Ocean Prime Phoenix: A Great Happy Hour Spot

I was recently a guest of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants at the North Phoenix location of Ocean Prime. I had eaten there once when it first opened, but it had been years. I was looking forward to some great seafood in one of my earliest excursions back into a restaurant after the pandemic. My husband and I went for drinks and appetizers and then ordered an entire meal. I've since returned twice for happy hour (select appetizers available at half off and $5 off specialty cocktails). I highly recommend Ocean Prime Phoenix if you're looking for some great flavors, fresh seafood, and a wonderful atmosphere. It's now one of my favorite happy hour spots.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with meals and drinks for the purpose of review, although the writer has returned and paid full price for items. While the complimentary meal has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. Wander With Wonder contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. We thank you for your help — it is what keeps Wander With Wonder bringing you great content.

Ocean Prime Cocktails and Wine List

One thing that sets all Ocean Prime restaurants aside is the use of fresh ingredients, a great craft cocktail scene, and an impressive wine list. Ocean Prime Phoenix is no exception.

Our Cocktail Options

There are several great cocktails that feature top-shelf liquors. We both decided to order cocktails to start the evening. My husband opted for the Prime Manhattan with Woodford Reserve. He thought it was expertly made.

Ocean Prime Prime Manhattan Cocktail. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

Ocean Prime Prime Manhattan Cocktail. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

When we returned for happy hour together, he order the Tequila Cocktail made with Corzo Silver Tequila and house-infused agave nectar and also enjoyed that one.

For our dinner, I ordered the Berries & Bubbles. This is my kind of cocktail. It has Belvedere Citrus Vodka, marinated berries, fresh lemon, and Domaine Chandon Brut. I could have sipped on these all night. This is not only delicious, but it is a fun cocktail. And it has bubbles, which everyone who knows me knows that sparkling wine is my favorite.

Ocean Prime Berries and Bubbles Cocktail

Ocean Prime Berries and Bubbles Cocktail. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

The cocktail menu also includes an assortment of bourbon, rye whiskey, tequila, mezcal, and Scotches—plus great after-dinner options, including ports, cognacs, and an espresso martini.

The Wine List

The wine list is very good and includes wines by the glass as well as by the bottle. You can also opt for about five wines by the glass using Coravin. This gives you a chance to try exceptional wines that would normally cost hundreds of dollars for the bottle. Those include a Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and a Toscana, Gaja Ca' Marcanda.

I ordered wine with my dinner when I went with my husband. I'll go into details below, but I ordered a fish entrée, so I opted for a white wine, which I don't often drink. I wanted something I don't usually see on the menu, and when I spotted a Sancerre Pascal Jolivet from Loire region of France, I jumped at it. It paired beautifully with my Chilean Sea Bass.

On the other trips I've made for happy hour, I opted for a glass of sparkling wine by the glass. I'm always impressed when restaurants have several options in sparkling wine by the glass. Ocean Prime didn't disappoint. You can get Prosecco, the Domaine Chandon Brut, a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne, or the Mumm Napa Brut Rosé. I love a sparkling rosé, so I opted for the Mumm Napa.

Favorite Sparkling Wines

Two glasses of rosé Champagne. Photo by y-studio via iStockPhoto

Ocean Prime Appetizers

After spending time oohing and ahhing over my bubbling cocktail, we decided to place an order for appetizers. Both of the additional times I've returned, I made a meal on the appetizers. During the first dinner, we ordered the Point Judith Calamari served with a sweet chili sauce and the shrimp sauté, served with Tabasco Cream Sauce and delicious bread. I've been craving that calamari since then. I'm believing it has become an obsession.

Shrimp Sauté at Ocean Prime Phoenix

Shrimp Sauté at Ocean Prime Phoenix. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

When I went back for happy hour, I decided to try the sushi that is on the menu. There are six options, including a Prime Roll with tempura shrimp and beef carpaccio. The Ocean Prime Ocean Roll is delightful, with #1 Tuna, salmon, hamachi, and avocado with chili garlic oil.

Ocean Prime Ocean Roll

Ocean Prime Ocean Roll. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

I really enjoyed the Ahi Tuna Tartare with the lovely ginger ponzu. The crispy wonton strips are built into the presentation.

Ocean Prime Ahi Tuna Tartare

Ocean Prime Ahi Tuna Tartare. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

There are great shellfish offerings as well. The jumbo shrimp cocktail is fresh and delightful. If you like oysters, you can get those on the half shell, and choose from either East Coast Oysters or West Coast Oysters.

Ocean Prime Colossal Shrimp Cocktail

Ocean Prime Colossal Shrimp Cocktail. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

There is also a selection of salads and soups. These are big portions, that make them ideal for a happy hour. The lobster bisque is filled with butter-poached lobster. The Ocean Prime Shellfish “Cobb” is gorgeous and a seafood feast on a plate.

Ocean Prime Shellfish Cobb Salad. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

Ocean Prime Shellfish Cobb Salad. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

Ocean Prime Offers Great Main Dishes

If you're in the restaurant to enjoy the entrées, you have some amazing main dishes from which to choose. I ended up taking most of my main course home with me the first night because I filled up on the appetizers. Those great appetizer options are why I keep going back for happy hour!

But, when you're ready for the main course, you can select either prime steaks or seafood. I asked our waiter what was his favorite dish on the menu and he immediately responded that it was the Chilean Sea Bass, served with whipped potatoes and a champagne truffle sauce. Of course, I had to order it and it was cooked to perfection.

Ocean Prime Chilean Sea Bass. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

Ocean Prime Chilean Sea Bass. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

If I can ever eat more than appetizers, I'm going to try the sea scallops served with parmesan risotto. I am a huge fan of scallops and when they're served with risotto, that might possibly be my favorite combination in the entire world.

Ocean Prime Scallops

Ocean Prime Scallops. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

My husband is a steak lover, so he eyed that prime steak menu. All steaks are seasoned and broiled at high heat for that perfect char. He ordered the New York Strip with a Béarnaise sauce. If you prefer, you can get it with shrimp scampi on the top.

Ocean Prime NY Strip Steak with Garlic Shrimp Scampi. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

Ocean Prime NY Strip Steak with Garlic Shrimp Scampi. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

You can also order any of the steaks with a lobster tail. The guests at the next table, celebrating an anniversary, ordered the filet mignon with lobster tail. It looked divine. There is also a bone-in filet and a ribeye available and you can add black truffle butter or a Maytag blue cheese crust.

Ocean Prime Filet and Lobster Tail. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

Ocean Prime Filet and Lobster Tail. Photo courtesy Ocean Prime Phoenix

If You Go to Ocean Prime Phoenix

RoamRight travel insurance

Ocean Prime Phoenix is in High Street, at Loop 101, just across the street from the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. I recommend making reservations for either dinner or happy hour. We were fortunate the last time we showed up to get a great seat in the lounge for happy hour.

The staff at Ocean Prime Phoenix is really friendly and has a nice balance of attention to detail without hovering. Although I can get the same great food in the Lounge as I can in the restaurant, there is definitely a more casual feel in the lounge.

The restaurant is open from 4 pm to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and from 4 pm to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. Happy hour is Monday through Saturday from 4 to 6:30 pm in the Lounge at Ocean Prime. For wine lovers, Monday nights are worth a visit, when selected bottles, normally $99 or less, are on special for half off. There is nothing to keep you from trying out the great flavors at Ocean Prime Phoenix. Be sure to check on Wander for more great Arizona restaurants and suggestions for what you can see and do when you visit Arizona.

 

Written by Susan Lanier-Graham

Founder and publisher Susan Lanier-Graham has traveled the world for the past twenty years, filling a passport or two along the way. She has wandered through the jungles of Thailand, explored the mysteries of the Great Pyramids, and shared the night with a leopard in Zambia. She sailed in the Mediterranean, sipped her way through Burgundy canals and Champagne caves. She followed Rembrandt’s footsteps through Amsterdam. Susan found her center on the red rocks of Sedona and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the Indian Ocean in Bali. Susan is always looking for wow moments around the world or across the street to share with adventure lovers everywhere. She has authored more than 75 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Susan is an award-winning travel writer and member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). She is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan's work still regularly appears in print and online. Susan is an award-winning travel writer, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan has worked as an ambassador for Travelocity and is currently a travel ambassador for Rocky Mountaineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online in a variety of publications. These include various AAA publications, Postcards for Travel Leaders, Alamo.com, Hotels.com, Fairmont.com, So Scottsdale, Uptown, Green Living AZ, Life Refined, Modern Luxury, Marriott.com, WHERE Arizona, WHERE Traveler Phoenix + Scottsdale, and more.

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