The Best Restaurants in Phoenix

Go beyond the cowboy steaks and traditional Mexican fare that are often associated with Phoenix and celebrate the city with these dishes inspired by international cuisines, as well as local trends and influences.

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Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Debby Wolvos

Photo By: Diana Brandt

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Matt Le

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Audrey Lasalle

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Grace Stufkosky

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Debby Wolvos/Wrigley Mansion

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Cotton & Copper

Chef Tamara Stanger is an artist, and her clarity of vision is evident in the dishes that she has created for Cotton & Copper. Her thoughtfully crafted and plated entrees are served on antique-patterned plates, and include both foraged and locally sourced, hand-picked ingredients. This beautiful O'odham bean spread is made with tepary beans, which have been local to this area since pre-Columbian times. The plate is studded with mildly pickled vegetables that include cholla cactus buds.

Worth Takeaway

Worth Takeaway in Mesa is a reminder that you can take it with you. In the middle of a busy day, it’s nice to be able to stop and enjoy an exceptional sandwich made with care and love, like this roast beef, cheddar and horseradish with house made giardiniera. A happy lunch sets the pace for a happy afternoon.

Phoenix Public Market Café

The light, bright and colorful Forbidden Rice Bowl packs a punch of healthy carbs to fuel your afternoon at the Phoenix Public Market Café. Black jasmine forbidden rice tossed with a sweet and spicy vinaigrette adds substance to the seasonal vegetables from the adjacent farmer’s market, with the option to add salmon, rotisserie chicken or NY strip steak.

Crujiente Tacos

Surf and turf takes a taco form at Crujiente Tacos. A Texas Wagyu beef taco with soy-pickled shimeji mushrooms, fresh horseradish, Japanese mustard and cilantro "mojo" is served alongside the seared shrimp taco, with pickled vegetables, Thai green curry and basil. Both are served on blue corn tortillas.

SumoMaya

1/3 Asian dishes + 1/3 Mexican dishes + 1/3 Asian/Mexican fusion dishes = an extremely popular formula for dinner at Sumomaya in Scottsdale. Even at Sunday brunch the crowd is well dressed, and the Mimosas, Bloody Marys and Micheladas are bottomless (for an extra $10). Pictured is one of their fusion dishes, the Pork Al Pastor Pad Thai, which is served with endless appetizers and desserts when ordered at brunch.

Southern Rail

Southern Rail serves elevated comfort food that reflects chef Justin Beckett’s memoires around the kitchen table. He says that his chicken and biscuit dumplings are a classic example of a dish that brings his customers back to "those special home cooked moments."

Ocotillo

The beef ribs with Mole Negro BBQ Sauce at Ocotillo are from ranches native to the Sonoran Desert. The Ocotillo Chicken utilizes local honey, chiles, pecans and citrus cooked on mesquite and pecan wood from the pecan orchards between Phoenix and Tucson. Chef Walter Sterling loves food and he loves making people happy — and it shows.

Welcome Diner

A lot of the menu items at the Welcome Diner were named after songs by the band Ween, which pretty much sums up this restaurant’s vibe. The play list is usually excellent, the bar always open and the food is creative diner fare. Yep, that’s fried chicken and sausage gravy underneath that egg on the "Big Jim," which also has melted cheddar cheese and bacon underneath that big biscuit.

Drunken Tiger

We loved this image of head chef Justin Park cooking ramen noodles for a spicy kimchi dish at Drunken Tiger. This is food to drink by, and a party atmosphere prevails as the karaoke machine hums and the night saunters on.

Taqueria Centro

The ambiance at Taqueria Centro is light and airy with white floors and floor to ceiling windows on three sides with sweeping views of Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain helmed by Chopped champion Laura Gonzalez. The food is Sonoran and central Mexican. The carne asada fries fall somewhere between cheese fries and nachos. You can’t really scoop the carne asada, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa up with a fry like you can with a tortilla chip, so a fork is recommended to get all of the parts speared in a way where they can go evenly into your mouth.

Piefection

Order some of Piefection’s insanely popular sweet or savory pies in advance, then sit down and have a slice of pie and a cup of coffee when you pick up your order at the shop. This showstopping red, white and blue cheesecake pie is one of over 70 varieties of dessert pies available. The savory chicken, beef and pork pot pies are available frozen so be sure stock up.

Chula Seafood

Chula Seafood, a popular family-owned supplier of house-smoked and fresh seafood to local restaurants, opened a restaurant alongside their fish market serving their own creations. The family takes seafood seriously — they even have their own fishing boat. All of their seafood is sustainably harvested or caught, and they use as much of the whole fish as possible. Try the fabulous smoked fish platter, which pays tribute to the delicate fish without ever overwhelming the flavor or texture.

Lux Central Coffee Shop

Lux Central’s Irish Coffee is not just coffee. It’s not even just spiked coffee. It’s house-roasted spiked coffee. Open from 6 a.m. until the wee hours of the night, Lux Central always has something going on.

Culinary Dropout

Culinary Dropout caters to both college and young parental crowds in a huge, hip space. Their Southwestern-style green chile and pork stew is both warm and hearty. It comes served with a slightly sweet hunk of cornbread and a fried egg on top. The results are a creamy, hearty, bean-laden stew that appeals on a cold winter day in the desert or, for Phoenix natives, anytime it’s less than 70 degrees.

Fat Ox

Olives, citrus and tomatoes are a few shared ingredients found in both Italy and Arizona. In fact, many ingredients popular in Italian cuisine were brought there by Spanish Conquistadors and vice versa. The chefs at Fat Ox pride themselves on their use of ingredients common to the regions of old-world Italy and new-world Arizona in their interpretation of modern Italian cuisine, including in mozzarella with orange and garlic-honey vinaigrette.

Cafe Lalibela

Family-owned and -operated for over two decades, Cafe Lalibela is beloved for its delicious vegetarian options and signature Ethiopian coffee. Served on puffy injera bread, the dishes are ideal for sharing.

Ghost Ranch

Cousins and co-chefs Roberto Centeno and Rene Andrade bring Southwest cuisine from back home to Phoenix with dishes that are reflective of the Sonoran-style Mexican food that they grew up eating in Nogales, Arizona, a border town located 60 miles south of Tucson. Gooey, cheesy, creamy Aztec cakes were a way to use up day-old tortillas. At Ghost Ranch they are baked with roasted green chiles, corn and shredded chicken and served in a tiny cast iron pot.

Brat Haus

All you should need to know about Brat Haus is that they have giant pretzels. GIANT PRETZELS. Obviously that should be enough, but the exciting news doesn’t stop there. Brat Haus also boasts 28 craft beers on tap and an open-air patio/beer garden in lovely Old Town Scottsdale. It’s the perfect environment to treat yourself to a giant 40-ounce beer and a foot-long brat that goes by the name of "Big Weenie."

Citizen Public House

The chopped salad at Citizen Public House is so popular that it has it's own Facebook page, and it is quite a remarkable salad, made with a crazy/brilliant combination of Israeli couscous, sweet dried corn, smoked salmon, asiago, pepitas, tomatoes, currants and arugula with a basil ranch dressing.

Barrio Queen

Molletes are a Mexican staple, traditionally made with a refried beans- and cheese-slathered toasted bolillo, which is same type of soft, sweet roll that the famed Sonoran hot dog is encased in. The molletes at Barrio Queen are then topped with avocado, tomato, picked onion, and chorizo. Two eggs are served on the side for a traditional Mexican breakfast any time of the day.

Pane Bianco

It’s important to remember that the famous Pizzeria Bianco folks also have a downtown sandwich shop, Pane Bianco, which doesn’t usually have the hours-long wait time of its sister. The popular Caprese has fresh basil, house-made mozzarella & locally sourced tomatoes stuffed between a split wood fired focaccia for what will surely be one of the best sandwiches you've ever had. And remember to pick up some of their specially made house canned tomatoes and sauce while you are there.

Geordie’s at Wrigley Mansion

Christopher Gross is a local icon and James Beard Award winner. His latest endeavor, Geordie’s, is located in the spectacular and allegedly haunted historic Phoenix landmark Wrigley Mansion. Try the stunning black goat cheese-filled tortellini with delicata squash, wild mushroom and asparagus.

Kai

Located inside the Native American-owned Sheraton Grand Resort at Wildhorse Pass, Kai means "seed" in the Pima language. Native technique and locally sourced ingredients, many from the Gila River Indian Community, are carefully selected and arranged for multi-sensory appeal.

Angry Crab Shack

It’s a choose-your-own-adventure dinner at Angry Crab Shack. Options include crawfish, blue crabs and shrimp (heads on or off). Optional additions include sausage (YES!), corn (yes!) or potatoes (of course!). Then the kitchen adds your choice of spices to your predetermined heat level and an indeterminate, but large amount of butter, all served it up in a steamer bag right to your table which is lined with craft paper so that you can be as messy as you want.

Takamatsu

It is exceptionally fun to grill your own meat, at your own table, inside a restaurant. It’s even more entertaining to load your cooked creation into lettuce leaf cups and to then decide which of the provided accoutrements to pile on top. Takamatsu is a Japanese/Korean restaurant, meaning you can order up a side of your favorite nigiri to enjoy as you fire up your dinner... or if it’s too hot outside to sit that close to an open flame, sit at the sushi bar instead.

Original Cuisine

Original Cuisine opened to great anticipation and fanfare as a well-executed expression of Szechuan cuisine. Modern interpretations of classic dishes abound, including dry pot-style spare ribs, which are a little bit salty and a little bit crunchy. The peanuts, veggies and chiles spooned over the top add a little kick of crunch and spice.

Vincent on Camelback

Vincent Guerithault has been declared the grand-dad of French-Southwestern fusion cuisine. In the mid-80s he was the first high-powered chef in the Phoenix area to include local ingredients and cooking techniques in an upscale restaurant, Vincent on Camelback, fusing dishes with his training in classic French cuisine. His lobster chimichangas and duck tamales are still legendary... and still available at Vincent’s, which has now been a Phoenix icon for over 30 years.

Obon

Obon Sushi and Ramen crafts both of its namesake specialties equally well. The Tataki Maki roll, which has shrimp tempura, spicy crab, cucumber, seared tuna and avocado, is topped with micro basil, marinated tomatoes and chimichurri. Order it alongside a bowl of tonkotsu or vegetarian red miso ramen.

The Gladly

The addictive pistachio chicken liver pate at The Gladly was inspired by a recipe from chef Bernie Kantak’s German grandfather. It’s served with crostini, sage mustard, pickled onion, capers. Pair it with one of the Gladly’s 250 kinds of Whisky and think about your own ancestors and the food they’ve brought here from the places they came from.