Clever Koi
Heather Hoch

The Clever Koi has already earned our esteem as a spot for a one-of-a-kind dinner and affordable happy hour, but the restaurant's lunch menu also deserves a nod for being infinitely customizable, excellent, and fast. The idea is simple: Sit down, grab a pencil, and start filling out your order on the forms provided. Bowls start at just $5 a piece, and diners have their choice of noodles — everything from udon and ramen to chilled green-tea soba, stir-fried chow mein, or rice. Then you pick a protein from elevated options including pork belly, succulent duck, tofu, or steak, and throw on any vegetables you'd like. Best of all are the final add-ins, which include a fried egg, house-made kimchi, and pickled ginger. All said and done, you get a gourmet lunch that rarely costs more than a 10 spot. What more do you want?

Lon's at the Hermosa
Lauren Cusimano

You don't have to go far to escape the hustle and bustle of central Phoenix — in fact, you really don't need to look any farther than Lon's at The Hermosa Inn, an upscale resort in a particularly quiet patch of Paradise Valley. The property, with its well-maintained landscape and bubbling fountains, is a true oasis, and Lon's, the resort's fine-dining restaurant, sits front and center. The restaurant's spacious patio offers cozy fireplaces, trees hung with glowing lanterns, and stunning views of Camelback Mountain, all of which makes a perfect backdrop for a leisurely meal of chef Jeremy Pacheco's Southwestern cuisine. Look for dishes including Scottish salmon with summer squash, tomatoes, onions, and corn broth, and garden gazpacho with a pickled green tomato salad and micro greens.

Hana Japanese Eatery
Lauren Saria

There's no bad seat in the house at Hana Japanese Eatery, but if you want to go big, then make sure to grab a seat at the restaurant's sushi bar. From there, you'll have a front row view of the action behind the counter — where brother-and-sister team Rick and Lori Hashimoto, along with their stepfather, Kazuto Kishino, can often be seen turning whole fish into pristine pieces of sushi. It's a real show, watching the chefs slice through rosy-pink fatty tuna belly like a stick of butter and draping bright, orange slices of sake over a perfectly shaped ball of rice.

Different Pointe of View
Patricia Escarcega

There's a good reason why Different Pointe of View has been the site of many memorable marriage proposals and wedding ceremonies: The views from the restaurant's patio lounge, especially at sunset, are absolutely stunning. This fine-dining restaurant, situated atop a scenic outlook on North Mountain at the Pointe Tapatio Cliff Hilton Resort, isn't simply a scenic lookout point, though. This is also a destination for anyone looking for a memorable meal. The menu features updated Continental classics and Mediterranean-inspired dishes like filet mignon served with white bean truffle, butter-poached lobster, and seared duck breast served with jalapeño-bacon griddle cakes. The wine and cocktail menu is also top-notch, and service is uniformly good — your server will probably offer to take you and your date's photograph against the scenic city backdrop. You can try to resist the stirrings of romance, but there's really no use.

St. Francis
Evie Carpenter

Listen up, parents. St. Francis doesn't just have one kids' menu. No, Aaron Chamberlin's hip central Phoenix eatery has two: lunch and dinner and brunch. The offerings are smart — healthy (simple fruit salad) and a little naughty (iron skillet chocolate-chip pancake). Chicken breast, cheese pizza, a "big" hamburger with fries — it's hard to imagine that junior won't be pleased. And, get this: Kids 12 and under eat for free. So order an extra Dark and Stormy cocktail, because gray skies are gonna clear up around the dinner table. And if not, ask to be seated upstairs, where it's a little noisier than the rest of the restaurant. (You're welcome.)

Chase Field

You're at Chase Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks are possibly winning, and now, you'd like to take part in some of the deep-fried, cheesy, salted, lovely food items available from the many food and drink vendors throughout the ballpark. The only problem you really have is, just what do you choose — nachos, popcorn, pretzel? The answer is the Cheeseburger Dog, presented by Levy Restaurants at the start of the 2016 baseball season. This American fare mashup consists of ground chargrilled hamburger patties mixed with dill pickles, green onion, chopped smoked bacon, and cheddar cheese, then shaped into a hot dog, breaded, and deep fried. The result is dressed with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and more chopped smoked bacon, with a drizzling of secret sauce. This brainchild will run you $10, and can be found at Big Dawgs on the main concourse, and Extreme Loaded Dogs on the Diamond Level.

Bacus Bros. Hot Dogs has become something of a late-night destination for irresistibly good hot dogs. But, thankfully, these dogs taste just as good in the clear light of day. The specialty dogs on the menu here may have silly names, but the kitchen doesn't mess around when it comes to pulling together tasty and surprising flavor combos that really work. After a night of drinking, the Hair of the Polish Dog is as comforting as anything you might find in a diner: a robust, extra-juicy Polish sausage layered with grilled onions and peppers, lavished with shredded cheese, and topped with scrambled eggs and bacon. It's a delight. The Foghorn Leghorn, featuring a plump chicken sausage topped with coleslaw, tomatoes, and horseradish mustard, is like a Southern picnic in a bun, and it's hard not to love the Ich Liebe Dich brat, a classic grilled brat paired with sauerkraut, grilled onions, and peppers. Plus, this fast-casual restaurant also happens to be a fine destination for craft and import beer.

Angels Trumpet Ale House
Angels Trumpet Ale House

Angels Trumpet Ale House may be better known as a hip downtown beer garden, but the kitchen is no slouch when it comes to making a killer grilled cheese sandwich. The barbecue brisket grilled cheese is layered with root-beer-braised brisket, pickled onions, and thinly sliced tomato, then capped off with smoked mozzarella and fontina. The thick-cut sourdough is nicely griddled on the flattop and served with an equally delicious heap of golden-brown fries. And if you're more of a grilled cheese purist, the kitchen also whips up a tasty grilled cheese with mozzarella and fontina, tomatoes, and a drizzle of honey. It's delightful. Either way, your grilled cheese goals will be more than realized.

The Stand
Evie Carpenter

Sometimes simpler is better, and if you're looking for proof, look no further than The Standard at The Stand Burger & Tacos in central Phoenix. This small restaurant keeps things about as simple as they can be with patties made from beef that's ground in-house, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and Stand sauce. Sure, you could add cheese, but why complicate something that's already perfect?

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Lauren Saria

Fans of Asian food have likely heard of sheng jian bao, the oversized Shanghainese dumplings that come stuffed with seasoned pork and wrapped in a thick, doughy casing. These hard-to-find treats have been on trend with Asian food aficionados for at least the last year, so chef Bob Tam, known for serving fun contemporary takes on Asian classics, has merged the dumpling with a good, old-fashioned cheeseburger. To make the dish, he blends ground pork and beef with spices before wrapping the patty in American cheese, sauteed red onions, and scallions. To imitate the dumpling wrapper, Tam uses an English muffin, and the result is a burger that's one part Asian delicacy and 100 percent all-American.

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