Sol Y Sombra Spanish Kitchen

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Market Street at DC Ranch
20707 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale

Never mind that this sleek, second-floor tapas bar overlooking Market Street is a magnet for charter members of the see-and-be-seen club. It's also one of the Valley's most exciting restaurants, thanks to chef-owner Aaron May, who backs up his flights of fancy with rock-solid technique. The tapas menu, portions of which change frequently, admirably proves this point, offering tapas bar classics such as gazpacho, tortilla Española, pan con tomate, patatas bravas and Serrano ham with Manchego and fig as well as creative selections such as pear a la plancha with goat cheese and almond, snails with artichoke purée and herbs, halibut with cockles and chorizo sauce and trout a la plancha with hazelnuts and salsa verde. All things considered (i.e., gorgeous surroundings and excellent food), prices are pretty reasonable, ranging from $4 to $18 per selection. Don't go too overboard and you'll have enough money for a bottle of Spanish wine; the selection is first-rate. And if you love Sunday brunch but hate the picked-over food and the crowds at the buffet line, keep this place in mind for a far more civilized experience. You'll order what you want from the menu (and trust me, you want both the tortilla espinaca with bacon sauce and the almond French toast with cinnamon milk and chocolate), then relax over Sangria or a fancy cocktail until your food is delivered. It's the only way to go. By the way, the restaurant offers paella at the community table on Thursday nights. Call ahead for info and reservations.