What Smart Foodies Know…
If you are passionate about food, you know that sometimes you have to break your routine and try some place new. If you happen to live in the Grayhawk area of Scottsdale, you don’t need to go far but for the rest of us going north of the 101 gives us pause. Parma in North Scottsdale is worth the effort. Just do it, you’ll be glad you did.
Sexy, Modern, Clean Vibe
Like many amazing locally owned restaurants in Scottsdale, Parma is in a shopping center. You may even call it a strip mall. Forget what is outside, step inside this gorgeous restaurant and all stress fades away. Whoever designed the interior needs some mad propz; it’s transcendent. The beautiful thing about the design of Parma is this isn’t an in your face type of design, it’s not one element like the furry wall in Get Him to The Greek, it’s the complete approach they’ve incorporated to make you feel welcome and forget the outside world. The best part is that it’s very neutral, you have sports on the TVs at the bar, the colors are blue, brown and gray, great lighting, comfortable seating. No one is trying too hard. It’s just chill.
The Ingredients For A Great Restaurant
I believe there are 3 things that can transform a restaurant from being really good to being a complete winner. Sure, location is important but it’s not on my list.
- Consistent Surprises
This may be an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp but menus that don’t change are boring. The menu at Parma is surprising, varied and adventurous.
- Great Atmosphere
Parma has this in spades. The music is kinda ambient EDM that’s loud enough you can hear it but not so loud you can’t talk to people next to you.
- Great Staff
Amazing bartenders and attentive wait staff make a restaurant. Parma has all 3 categories covered.
What To Eat At Parma
Since I have an Instagram account, when I can’t decide between two items on the menu, if the server/bartender has time, I will occasionally ask which one is more photogenic. After all, I don’t want to just have a great time but I want to show everyone else what a great time they could be having and why they should also spend their hard earned money at this locally owned establishment. While I try to decide on food, I always try a specialty cocktail. Hopefully, Parma will find prettier stemware for the amazing Italian Bird. This drink is made with gin, elderflower, ginger beer and butterfly pea flower. It’s gorgeous and delightful. I hope you get a nice glass soon, Italian Bird!
It Will Change Your Life
Full disclosure, I don’t really care about bread. Perfect bread is amazing. I appreciate the hard work, the ingredients, the smell, how fats melt on it, bread is wonderful. I just don’t really care about it. If someone tells me I need to visit a place because they have the best bread (or rolls, biscuits, croissants, tortillas, muffins) on the planet, I will certainly take note of it but it isn’t a priority for me. While trying to decide what to order at Parma, I asked the staff what they suggested. They claimed the focccaci would change my life.
Life Changing Focacci
For all the readers who skim articles: Parma’s focaccia is amazing and you should order it. For everyone else that had their Addy today and can focus, let me tell you about the focaccia. This bread is pretty damn good. From a nutritional value, for reals, it’s all carbs so dieters beware. From an enjoyment value? Life is short, order the bread. It’s made in house, they cook it in their wood fired ovens, sprinkle some fresh rosemary and sea salt on it and serve it up (still bubbly) with a dish of EVOO and balsamic to dip in. Sounds good right? Except Parma goes a step further and adds a ball of truffled butter too. That’s two paragraphs about bread I don’t need to say more, just order the damn bread already.
Octopus, Pizza, Salad and Brussel Sprouts
The fabulous thing with many locally-owned places is that the chef has more freedom to create new and exciting menus. Of course, then the problem you run into is that it’s very difficult to decide what to order. As a lifestyle blogger when I can’t decide between two items on a menu, I often think about which dish would be more photogenic. Pretty is important but taste usually wins out and the squash blossoms won this battle. These locally harvested squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta and covered is wildflower honey and toasted sesame seeds are delightful. Get them while they’re in season!
Instagram Worthy Octopus
However, if you’re going for taste and a Gram worthy item on the menu I highly recommend the grilled Spanish octopus. The red pepper romesco, fennel, Fresno chili and hazelnuts complement the grilled flavor perfectly. The plating is amazing and you will be happy you ordered it for your feed and your mouth.
About The Pizza
Growing up in NYC, I have strong opinions about pizza. Let’s face it, you don’t get New York Pizza except in New York. Once you stop comparing every pizza to what you’re used to you can be a little more open minded. This Diavola pie is worth mentioning because of the ingredients Covered in soppressata, provolone and fresh mozzarella, Parma was off to a great start but what made it pop was the drizzling of hot honey. I’m a big fan of spicy honey and strong cheeses and this combo worked perfectly.
The Vibe At Parma Rocks
Traditionally North Scottsdale demographics trend on the older side but in the past 12-18 months this has shifted. With so many amazing restaurants, shopping, beautiful apartments and things to do more people of all age groups are living in the northern parts of Scottsdale. These demographics are reflected at Parma and with a happy hour from 1:30pm-6:30pm every weekday, it’s hard to pass up the great ambiance, amazing food and half price bottles of wine. Go outside your bubble, try this gem of a restaurant and thank me later.