From tortas to some of the best pizza in America, there are a lot of good things to eat in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Sure, there are the expected Southwest diners, but Phoenix’s restaurants can surprise you too with their unexpected details. Whether you’re in the mood for barbacoa or house-made pasta, we’ve organized this list of the best restaurants in Phoenix.
Best Restaurants In Phoenix
Across the pond
A sushi and cocktail bar (or maybe the other way around, depending on how your evening’s going), Across the Pond offers a big-time dining experience in petite environs. The open-kitchen setup here lets you observe the chefs up close as they quietly chat with one another while preparing handmade rolls and blowtorching the occasional scallop. (The place smells like a campfire, in a good way.) The owners have brought the same levels of heat and humor to the cocktail list as can be found at Clever Koi, their Asian kitchen located just across the breezeway. This is one of the best restaurants in Phoenix that you should visit.
This fast-casual Mesa lunch spot checks a lot of “classic hidden gem” boxes: strip mall location, beachy walls and window murals, several decades in business, super flavorful fare. Aloha Kitchen is, in fact, such a classic hidden gem that it is no longer hidden. It’s been on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and has a line out the door almost daily. Fame hasn’t gone to the heads of Aloha Kitchen’s friendly owners, though. The reasonably priced Hawaiian-style eatery (they throw in a little Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, too) still serves generous, hard-to-resist island food via simple counter service.
Asadero Norte De Sonora
Whether entering from the small parking lot or the surrounding neighborhood, you’ll smell the kitchen — grilled meat, aromatic onions, some array of spices — before you even reach the doorway to Asadero Norte De Sonora. Asadero may be one of the coziest Mexican restaurants in the Valley. The dining room is homey and brightly lit, with picnic-style benches and tile-top tables. A TV is going, and a server is rushing around trays of water, tall glasses of horchata, Mexican Cokes, and complimentary chips and salsa.
It can feel like a casual waiting room — with patrons chewing while checking their phones or eyeing a soap opera — or an ideal date or family dinner spot. But above all, it’s the food that draws in all who sit here or glide in for to-go orders.
Jason and Katherine Dwight, who got their start selling food at local farmers markets, have opened a farm-driven, midtown Phoenix restaurant where the menu changes daily. The rustic, new American food leans heavily on techniques like pickling, wood-grilling, dry-aging, and butchering. (Jason, for instance, breaks down whole steers.) Classic dishes like duck a l’orange get slight, thoughtful upgrades. Simple proteins like smoked sausage gain both place and style from pickled plums and I’itoi onions. Some 90 percent of the spirits on the menu are Arizonan, and so are many of the wines. The dining room, more farmhouse than farmhouse chic, features slabs of wood for tables and benches.
Arizona Wilderness DTPHX
Since Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company opened in 2013, Phoenicians and travelers have made the hike over to Gilbert for provocative brews and grass-fed burgers slathered with peanut butter and jalapeno jelly. No longer. The pioneering, environmentally conscious brewery, owned by Jonathan Buford and Patrick Ware, recently opened a 650-seat beer garden on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix’s arts district.
At the new location, the burgers come as double deckers, duck fat fries are heaped on trays, and the drinks are still among the most surprising in the country. A few especially interesting beers on the menu come from an offsite “Woodnotes Cellar,” where imaginative brewers use various vessels like barrels, puncheons, and foeders to create eye-opening new flavors.
Jason Asher and Richard Furnari, the trailblazing cocktail duo behind Barter & Shake and underground tiki lair Undertow, continue to drive the expanding mixology scene in Phoenix. The pair have dropped their most ambitious concept yet, Century Grand, themed around 1920s rail travel. Bartenders look the part in period garb. One room, Platform 18, is even designed to emulate a bygone train car, complete with synchronized screens creating the illusion of scenery passing by outside train windows.
The cocktail book, which comes with an ingredient glossary, includes drinks that reach back in time, and the bar also offers an extensive selection of whiskey and natural wine. Vegetable savant Sacha Levine produces quirky, market-driven dishes that servers wheel out on dim sum carts. This is one of the best restaurants in Phoenix you should not miss.
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