Two hours might seem like a long way to drive for breakfast, but we'd travel for days to get to Coppa Café. This sweet café on Flagstaff's main drag (not Route 66 — the other main drag — the useful one with the Target) is mismatched in all the right ways with vintage tables and chairs, flowers on the table, and if you're lucky, a guy in the corner playing classical guitar. Match that with amazing food — we tried the prosciutto and egg tarte flambé, a.k.a. breakfast pizza. Call it anything you want: It was delicious, and the house-made bacon is a must-try, even if you're stuffed. Coppa Café is open for brunch and dinner, as well as happy hour. We'll be back.

Grand Avenue Pizza Company
Lauren Cusimano

There are new spots in Phoenix that keep turning out the grub until 1 or 2 a.m., but for the real late-nighters, the show-closers, the after-party drinkers, there is only one place in town that can offer the comfort and grease we all inevitably crave after closing time. Grand Avenue Pizza Company slings slices of pepperoni, cheese, veggie, and a nightly "special slice" until 4 a.m. every night they are open (they are closed Monday and Tuesday). These slices are large, classic New York-sized triangles that come with just the right amount of grease and just the right amount of crispness to fill your stomach and put you to sleep when it's finally time to call it a night, or in this case, a morning.

The Stockyards Restaurant and 1889 Saloon
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Modern steakhouses tend to follow a template: dark wood, dim lighting, slick luxury, and a menu where practically everything is a la carte. Nothing wrong with that, we suppose, but for our special-occasion meals, we want an experience that you can't find all over metro Phoenix. What sets the Stockyards apart isn't just its history, which is long and fascinating (the restaurant, which has been around since 1947, stands on what used to be the world's largest cattle feedlot). The service is outstanding; listen to a waiter discuss where cuts of beef fall on the spectrum of flavor and tenderness, and you can tell that the staff really know their stuff when it comes to steak, and perhaps just as important, care deeply about the diners' satisfaction. The interior is classy without being pretentious, and the food is just what you want from a steakhouse meal, from the basket of biscuits and cornbread that come out first; top-quality, expertly prepared steaks in a variety of cuts that come with a first course and a side (try the Parmesan potato stack); and a satisfying dessert menu. And to top off the experience, go to the 1889 Saloon on the far side of the restaurant for a nightcap in the lap of Gilded Age-style luxury.

Diner 50
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Diner 50 is a funky breakfast and lunch spot situated amid the drab, sun-bleached junkyards and industrial work yards of 19th Avenue and Buckeye Road. If you can look past the somewhat gritty location, you'll be rewarded with one of the most elaborate '50s-themed dining rooms in the city. But you're here for the food, and Diner 50 delivers on that as well. You'll find all the breakfast classics here, from thick, fluffy, Frisbee-size buttermilk pancakes soaked in butter and maple syrup to a hearty rib-eye steak platter, which comes with a well-cooked steak, a couple of eggs, and your choice of home fries or hash browns. Lunch is good too, particularly the house meatloaf. And here's a pro tip: Ask about the semisecret Mexican breakfast menu.

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe is not merely the oldest soul food restaurant in town, it happens to be the most satisfying. The longtime Jefferson Street staple is a touchstone of Southern cooking and hospitality, delivering favorites like piping hot, extra-juicy fried chicken; smothered pork chops; fried catfish; and a smothered chicken-fried steak that will make you ditch whatever diet you're on in a hurry. If you're lucky, there will be meaty, flavorful oxtails during your visit, which are regularly featured on the menu. Traditional sides like sweet potatoes, fried okra, and macaroni and cheese are first-rate, too. Part of the appeal of Mrs. White's is that so much about it has remained blissfully unchanged over the decades. The best seat in the house is at the counter, where the scent of freshly fried chicken is most pronounced, and where patrons still gather to discuss the day's events, just as they have for years.

The Rose & Crown Pub

Back in jolly old England, it's not uncommon to find pubs that are hundreds of years old. We don't have that kind of architectural history here in Phoenix, but we do what we can. The Rose & Crown has only been around for about 10 years, but it resides in what qualifies in these parts as a very old building: the Silva House, built in 1900 and now one of the historic homes turned businesses in downtown's Heritage Square. The antique atmosphere gives The Rose & Crown an Old World vibe that we enjoy. What we also enjoy are the selection of more than 50 domestic and imported beers; a menu that includes standard American fare plus British classics like Scotch egg, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie; weekly events like trivia night; and the proximity to downtown Phoenix venues like Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena, which makes Rose & Crown one of our favorite spots for a pint after a night out.

The Kettle Black Kitchen & Pub
Lily Altavena

If you're looking for leprechauns, you came to the wrong place: The Kettle Black is Irish without being in-your-face about it. After all, the most authentically Irish pub will always be the one with good music, good conversation, and a good pint (not necessarily in that order), not the one with the most shamrocks on the walls. And if you can add a good fish and chips or a bowl of steamed mussels to that list, well, more power to you. Owner Tom Montgomery knew that when he started the popular Tim Finnegan's out near Metrocenter years ago, and has elevated both the menu and the setting with the opening of Kettle Black early last year. Fact-checkers would do well to notice the Gaelic on the hallway chalkboard (though, pound to a penny, they won't be able to translate it), or the green, white, and gold that adorn Biggie's portrait in the dining room. Everyone else will probably just enjoy their pint (Guinness or otherwise) in the cheery atmosphere, pleasantly surprised to discover that this downtown Phoenix gem just so happens to be an emerald.

Zur Kate
Timur Guseynov

Zur Kate (it means "to the old smokehouse") is the kind of restaurant you don't see very often these days. The Bavarian-style decor (complete with antlers, hanging plants, and German-themed wall hangings) probably hasn't changed much since the restaurant opened in 1983, and we can't recall any other local restaurant that regularly hosts accordion players. But this all makes for the perfect backdrop to Zur Kate's comprehensive menu of authentic German fare. Meals start out with a basket of rye bread, then it's time to pick an entrée. We're partial to the jager schnitzel, a piece of breaded pork loin topped with a brown mushroom gravy with onions and spices. Another good choice is the very tender and tangy sauerbraten, a beef roast marinated in vinegar. The Hausmacher bratwurst, Zur Kate's boldly flavored signature sausage, can be ordered on its own as a meal or added to your entrée for a small extra cost. There are also plenty of German beers, wines, and liqueurs to choose from. If you go, however, note that Zur Kate gets very busy on the weekends, and reservations are not accepted.

Marcellino Ristorante
Molly Smith

When we want some of the best Italian food we've had this side of the pond, we make a visit to Marcellino Ristorante in Old Town Scottsdale. Ditto when we're looking for impeccable service, or an ideal spot for a romantic or celebratory atmosphere. Really, we'll find any excuse to eat there. Chef Marcellino Verzino never fails to us impress us with his food and his attention to his guests; we see him greeting diners nearly every time we visit. And we can't get enough of the food, whether it's an appetizer like the grilled jumbo shrimp on a feta cheese croquette; entrees such as gnocchi in a creamy gorgonzola sauce, chicken breast layered with prosciutto and fontina; or classic Italian desserts like panna cotta and tiramisu.

Niccoli's Italian Grocery-Deli

We look for three things in an Italian deli: a good selection of groceries, friendly service, and of course, delicious prepared food. Niccoli's has all three in a small strip-mall storefront in uptown Phoenix. The narrow aisles of the grocery section are packed with everything you need to play Marcella Hazan at home, including all shapes and sizes of dried pasta, canned tomatoes, olive oil, jars of giardiniera, and more, and the deli cases have plenty of meats and cheeses to choose from. Niccoli's serves Italian entrees, pizza, salads, and sandwiches in its small dining room, or you can order them to go. They also do catering, in case you need enough lasagna, chicken Parm, or cold cuts to feed a crowd. Our favorite menu item is the excellent Italian sub, a hearty sandwich that comes with Genoa salami, capicolla, mortadella, ham, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pepperoncini, and dressing on a fresh-baked roll.

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