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The Best Restaurants in Phoenix 2021: Our Top 100 List

The Best Restaurants in Phoenix 2021: Our Top 100 List

Much has changed since March 2020, when Phoenix New Times published its inaugural list of the Top 100 Restaurants in Phoenix. Nearly all the restaurants on the list — James Beard Award winners, strip-mall taquerias, white-tablecloth classics — have struggled simply to stay open amid a pandemic that ripped through the hospitality industry like a hurricane. Dining out has become an entirely different type of activity. In some ways, going to a restaurant may never be the same again.

Our 2021 list of the Top 100 Restaurants in Phoenix reflects this new era of dining. It includes pandemic-related safety policies regarding things like social distancing, carryout and curbside, expanded outdoor seating, and more. It swaps out dearly departed gems for innovative up-and-comers. But mostly it continues to celebrate the culinary multitudes this city contains. The world has changed, but the reasons we go out to eat — to celebrate, to commune, to be excited by some strange new combination of flavors — have not.

Note: For more information on how local restaurants are serving customers during the pandemic, check out New Times’ guide to Phoenix Takeout, Delivery, and Restaurant Dining 2021.

the larder + the delta
the larder + the delta
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Chef Stephen Jones named his counter at DeSoto Central Market the Larder + the Delta, and when DeSoto tanked, Jones reopened his operation in the scenic surroundings of Portland Parkway Park. The 2018-established Larder is housed in a sleeker, modern space with an efficient little patio and a wraparound bar, and it showcases both local Arizona produce and Jones' talent for elevated Southern fare. Entrees include pork ribs, butcher's steak, chicken fried chicken, and ocean trout. But smaller plates are the main draw here, and they're often quite surprising. The cauliflower is made with Cutino's Hot Sauce; the hoppin' John comes with Carolina Gold rice and Sea Island red peas; the crispy pig ears are heavily dusted with Cheetos. For an extremely memorable order, go with the chicken skins — crunchy treats drizzled with desert blossom honey, orange zest, and lavender. To quench your thirst, the staff is happy to slide just about anything your way: an Old Style can, a coffee negroni, even a hot chicken cocktail (when it's available). New Normal: Reservations are required and can be made via Tock.($$$)

200 W. Portland St., Phoenix, 85003
480-409-8520, website

the larder + the delta

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