Kitchen Doors: An Authentic Garden-to-Table Experience

The Farm at South Mountain provides a beautiful green space in the heart of Phoenix with three distinct dining experiences — Morning Glory Cafe for breakfast; the Farm Kitchen, offering sandwiches, baked goods and salads for lunch; and Quiessence, a fine-dining restaurant highlighting fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.   

Opened in 2001, Quiessence stands for a quiet, tranquil environment. “The restaurant has evolved a lot over time. It started out as a more casual restaurant, where we hosted cooking classes,” said chef and co-owner Dustin Christofolo. “Over the years and after a few remodels, it has evolved into a fine-dining establishment with specialized tasting menus. 

At the beginning of 2023, we opened our new state-of-the-art Q Kitchen, the perfect custom space for our farm-to-table restaurant.”

Christofolo describes Quiessence as farm fresh with a rustic soul. “The ambiance is very romantic and the menu is true farm-to-table with our onsite garden just steps from our kitchen,” he said. “We are inspired by the flavors and seasons of Arizona.” 

Guests can enjoy a three-, four- or five-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings featuring seasonal ingredients. Recent menu selections include butternut squash soup with goat cheese mousse, potato gnocchi with guinea hen confit and Alaskan halibut with chickpea puree and corn relish. The Quiessence chef’s spread includes local cheeses, cured meats, brick-oven baked artisan bread and seasonal jams. Additional bites like Japanese A5 Wagyu and foie gras macarons are also available. 

Beverage selections at Quiessence include several wines from Arizona, as well as cocktails featuring fresh ingredients from the farm, like a citrus margarita and a smoky Paloma.

The stunning property includes an organic pecan orchard, the Soil & Seed Garden, which provides produce for all three restaurants at The Farm at South Mountain, and a rustic farmhouse where Quiessence is housed. Dining options at Quiessence include the Chef’s Table in the heart of the new kitchen and the Brick Oven Experience, which offers a special tasting menu next to a fireplace under a private gazebo.

In addition to onsite ingredients from the farm, including herbs, microgreens, beets, radishes, citrus, eggplant and zucchini, Quiessence uses a variety of local suppliers, including Noble Bread, Two Wash Ranch, McClendon Farms and Crow’s Dairy.

“It’s important to support the people of your region,” Christofolo said. “Fresher ingredients imply more sustainable practices. We follow the lead of the seasons and the land to guide our menu and our cooking. The flavors of the Arizona terroir shine through each dish with the unique layering of flavors and exceptional use of the local ingredients.”

For information, visit  

About Shoshana Leon

Shoshana Leon is a culinary writer for Frontdoors Media and creator of Foodie Fo Sho.

From Frontdoors Magazine

Back to Top