Food & Drink

  • Best New Restaurant

    Bink's Midtown

    Chef Kevin Binkley's first restaurant in Phoenix is a place where vegetables and fruits meet the future. Decidedly different from the upscale Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek and the more contemporary Cafe Bink in Carefree, the James Beard Award finalist's newest spot specializes in small plates of local produce re-imagined by a culinary powerhouse who just as easily could be… More >>
  • Best Chef

    Charleen Badman at FnB

    Thanks to Charleen Badman, there's never been a better time to eat our vegetables. At FnB, the venerated Scottsdale restaurant she co-owns with partner Pavle Milic, Badman celebrates produce like cellist Yo-Yo Ma celebrates classical music: with a reverence for the classics but with an eclectic repertoire. Turning what were once considered side dishes into centerpieces, you might find her… More >>
  • Best Chef's Choice

    Lucky's King Wah

    Are you a diner of the adventurous sort? If so, you may want to remember the words "Chef's Special" when visiting this tidy home of satisfying Cantonese cooking in Glendale. More or less an off-the-cuff version of omakase (the Japanese term that leaves your meal up to the chef) and invented by Lucky's owners, Kitty and Kwok Pat, the Chef's… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a Foodie

    ShinBay

    We should thank our lucky stars that James Beard Award nominee chef Shinji Kurita is in the Valley and not some other major city, where he certainly could hold his own in the area of foodie fanaticism. At his refined restaurant in Scottsdale, which accepts only a few reservations per night, Kurita prepares exquisite Japanese cuisine with a fervent dedication… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a Scenester

    SoChu House

    Leave it to Hong Kong-born chef Johnny Chu (Lucky Dragon, Fate, Sens) to bring flavor, fashion, and a house-party vibe to the heart of the Central Avenue business corridor. You'll find his fans, the city's young and chic, regularly dropping by to sip on sake-based martinis and nibble on small plates of Chu's top-notch Asian fusion fare, including five-spice quail,… More >>
  • Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner

    Richardson's

    Spared the shortness of breath felt by Phoenicians when it burned down in 2009 and again when it re-emerged two and a half years later a few blocks up the street, your out-of-town guest need only to eat at this stellar spot of New Mexican-style Mexican cuisine to understand its place in our hearts. You might recommend one of your… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Cibo Urban Pizzeria Cafe

    A good neighborhood restaurant, like a good friend, is a place to which many of us turn to lift our spirits and give us comfort. The one we've been visiting the most, at the moment, is Cibo, the charming little pizza parlor in downtown Phoenix. Set in a restored 1913 bungalow complete with squeaky floors and cozy, low-lit rooms, it's… More >>
  • Best Food Truck

    Taste-Rite

    Chef Darryl King, owner of Riteway Catering in Phoenix, makes sure no one walks away from his food truck unhappy — or hungry — and he does it with solid, served-fast po'boys priced to please. You'll want the Blazing Pig, made with pulled pork, half a hot link sausage, and slaw packed into a soft but sturdy roll slathered with… More >>
  • Best Sensation

    Miu's Cuisine

    Tongue-numbing. Tingling. Fizzy. To the uninitiated, the taste of Sichuan peppercorns might be likened to a trip to the dentist more than the dinner table. But for fans of the Asian spice, there's not a more unique and complex taste to be found. We like to get our hua jiao fix at Miu's Cuisine, Tempe's youthful gem of Sichuan cooking… More >>
  • Best Rise from the Ashes

    Chop and Wok

    After it suffered a fire in 2011, fans of this cheeky rock 'n' roll-themed Chinese restaurant in North Scottsdale thought they'd never see the day they could be sucking down a cold one with a plate of crab puffs again. But this year, the decades-old "gourmet Oriental wok star bar" resurrected itself just steps away from its former location. And… More >>
  • Best Move

    Beaver Choice

    When Hanna Gabrielsson set up her quirky Swedish, Polish, and Canadian restaurant with the giggle-inducing name in Tempe three years ago, she hardly could have imagined that by 2013, folks would be lining up outside the door for a taste of "The Beaver." Needing a bigger home for her adoring fans, Gabrielsson and her family closed up shop in February… More >>
  • Best View

    Talavera

    Valley restaurants have long been setting tables next to backdrops of star-dappled dessert skies and rough-edged mountains kissed with the glow of a sunset, but more times than not, the scene's more breathtaking than the cuisine. Talavera, the upscale spot of contemporary American cuisine inside the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, is not that kind of place. Sourcing a host… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Central Phoenix

    Vovomeena

    Locally crafted coffee and fresh-made breakfast and brunch items might seem out of place on the fast food and chain-ridden intersection of Seventh Avenue and McDowell, but thanks to owner DJ Fernandes (Tuck Shop, Astor House), they're a breath of fresh air that we hope stays in the neighborhood. From crunchy-coated Portuguese doughnuts to New Orleans-style French toast drizzled with… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Downtown Phoenix

    Matt's Big Breakfast

    Last fall, chef-owner Matt Pool moved his killer homemade breakfast dishes to a new home just up the street. Naturally, we followed. Thanks to its being twice the size of the old place (from 25 to 50 seats), there's more elbow room to hunker down with Pool's plates of fluffy, from-scratch griddlecakes, eggs and off-the-bone ham, and luscious cheese- and… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, South Phoenix

    Morning Glory Café

    Can breakfast get any more farm-to-table than when you're eating it at the very place that, well, farmed it? Unlikely. Right next door to Maya's Farm, this charming outdoor eatery at The Farm at South Mountain adds lush lawns, stunning gardens, and stately pecan trees to plates of homestyle breakfasts that are just about as fresh as they come. Wake… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, West Valley

    New York Flavor

    The breakfast sandwich might be one of life's most simple yet satisfying creations. And ex-Gothamite Bill Olear makes a fine one — in the form of the classic New York egg sandwich — at his cozy New York-style eatery in Surprise. He packs it into a pillowy Kaiser roll, and you'll want to add bacon and a slice of American… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, North Valley

    Perk Eatery

    Perk's classic pancakes — hot, fluffy, and sweetly kissed with vanilla — are a breakfast treat good enough to keep you thinking about them the rest of the day. Of course, there also are caramelized banana nut pancakes, crispy potato pancakes, and the lemon ricotta pancake special that sells out on a regular basis. And just when you think you… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Scottsdale

    ZuZu

    If you're the morning sort who imagines plates of thick French toast stuffed with lemon cream cheese and tender short rib hash with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions served up in a scene of mid-century swank, then ZuZu might be the breakfast place of your fantasies. Inside the Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale's onetime Hollywood hideaway built in 1956, ZuZu's updated… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Tempe

    Essence Bakery Cafe

    If we could get away with having a few of chef Eugenia Theodosopoulous' heavenly macarons for breakfast every day, we would. But until then, we'll settle for the holy trinity of local, organic, and seasonal sunrise eats served up at her (and husband Gilles Combes') always-bustling counter-service café. On the sweet side, we're partial to the brioche French toast featuring… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Southeast Valley

    Yoli's Cafe

    Yoli's is a kind of breakfast-at-a-friend's place. On a side street in downtown Chandler, the cozy little converted home serves up affordable ante meridian fare like skillets, burritos, omelets, and the Mornin' Monte, a comforting sandwich featuring egg whites, turkey, bacon, and Havarti cheese served on signature Hawaiian French toast with spicy and sweet marmalade. And its easygoing nature makes… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch

    The Mission

    Whatever brunch spot you're thinking about at the moment probably isn't quite like The Mission. With its chandeliers, ornate mirrors, and backlit wall of salt blocks, the low-lit room takes on the kind of seductiveness usually reserved for moonlit evenings. And the modern Latin temptations from chef Matt Carter — comfortably spiced red chilaquiles with meltingly tender pork; delicate corn… More >>
  • Best Downtown Lunch

    Duck and Decanter

    Ask Phoenicians about the sandwiches at any location of the 40-year-old Duck and Decanter and they're likely to say the fresh and hearty hoagies (second lunch, anyone?) are as delectable now as the first time they had them. There are the classic customizable creations (think white albacore tuna on marble rye, seasoned roast beef with horseradish, and smoky braunschweiger with… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Welcome Diner

    Former food truck owners Michael Babcock and Jenn Robinson have taken over this iconic, nine-seat diner at 10th and Roosevelt streets and turned it into a kind of roadside stop by way of the South. The best dish on the menu is the fried chicken buttermilk biscuit sandwich, featuring crispy chunks of buttermilk-battered meat (with a seasoning that would make… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Pomeroy's

    This Central Phoenix drinkery has been around long enough to understand the finer points of bar cuisine: no-fuss, greasy-spoon fare that perfectly complements whatever cheap domestic draft swill is poisoning your liver on any given sitting. A well-worn griddle is key, and a bedraggled short-order cook who takes great pride in the comestibles he sets forth is essential. It's all… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat at the Bar

    Citizen Public House

    At Citizen Public House, tables are almost an afterthought. This place takes its cocktails as seriously as its food, and while no one's inviting you into the kitchen, you can watch head bartender Richie Moe put the craft in craft cocktail as you relax at the beautiful bar. Chef Bernie Kantak's food takes no backseat, however. From his infamous chopped… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a First Date

    Postino Central

    First dates can be rough — whether it's thinking of something to say or figuring out where to go. Luckily, Postino Central can help you with the latter. This popular Central Phoenix wine cafe offers an urban-chic interior with exposed brick and bright accents, and a cozy patio giving diners an atmosphere that is romantic without being intimidating. Stop by… More >>
  • Best Romantic Dinner

    House of Tricks

    Forget the long-stemmed roses and strolling violinists, Robert and Robin Trick's cozy dining oasis in the heart of Tempe gets right to the point of romantic restaurants: great food, a cozy atmosphere, and no fluff. First, there's chef Kelly Fletcher's seasonally inspired menu, which mixes French and Southwest flavors into elegant plates of fresh salads, inventive appetizers, and grilled meats… More >>
  • Best Steak House

    Ben & Jack's

    Like many New York steakhouses of yore, Ben & Jack's is a wood-paneled house of meat, with linen-topped tables, a glassed-in wine cellar, and leather padded chairs that can take on the likes of its one-pound hamburgers and a porterhouse (for two) weighing in at 44 ounces. From two alumni of venerated Manhattan steak joint Peter Luger's, the place is… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Kids

    Casa Reynoso

    Noisy, casual, inexpensive, basic. Those are typically not words we'd use to describe a fine-dining experience — unless the kids are along. Then you'll find us at Casa Reynoso, a family-run restaurant with roots in Globe and some of the best Mexican food in metro Phoenix. There's nothing fancy on the menu, but when your kid special-orders her tacos without… More >>
  • Best Place to Dine with Your Dog

    The Main Ingredient Ale House & Cafe

    If dog is man's best friend, doesn't it only make sense that he should be his drinking buddy, too? Fortunately for Fido, the Main Ingredient Ale House & Cafe is as welcoming to canine companions as it is to the downtown diners who bring them. Located in the up-and-coming Coronado District, this cozy historic home turned restaurant boasts a generous… More >>
  • Best Thing to Eat at Chase Field

    Tailgate on a Plate at Extreme Loaded Dogs, Section 208

    Call us purists, but we just can't sit through nine innings without sinking our teeth into a hot dog. Though these days, the trend in stadium eats has fans expecting fancy foods and plentiful options, there's something to be said for a foot-long hot dog and a cold (or at least a cool) beer. At Extreme Loaded Dogs in the… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go Out for Dinner on Sunday

    Sunday Simple Supper at Noca

    The sad fact that more Valley restaurants close on Sunday than shut down during the summer is enough to make us want to harumpf into our sofas with Saturday night's leftovers. But thanks to Noca's Sunday Simple Supper, waking up to a Monday just got a whole lot happier. With a focus on comfort and a rotating menu each week,… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Nosh

    Pig & Pickle

    Gourmet comfort food dishes like heady wood-oven-roasted bone marrow, ham-tastic croque madame, and pork shoulder tostadas heaped with kimchi that can be had until 1 a.m. — and all for under a 10 bucks — are more than just late-night eats: They're a kind of culinary power to the people. Blame Keenan Bosworth and Joshua Riesner, the former chef duo… More >>
  • Best Place to Sober Up

    Philadelphia Sandwich Company - CLOSED

    Wanna kill the buzz after a long night of overindulgence in Scottsdale? Forget about sucking down black coffee or any other hokum remedy. What your body needs to help detoxify itself from the staggering amount of Jäger bombs, AMFs, and other firewater that you've been inhaling is cysteine, and plenty of it. Stat. The amino acid, which aids the liver… More >>
  • Best Hangover Breakfast

    Yucca Tap Room

    For years, this Tempe landmark has offered Valley music fans a place to stay up way too late, drink way too much PBR, and listen to music that's way too loud. Thankfully, on weekends, it's also a spot to crawl from the wreckage, slither into a booth, and order up good bad-for-you food of the waffle sort — like a… More >>
  • Best Soul Food Restaurant

    Mrs. White's Golden Rule Café

    In 1964, Mrs. Elizabeth White turned her name, her down-home soul food, and her observance of the golden rule into not only one of Arizona's longest operating African American-owned businesses, but a legendary Valley restaurant as well. Fifty years later, the modest little building on Jefferson Street is still the best place in town for heaping platefuls of smothered pork… More >>
  • Best Vegan Restaurant

    Bragg's Factory Diner

    Diner-style vegan and vegetarian eats may be just about the best idea since the Vitamix — and at this cheery spot in the retail space of Bragg's Pie Factory, the former pie factory turned art gallery in Central Phoenix, you can get them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and pie. You could start and stop at the golden and… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Pomegranate Cafe

    This cheery, mother-daughter eatery in Ahwatukee serves up big, bursting-with-color dishes of fresh vegetables and grains, fruit-packed smoothies and veggie juices, and an ever-changing array of homemade sweet treats. There are very good lunch and dinner items here — like bulky "Rainbow" wraps, a lively, Southwestern-inspired blue corn taco salad, and a nutty and spicy stir-fry called the Dragon. Brunch,… More >>
  • Best Gluten-Free Restaurant

    True Food Kitchen

    We must begin with a caveat: True Food Kitchen's menu is not 100 percent gluten-free. And that's just fine with us, because this way we might actually be able to convince a friend or two to dine with us. Gluten-free living can get awfully lonely, but not at TFK — where Dr. Andrew Weil is (virtually) right by our side, instilling… More >>
  • Best Authentic Arizona Restaurant

    The Stockyards

    Most folks in these parts know the name Tovrea because of the castle or the murder (or both) but did you know about the Tovrea Stockyards? Operated in the shadow of the hill that holds the castle, Edward Tovrea's feedlot was once the largest in the country. Not far away, the family later opened a restaurant, named, naturally the Stockyards.… More >>
  • Best English Pub

    Rose & Crown

    Aching for some Wee Britain in old Phoenix town? Rose & Crown is the pub to satiate all of your Anglo-Saxon cravings. Located in a renovated historic home right across from Pizzeria Bianco in Heritage Square, the bar specializes in craft beer, billiards and grease-a-licious eats. It's best to stop in Mondays for half-priced pub burgers, but the English bar… More >>
  • Best Irish Pub

    Rosie McCaffrey's

    If you're looking for a cozy Irish pub in which to grab a pint, Rosie McCaffrey's is your best bet. Guinness is always on tap, and there's plenty of bar seating and even a patio where you can take a beer and enjoy a cigar. Rosie's is the kind of place you could easily make your "local" go-to spot. The… More >>
  • Best French Restaurant

    Amuse Bouche

    For those enjoying a bit of culinary torment, you could do worse (depending on where you live) than driving 45 minutes or more to Surprise for some of the best French food in the Valley. Courtesy of French-trained chefs Snir and Kiersten Mor, the tiny BYOB country-French bistro features top-notch, seasonal lunch and dinner fare as well as an outstanding… More >>
  • Best German Restaurant

    Brat Haüs

    A welcome new addition to the Valley's woefully short list of German-minded restaurants, this lively gastropub in Old Town even sports its own sprawling biergarten that usually fills up before the two indoor spaces do. With nearly 30 beers on tap and almost 40 in bottles and cans, a strong German or Belgian craft brew is just a "Danke!" away.… More >>
  • Best Latin American Restaurant

    Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine

    Like any good Peruvian chef worth his sea salt, Oscar Graham makes very good ceviche. And at this tiny no-frills spot in Chandler, his ceviche de pescado — a mound of chopped tilapia in a sharp and spicy juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers topped with slivers of red onion and served with a hunk of sweet potato and… More >>
  • Best Cuban Restaurant

    Cuban Foods Bakery & Restaurant

    For lovers of the Cuban sandwich — the divine creation of ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard stuffed into crunchy, buttered bread — this small, tidy spot of homestyle Cuban eats on the city's west side is your place. But there are other good dishes, too: garlicky and meltingly tender lechon asado, classic ropa vieja, and golden orbs… More >>
  • Best Hawaiian Restaurant

    Leo's Island BBQ

    There may not be a more divine, island-inspired indulgence than the Hawaiian plate lunch. Piled into a styrofoam container, the aloha-infused carb load features two scoops of rice, a side of macaroni salad, and (usually) a pan-Asian protein of your choice. You'll find excellent plate lunches at this cheery little eatery in Peoria. There's a signature sweet-and-tangy teriyaki beef, Spam… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    New Hong Kong Restaurant

    Get past its weathered appearance and you'll find first-rate Cantonese cuisine hiding in plain sight at this passed-it-a-million-times Chinese restaurant in Central Phoenix. Courtesy of Jian Yu, a chef in Kaiping, China, for over 32 years, and his family come tangled nests of expertly prepared stir-fried noodles, trembling clay pots nearly blowing off their lids to expose steaming, flavor-packed broths,… More >>
  • Best Korean Restaurant

    Café Ga Hyang

    Before the summer of 2011, the only place to score late-night Korean food in the Valley was out of it — specifically, 360 miles away in L.A.'s Koreatown. But thanks to this welcoming west side restaurant, top-notch Korean cuisine can be had until 2 a.m. every day but Sunday. After bites of banchan (the little dishes of marinated vegetables, kimchi,… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Chanpen Thai Cuisine

    If Chanpen seems like the only Thai restaurant in South Phoenix, it's probably because it is. But that's okay with owner and chef Chanpen Ramonaitis (whose Thai name is Tuk). She's happy to serve her expertly prepared classic Thai dishes and signature creations to anyone who happens upon her tiny, unassuming home. Along with street food eats like fried fish… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Pho Thanh

    Pho Thanh, it should be noted, does not care about your Westernized dining needs of English-speaking servers, short menus of seasonal, farm-to-table fare, or dimly lit, cozy interiors. Its priorities lie in a massive listing of crazy-cheap, top-notch Vietnamese dishes (most made with more fresh herbs and stinky fish sauce than you'll know what to do with) served up under… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Nobuo at Teeter House

    James Beard Award winner Nobuo Fukuda offers the closest thing to a real izakaya (a casual Japanese eating and drinking establishment) this side of the Land of Rising Sun. Sourcing prime ingredients and combining them in simple yet inventive ways, his dishes are no less than exemplary works of culinary art. During the day, there may be offerings of warm… More >>
  • Best Ethiopian Restaurant

    Ethiopian Famous Restaurant & Coffee

    Like any good Ethiopian chef, Abebech Ejersa's doro wot, made with onions, boiled egg, and peppery berbere, is pretty much perfect. But then, the same could be said for nearly all her traditional Ethiopian favorites, most of which are prepared from recipes Ejersa has used for years, at home and in her former restaurant in Ethiopia. The dishes — such… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Karaikudi Palace

    What's better than an exceptional Indian restaurant with one chef? An exceptional Indian restaurant with three of them. Thanks to a trio of culinary school chums from India, this pleasant little spot in Scottsdale serves up vibrant South Indian dishes like a smoky and spicy curry of baby eggplants stuffed with onions and spices; fish cooked in coconut sauce with… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Greektown Restaurant

    For a lesson in restaurant longevity, consider Greektown in Sunnyslope. After five decades, George Vassilou's welcoming and often boisterous eatery may not have changed much in décor, but the classic Greek dishes, hailing from recipes passed down by Vassilou's grandmother, are as fresh and flavorful as ever. There are the dolmades and spanakopita, of course, as well as loaded plates… More >>
  • Best Mediterranean Restaurant

    Hummus Xpress

    Mediterranean eats served up Subway style is the tasty idea behind this excellent, fast-casual, and wallet-friendly spot in Tempe. Helmed by Lebanese-born chef-owner Ahmed "Eddie" Hantas, Hummus Xpress lets Med fans pick their food vehicle (pita, bowl, or plate) before moving on to top-notch choices of signature sauces such as the Yemeni hot sauce called shug, seasoned grilled meats, and… More >>
  • Best Jewish Deli

    Imperial Market & Deli

    This nearly 10-year-old family-owned spot of cured meats and comfort foods makes sure you don't sit shiva when it comes to finding outstanding Jewish delicatessen favorites. Stop by for stacked sandwiches like pastrami, salami, and corned beef tongue served up with cole slaw or chunky potato salad (pickle included, of course); a steaming bowl of matzo ball soup; or the… More >>
  • Best Italian Deli

    Dolce Vita Italian Grocer

    What makes Walter and Marti Bergamaschi's tiny, unassuming grocery and Northern Italian-based eatery in east Mesa so exceptional is the same penchant for premium ingredients that makes the gelato sold in their space next door so first-rate. The bruschetta is as simple and fresh as classic bruschetta can get, the sandwiches are made with items like parmacotto ham and smoked… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Crudo

    Crudo is an Italian restaurant speakeasy of sorts: a welcoming escape hidden in the back of a shopping plaza in Arcadia where notable chef Cullen Campbell, who cooked at the James Beard House this year, transforms first-rate ingredients into expertly crafted modern Italian dishes. The ever-changing menu may include raw ahi tuna with smoked olives, lemon, and egg; caramelized onion… More >>
  • Best Corner Italian Restaurant

    Andreoli Italian Grocer

    At some point, perhaps over an afternoon sandwich of top-notch porchetta seasoned with garlic, fennel, and black pepper, or an evening meal of luscious seafood risotto followed by a homemade cannoli, you're going to ask yourself if there is anything chef Giovanni Scorzo doesn't do exceptionally well at his well-heeled Italian market and restaurant in North Scottsdale. There are the… More >>
  • Best Gourmet Pizza

    Trattoria Bianco

    Let's face it — the wait at the original Pizzeria Bianco location downtown is as legendary as its gourmet pies (okay, the added lunch hours helped a little). So this year, the pizzeria's celebrated pie master Chris Bianco decided to do something about it. By reconfiguring the space for his Italian restaurant, Trattoria Bianco, at Town & Country Shopping Center,… More >>
  • Best Pizza Slice

    Isa's Pizza

    No neighborhood's complete without a decent spot to score a slice — and North Phoenix residents have Joe and Myrah Aiello to thank for theirs. Pizza fans can choose from signature creations like the garlicky Nana and the creamy spinach Alfredo or customize their own with toppings like Joe's famous meatballs, eggplant, and hot Fresno peppers, served up Neopolitan-style (thin… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, Central Phoenix

    Federal Pizza

    Who to bring on board when you're planning a lively new pizza joint? If you're restaurateurs Craig DeMarco and Lauren Bailey (Postino, Windsor, Joyride Taco House), it's Valley master baker MJ Coe. Featuring a light and crispy outer crust with a thick, puffy edge, a slightly chewy interior, and a harmonious flavor balance of toppings, the best of Coe's 12… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, Downtown Phoenix

    Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana

    Earlier this year, this longtime favorite in Scottsdale opened a second location in the former home of Sens Asian Tapas and Sake Bar, further strengthening downtown as a true destination for authentic gourmet pizza. Pomo's secret to success is its adherence to pizza-making guidelines set forth by the Italian trade organization Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana. That means a super-thin crust… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, South Phoenix

    Amano Bistro and Wine Bar

    Everyone in South Phoenix knows Amano Bistro. It's that fun little spot with the bright yellow and red walls that used to be a realty office. South Mountain-area residents Eric and Kathy Bower have owned it for almost a decade, turning out excellent pies with crispy and chewy crusts you don't mind sharing, on the condition that you order more… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, West Valley

    La Piazza al Forno

    If soft-centered, real-deal Neopolitan pizzas are your thing, then this bustling little spot in downtown Glendale (complete with a stamp of approval from the Italian trade group Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana) is your place. And by the looks of the line out the door on Friday and Saturday nights, just about everyone else's in town, too. You'll want the Bianca,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, North Valley

    Spinato's Pizzeria

    This family-owned local of chain of pizzerias has been flipping dough in the Valley just shy of 40 years, amassing a loyal following of fans along the way. And with good reason. Its excellent old-school Chicago-style pies are delicately crunchy, dutifully slathered with a sweet housemade sauce, and cut into squares. Don't miss Mamma Spinato's "Signature" Fresh Spinach, a glorious… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, Scottsdale

    Lamp Wood Oven Pizzeria

    Lamp chef-owner Matt Pilato doesn't quite adhere to the strict Neapolitan pizza standard he learned at the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli Academy in San Francisco, but when the pizza's this good, who cares? Combining Neapolitan techniques with his own style, Pilato features nearly 20 varieties of red and white artisan 12-inch pies served up in a restaurant that's as casually refined… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Pizza, Southeast Valley

    Big Boy's Pizza

    Husband-and-wife team Dennis and Vickie Heath like their pizzas big. How big? Along with the standard 14-, 16-, and 18-inch pies, this friendly Mesa joint features a 28-inch monster nearly the size of a kiddy pool. Then there are the three-buck slices, which are more like pizzas shaped like a slice and served with their own pizza cutter. Sure, it… More >>
  • Best Fries

    Zinc Bistro

    We're hard-pressed to find much we don't like about Zinc Bistro, the French cafe in Kierland Commons, but the piece de resistance is most definitely the house French fries. This summer, we sent an intern into the field in search of hamburgers, and naturally he wound up with several sides of fries. About Zinc's, he wrote: "The house fries, deep-fried… More >>
  • Best Wings

    J.T.'s Bar and Grill

    Like nearly every food-slinging tavern in town, J.T.'s makes the obligatory wings. But this tiny bar on the western edge of Arcadia nails the three key aspects of them — meat, sauce, and preparation — like no one else in the Valley. They are big enough so that they don't easily overcook. The sauces are comfortably salty, not too sweet,… More >>
  • Best Poutine

    Petite Maison

    Canadian cookbook author Cynthia Wine once described poutine as "an amazing concoction of French fries, cheese, and gravy." No one may understand that sentiment more than chef James Porter, who's given the popular street food of Montreal a delicious gourmet twist at his cozy French bistro in Scottsdale. Featuring golden pommes frites sprinkled with truffled cheese curds and lightly topped… More >>
  • Best Mac 'n' Cheese

    Lux Central

    Most menu items at this Central Phoenix coffee shop are short-lived — Lux's chefs like to keep you on your toes — but we've never stopped by for lunch and not found mac 'n' cheese on the menu. This version is basic — a cheesy carb overload (in a good way) with the option of thick-cut bacon and jalapeños. It's… More >>
  • Best Mac 'n' Cheese with a Twist

    Zulu Caffé

    If the idea of the best mac 'n' cheese in the Valley coming out of the Scottsdale Airport seems a bit of a stretch, consider its source: chef Brian Ford, who made his name working at the highly respected Quiessence in South Phoenix for 10 years before calling this unassuming cafe home. Turning the oftentimes heavy cholesterol load into a… More >>
  • Best Chicken & Waffles

    Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles

    Few ingredient pairings have reached the dynamic duo-ness that is chicken and waffles. But then Larry "Lo-Lo" White, the grandson of Mrs. White of the legendary Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe, has known that all along. Pairing his grandmother's one-of-a-kind crispy and tender Southern-style fried chicken with cinnamon-dusted waffles (and plenty of syrup), White's toothsome twosome is so popular he… More >>
  • Best Seafood

    Little Cleo's Seafood Legend

    The best thing about Sam Fox's new seafood restaurant is that it doesn't act like a Sam Fox restaurant. Tucked inside The Yard, the restaurateur's mammoth dining and hangout space in north Central Phoenix, the little room of shiny white tiles, marble-topped tables, and swingin' tunes serves up an eclectic array of stellar seafood dishes more inventive than anything you… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Hana Japanese Eatery

    On the subject of practicing what you preach, "beautiful simplicity" is the philosophy of brother-sister team Lori and "Chef Koji" Hashimoto, who employ it regularly when it comes to the sushi at their neighborhood restaurant in Phoenix. Here, you'll find thick pieces of mackerel, red snapper, and yellowtail elegantly draped over rice as well as stellar signature rolls like the… More >>
  • Best Tofu Curry

    Flo's Asian Kitchen

    If you're a veg-head who loves curries but hates picking chicken or beef out of your jalfrezi or making do with some vegetarian restaurant's bland imitation of the real deal, make a beeline to either of the Scottsdale eateries owned and operated by Florence "Flo" Chan. Flo's expert chef can turn any of the dishes on the menu into a… More >>
  • Best Veggie Burger

    Hillstone

    Given the number of times we've lifted the bun from our veggie burger only to find a dry, beige hockey puck underneath, it's no wonder we've come to expect them to be less flavorful than their carnivorous counterparts. But they can be just as robust and savory — as demonstrated by the Biltmore area's Hillstone restaurant. No faux-meat here; this… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    The Attic

    The first thing anyone will tell you about The Attic, the casual second-story restaurant in Arcadia, is that you should get the burger — and you should. As long on good looks as it is on taste, it is outstanding. The thoughtful, well-crafted stack stars a house-ground and well-seasoned half-pound patty, a fresh, locally made pretzel bun, and first-class toppings… More >>
  • Best Sandwich

    PBLT at Bootleggers

    Like so many restaurants these days, Bootleggers serves pork belly. But given the cache of stellar, slow-cooked offerings at this barbecue pit gone the way of a gastropub in northeast Phoenix, it feels less like a novelty act and more a part of the program. Case in point: the PBLT. Smoked for 10 hours, the deliciously fatty meat, lit up… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    Short Leash Sit . . . Stay

    In July, hot dog heaven came to the Valley and stayed put when Short Leash Hot Dogs, Brad and Kat Moore's venerable food truck — featuring gourmet hot dogs wrapped in a warm naan "bun" — found a permanent doghouse on Roosevelt Row. Now, along with signature dogs topped with ingredients like roasted green chiles, mango chutney, and Cracker Jack,… More >>
  • Best Grilled Cheese

    Wedge & Bottle

    Packed with gourmet cheeses, meats, and condiments on toasted bread, the melted cheese sandwiches at this top-notch wine and cheese shop in Ahwatukee sport the same satisfying crunch and gooey perfection we enjoyed as kids. Choose from a satisfying French-Italian sandwich with nutty raclette cheese and mortadella ham; a Barber's Cheddar inspiration layered with turkey; or customize a cheesy creation… More >>
  • Best Jerk

    Jerk Hut Jamaican Grille

    Something of a Jamaican shoreline snack shack minus the sandy beaches and sea air, this solid little spot of Caribbean eats, owned by three natives of Jamaica, serves up some killer jerk. Using a family recipe rub of lime, garlic, salt, Scotch bonnet peppers, and other spices, chicken and fish — and sometimes even chicken wings — get marinated and… More >>
  • Best BBQ

    Texas BBQ House

    Since they opened their modest little 'cue joint in South Phoenix in 2011, Texas expats Mike Pitt and Doug Dieckmann of Texas BBQ House have been serving their smoked meats on large rectangles of butcher paper while politely encouraging customers to eat them sans sauce, plates — and even forks. There are the stellar standards: luscious brisket, jalapeño sausage, and… More >>
  • Best Use of PB & J

    PB & J de Puerco at Milagro Grill

    The humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich gets a twist of Mexican-American fusion at this Arcadia restaurant owned by the grandkids of Macayo's founders Grandpa Woody Johnson and wife Victoria. Called the PB & J de Puerco, this hefty hoagie features thick, downy bread layered with slices of delectable pork belly, tomato jam, peanuts, arugula, and chiltepin peppers. Sure, the… More >>
  • Best Milkshake

    Udder Delights

    Ignore (for now) the wild ice cream flavors like red hot banana, vanilla birthday cake, and, yes, potato chip at this farm-owned micro-creamery and flavor lab in Gilbert. Today, what you've come here for is Udder Delights' amazing chocolate milkshake. Rich, lusciously creamy, and with a heady chocolate taste you will be powerless to resist, it's nothing short of cold,… More >>
  • Best Desserts

    Cowboy Ciao

    Chef Country Velador's (Super Chunk Sweets & Treats) sweetly inspired creations at Old Town Scottsdale's Cowboy Ciao are a kind of revolving gourmet dessert tray. Her menu changes regularly, tempting us to choose, perhaps, from treats like luscious Angel Food "Bread" Pudding with a vanilla bean custard sauce, warm apple cobbler kissed with brown sugar and topped with a melting… More >>
  • Best Vegan Desserts

    Treehouse Bakery

    Pineapple upside-down cake, churro cupcakes, cheesecake? And it's all vegan, you say? The Sizemore sisters must be magicians — filling a bakery with delicious treats made of organic and natural ingredients, free of egg, dairy, and (of course) meat products. No bacon treats here, and that's fine with us — we're sick of that trend. We much prefer eating healthy,… More >>
  • Best Gluten-Free Desserts

    Jewel's Bakery & Cafe

    Once, we made the mistake of biting into a gluten-free cookie that we swear was made of cardboard and maybe a little chocolate. So we know that sweet treats without gluten can be bad. Like, really bad. But that's why we were shocked to learn that the cupcakes made by Julie Moreno of Jewel's cupcakes are gluten-free. The sheer number… More >>
  • Best Locally Made Chocolate

    Nutwhats

    There are two top contenders for bean-to-bar chocolate producers based in Arizona: Stone Grindz, a Scottsdale maker that offers unique flavors like Moroccan Mint and Cashew, and Nutwhats, whose signature confections are clusters of sticky, crunchy goodness in flavors like jalapeño beer brittle, cinna walnut oat, and bacon pecan scribble. But as of late 2012, Nutwhats' most impressive offering is… More >>
  • Best Marshmallows

    Tracy Dempsey Originals

    Dipped in chocolate, rolled in sprinkles, or just plain, the best marshmallows in town are getting bagged up by longtime Valley pastry chef Tracy Dempsey. The handmade marshmallow is a labor of love, and lucky for us, the dry Phoenix climate is just right for preparing these sweet treats, which we like to stick in hot chocolate or eat straight… More >>
  • Best Polish Goodies

    Polish Goodies

    Good things really do come in small packages, especially if they happen to be Danuta Zablocki's scratch-made pierogi, small yet hearty meals packed into circular folded cushions of smooth, paper-thin dough. Danuta and husband Richard serve homestyle Polish eats like flavorful Polish sausage and stellar sauerkraut to hungry diners at their tiny, hidden-away eatery in Sunnyslope as well as at… More >>
  • Best Cookie

    Famous Cranberry Oatmeal Cookie

    With a name like Awesome Cookie Company, you'd expect nothing short of, well, awesome from a cookie. Luckily, the cookies deliver on the name, even though there are only two flavors available. The most popular option, the cranberry oatmeal, kind of tastes like a really fancy enlarged Cookie Crisp, which is baffling because it isn't a chocolate chip. Somehow, ACC… More >>
  • Best Cupcake

    The Orange Blossom

    Just when you think you couldn't eat one more stinkin' cupcake — that cupcakes are, like, so totally over — Urban Cookies has to go and make one of the best darn cupcakes to ever grace this fine planet. The Orange Blossom is the ideal combination of super-moist orange and olive oil cake and fluffy, light rosewater buttercream. The luxuriously… More >>
  • Best Lemon Bar

    Churn

    If we were to put money on the next big trend in baked goods, we'd have to go the way of the dessert bar, with lemon front and center. Though Churn makes many different types of bars, including zinger bars, sweet 'n' salty bars, brown butter toffee bars, and the intensely decadent s'mores bar, nothing is quite as perfectly simple… More >>
  • Best Crepes

    Crêpe Bar

    Like a beautiful woman, Jeff Kraus' crepes are striking enough to stop your inner monologue. Harmonizing with seductive ingredients like herbed chèvre, blood oranges, and Moroccan honey, the luscious thin pancakes are folded, twisted, and arranged on plates that act more like canvases than serving vessels. A small menu of ever-changing creations is almost temptingly cruel in the way it… More >>
  • Best Doughnut

    Apple Fritter

    Cronut, schmonut. We know the doughnut/croissant mash-up created by a fancy New York pastry chef was the cupcake of summer 2013, with folks lining up for hours to get one and imitations popping up everwhere. Even Karl's Quality Bakery in Sunnyslope got in on the action, with a "FreDo" — and we have to admit it was pretty good. But… More >>
  • Best Doughnut Shop

    Arizona Donut Co.

    When's the best time for a doughnut? Anytime. At this 24-hour doughnut shop in Tempe, run by one of the owners of BoSa Donuts, you can get your fried fritter on before joining the rat race or, via the drive-thru, after partying with the night owls. And with more than 40 varieties to choose from — think buttermilk, Boston Cream,… More >>
  • Best Shaved Ice

    Snoh Ice Shavery

    Although it's been a ubiquitous part of Asian cuisine for hundreds of years, bao bing (pronounced bow-BING) the frozen treat made of finely shaved flavored ice, fresh fruit, flavored sugar syrup, and condensed milk hasn't always been the easiest to find in America. So when this stylish little shop of cool and fruity bliss landed in Central Phoenix this spring,… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Caffe Sarajevo

    We love Seida Turulja's homemade lepinja, chewy and soft nook-and-cranny Bosnian flatbread, as much as what she puts inside it. The owner and chef of this hidden gem of Bosnian food in West Phoenix, Turulja makes about 100 lepinja daily, freezing them, and then, when it's time, grilling them along with meats like plump and garlicky grilled lamb and beef… More >>
  • Best Gelato

    Cool Gelato Italiano

    When it comes to Italy's culinary gift bag of sweet treats, gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, may be the one we enjoy receiving the most. And at this real-deal gelato shop in Scottsdale, from Italian-born husband and wife team Alberto della Casa and Letizia de Lucia, it can be scooped up in 20 varieties. From the fresh and… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Sweet Republic

    Sweet Republic is the kind of place that takes us out of our ice cream comfort zone. At this bright, cheery spot, top-notch local and seasonal ingredients artfully find their way into small, handcrafted batches of flavors that encourage us to break free of our ice cream confines. There are made-from-scratch creations like luscious plum verbena, refreshing basil lime sorbet,… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    European Bakery and Café

    This family-owned bakery, from Armenian natives David and Rose Kouyoumjian, may have a West Valley address, but thanks to pastries from France, Armenia, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Hungary, the scene's a sweetly international one. When the Kouyoumjians aren't busy filling bakery cases with a colorful display of delicate tiered cakes, fruit-filled strudels, and crunchy cookies, they're making loaves of fresh… More >>
  • Best Candy Store

    Sweeties Candy of Arizona

    Your dentist will hate us for turning you on to this place. It's literally a superstore of candy. There is a saltwater taffy department, people. Just about everything is sold individually or in bulk, and every item you remember from childhood is right here, stacked floor to (practically) ceiling. There's nothing fancy about Sweeties, but the help is as nice… More >>
  • Best Baking Supplies

    ABC Cake Decorating Supplies

    Let them eat cake? You don't have to tell us twice. From the flux of cake trends — red velvet, cake pops, and luxury cupcakes —to the parade of cake cable — Cake Boss, Cake Wars, Ace of Cakes — it's safe to say this country has gone absolutely bat-shit for batter. So where do pastry professionals and would-be wedding… More >>
  • Best Meat Market

    The Meat Shop

    If you've got the guts to meander into the rather intimidating-looking Meat Shop on Buckeye Road just south of downtown Phoenix, a cornucopia of meat cuts will be at your disposal. If you don't, Meat Shop could probably supply you with some guts for purchase since all the butchery is done on-site. The shop specializes in additive-free, cruelty-free meats for… More >>
  • Best Health Food Store

    Healthy Habit Health Foods

    Remember the 1970s? When your mom would drag you to the health food store to buy items she couldn't just pick up in the grocery store — stuff like bran flakes and vitamins? We loved the smell of protein powder and handmade soap, looking at funky cookbooks and health manuals, wandering aisles packed with sprouty bread and energy bars. Today, you… More >>
  • Best Mediterranean Market

    Baiz Market

    Like a spicy oasis in the desert, Baiz Market in Central Phoenix is a godsend for folks looking for cheap alternatives to their usual grocery routine. Turmeric, sumac, curry, and other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices can be bought on the cheap and in large quantities. Pillowy fresh pita bread, made in-house, is about a buck per bag of eight.… More >>
  • Best Farmers Market

    Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market

    The Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market represents a lot to its regulars. It seems Phoenix was a cultureless wasteland, behind the times in a lot of ways, but especially on the culinary scene. Suddenly, in 2005, there was hope for locavores and Valley farmers alike when the DPFM started its operation. Since then, the Saturday morning, Wednesday night open-air market has… More >>
  • Best Farmers Market, West Valley

    Citadelle Plaza Twilight Market

    It's necessary to have nighttime farmers market options in Phoenix because once noon hits on a summer day, the other markets become unbearable. Luckily, a quick trip over to the West Valley from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays will bring you right to the Citadelle Plaza Twilight Market. If you've got a sweet tooth, drop by Torched Goodness and get… More >>
  • Best Farmers Market, Scottsdale

    Singh Farms

    If you step into Singh Farms' Saturday market and are instantly filled with a sense of childlike whimsy, don't be alarmed. This market and farm easily could be dubbed the most delightful and magical place to buy local produce in the Phoenix area, with its large teapot sculptures, charming log cabin-style shop, and exquisite pink flowers guarding rows of planted… More >>
  • Best Farmers Market, Southeast Valley

    Gilbert Farmers Market

    There are plenty of reasons to adore downtown Gilbert. Liberty Market, Joe's Real BBQ, and The Farmhouse are just a few of the staples that put the town on the Valley's culinary map. Maybe that's because right on their back doorstep, there's access to the Saturday morning Gilbert Farmers Market. One of the main reasons to drop by this market… More >>
  • Best Resource for Local Food

    www.goodfoodfinder.com

    "Think globally, act locally." "Farm to table." "Slow food movement." You hear the platitudes so often that they start to fade. Let's face it; talking about supporting local food is a lot easier than actually doing it. Thank goodness for the Good Food Allies. Last year, Natalie Morris and Jennifer Woods teamed up to walk the walk and spread the gospel about locally… More >>
  • Best Local Food Start-Up

    MealMatch

    Countless people around the world go hungry every day — and Valley entrepreneurs Dustin Tessendorf and Joseph Tuson wanted to do something about it. The duo turned to technology as their answer to the problem, eventually creating an app that lets anyone provide a meal to someone in need just by dining or drinking at local restaurants and bars. The… More >>
  • Best Dining Series

    Duncan's Trading Company's "Farmer in the House"

    It doesn't take a lot to convince us of the importance of eating your vegetables, but when it comes time for Pat Duncan's annual "Farmer in the House" dining series, we'll happily devour every leaf and sprout. Duncan has been hosting the spring dining series for a while now, holding a run of six-course wine-paired dinners with the Valley's top… More >>
  • Best Beer Series

    Sonoran Chef Series at Sonoran Brewing Co.

    Beer and food already are deeply related on many levels, from the ingredients used to make them to the flavors each delivers to our mouth holes. So why not get an expert in food to help you craft a beer? About a year ago, Sonoran Brewing Co. thought just that, and so launched their inaugural Chef Series — a set… More >>
  • Best Vintage Sodas

    Rocket Burgers & Subs

    The name aside, our favorite thing about this strip-mall joint is neither burgers nor subs. It's the gigantic selection of bottled sodas we thought had fallen off the face of the Earth. Looking for the vintage vibe of a glass bottle of Coke? Check. And Rocket also stocks Faygo, Squirt, and Jolt, as well as scores of other brands and… More >>
  • Best Vintage Sandwich Shop

    Cheese 'n Stuff

    Before "Metro Phoenix" even existed, there was Cheese 'n Stuff, the Central Phoenix deli that's been serving sandwiches and sides since 1949. It's a you'll-know-it-when-you-see-it sort of place. Even on the outside, it doesn't look as though it's changed much since opening. Step through the door beneath the iconic globe sign and it's like you've taken a trip back to… More >>
  • Best Nostalgic Soda Fountain

    Bertie's Vintage

    If your heart skips a retro beat at the thought of old-school milkshakes, whoopie pies, and 1960s leopard-skin pants for a song, you'll want to pay a visit to this way-cool Arcadia shop, which has them all. Owner Trejsi Mulac is usually manning the soda fountain, where diners belly up with cherry-topped sundaes, fizzy sodas, and signature shakes such as… More >>
  • Best Vintage Restaurant for Kids

    Sugar Bowl

    What more can you ask from a restaurant than the Family Circus stamp of approval? Bil Keane's art has graced the menu at Sugar Bowl, the ice cream parlor that's been satisfying young and old alike since 1958. In fact, the late Keane featured Sugar Bowl many times over the years in his long-running comic strip. But that's not the… More >>
  • Best Vintage Pizza Parlor

    Red Devil Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

    Nothing much has changed about the McDowell location of Red Devil since we started eating there in the 1960s, and that's fine by us, because this local treasure makes some of the best pizza in town. There's nothing gourmet about the fare or the digs — just good, classic Italian cooking by the same family for more than 50 years.… More >>

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