Download our Free Best Of App

Food & Drink

  • BEST SPARERIBS

    Golden Eggroll

    When we decided to do a Garden of Eden theme for this year's Best of Phoenix, we knew we'd have to tell you where to find the best apple pie, the best place to make your garden grow, the best place to rent a snake. And, of course, we figured we needed to tell you where to find the best… More >>
  • BEST APPLE PIE

    The Iowa Cafe

    In our opinion, it's always worth a trek out to east Mesa, to this homey and charming shrine to the land where corn grows freely, and it's all because of our favorite part of the day: dessert. More than 20 types of homemade pie are baked daily using passed-down family recipes, and the offerings will overwhelm your taste buds. There… More >>
  • BEST AUTHENTIC ARIZONA RESTAURANT

    Lon's at the Hermosa

    We can't help but sigh when we think about Hermosa Inn and its beloved restaurant, Lon's. With its view of Camelback Mountain, its cozy patio fireplace, and trees and cactuses everywhere, the place oozes so much desert charm that we wish we could live there. (Yeah, only in our dreams . . . ) Of course, painter Lon Megargee did… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WAX NOSTALGIC ABOUT PHOENIX

    Bill Johnson's Big Apple

    Fifty years ago, former circus trapeze artist Bill Johnson threw open the doors on what would become one of the best-known and longest-running restaurants in the Valley, and the place that bears his name has been dishing out chops and barbecue ever since. The rustic interior of Bill Johnson's Big Apple is still hung with Western memorabilia, its servers still… More >>
  • BEST NEW RESTAURANT

    Backstreet Wine Salon

    "In vino veritas," as the Romans were fond of saying when they weren't having orgies or out conquering the ancient world: That is, "In wine, there's truth." But the truth we've discovered through our own oenophilia is that it's often too damned expensive to drink the blood of the vine while dining out at a fine restaurant, assuming you want… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL EATERY WE WISH WERE A CHAIN

    The Cornish Pasty Co.

    Expat Dean Thomas of Gunnislake, Cornwall, has single-handedly turned Tempe into Arizona's capital of Cornish pasty. See, pasties (pronounced pass-tee) are a Cornish specialty, the type of hearty fare tin miners in that section of England traditionally took with them to the mines. To the uninitiated, they might resemble a jumbo Hot Pocket or the Brit version of a… More >>
  • BEST CHAIN WE'RE GLAD IS A CHAIN

    Oregano's Pizza Bistro

    How can you not love a pizza joint where the menu describes the Chicago-style thin-crust pie as "custom cut into tiny squares, like finger-jello"? This is a place that does not take itself seriously — except when it comes to the quality of the food, which is always high, even as Oregano's prepares to take over the world — or,… More >>
  • BEST OVERALL DINING EXPERIENCE

    Binkley's Restaurant

    Cave Creek: home of javelinas, biker bars, speed traps and — fine dining? Hell, where'd you think all those folks in their million-dollar pads go to graze? To Binkley's Restaurant, of course, a little patch of genteel Napa Valley amidst the giant rocks and saguaros. Chef Kevin Binkley, who once worked side-by-side with Thomas Keller at Keller's much-ballyhooed French Laundry… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO EAT LUNCH IF YOU'RE HAVING A BAD DAY

    Welcome Diner

    Welcome Diner is the heart of Roosevelt Row — we have friends who swear by the place, not as a good spot to grab lunch but as a mood elevator. Located just east of the gallery action, the diner has quickly become the weekday afternoon hangout for developers, artists and shopkeepers, who gather to eat the hamburgers and fries and… More >>
  • BEST SIGNATURE DISH

    The Pink Taco

    Here's how the conversation went, over the menus at Pink Taco: "Hey," said our dining companion, a Pink Taco fan (actually, Jason Rose, the restaurant's local PR guy), "you've gotta order the Pink Taco." "Oh, no," we replied. "We'll pass. We really don't like fish." That cracked Rose up. Whoops. Our bad. Turns out, the Pink Taco (a.k.a. panuchos)… More >>
  • BEST PUPU PLATTER

    Trader Vic's - CLOSED

    Like many longtime Valleyites, we have fond memories of the original Trader Vic's. It was located in downtown Scottsdale, and by the time we made it there, the blush was off the rose, the blowfish draped with cobwebs and dust. Still, for us, this was as glamorous as it got. (This was before the Drinkwaters brought liquor and clubs to… More >>
  • BEST USE OF LAVENDER

    Méthode Bistro

    We weren't surprised to see lavender on Méthode Bistro's dessert list, where it shows up twice — in the form of creamy lavender ice cream (which accompanies wood-roasted pineapple and crisp pastry) as well as lavender cookies (paired with a white chocolate and blueberry frozen soufflé). Something about its intoxicating aroma gives sweet foods a special twist. But chef Matt… More >>
  • BEST HOT SAUCE

    Aciliezme, at Efes Turkish Cuisine

    Don't ask us to pronounce "aciliezme." Doesn't matter, you can just ask your kind Efes waiter for the Atomic Bomb. Or order the appetizer platter. That's what we did, and while the waiter did warn us that the pile of reddish crumbs he called hot sauce (hardly looks like hot sauce, more like hot crumbs) was a little fiery, we… More >>
  • BEST BALLS

    Lisa G Cafe Wine Bar

    Lisa G has us by the balls. Sure, the creative salads at this chic, laid-back little wine bar are addictive (especially the steak salad with spinach and blue cheese). And the hefty sandwiches, made on fresh, fragrant MJ Bread (Tammie Coe's hubby), are some of the best in town. But Lisa's Bowl of Balls is what really gets us hot… More >>
  • BEST CAESAR SALAD

    Radda Caffe-Bar

    For such a ubiquitous salad, the mighty Caesar is sadly botched more often than not. Whether it's from the wrong kind of lettuce (only romaine will do), overpowering, gunky dressing, or too many shakes of straight-from-the-can grated Parmesan, too many restaurants take a heavy hand with this seemingly straightforward classic. Radda's "La Stella" Caesar is a shining star of… More >>
  • BEST CLUB SALAD

    Country Glazed Ham - CLOSED

    We are well aware that salad is supposed to be diet food, but we're just as aware at how much wink-wink, nod-nodding goes on around many menus in town. Nowhere is this more evident — or, we believe, better justified — than at Country Glazed Ham, where we recently made pigs of ourselves over the club salad. No grilled chicken… More >>
  • BEST CRAB CAKES

    Wildfish Seafood Grille

    We figured the seafood would be killer at this new Scottsdale hot spot — after all, it's Eddie V's sexy younger sib. Sure enough, Wildfish has quickly become our favorite place to chow down on seafood so fresh it tastes like it leaped right out of the ocean into the frying pan. From the looks of the crowds in this… More >>
  • BEST BRUSCHETTA

    Postino Winecafé

    At most places, bruschetta might get just a listing on the appetizer menu, but at Postino, it's more than a mere starter. Served up with a small bowl of olives on a wooden cutting board, it's four large slices of chewy, lightly crisped bread adorned with the most satisfying toppings (there are 10 options in all, and you can pick… More >>
  • BEST WINGS

    Long Wong's

    There are things about the old Mill Avenue Long Wong's we still miss (seeing great local bands, drinking cold beer on the patio), and there are things we definitely won't (um, how to describe that awful smell that only got worse when smoking was banned?). But there's no need to be nostalgic at the new Long Wong's, a colorful little… More >>
  • BEST GREENS

    Memphx Cafe

    Dammit, we know our gol-darn greens! We've spent many years in the Deep South. We've dined repeatedly at the (sadly) now-closed Stacy's soul food restaurant, as well as Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe and Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles, in Phoenix. We've even brunched at Roscoe's over in La-La Land. All of them do, or did (in Stacy's case), a mean… More >>
  • BEST RUMAKI

    Sing High Chop Suey House

    Okay, you're probably asking how we can recommend anything at a downtown Phoenix Chinese restaurant. That is, how good could some dive behind Chase Field be? After all, we're not talking about a sports bar here. But if that's what you think, you're ignorant, round-eye. Actually, the area surrounding Sing High contained a throng of Chinese businesses back in… More >>
  • BEST DIM SUM

    Golden Buddha - CLOSED

    Pain, suffering, and punishment. That's the theology most of the world's major religions sell. Well, later for that cheese! We've decided to worship that corpulent, jolly "buddha" with a small "b" known as Jin Foo, Bu Dai, or Hotei. This smiling, big-eared mendicant with a belly like Homer Simpson's greets visitors to the Chinese Cultural Center's Golden Buddha restaurant, where… More >>
  • BEST SUSHI

    Sushi Eye Bar and Grill

    Without naming any names, there are a lot of big shots locally in the sushi game, some with labyrinthine sushi emporiums, outfitted with as much glitter and bling as money can buy, statuesque waitresses to fetch your raw fish for you, and, usually, a line of doods behind the sushi counter who might as well be making cheese-drenched nachos as… More >>
  • BEST JERK

    Irie Jamaican Cafe - CLOSED

    Welcome to Jamrock, as Damian Marley might say, south Phoenix-style. Sure, when you saw the line "Best Jerk," you thought we were talking about County Attorney Candy Thomas. No, that'd be "Biggest Jerk." Rather, what we're celebrating here is that Jamaican barbecue style that uses a dry-rub blend of spices such as allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers, cloves, cinnamon and thyme… More >>
  • BEST ESCARGOTS

    Christo's

    Say what you want about Republicans, them GOPers ain't stupid. That's why you'll always see a gray-haired herd of elephants in Christo's during the lunch and dinner hours at the old-school Eye-tie joint. At Christo's, the waiters do everything but kiss your tootsies, the grub is good, the drinks are stiff, and they've always got Sinatra on the box. No… More >>
  • BEST USE OF A MUSHROOM

    Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry

    This category should actually be named "Best Use of Several Mushrooms," since the chefs at Cowboy Ciao mix a combo of cremini, oyster and button 'shrooms — topped with grilled portabellini — to create the best mushroom fry we've ever tried. The dish — served as an appetizer or hefted up for an entree — is accompanied by double-cooked polenta… More >>
  • BEST USE OF PASSION FRUIT

    Ticoz

    At first, we must admit, it tasted faintly of lip gloss, a blast back to the eighth grade. But as we munched the lightly dressed shredded cabbage that accompanies many dishes at Ticoz — a new restaurant just north of Camelback Road — the slightly sweet and sour flavor of passion fruit grew on us. Passion fruit is just one… More >>
  • BEST USE OF A DUCK

    Siamese Kitchen

    The very talented chef Vanna Vorachitti of Glendale's funky, spunky Siamese Kitchen is responsible for our fave duck right after Donald — her spicy gang-pedyang, or roast duck in red curry with coconut milk, tomato chunks, pineapple, bell pepper and basil. Not that everything else on Vorachitti's menu isn't worth eating. For sure, we love her laab, papaya salad, Thai… More >>
  • BEST SAMOSAS

    Juba Restaurant - CLOSED

    "You say sanbusa. I say samosa. Let's call the whole thing off!" Wait a sec, Lady Day. Let's call the callin'-off off, instead, and make haste to that little corner of Somalia on McDowell Road known as Juba Restaurant. There we can partake of fragrant, spice-laden cuisine hailing from the Horn of Africa, including scrumptious Somali-style sanbusas, the Somali take… More >>
  • BEST VIETNAMESE SANDWICH

    Lee's Sandwiches

    The sammies this San Jose-based chain trades in are banh mi, the culinary intersection of Vietnamese and French influences. The Frogs contributed the thin, très crusty French bread, along with mayo and butter. And the Vietnamese added cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots. They split the difference, however, on the meats used, with Gallic-styled ham and pork liver pâté getting equal… More >>
  • BEST FISH AND CHIPS

    Rosie McCaffrey's Irish Pub

    Yeah, yeah — Guinness is still a meal in a glass. We're not about to argue with time-honored barfly wisdom. But our dark Irish stout really hits the spot when we down it with a tasty batch of fish and chips at Rosie McCaffrey's, where Emerald Isle memorabilia and photos of famous Irishmen add to the feisty, authentic pub feel.… More >>
  • BEST BURGER

    Delux

    Gourmet burgers abound in the PHX, and we've done our best Wimpy impersonation gobbling through them all. But the one we always come back to, the one we start to crave after a couple of weeks away, is the Delux burger, namesake of this stylish, L.A.-like eatery, where they offer 40 international brew-ha-has on tap and a limited menu right… More >>
  • BEST FRIES

    Trente-Cinq 35

    They're twice-fried 'til golden, delicately salted, and still light and fluffy on the inside, but don't call these bad boys French fries. At the fashionable Trente-Cinq 35, they're known as frites, and they're eaten with creamy mayo instead of ketchup, along with a big, steaming bowl of moules (mussels) simmered in a broth of white wine and tender leeks. This… More >>
  • BEST GRILLED CHEESE

    Corbin's

    Fans of this stylish Sunnyslope bar/grill rave about its new-and-improved ceiling, which has done wonders for reducing the place's once-raucous noise level. But perhaps even better news is what hasn't changed at Corbin's — the grilled cheese sandwich is still the best thing on sliced bread. Made with Cheddar, Swiss and quesa fresca, this sandwich is always perfectly toasted on… More >>
  • BEST PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY

    Cullen Campbell's PB&J at Camus

    We'll always associate Camus chef Cullen Campbell with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. That's because the first time we experienced his sometimes quirky cuisine was at a one-off event in Tempe where he made bread pudding out of two or three boxes of plain, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. That eve was also memorable for truffled collard greens, and various other goodies that… More >>
  • BEST GOURMET PIZZA

    Cibo

    For our money — and, more important, our time waiting for a table — the best gourmet pizza in this burg is put out by Cibo, whose owners Karen and Tony Martingilio were wise enough to have imported young pizza maestro Guido Saccone from the town of Caserta, near the birthplace of pizza in Naples. Saccone used to make hundreds… More >>
  • BEST SLICE OF PIZZA

    Gus's New York Pizza Inc.

    Considering the mind-boggling assortment of exotic toppings out there, you could, in theory, eat pizza every day of the week. But even mediocre pizza can pass for something decent when it's heaped with sausage or pepperoni or some other overpowering taste. The true test of good pizza is embodied in the humble, unadorned slice, a beguiling blend of crust, sauce… More >>
  • BEST CORNER ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Redendo's Pizzeria and Pasta

    Sure, there are plenty of places to get a plate of pasta in town, but few can reproduce that old-timey, Brooklyn-style pizzeria feel and flavor, which is why Redendo's remains our preferred corner Italian joint in the Valley. Chef Anthony Redendo is a Culinary Institute of America grad who hails from back East, so he knows his garlic knots, meatballs,… More >>
  • BEST UPSCALE ITALIAN RESTAURANT

    Marcellino Ristorante

    How good are the handmade pastas at Marcellino's? So good we'd eat 'em off the men's room floor of a Chevron station, capisce? Marcellino Verzino is the real deal, a true Italian, who's owned and operated award-winning restaurants in both Rome and NYC. It's in Rome that he met his beautiful, vivacious partner-for-life, Sima, who runs the front of the… More >>
  • BEST UPSCALE STEAK HOUSE

    Drinkwater's City Hall

    When we first stepped foot through the glamorous doors of Drinkwater's City Hall, we knew we'd entered a sensual realm. This swanky steak house oozes sexy luxury, from softly illuminated glass panels and black leather seating to live music and dim, red-tinted lighting. There's a lengthy list of wines to perk up your taste buds, and lots of appetizers to… More >>
  • BEST JEWISH DELI

    Katz's Delicatessen and Restaurant

    We go to Katz's Deli not just because it's the best deli in town, but because it serves the most amazingly tasty, most authentic matzo brei we've ever shoveled into our piehole. The balance of matzo to egg is perfect, and the serving is large enough that we can eat the first half with salt (kosher, of course) and the… More >>
  • BEST ITALIAN DELI

    Tony's Italian Delicatessen

    Tony's has been thriving in Sunnyslope since the late 1970s — no easy feat, considering that chains like Yellow Mart, the Dolly Madison Bakery, and even Dunkin' Donuts packed up and left the area long ago. Owned and operated by the Abramo family (whose late patriarch, Anthony Abramo, emigrated from Italy), Tony's has always been the one-stop-shopping place for people… More >>
  • BEST BARBECUE RESTAURANT

    Honey Bear's BBQ

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know it takes more than slammin' barbecue sauce to garner award-winning 'cue. That's why this 20-year-old joint with its huge portions and reasonable prices is our favorite grub spot. The succulent sauce — a vinegar-based Tennessee-style blend of ketchup, sugar, liquid smoke, mustard, lemon juice, and secret spices — is definitely off the hook, but its… More >>
  • BEST BBQ RESTAURANT IF YOU'RE FROM NORTH CAROLINA

    Restaurant 28 - CLOSED

    Restaurant 28 serves up pretty good 'cue even if you don't hail from the Old North State. But if you're a homesick Tar Heel in search of the vinegary-spicy shredded pork that you were raised believing was the only kind of barbecue in the world, then you'll think you're in hog heaven once you cross the threshold of this tiny… More >>
  • BEST SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT

    Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe

    The name sounds prim and proper, but Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe is all about guilty pleasures. We figure that's what's kept this restaurant in business for 42 years. Where else can you go for such perfectly crisp, golden fried catfish, savory Southern fried chicken, or thick, sizzling pork chops? This is the place to get your Dixie fix, right… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO PRETEND YOU'RE IN A CAFE IN THE BALKANS

    Cafe Sarajevo

    Now that the Balkan pot that threatened to boil over so many times in the '90s has eased to a simmer, it's time to explore that mysterious, beautiful bit of old Europe. What? Say your MasterCard is maxed out and you're two months late on your child support? Well, we can't all be Tony Bourdain, jet-setting all over the globe… More >>
  • BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Silver Dragon

    No, it ain't much to look at, whether you're standing in the parking lot or in the foyer, but Silver Dragon is consistently first-rate, as long as you order from the Chinese menu instead of the more Americanized bill of fare. The Chinese version is for the slightly more adventurous, with hot pots of gingered beef, white fungus soup, beef… More >>
  • BEST OLD SCHOOL CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Desert Jade

    Every Phoenix 'hood should be so blessed as the one near 32nd Street and Indian School Road, where Desert Jade takes up residence in what might have been an old steak house or pancake shack long ago. Inside the cottage-like structure, there are faded velvet booths and stuffed quail mounted over a fireplace that's been dormant for who knows how… More >>
  • BEST NEW SCHOOL CHINESE RESTAURANT

    Fate

    Johnny Chu continues to stir-fry the fun at Fate, where the young chef's unique sauces complement made-to-order dishes cooked with your choice of beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu. From the spinach bun starters to the sweet rice crackers that come at the end of every meal, we love Chu's twist of Fate.… More >>
  • BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

    Shimogamo

    Shimogamo is the kind of strip-mall haunt that you wouldn't likely stumble upon unless you happened to be visiting its more conspicuous neighbor, C-Fu Gourmet, or perhaps driving around looking for Lee Lee Oriental Market, located catty-cornered to the small establishment. No matter. If you love Japanese food, this jewel box of a restaurant is a more than worthy destination… More >>
  • BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

    Eddie V's Edgewater Grille

    Referring to DC Ranch as the edge of the water is delusion on a scale as large as, oh, filling up a ditch with H2O and calling it the "Scottsdale Waterfront." But to be fair, Eddie V's Edgewater Grille had that handle in Austin, Texas — situated, as the city is, on the Colorado River — before it opened up… More >>
  • BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

    Greekfest

    You don't have to be Greek to yearn for the Old Country when you step through the doors of this relaxed, elegant eatery, where white stucco walls, wood-beam ceilings, and displays of folk art and pottery create a welcoming, taverna-like atmosphere. Effortless authenticity extends to the menu, too, with Hellenic favorites like taramosalata, a creamy caviar dip tinged with lemon;… More >>
  • BEST CAJUN/CREOLE RESTAURANT

    Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen - CLOSED

    Feeling ravenous? Good. You'll need to bring a big appetite to Baby Kay's, or at least make room in your fridge for leftovers. This sunny, friendly joint — with pale yellow walls, homey wooden furniture, and upbeat music on the stereo — promises mighty fine eatin' for days when you'll happily ditch your diet to dig into something rich and… More >>
  • BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT

    Citrus Café

    Cozy, candlelit Citrus Café makes a primo date destination, or just an intimate spot to sip wine with foodie friends, nibble on something dreamy (like warm almond-crusted grilled Brie with apples), and marvel over the menu, an ever-changing list of bistro classics handwritten on a display board that waiters bring to each table. Sizzling filet au poivre, buttery lapin à… More >>
  • BEST GERMAN RESTAURANT

    Bavarian Point

    If you're a meat-and-potatoes kind of person, Bavarian Point serves the ultimate comfort food, our favorite for German fare. The Wurst Pfanne is made for indecisive sausage lovers, with sizzling hot Polish sausage, bratwurst, and knackwurst all on one plate, and the rindsroulade offers an unusual take on steak, with vegetables rolled up in thinly pounded sirloin. Other specialties include… More >>
  • BEST MEDITERRANEAN/MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT

    Eden's Grill Inn

    What did Adam and Eve nosh in the Garden of Eden? Who the heck knows, but they probably couldn't have done any better than the rice at Eden's Grill Inn. Here the saffroned, aromatic basmati is crafted with seven different spices, and filled with sultanas and slivers of Marcona almonds, making it one of the best platters of rice we've… More >>
  • BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT

    Tandoori Times Indian Bistro

    Valley diners have more options for Indian fare than most European cuisines, so this is a tighter race to judge than some of the other categories. And though we've rarely met an Indian spot we didn't like, Scottsdale's Tandoori Times garners the glory on taste alone. Its portions tend to be a bit smaller than at other places — though… More >>
  • BEST TAPAS RESTAURANT

    Sol y Sombra

    We're not sure we're totally with this whole tapas thing. Sure, if you're some Andalusian alkie hitting the booze parlors in Granada, the quality's guaranteed. Plus, in Spain, these bar snacks often come free with the drinks. Here in Ameri-duh, they make you pay through the nose, sometimes $13, the price of an entree, for a portion of food that… More >>
  • BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

    Da Vang

    Got a hankering for some truly authentic Vietnamese food? Da Vang's got the real thang. On a chilly winter day, we'll go with pho (a steaming bowl of beefy rice noodle soup) or one of countless filling stir-fry dishes. And during the summer, we'll start with the obvious — hello, summer rolls! — and then move on to some bun… More >>
  • BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

    Restaurant Takamatsu

    Korean barbecue is just the sort of ethnic food more Americans would love if they tried it. That's because the Koreans love charred meat, just like we do. So when you visit a Korean restaurant like Takamatsu, you not only have a variety of sushi, casseroles, kimchi, and even more exotic fare to choose from, there are also all kinds… More >>
  • BEST THAI RESTAURANT

    Sala Thai

    The Valley can always use a new Thai spot, but what Sala Thai brings to the table isn't just more of the same; rather, it brings a different type of Thai cooking altogether — one that's not as heavy, relies more on fresh veggies, and can strip the paint off a fire hose in its most potent form. Best order… More >>
  • BEST ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT

    Cafe Lalibela

    So here's one place where adults can eat with their hands with complete impunity: Tempe's Cafe Lalibela is a classic Ethiopian eatery where traditional stews called wat are served on large pancakes of spongy injera, a bread made from the grain teff, which is native to northeastern Africa. Along with your stew of beef, lamb, fish, and any number of… More >>
  • BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT

    Udupi Cafe

    The scrumptious South Indian eats at Udupi Cafe prove once and for all that vegetarian/vegan food doesn't have to taste like plywood. After all, residents of the Indian subcontinent have been practicing Hindu-based vegetarianism for thousands of years, so you could say they're the past masters of making fleshless feasts tummy-worthy. The menu here is only about 80 percent vegan,… More >>
  • BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT

    Green, New American Vegetarian

    Let's be honest: Vegans are a major pain in the tuchis. Never mind abstaining from eggs, milk and cheese; they won't even eat honey, people, lest the bees be exploited by man. This is why most vegan-friendly fare bites. Customers for this cuisine are more concerned with their own hairsplitting ethics, and don't mind punishing their palates for the cause.… More >>
  • BEST DOWNTOWN BREAKFAST

    City Bakery - CLOSED

    By now, you downtown dweller, you've no doubt discovered City Bakery, over the tracks in south Phoenix, just beyond the baseball stadium, adjacent to the cavernous Bentley Projects. We love that the Arcadia Farms people have spread south from their Scottsdale outpost, and we love the chicken and strawberry salad they serve for lunch. But did you know that… More >>
  • BEST DOWNTOWN LUNCH

    Pane Bianco

    We don't blame Chris Bianco for closing his pizza shop at lunch, as long as he keeps Pane Bianco open. This super-cute, straight-out-of-Brooklyn (as long as you're picturing Park Slope) sandwich shop elevates the term "sandwich" to levels heretofore unimagined. We prefer the simple mozzarella, tomato and basil on ciabatta, although we have friends who swear by the tuna. And… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BE A LUNCHTIME LOSER

    Pugzie's Restaurant and Catering Co. - CLOSED

    One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do — unless you do it at Pugzie's. This lunch spot embraces the hungry single, providing open seating so you never have to answer the dreaded question, "How many?" Super tasty sandwiches, salads and soups are ordered and paid for up front so you can retreat to one of the small booths… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BE A LADY WHO LUNCHES

    Sophie's — A French Bistro - CLOSED

    This little French restaurant is great at dinner, don't get us wrong. But our favorite time to visit is lunchtime, when this above-average dining experience gives us a little pick-me-up. The fresh white linens, sunny wood floors and (don't tell our boss) glass of dry white wine go well with the companionship of some giggly girlfriends. Try the French onion… More >>
  • BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH

    Wright's at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa

    Yeah, it's a little ridiculous to start off a lazy Sunday with not just eggs and bacon, but also a mound of prawns and crab claws. But when you're filling up your buffet plate at this stylish restaurant, the main dining room at the Arizona Biltmore, such delicacies seem not decadent but perfectly normal. For $28, the Biltmore serves up… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE YOUR DAD TO BRUNCH

    Café Zuzu at Hotel Valley Ho

    There's something inherently difficult about trying to take your dad out for brunch. In a city where there's an IHOP or a Denny's on almost every corner, it's easy to fall back on sub-standard breakfast fare and tell yourself Dad doesn't know any better. Don't fall into the trap. Café Zuzu at the Valley Ho Hotel offers the same comfort… More >>
  • BEST VIEW

    elements at Sanctuary

    If you've only stopped by this scenic Paradise Valley resort for a drink at the Jade Bar, its oh-so-stylish lounge, you've probably raved about the view. But you haven't seen anything until you've stepped into the dining room at its Asian-inflected restaurant, elements. Practically every table in the place has a stunning, panoramic view of Camelback Mountain and its neighboring… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC LUNCH

    The Farm at South Mountain

    The fresh air, the smell of green grass, the beauty of nature — we love a picnic. But who wants to cook? At The Farm, the picnic is ready and waiting, prepared from ingredients grown on site (even the turkey is as fresh as you can imagine!). We love to order at the counter from a nice variety of sandwiches… More >>
  • BEST PATIO DINING

    Chelsea's Kitchen

    We remember the old North Bank restaurant fondly, so we were eager to see what Chris DeMarco and company would do with the prime spot along the canal near 40th Street and Camelback Road, just up the street from DeMarco's small empire at Postino. We're very pleased. The patio at Chelsea's is comfortable, with DeMarco's signature aesthetic (read: you wish… More >>
  • BEST HIGH TEA

    The Phoenician

    Each year, we don our bonnets and gloves (okay, not really, but we do try to make sure our tee shirt's clean) and head out in search of the finest high tea in the Valley. This year, we award it again to The Phoenician, where the Lobby Tea Court, as it's so graciously referred to, puts this place over the… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR KIDS

    Houston's - CLOSED

    One school of thought says children ought not to be taken to a "real" restaurant until they reach, say, the age of 12. Naturally, the members of that out-of-touch school probably don't have kids. The alternative to eating out just isn't practical in this rush-around-like-crazy world, but here's a little secret if you need to escape the artery-clogging hell of… More >>
  • BEST OLD SCHOOL SODA SHOP

    MacAlpine's Soda Fountain and Espresso Bar

    Established in 1928, MacAlpine's is the closest Valley residents can get anymore to an old-style soda shop. From the black-and-white-checkered tile and the vintage soda signs to the old jukebox packed full of 45s from artists like Petula Clark and The Platters, everything about the joint harks back to the days when Hula-Hoops and waitresses on roller skates were new… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SATISFY AN OUTDOORSMAN'S APPETITE

    Cabela's

    Even if you know nothing about hunting, fishing, or camping, Cabela's is a wonder to behold: 160,000 square feet of gear for the great outdoors, from tents, backpacks, and clothing to ammo, fishing poles, and archery targets. You can even buy a boat here. The sheer quantity of merchandise is staggering — certainly more than enough fodder for daydreams of… More >>
  • BEST NOSH AFTER THE SHOW

    AZ 88

    Many lament the lack of fine dining — or even a snack — in the vicinity of any sort of performing arts complex in this city. Downtown Scottsdale is the notable exception, and has been forever. We remember dining at China Lil's or Jed Nolan's, '70s-era restaurants that circled the still-grassy Scottsdale Mall. Today Lil and Jed are long gone,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BELLY UP TO THE BAR

    The Saloon at Roaring Fork

    We love good food, but we hate getting gussied up. We know, we know, it's Phoenix. People go to the theater in cutoffs, hang in the lobby of the Arizona Biltmore in swimsuits. But we're more refined — if we're dining out, we figure we owe it to the world to at least run a comb through our hair or… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE A NEW YORKER

    Pizzeria Bianco

    When your Big Apple buddies finally venture away from the Center of the Universe for an overdue visit to the boondocks of Phoenix, they're bound to experience culture shock. For one thing, they'll be expecting tumbleweeds, not a sprawling city. They might scorn the necessity of cars, but they'll quickly adjust to sunny days and towering palm trees set against… More >>
  • BEST STEP BACK INTO THE PAST

    Avanti, A Restaurant of Distinction

    For 32 years, this shiny black-and-white supper club has been stuck in the '70s — but in a good way. We go there for the delicious rolled roasts, the risotto, and the tiramisu, but also because we love the "gone-back-in-time" feeling we get whenever we step into this mainstay's faux-fancy foyer. Owners Benito Mellino and Angiolo Livi have occasionally updated… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE A NATIVE ARIZONAN

    Vincent's on Camelback

    Leave it to a French chef to make us proud to call Arizona home. Over the past 20 years, Vincent Guerithault has built an enviable reputation with his namesake restaurant, where refined French cuisine goes hand in hand with a touch of Southwestern spice. At the cornerstone of his mini-empire near 40th Street and Camelback Road, classics like duck tamales… More >>
  • BEST BREAKFAST ALL DAY

    Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles - CLOSED

    So which came first, the chicken or the waffle? Don't matter much, really, 'cause Larry "Lo-Lo" White is cookin' 'em both up back in the kitchen. White's the grandson of Mrs. Elizabeth White, of Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe, and he's a grandson done good. Lo-Lo's take on L.A.'s famous Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles has become a Phoenix fave, but… More >>
Loading...