When it comes to the north Phoenix part of town, the question isn't whether there are good places to eat, but whether or not you can make time to get to them all. There's a lot of square mileage that constitutes this part of town, but whether you're from the neighborhood or just passing through, there are plenty of places worth checking out. Even better, north Phoenix is home to all sorts of great cuisines, from excellent Asian food to one of the best places in town for modern American smokehouse fare.
Here are the five best restaurants in north Phoenix right now.
See also: PBLT at Bootleggers: 100 Favorite Dishes
There's a growing number of places for good barbecue in this town. But there are only a few with the gastropub-meets-bbq-joint vibe that you'll find at Bootleggers in north Phoenix. There's a second location in Old Town Scottsdale these days, but we love the neighborhood feel you get a the original spot, tucked back in the corner of the strip mall just off the 51 freeway. Chef James Fox puts out excellent smoked meats, as well as a few more gourmet options like the Crispy Rock Shrimp with Cheddar Grits. Don't skimp on the sides either, Fox does wonders with kale and green beans.
Old Town Sarajevo
When it comes to food that's filling and also fits a tight budget, you really can't beat Old Town Saraevjo. Owner/chef Seida Turulja delivers meaty Bosnian fare including cevapi, considered to be the country's national dish. It offers five, ten, or fifteen sausages between two pieces of lepinja, a chewy flatbread that's nearly the size of a dinner plate. The dish is served with sides of sour cream, onions, and eggplant and pepper spread. The best way to eat it will be to dig in with your hands, dipping pieces of bread and sausage into the sides of your choice.
It's pretty bare bones, but if you've come to Wahsun in north Phoenix it's probably not because you're looking for a romantic dining spot. The star here is the Peking duck, which comes with a perfectly crisped skin and heaps of Chinese five spice. The restaurant offers an array of authentic Chinese delicacies -- provided you know to ask for the correct menu. On one you'll find Americanized dishes like kung pao beef and chow mein, while regulars know to ask for the Chinese menu, which features options like seafood tofu hot pot and whole crab in black bean sauce. Oh, and the eggrolls are some of the best in town.
Restaurant Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca
For a brief moment Valley diners though they'd lost what's widely regarded as one of the best taco spots in town. Luckily, it took just about a month for Restaurant Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca (formerly Tacos Atoyac) to reopen its doors. It's definitely a "no-frills" sort of place, with a small counter for ordering and just a handful of tables inside. But once you bite into one of the restaurant's fish tacos, you'll understand why you've come. The fried fish will be crispy on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside -- you might just forget you're in the middle of the desert.
Yasu Sushi Bistro
There are plenty of places for sushi in Phoenix, but few that do it as well as Yasu Sushi Bistro. Locals pack this north Phoenix restaurant on week nights and weekend, seeking the fresh fish and authentic Japanese fare prepared by chef Yasu Hashino. You'll find him behind the tiny sushi bar molding sushi rice and fitting pieces of fresh fish on top. The cooked offerings are notable as well, particularly items that come of the sumibiyaki, or charcoal grill.
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