Best Fried Chicken 2022 | Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken | Food & Drink | Phoenix

We tend not to get too excited when an out-of-state restaurant announces it's coming to Phoenix. After all, we've got a vibrant dining scene here all on our own. But Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, a Tennessee staple that arrived in Phoenix last year, is a welcome addition to the city. The chicken comes out of the kitchen piping hot and impossibly crispy and juicy — each crunchy bite is a delight. We like to pair it with Gus's baked beans or macaroni and cheese for a full meal. Gus's may be an import to the metro Phoenix restaurant landscape, but we're glad it's here to stay.

When you pull up to Long Wong's, you're immediately greeted by a zoo of life-sized vintage animals, from a cow to a dinosaur to a pink horse to a buffalo. "Do wings, not drugs!" says a little sign with a flamingo. Though there are many copycats claiming the "Long Wong's" name, the original Long Wong's resides on 28th Street and Thomas Road, and has been around for over 35 years. With the original owners hailing from Buffalo, New York, it's no wonder Long Wong's wings are the perfect amount of crispy and juicy. And saucy — the hot wings are doused in a tangy and spicy coating, while the garlic Parmesan wings have real garlic bits mixed into the white sauce. If you can't choose one flavor, order the Party Wing Bucket which comes with 72 bones and a choice of three flavors.

Jackie Mercandetti

If you really want to luxuriate and immerse yourself in Spanish culture and cuisine, you can't do much better than Tapas Papa Frita. Yeah, there's the Moorish architecture and the stage with the obligatory flamenco dancer. But you're here for the food. The chef has mastered cuisine from every region of Spain. The long list of tapas is dizzying, from traditional tortilla Espanola to snails in sherry. Hell, they even serve seven types of regional paella, not to mention amazing entrees, ranging from Castillan osso buco to Catalan rabbit. You cannot get a disappointing dish. The wine list is impressive. As wonderful as the food is, the service is even better. Many of the wait staff, as well as Chef Joseph Gutierrez, are Basque and they're all happy to spend time sharing stories and discussing the food at your table. It's the kind of place you go for special occasions, birthday banquets, or romantic anniversary dinners. And when you're done, you can take a stroll with your dining companion and snap a picturesque selfie on the canal that makes up the Scottsdale Waterfront.

Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Empanadas, those little pockets of dough stuffed with any number of fillings, are one of our go-to comfort foods. There's something about that crispy little half-moon that just soothes the soul. When we're craving one, we hit up Republica Empanada in downtown Mesa. Our favorites include the creamy black bean and mozzarella, as well as the Cubana (pernil, ham, mozzarella, and dill pickle) and the veggie-heavy Pura Vida (chickpeas, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, celery, and bell peppers). We prefer our empanadas savory, but there are dessert varieties if you like them sweet. We often wash down our empanadas with one of Republica Empanada's many flavors of Jarritos Mexican soda.

Jackie Mercandetti

When you mention barbecue in Phoenix, Little Miss is the first place anyone thinks of, as this barbecue joint is synonymous with 'cue in the Valley. There are currently two locations, one near Tempe and a newer spot in north Phoenix's Sunnyslope neighborhood. This year, the grill masters have another surprise in the works. They're transforming a retro A-frame building on Central Avenue into their third location, bringing their award-winning food closer to downtown Phoenix. At Little Miss, the meat is sold by weight, inside sandwiches, or on classic plates with sides including ranch-style beans, jalapeño cheddar grits, and potato salad. Sliced and chopped brisket are the stars, but pulled pork, ribs, and sausage links all make excellent choices. When visiting the Sunnyslope location, make sure to check out the special item of green and red chile burritos for a Southwest spin on barbecue. At either restaurant, be prepared to wait, or if short on time, place orders ahead online.

Located in a north Phoenix strip mall, Danky's Bar-B-Q serves some of the best ribs in town. The tender meat falls off the bones, held together only by an almost candied crust that crackles when cut into. Hot links and juicy pulled pork round out a three-meat plate, which comes loaded up with side options like creamy, peppery mac and cheese, pork-studded beans, and sweet cornbread. If a full meal sounds too heavy, Danky's has a solid sandwich menu, including the Hot Southern Mess, which slaps pulled pork, beef brisket, hot barbecue sauce, jalapeños, and onions on a bun. Wash it all down with a local beer served on tap at this hidden-gem bar and barbecue joint.

Lauren Cusimano

La Piazza al Forno seems like a shop from a different time. Walk around Historic Downtown Glendale, past the town square, and stumble across this corner pizzeria, complete with red brick walls and a glowing neon sign. Inside, pizza beckons. This restaurant serves classic Neapolitan pizza and Roman style. The former is stretched thin, and cooked for 60 to 90 seconds in a devilishly hot oven to create a light dough that's charred on the edges. Roman-style square pizza dough includes olive oil, making it crisp and hearty. A standout on the menu is the Lasagna Neapolitan pizza, in which ricotta and sausage toppings create a perfect blend of two classic Italian dishes.

Molly Smith

If you'd like to make an authentic Italian meal at home for your friends and family, Guido's Chicago Meats & Deli will fulfill all of your pasta needs. Gnocchi, linguine, and tagliatelle are available to take home, as are lasagna noodles. Once you're home, it only takes a few minutes to boil pasta so good you'll swear you're eating in a small restaurant in Florence. Open since 1983, Guido's also welcomes guests in the restaurant, which seats up to 50. Checkered red tablecloths and an unassuming vibe makes the establishment a neighborhood favorite. Diners can choose from an extensive menu including calzones, hot and cold subs, bread, and pizza. Dessert is also a must at Guido's — the tiramisu and Italian wedding cookies are guaranteed hits.

The perfect sushi rolls do exist, and their home is at Harumi Sushi & Sake in downtown Phoenix. Harumi is known for its purple rice, which is Forbidden black rice that turns purple after being cooked. This rice was historically reserved for aristocracy, so go ahead and treat yourself like royalty because it's served as an everyday staple in Harumi's kitchen. The "purple" rice may very well be Harumi's secret to success, and rolled up with fish flown in from abroad, serves to create harmonious sushi rolls in elegant balance. The Oh My God roll is set on fire in front of your eyes, and simply melts in your mouth for yes, an "oh my God" pleasurable reaction. The H3 roll includes spicy tuna and Scottish salmon, flown fresh from Scotland, and the mini roll combo allows you to choose up to three different types of rolls for only $20.

To begin at Sushi Tokoro, take a seat at a booth or settle in at the bar. Then, start grabbing. As you sit, dishes will rotate around the room on a conveyor belt, small plates like Las Vegas rolls, gyoza, Japanese sodas, or tuna sashimi. We love the Grand Canyon Roll, which tops spicy tuna, cream cheese, and jalapeño with spicy crab mix, tuna, and spicy mayo. Sip on some iced or hot green tea, depending on the time of year, and ask for a menu to order items that aren't on the belt like miso soup, shrimp tempura, and orange chicken. Every plate that comes from the belt is priced a certain way, depending on the color, so refer to a little diagram on the bar to see what everything costs and chow down accordingly.

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