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“Great spot for visitors and locals”

The Spotted Donkey Cantina
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Ranked #77 of 1,293 Restaurants in Scottsdale
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: Mexican
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Carefree Hwy
Description: Fresh, lively and energetic, the Spotted Donkey Cantina at el Pedregal is a Scottsdale original. Offering the best drinks, unique food and a festive atmosphere are quickly earning Spotted Donkey Cantina at el Pedregal a reputation as the place to dine in North Scottsdale. The restaurant's North Scottsdale location provides a fabulous backdrop of 12-million-year-old rock formations and you can catch the Arizona sky creating a stunning atmosphere on our large outdoor patio. Best Happy Hour 2012 | AZ Centrals Readers Choice Awards Best Mexican Food 2013 | Arizona Foothills Magazine
Reviewed July 29, 2013

The Spotted Donkey is one of our favorite restaurants in North Scottsdale (Cave Creek). The staff is always friendly and attentive, if you go there in the fall during the Sunday wine and jazz concerts, it is a great place to sit and listen to good music, or relax after. My wife and I first found the “Donkey” when we moved to Phx 9 years ago; we have been hooked ever since. Some of our favorite meals are the calamari – you have to try this it is nothing like any calamari we have ever had. The pulled nachos are outstanding as well. If you are thinking the standard chips and “stuff” on top think again here. They are prepared with pulled pork and homemade Chilies sauces, layered on top of home made “huge” tostitos. Yet another one you just have to experience. If you are in the mood for a burger the burger is very food. To be honest we have never had a bad meal there, you will not be disappointed in what you order.
If you go there for drinks, the Margaritas are outstanding, as is the Road Runner if you have the need for a quick energy picks me up. When in season they have a one of kind tequila specially distilled for the Donkey. I am not a big tequila drinker at all but this compares to a fine brandy, a great after dinner sipping drink (ask for it with a fresh honey comb in it, you wont be disappointed)
The prices are what you would expect to pay at a North Scottsdale resort when on vacation. If you are looking for Chilies menu and pricing don’t go here. All in all my wife and I continue to go back the Donkey for the food, views, atmosphere, and great wait staff.

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Thank PheonixScuba_dog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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406 - 410 of 638 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2013

While staying at the nearby "Boulders" resort we walked over to the "Spotted Donkey." We were looking for some good Mexican food. The restaurant is in a great shopping area full of speciality and artsy type shops and boutiques. It is a great place to walk around. The restaurant is a kind of an Arizona-Mex place. I think they were shooting for Tex-Mex. The people were nice but not real attentive and the prices were high for a Scottsdale Mexican style restaurant.

I had the beef tacos. They came with real shredded beef but the chef must be following the more meat the better idea of cooking. I took half the meat out but there was too little other ingredients left for a good flavor. It was just a seasoned beef and slightly warmed corn tortilla taste. I left three fourths of my plate. My wife ordered a grilled chicken salad that was good but nothing special. They do charge you for the chips and salsa. Our light dinner ran over $40 with tip for something less than you would get at an El Torito.

Great waiters learn to watch for certain things and to always ask their customers if everything is okay. When you see customers leaving their dishes half eaten there is a problem. Hopefully we caught them on a bad day.. It happens. The shopping area made up for the lackluster dinner.

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Thank EdR2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2013

Situated in very North Scottsdale (almost Carefree), this lively restaurant serves great southwest food. The atmosphere is sophisticated and there is a good selection of drinks. The food is not typical Mexican. It is much more varied and upscale, if not more gourmet. The portions are large and so the prices reflect the quality and quantity.

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Thank pbuntarl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

A great spot for a fun happy hour! Reasonably price appetizers and drink specials in a fun atmosphere. Unique, upscale Mexican cuisine with great margaritas! Will definitely return next time I'm in Scottsdale.

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Thank KateeThinks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Great spot for an early dinner -- several appetizers and drinks were on 'happy hour' special so enjoyed Huevos Rolls (southwest play on egg-rolls) and a refreshing regional draft beer with a hint of sweet citrus-orange. A selection of starters was on special for $5 each so could easily make a tapas-style meal out of them for a group! I had the Stuffed Peppers (their non-traditional version of chili relleno) for main course and coconut flan for desert. The peppers were stuffed with deliciously seasoned meat-cheese-rice combo and fried w a light crust that remained crispy to the last bite! The flan had a nice flavor but the texture was overly dense. The server was knowledgeable about menu items and guided me to items that best suited my taste. Everything was fresh-tasting, the bean-&-cheese elements of the meal were nicely integrated and not too heavy. Still, calorie-wise the meal was a splurge -- but worth it! The atmosphere was charming, with the bar area fairly separate from the table-dining section where I sat.

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Thank wgSweetTea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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