See Also: 10 Signs You're a Phoenix Foodie
Rita's Kitchen Swing a dead cat in this town and you'll hit a hotel restaurant. Some are better than others, and most are overrated and overpriced. For our money, we'll take a table at Rita's Kitchen, the casual dining spot at the Camelback Inn. Adjacent to the swankier BLT, Rita's has a serviceable indoor dining room. But you will want to reserve a table outside on the patio, to take full advantage of the Camelback Inn's lovely grounds and live music in the evenings. On winter nights, they build big fires and you can sit in a ring and warm your toes. Any time of year, start with a glass of the hotel's signature red sangria (the not-so-secret ingredient is vanilla) and a bowl of yellow gazpacho. The tableside guacamole is excellent. We recommend the fajitas and the Marriott burger -- and another glass of sangria.
Otto Pizza and Pastry How Phoenix became a mecca for pizza snobs, we'll never know. But it did. That doesn't mean there isn't room for a few no-frills pizza joints, right? Otto Pizza and Pastry is one of those Tempe mainstays that doesn't get the love it should. With freshly made, crispy thin crust pizzas and even pizza by the slice, college kids in the know flock to the joint for a quick lunch between classes. However, their tasty desserts, gigantic calzones, pasta, and French and Italian sandwiches, there's a lot more to this small spot off Ash Avenue and University Drive than just the pies. Plus, the cheap prices and friendly, family-run vibe make it a nice place to relax without breaking the bank.