Best Italian Restaurant 2023 | Andreoli Italian Grocer | Food & Drink | Phoenix
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

A decade ago, this pick would have earned howls of disapproval from the red sauce, white tablecloth and Chianti crowd. But Phoenix seems to have finally figured out that one of the most talented Italian cooks in the nation has been here all along, slinging his uncompromising vision of what Italian food is and should be, waiting for the day when everybody else would finally catch up. Boy, have they, and not a day too soon. Andreoli Italian Grocer is constantly packed lately, and it's no wonder why. The casual trattoria-style fare served at Giovanni Scorzo's counter service market may seem humble, but those who know, know. There's no pizazz or flash here. Just excellent ingredients, simply prepared with a maniacal attention to detail and tradition. Scorzo and his family can do it all, from the fresh-baked breads to the house-cured charcuterie to the perfect pasta and panini to the stunning dessert case. This is Italian food for Italians — simple, soulful and elegant. If you don't like it, Scorzo will tell you you're wrong. And he's probably right.

Tirion Morris

A whitewashed bungalow with a roomy front porch and exposed brick interior may not immediately bring to mind exquisite French cuisine, but Sottise puts guests in a Gallic frame of mind from the first sip or bite. It would be worth a trip just to enjoy the casually elegant ambiance at this attractive downtown historic home, but the food and drinks are on par with anything you might find at top Parisian cafes, countryside brasseries or while sitting by the Riviera. Its seafood specialties — from jumbo tiger prawns to a knockout salmon rillette — are fresh and delicate, and the classic escargot de Bourgogne in garlic butter sauce could not be more tender or well-executed. Even the deviled eggs are transcendent. Everything on the menu boasts the best-sourced ingredients, from the humble little gems salad to the caviar menu for all you big spenders. The refreshing cocktails and superbly chosen wine list, packed with cherry-picked all-stars from Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux and more, round out the experience. Sure, it's a bit pricey, but think of it this way: It's like a whirlwind vacation to the best of all things French without the expense of plane tickets and hotels.

Here are our personal rules for dining at Ms. Martha's Caribbean Kitchen: Check the hours before you go. Make sure you have time to wait. And maybe don't visit that one week of the month when you're hanging on till the next paycheck hits. Tucked away in a North Phoenix shopping center, Ms. Martha's serves mouth-watering Caribbean fare on a limited schedule (three days a week with a fairly early closing time). We love the gently fried and impossibly flaky pates filled with beef, fish or veggies; the deep, rich flavor of the oxtails, which we like to order on a bed of rice and beans; and the pleasantly spicy jerk chicken. Nothing at Ms. Martha's comes quickly (good food rarely does) or cheaply, but none of that will matter after one bite of a perfectly spiced goat curry.

Lauren Cusimano

Ph Thành Restaurant is a Phoenix staple. Located on Camelback Road next to adjoining ice cream and boba tea shop Milk Run, the Vietnamese restaurant has been welcoming customers for more than a decade, and it's part of a long-standing legacy of family-owned eateries. And at this large restaurant, everyone is family. It's a gathering place for the Valley and welcomes a cross section of Phoenix residents all there to enjoy bowls of steaming hot pho, sugar cane shrimp or rice congee. We recommend starting with the build-your-own spring rolls. Order one of the bánh hi dishes and a multitude of meats, cold vermicelli noodles, fresh veggies and herbs will arrive at your table. Dip a piece of rice paper into a provided dish of water, and once it softens, fill your spring roll with all your favorite things, roll it up and enjoy. The flavors of rich meats and aromatic herbs are an exciting indication of the rest to come.

Allison Young

Over the past few years, Yotaka and Alex Martin have achieved nothing less than a total reinvention of the standard by which Thai restaurants in Phoenix are measured. With a heartfelt hat tip to Glai Baan for raising the bar and setting the stage, Lom Wong stepped into a city brimming with halfhearted Americanized dishes and challenged Phoenix diners to embrace Thai cuisine on its own terms. That tremendous gamble that has paid off in spades, mostly because the food at Lom Wong is so flipping good that even Americanized Thai fans set in their ways are left agape. Eschewing the big city Bangkok-style of their contemporaries (there's no pad Thai, get over it), the Martins have focused instead on faithfully re-creating the hyperlocal specialties of rural Thailand, with a particular focus on the Moklen cuisine of southern Thailand and the northern cuisine of Yotaka's native Chiang Rai. They pound their own curry pastes, squeeze their own coconut milk and cut their own noodles, resulting in a wild display of technicolor flavors unparalleled in this town and — to be frank — in most of the country.

Meagan Mastriani

Before the summer of "Gangnam Style," the rise of BTS and the K-drama invasion, a handful of mom-and-pop Korean restaurants held down the fort, but suddenly we're awash with a bevy of international Korean chains. Some of them may have a leg up on a specific dish or genre, but as an all-purpose destination for a variety of soulful homestyle food, it's tough to beat Hodori, the grande dame of the Phoenix Korean scene. Now owned by a former employee, Hodori remains as tasty and comforting as ever. Kimchi or seafood pajeon kick things off with a crisp crust and supple interior. Cold noodles like fiery bibim kuksoo or the ice-flecked broth of mul neung myun feel like they were made for Arizona. The barbecue won't match that of the better KBBQ joints, but it's still quite good and the perfect complement to Hodori's outstanding soups and stews. And mountainous shared platters like the bosam — pork belly wrapped in cabbage with kimchi and doenjang — or a cauldron of budae jungol, with its ramen noodles and thick slices of Spam, make this the perfect place to bring a horde of friends or family.

Tim Chow

Yeah, it's a bit bougie, and some might bristle at the a la carte format and phalanx of tableside grill cooks. But the fact remains that if you're looking to stuff your gullet with the best Korean-style grilled meats Phoenix has to offer, it's awfully tough to make a case against Sizzle Korean BBQ. Hyunwook Lee set his sights on elevated fare from the get-go, trucking in top-shelf meats from a Korean butcher in Los Angeles and prepping them with exceptional care. In doing so, he raised the bar and carved out a niche for premium Korean BBQ theretofore unheard of in Phoenix. Cuts of beef and pork with stunning marbling unfurl on the grill in front of you, and while it's fun to cook your own, most of the tableside cooks will do a better job if you let them. Marinades avoid the common trap of being too cloying, while sauces are potent and sparingly applied, but the truth is that these succulent, sizzling slips of meat are so good on their own, they don't really need either.

Lauren Saria

Hana Japanese Eatery is a perennial favorite located just north of the Melrose District. On any given evening, Lori Hashimoto's restaurant is abuzz with activity: Sushi chefs work with precision, servers hustle around the two-room space, and folks from around the neighborhood wait patiently for to-go orders. The menu gives diners plenty of options of both the sushi and non-sushi variety. The vegetable tempura, chicken katsu and spicy tuna will delight fans of classic Japanese fare, but more adventurous diners will find plenty to explore. We love the perfectly chewy takoyaki, octopus dumplings with Japanese mayo, house-made sauce, pickled ginger, green onions and bonito; and the Hana Pride roll, crafted with six kinds of fish with pickled burdock root, avocado, asparagus and sprouts wrapped in cucumber. Choose one of Hana's many sake and Japanese beer options and prepare for a feast.

Jackie Mercandetti Photo

When you walk into Old Town Taste in Tempe, the first thing you notice is the turquoise. It's not the most traditional color scheme for a Chinese restaurant, but the teal-colored walls accented with murals, teal chairs and teal booths make for a distinctive appearance. But the bright decor will cease to draw the eye once your food appears on the table. Old Town Taste serves Sichuan-style cuisine, and the byword here is "spice." Chongqing-style chicken, a specialty, comes out delicately fried, accompanied by green beans and polka-dotted with chiles. Fried lamb with cumin is rich and earthy, and Special Flavored Pork Ribs have an incredible barbecue pork flavor as you nibble the meat off the bones. The restaurant also serves more Americanized Chinese dishes, like General Tso's chicken and kung pao shrimp, but you can find those anywhere. When at Old Town Taste, lean into the more authentic side of the menu.

The unique style of Americanized Cantonese cuisine has seen its share of devotion and derision over the decades, but if you grew up on it, there's no substitute. Canto-American has recently engendered a new wave of appreciation for its unique cross-cultural charms, the key being that Americanized Chinese food doesn't have to be greasy to-go counter Cheapinese. Jade Palace is unquestionably Americanized, but it executes the classic takeout fare with skill. Meats are lightly dusted and crisply fried rather than entombed in a thick batter sarcophagus. Sauces are thick and sugary-sweet, but they're vibrant and flavorful rather than tasting of cornstarch. Juicy potstickers are deftly pan-fried, the sizzling rice soup actually sizzles, and the titanic New York egg roll still looks like a bloated, deep-fried dirigible, but the filling is fresh, the casing is crisp and it boasts the unmistakable, sweet nuttiness of a light smear of peanut butter. It's not Chinese, exactly, but it's ours, and it's delicious.

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