Volanti Restaurant

Reviewed By: Leslie & Andy
Andy and I, first and foremost are foodies, but we also like to seek out a little adventure. With adventure comes travel, of course, and we spend quite a bit of time in airports.  So imagine my excitement when I discovered Volanti Restaurant located on the runway of Scottsdale Airport!  Yippee!! I love, love restaurants with a fun setting--you know, like the Space Needle in Seattle--and this little lounge was right up my alley. So we invited our Cousins, Dan and Laura, along for a local adventure.

Ambience:  Volanti is located in a converted airplane hangar building and as you approach there is a super cool old school prop plane hanging in an atrium out side the front door. We were greeted by the hostess and led to our table which was outside of course, I wanna be where the action is! The interior is fairly modern, minimally decorated. The patio could use some umbrellas, maybe, or some plants or just something to give it a little something. Aside from the incredible view of the runway and the mountains, there is nothing interesting about the outdoor seating. Don't get me wrong, watching the jets come and go while you sip a cocktail is pretty spectacular, albeit noisy, but we knew what we were signing up for.

Quality: The menu boasts some fun items such as Lobster Mac n Cheese or Wild Mushroom Bruschetta, otherwise it's fairly basic with steak, burgers, pasta, etc... We ordered the Farmer's Market Crudite, described on the menu as "rosemary garlic hummus with feta cheese. chipotle ranch. fresh veggies. grilled flatbread." Apparently the market was out of vegetables that day because we received a couple of yellow carrots--unpeeled and awkwardly quartered--along with a few slices of flatbread (pita) accompanied by two ounces of Chipotle Ranch and two ounces of Hummus.  The hummus was tasty, but come on, the platter was $12. How about some cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, broccoli....? This set the tone for the rest of  our dinner which was by and large ho-hum.  Lobster Mac n Cheese, Wild Mushroom Shrimp Pasta, and Mahi Mahi Tacos were ordered around our table and none of us were raving about our dinners.  For dessert we ordered the Cheesecake Brownie. I think there was supposed to be some flare by having the server brulee the cheesecake at our table, but his torch didn't work and there was way too much sugar, so the torch blew the sugar around the table, burned the cheesecake, and left a touch of actual caramelized sugar on top of a pile of uncaramelized sugar. It was a nice try and we kind of felt badly for the server.

Service:  Speaking of our server. He was a personable guy with some character. Seemed to know what he was doing, had a few hiccups--like dessert--but we didn't really hold it against him.  The food and service were kind of in the same boat as the look of the patio--meh.

Value:  Nope. I try to be nice, but a $12 carrot is a little overpriced.  Nothing wowed me, save for the view and a nice cocktail and wine list. If you want a really novel place to take the ladies for happy hour, Volanti is your spot.  The runway experience is really cool--there were military helicopters, for crying out loud. And I'm pretty sure at least three or four famous people flew away in their fancy planes. I mean I didn't see them, per se, but it could have happened. However, even with the really cool runway that's just right there, I'm still not paying $12 for a carrot--unless it's a gold plated carrot. 

Overall, Volanti was a fun experience and you need to remind yourself while eating that you are paying for the "experience". A friend explained that it's like getting food at Disney Land, you are paying a premium for the sake of the being there.  And that's fine, Andy and I both have absolutely no qualms paying for memories and adventure, but we expect a certain level of quality to come along with that price tag.  Though Volanti wasn't terrible, the only part that really wowed me was the location, and honestly, Andy has been on golf courses within the same proximity of an airport runway.  Though it was a fun evening, and a novel location, we were all a little disappointed.  It's like meeting a guy that's an underwear model, but the conversation is about as interesting as talking to a rock. They really rely on the location and forgot that the dining experience includes food quality and presentation.