Santé: Healthy Dining with a Wow! Factor

Full-service restaurant cultivates good-for-the-planet sources

by RaeAnne Marsh

Healthy eating never looked so appealing.

Santé’s first impression gives off vibes of haute couture, with the outsize fashion photos and a feathery boa-inspired chandelier. Co-owner Nico Doniele Scegiel worked in the fashion industry, and credits her passion for healthy nutrition to overcoming the bad influences of that former career. She worked with award-winning Chef Saul Velazquez to develop Santé’s menu, which continues to expand. The Asian Buddha Bowl — yam noodles with spicy coconut sunflower sauce, squash, mushrooms, broccoli, Fresno chiles, sprouts, quinoa and herbs, with the option to add chicken, grilled tofu or beef — was recently added to the lunch selections Santé opened with last December.

Past the grab-n-go glass-fronted case on the right and a small, private room on the left, the foyer opens to a stylish, dimly lit dining room. Outside, a wrap-around patio offers somewhat secluded tables on the side and a sunny (but umbrella-shaded) welcome at the wider front section. 

As a décor element, the interior walls of living moss underscore the menu’s focus on natural, authentic and sustainable. Ingredients are sourced from McClendon Farms, Kvaroy Arctic, BlueSky Organics and other operators who take sustainable to the higher level of regenerative — so that even figuring in issues of transportation, the overall environmental impact is positive, Scegiel explains.

 A hands-down standout is the appetizer Shishito Cornbread, which comes to the table sizzling in a cast-iron skillet. Melted maple butter adds sweetness, which is tempered by bits of jalapeños in the moist cornbread. Main dishes for lunch include the de rigueur hamburger – carnivore and vegan versions — but Santé’s globally inspired menu will reward the adventurous. Case in point: the Joyce Farms Red Poulet Buttermilk Brined Half Chicken, moist and flavorful with its basting of Kalamata olive and cherry gastrique, served with pickled spaghetti squash and a crisp brown rice cracker. Vegetables take center stage with such choices as Root Mash, made with parsnips, cauliflower and carrots with a burnt scallion butter; and Charred Cabbage (who knew cabbage could be so creamy?) served with kale chimichurri and chive yogurt. Go-with beverages include uniquely crafted cocktails, biodynamic wines and thirst-quenching Rishi sparkling botanicals.

The menu clearly indicates whether dishes are vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, but Santé’s founders intended the restaurant to be inclusive of people with all kinds of dietary restrictions. Servers are trained not just about the menu selections but also about ingredients and preparation; there is purpose and knowledge behind the server’s inquiry to each guest, “Do you have any food allergies or other food restrictions?” And, of course, they’re equally attentive to those who can enjoy the full gamut of Santé’s gastronomy.   


15507 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 687-3189

Santé is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner Tuesday through Friday; open for brunch Saturday and Sunday; offers a grab n’ gourmet café Tuesday through Sunday 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Shishito Cornbread

Raw cow’s milk cheddar cheese, whipped maple butter

Joyce Farms Red Poulet Buttermilk Brined Half Chicken

Spaghetti squash, Kalamata olive, cherry jus

Raw Chilled Zucchini Lasagna

Tomato chutney, cashew ricotta

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