If you spend hours spooling through Instagram, as many of us do, it may be to relax or stay informed — or possibly both. And if you’re interested in some food-related follows or some easy-on-the-eye pastry accounts, we have a few suggestions.
Here are some of Phoenix‘s best chefs, restaurants, pastry shops, and just … people … of the Valley food world utilizing the platform well. These images really show off the skills, dedication, and hard work it takes to bring us some of our favorite dishes — plus some community effort sprinkled in.
This is your gateway to all things Chris Bianco — arguably if not obviously the Phoenix area’s most famous chef. Though @pizzeriabianco has somewhere north of 88,000 followers, the @biancorestaurants account showcases the “food, events, catering, and everything else” from Pane Bianco to Bar Bianco, Tratto, and of course Pizzeria Bianco, all while highlighting local projects and purveyors.
As the bio states, Blue Watermelon Project is a grassroots group of chefs, farmers, educators, and activists advocating for better school food. Funds raised by the BWP support its work in area schools and goes toward local student scholarships. And if you want to keep up with this extremely worthy cause, follow @bluewatermelonproject.
Brett Vibber is, or was as we recently reported, the executive chef for Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine in Cave Creek. This #arizonachef is all about #arizonastyle and #arizonafood. That means he and his small team forage “the groves, washes, and pine forests far beyond town,” as we stated in a 2019 Best of Phoenix award, to elevate the tasting menu at Cartwright’s and soon, WILD. For the latest on this pioneer of New Arizonan cuisine, follow @bvibber.
As the bio states, this is the official Instagram of the James Beard Award-finalist chef Kevin Binkley, going by @chefbinkley. Yes, the man behind Binkley’s Restaurant — the little bungalow eatery with meals that feel more like a dinner party at a friend's. You can get a sneak peek via this account of the new dishes plated #onlyatbinkleys.
For a look at the day-to-day life of Talavera Restaurant’s chef de cuisine, head over to @chefsammysanz. Samantha Sanz documents her dishes and travels, collaborations with other Valley chefs, and a few anticipated shots of the desert views from @talavera_restaurant.
If you’re not familiar with the art, food, and people of Calle 16, you soon will be after following @chefsilvana. This is the personal account of Silvana Salcido Esparza, chef and owner of Barrio Café (@thebarriocafe) and Barrio Café Gran Reserva (@barriocafegran) — the 2019 Best of Phoenix winner for Best Upscale Mexican Restaurant.
The Instagram account for both locations of Chula Seafood shows off the best of what the fish market and restaurant has to offer. Catches from the F/V Chula boat in San Diego find their way into sandwiches and atop salads, noodles, focaccia, and trays of ice. And if you’d like to see what the lobster BLT special looks like, give @chula_seafood a follow.
Get ready to immediately leave for Seventh Avenue and Osborn Road, or at least that’s what you’ll feel like doing after spooling through @darkhallcoffee. The vegan drinks and pastries seem otherworldly, especially when documented by co-owner Emily Spetrino, who also runs the account for sister restaurant @thecoronadophx.
The @ghostranch_az account does a good job of showcasing how Ghost Ranch is "bringing the untamed flavors of the Southwest to south Tempe.” You’ll be able to follow the adventures of Chef Rene Andrade (@rene.chito) and scope out some colorful bowls of elote or frosty glasses of margarita.
Hayden Flour Mills, a.k.a. the wheat you can eat, offers heritage and ancient grains thoughtfully grown and stone milled, as its Instagram bio lets new followers know. This account spotlights the beautiful breads, pastas, and wheat fields behind the business. And all the adventures are documented at @haydenflourmills by co-owner Emma Zimmerman.
Turns out, the largest local business coalition in the U.S. is Local First Arizona. And that’s evident when you follow @localfirstaz. The account often showcases the offerings of local restaurants, bars, and food-related businesses, as well as updates on @devourphoenix — the much-anticipated annual food festival.
Is there any place more fun, and any account even more fun than that, than Mariscos Playa Hermosa? A @mariscosplayahermosa follow will result in dramatic photos of Brazilian red snapper, aguachile, and Micheladas to beat the banda. Get ready to #vamosalaplaya.
If you want the absolute latest news on Phoenix’s restaurant scene — we’re talking openings, closings, special events, and maybe some drama — give @mouthbysouthwest a follow. Curator Jess Harter is extremely dialed in to the scene, especially the east Valley, meaning you can remain posted on all things food and drink in this burg upon opening IG.
So many good Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa restaurants are found along the Valley Metro Rail, we wish someone were around to keep track. Oh wait, someone does at @phxrailfood. PHX Rail Food is “a guide to good eating along the light rail line” and they do a stellar job. Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, Thai Spices, The Stockyards? You’ll see all that highlighted and more.
We fully admit it, @restaurantprogressphx is one of our favorite accounts. The Melrose District restaurant nook has the kind of visual elements that could stop your scrolling: healthy potted plants, vibrant cocktails, a twinkle-lit patio, beautifully displayed meals, and some neat tattoos too boot. You can also catch a few shots of the action over at @dinosnapoletana.
Ruze Cake House truly changes with the season, and that’s evident by the macarons, cookies, and cakes recorded in photographs over at @ruzecakehouse. The best part? Cactus and Arizona-shaped cookies themed for the current holiday, and that includes teacher and nurse appreciation weeks.
Yes, this is the little sister restaurant to Beckett’s Table, but there’s something about the way Southern Rail’s food looks in photos. Just try not to speed over to The Newton’s anchor restaurant after looking over whatever spread from @southernrailaz. Chef and owner Justin Beckett (@chefbeckettaz) has really outdone himself with this one.
You may recognize Tamara Stanger, executive chef of Cotton & Copper and overall badass, from Brett Vibber’s Instagram. That’s because the two regularly team up to highlight foraged ingredients in the form excursions and the resulting dishes. And since this is Instagram, the flowery dishware beneath the plated entrees comes across just as beautifully as the New Arizonan cuisine found at @tamara_stanger.
To see the best of the Valley’s pastry division, give The Dinersaur a follow. This sweet toother documents all the best made-to-order desserts at @the.dinersaur, and where to find them (including brunch at Restaurant Progress and the pastry case at First Place Coffee).
Get ready for your mind to kapow after scrolling through the drinks, plates, and patio available at The Dressing Room. This petite eatery, happy hour hangout, and Roosevelt Row tenant knows how to show off, and that’s proven after following @thedressingroomphx.
You might recognize the face of Chef Charleen Badman from your recent Blue Watermelon Project follow. Badman, who won a James Beard Award earlier this year, snaps shots of the stunning dishes about to be served at FnB Restaurant via @veggiebadman. But what we love more are snippets of Badman’s work in the garden, with friends, and in the community.
You might think the good folks at Verdura, the 2019-established vegan restaurant situated on Uptown’s Seventh Street restaurant row, hired a professional food photographer. Nope, the IG responsibilities are split between owner Julia Chugerman and her business partner/chef, Chris Gruebele. Maybe they’re just that skilled, or maybe the food just looks that good. You can decide after following @verduraphx.
If pastry porn is a thing, and we would bet that it is, Voyager Bakeshop is quite the example of that particular subgenre. Follow @voyagerbakeshop to see made-to-order baked goods fresh out of Phoenix, as they say. Lurk the coffee cakes, macarons, scones, and cupcakes, and you’ll not be sorry.
Beyond causing fullness, fast-food chicken sandwiches are behind lengthy drive-thru lines, family arguments, and a downtick in area wallets. So maybe avoid all that and check out Worth Takeaway. No one can argue it has the best crispy chicken sandwich in town. Don’t believe us? Visit @worthtakeaway and be sure to also check out other sandwiches, coffee, flowers, friends, and life in downtown Mesa.
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Bonus — @chowbellaphx
Some shameless self-promotion? Why not? The New Times food and drink section has its own Instagram account, @chowbellaphx. We work hard to bring you what we find to be weird and relevant Valley food news, most of which is also posted as a visual aid to our account. Give us a scroll and let us know what you think.
Editor’s note: Next time, we’ll highlight a list of drink-related Instagram accounts focusing on cocktails, coffee, wine, and the beer-making world.