoyed your meal and the overall experience. We hope to serve you again next time you are in Scottsdale!

Andrew Capriola
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Council Grove
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“The Food Was Good but the Atmosphere was Better.”
Reviewed February 21, 2013

We took my son and his wife to lunch at Carlsbad Tavern. We chose to eat outside. It has a nice atmosphere. It took awhile after we were seated for a server to arrive. The food was good, not great. Portions were huge and I think the value was about average. My husband and son wanted to eat there because they liked the name of the place. I really don't have anything bad to say about the food but it was not memorable. It wasn't the kind of place that I would make a point to go back to.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Leland S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlsbadTavern, Owner at Carlsbad Tavern, responded to this review, February 25, 2013
Thank you for choosing to come in and try our New Mexican cuisine at Carlsbad Tavern. We appreciate your business and listen carefully to all of the feedback we receive. Thank you for your business.

Andrew Capriola
Owner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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