Best Restaurant for Kids 2014 | St. Francis | Food & Drink | Phoenix
Evie Carpenter

Dining with the kids isn't always pretty, and we're not just talking about their behavior. Kid-friendly restaurants tend to make us want to stick forks in our eyes. But now you can ditch Red Robin, Applebee's, and any place with a sneeze guard over the salad bar in favor of St. Francis. Kids under 10 dine free at Aaron Chamberlin's charming reclaimed building, but even if they didn't, we'd be happy to pay for pearl pasta with tomato sauce and mozzarella, wood-fired pizza, or chicken with hummus. Best of all, the service is always friendly. We recall one specific dinner around the holidays, when five particularly rowdy kids ranging from 6 to 12 were treated like little kings and queens while the moms and dads sipped craft cocktails and dined on roasted meats and seasonal vegetables. Those people at St. Francis are saints, indeed.

Heather Hoch

When it comes to dog-friendly restaurants, O.H.S.O. takes the phrase to a new level. Lots of places will tolerate your four-legged friend, but few (if any) make your pooch feel as welcome as this Arcadia spot, the original O.H.S.O. location. Dog owners and their canines are openly encouraged to dine and drink on the restaurant's spacious back patio, which even features booths equipped with carabiners for your pet's leash. The décor also shows how much this place loves your pet, with framed photos of smiling pups covering much of the outdoor wall space. What's more, every four-legged guest gets a bowl of water and a free dog treat, which are made with spent grain from the brewing process. We particularly love bringing our furry children to hang out during Sunday brunch, when we've seen as many as a dozen dogs of all sizes enjoying the scene.

Heather Hoch

Jade Bar, the upscale watering hole at the boutique Sanctuary Resort, is an urban paradise in every sense. Just a few steps out of the heart of Paradise Valley and situated just high enough to provide breathtaking views, this bar is a genuine retreat. Best of all, the resort recently redid the entire bar space, installing a removable curved glass wall that ensures imbibers will have great views no matter what time of year. Sitting at this posh spot with a craft cocktail — paired with charred edamame, BBQ oysters, or another item from the creative bar menu — while looking out over the Valley's most exclusive neighborhood is about as lavish as a drinking experience gets.

Jackie Mercandetti

Aside from the round chef's counter inside this tiny cylindrical restaurant, the entire dining room is al fresco — and even then, it's not all that large. But size doesn't matter when you're sitting on the outdoor tables at this Arcadia restaurant. This newest addition from LGO Hospitality proves that by now, the company has the art of creating cozy spaces with a community vibe down pat. It's impossible not to feel warm and fuzzy when you're digging into an Ingo's burger, made with grass-fed beef while watching families ride up to the restaurant on bikes. And even if you're not there for the excellent burgers, Ingo's delivers salads, wine, beer, and other beverages perfect for enjoying outdoors on a pleasant evening.

Lauren Saria

Truth be told, you'd probably enjoy a cold hot dog more if you ate it at Onyx Bar. The impressive space, located adjacent to the resort's dining outlet Talavera, boasts some of the best views of Pinnacle Peak and Troon North that you'll find. Luckily, you don't have to eat anything even close to that hot dog while you're there. The resort recently updated the bar, launching a menu of luxurious small bites and a well-tailored selection of wines and cocktails. Nothing seems more decadent than tucking into a seafood platter loaded with an array of crab, prawns, oysters, lobster, and more while taking in breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert. Chef Mel Mecinas' housemade charcuterie also is worthwhile, including truffle salami and roasted truffle Brie served with marinated olives and seasonal jam.

Tirion Boan

Whether it's for happy hour, late-night eats, or a casual dinner, Citizen Public House's bar makes a great place to enjoy a meal. We have many fond memories of nights that either started or ended with a drink and a small bite at this Scottsdale spot. Part of the draw is the fact that the four-sided bar is located in the center of the restaurant's dining room. The prime location lets you feel like you're in on all the action without forcing you to mess with fussy white tablecloths and a full-blown dinner. We also love Citizen's friendly bartenders, who make great cocktails and equally great conversation. Plus, the bar is where we usually enjoy Citizen's ever-changing late-night menu, served Thursday through Saturday until 1:30 a.m. There's no better way to end the evening than with a good drink and a bowl of bacon fat heirloom popcorn.

Patricia Escarcega

Sometimes, after a night of drinking, the only thing that will cure a hangover is hair of the dog. Hey, we're not judging. We just want you to do it right. With a full menu of New Mexican fare, you're sure to find something full of flavor and with just the right amount of kick to bring you back to life. However, if that doesn't work, you can switch to something a little stronger. The special house Bloody Mary ought to do the trick. The devilishly spicy housemade tomato base is as important as the vodka it's mixed with if you're looking for something to make you feel better. Plus, the beer chaser helps you wash down this miraculous, albeit hellacious, cocktail.

Over at Vintage 95, the name says it all — it's pretty much all about the wine. Sure, the cozy, swanky Chandler lounge serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, but for the Southeast Valley's wine connoisseurs, this spot is the ideal place to geek out. With a 13-page list of wines sold both by the bottle and by the glass, there's a lot to peruse. Do you go for a bottle of Arizona Stronghold or a glass of Roux Père & Fils' Chardonnay? It might take you a while to mull over the full list, but immersing yourself in the selection of local, domestic, and international wines in red, white, and rosé definitely is an adventure worth exploring.

Best Place for After-Dinner Drinks


Lauren Cusimano

Downtown Phoenix has come a long way. Just look at Hanny's. This former midcentury department store turned destination for a late-night dinner and drinks keeps the curfew-breaking crowd classy till at least 1 a.m. every night with handcrafted cocktails that cater to the classics, freshly sliced prosciutto charcuterie boards and sandwiches, a resident DJ, subtle art installations, and mirrored dressing rooms renovated into restrooms — in truth, they're better suited for Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory than drunken night dwellers with poor depth perception. Regardless, insomnia never seemed so enticing.

It's 2:05 a.m. and your feet are starting to ache as you stumble out of the bar. Going home right away just isn't an option, as the idea of getting in a vehicle is making you nauseated. The only logical option is to head to Gus', a 24-hour pizza joint conveniently located smack in the middle of the Old Town bar scene. At any and all hours of the night, you'll find this restaurant packed with well-dressed diners looking for something starchy. Okay, it's not the best pizza you've ever had, but it's not horrible — and it's cheap. One slice is enough to make the room stop spinning.

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