Best Irish Pub 2016 | Seamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub & Restaurant | Food & Drink | Phoenix
Jacob Tyler Dunn

For a couple of decades and counting, Seamus McCaffrey's has helped anchor the downtown Phoenix nightlife scene as an unpretentious spot for friendly carousing and a late-night nightcap. It's also the best place to go in metro Phoenix to experience the virtues of the classic Irish pub. Come here for a cold Guinness, of course, but also a good whiskey flight — the pub has one of the biggest selections of Scotch and Irish whiskey in metro Phoenix — along with standard bar fare mixed with traditional Irish dishes. Corned beef and cabbage and the menu of boxty pancakes are reliably good, but the real attraction is the friendly service and lively, music-filled bar.

David Holden

Chef Matt Carter's Zinc Bistro may not serve strictly classic French fare — we're pretty sure, at least, that the French don't specialize in scallops with chorizo risotto — but when it comes to finding a bona fide French dining experience in metro Phoenix, this Scottsdale brasserie simply can't be beat. From the pressed metal ceiling tiles to the white tablecloths, everything about Zinc harkens back to a cozy Parisian sidewalk cafe, except here you can dig into a Plateaux de Fruits de Mer with oysters, lobster, mussels, and more, followed by a cup of the Valley's best French onion soup. For the main entree, Carter offers up short ribs so tender they collapse at the lightest touch of a fork and perfectly prepared steak served, of course, with a side of excellent frites.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

There aren't many places where you can fill up on a hot meal for less than $7 these days, but at Da Vang in Phoenix, you'll find dozens of options priced well under $10. This no-frills Vietnamese restaurant isn't just a bargain, though, it's also one of the best places in town for real-deal Vietnamese cuisine — we're talking about everything from steaming bowls of pho to plates of springy vermicelli noodles topped with shredded pork, vegetables, crushed peanuts, and fermented fish sauce. Not familiar with intricacies of the Southeast Asian cuisine? No problem. Just keep these numbers in mind: 48 for an order of fresh spring rolls stuffed with shrimp, pork, and vegetables; 76 for a $2.25 bahn mi loaded with liver spread, ham, and pork sausage; and 1 for the restaurant's signature bowl of pho, which includes sliced beef, brisket, tendon, and tripe.

Chon Thai Food is an unassuming, family-owned Thai restaurant situated in a sleepy east side strip mall, but don't be fooled by the somewhat drab exterior. Service is very friendly and attentive, and the food is ultra-fresh, lively, and consistently delicious. The sprawling menu offers all your favorite Thai dishes like pad Thai and pad see-ew, along with excellent harder-to-find regional dishes, including a fiery and rustic larb. Garlicky stir-fried chicken is as good as it gets at Chon Thai, and a house specialty like the chicken pumpkin curry is not to be missed. Impeccable dishes, coupled with reliably friendly service, makes Chon Thai a first-rate destination for Thai in the Valley.

Korean cooking is finally beginning to flourish in metro Phoenix, but if you're craving a first-rate bulgogi dinner, the place to go is still Café Ga Hyang. This small, quirky west side restaurant makes very good bulgogi indeed, the thinly sliced beef marinated and grilled to a delicious garlicky crisp. The selection of banchan, the small dishes of kimichi, the marinated vegetables, and other delights that appear at the beginning of a Korean meal are excellent, and you probably shouldn't leave without trying the red-chili-laced chewy fish cakes and rice cake tubes. The bibimbap, however, is the thing to get when you only have room for one thing; the popular entree is served in a large bowl heaped with sauteed vegetables and slices of beef that you can customize with mixed-in rice and hot sauce. And when you're craving something beyond these ultra-popular and stalwart Korean dishes, the menu is deep enough to hold your interest for many late-night meals to come.

Don't let the uninspiring name fool you. House of Eggroll isn't just another run-of-the-mill neighborhood Chinese restaurant slinging greasy chow mein and sticky sesame chicken. This unassuming east Valley spot is a true gem, specializing in northwestern Chinese fare, a hard-to-find regional cuisine known for blending spice and pungent vinegar to excellent effect. Specialties include hot and sour soup filled with hearty lamb dumplings, and biang biang noodles, a bowl full of gangly handmade noodles topped with bean sprouts, green beans, and succulent shredded pork. The restaurant's tiny dining room can get crowded with large parties of diners who, smartly, opt to share several of House of Eggroll's super-sized entrees. But with one taste of the not-to-be-missed braised chicken with potato and pepper, you'll be happy to have endured the wait.

In a world full of sushi restaurants and ramen shops, Nobuo at Teeter House offers a Japanese dining experience that stands out from the crowd. By day, this small eatery located in downtown Phoenix's Heritage Square presents as a tranquil tea house with a menu of thoughtful, playful Asian fare. House-cured salmon sits next to an order of Teeter Tots, or panko-fried tofu served with spicy miso sauce. By night, the restaurant gets even more creative with elevated izakaya-style dining and the chef's famed omakase, or chef's choice, menus. Nationally recognized chef Nobuo Fukuda takes diners' expectations of Japanese cuisine and turns them on their head with dishes like the Tako and Tomato, made with grilled octopus and house-made mozzarella on a slab of miso-marinated, pan-seared foie gras.

Lauren Saria

Whether you're looking for a South Indian dosa or excellent chicken tandoori, Marigold Maison in north Phoenix makes a solid destination for Indian cuisine in a casual, chic setting. You can start your meal with any of a number of appetizers, ranging from the usual options like samosa and chicken pakoora to something a little harder to find, including chickpea ceviche and aloo tikki chaat, an Indian street food that combines lentil cakes with yogurt, tamarind, onion, and tomato. From there, you can start to explore any of several regional specialties, including crispy rice cakes stuffed with potato and onion; classic, creamy tikka masala; and biryani hyderabadi, a southern Indian rice dish.

Laura Segall

For a fast, affordable, and delicious lunch — and on top of that, an authentic Mediterranean one — there's really no better stop than Al-Hana restaurant inside Baiz Market Place. The walk-up counter is just a portioned-off corner of the international market, but there's good reason you'll often find a queue of hungry customers lined up around lunch time. For under $10, you can get a plate of marinated chicken shawarma with rice, pickles, onions, and creamy garlic sauce or a large portion of tabbouleh that makes a perfect light lunch. Our go-to order is the simple falafel sandwich, which, for just $3.99, comes stuffed with hot, fried chickpea balls, lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, pickled turnips, and rich tahini. The price point certainly can't be beat by anyone except Ronald McDonald or the Colonel — and we'd rather have some of city's best Mediterranean fare than fast food any day.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Chef Chris Bianco has been known as one of the best pizza chefs in the country for years, and at his newest restaurant, he proves he's got lots more than pizza up his sleeve. The highly anticipated Tratto restaurant opened its doors at Town & Country shopping center in central Phoenix this spring, serving a concise menu of excellent Italian fare including pasta, small plates of local vegetables, and more. A meal might start with a long piece of grilled house-made focaccia spread with buttery lardo and jelly, and star an entree of slow-braised pork shank with sweet summer corn and local peaches. From start to finish, Tratto makes a strong impression — even the cocktails surpass expectations, with craft ingredients including local honey and olive-oil-washed gin.

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