5 Best Food Neighborhoods in Metro Phoenix

We love our Valley dining scene but it's impossible to deny that there are certain parts of town with more to offer than others. That's not to say there aren't plenty of great restaurants, bars, and breweries that lie outside of these five geographic areas, but these are the places with more to offer than just a few dining and drinking gems.

We chose these parts of town for different reasons including variety of types of cuisines and pure concentration of options. The fact that each of these neighborhoods has its own unique vibe is a testament to just how diverse the Valley dining scene has become.


Though the Arcadia neighborhood is relatively small in square miles -- it's roughly bounded by 36th Street on the west, Camelback on the north, 68th Street on the east, and Indian School on the south -- the high concentration of restaurants in the area makes this easily one of the hottest dining neighborhoods in town. It's true, Arcadia isn't where you'll find the widest variety of cuisines, but residents benefit from having everything from steakhouses to cool, beer-centric hangouts within arm's reach. Chic, health-focused lunch options abound, while dinner highlights include spots such as Crudo and Ingo's Tasty Food.

See also: 5 Best Restaurants in Arcadia Right Now


You might not think of Mesa as a dining hub, but as the third-largest city in Arizona it shouldn't come as a surprise that there's an abundance of dining gems in this southeast Valley suburb. Mesa scores big points in our book for having a wide variety of international cuisines. At least two of our favorite places for Asian food -- Asian Café Express and Hue Gourmet -- call Mesa home and this neighborhood claims one of the Valley's best places for Swedish eats. In downtown Mesa we love the family-owned Republica Empanada, as well as Dolce Vita Italian Grocer, the one-of-a-kind grocery and restaurant that specializes in Northern Italian cuisine. Other hard-to-find cuisines you can get in this part of town include Hawaiian bbq, German food, and affordable Mexico City-style fare.

See also: 5 Best Restaurants in Mesa Right Now

Central Avenue Corridor

Downtown Phoenix may be coming into its own but the Central Corridor, which stretches from about McDowell Road north to Camelback, has long been a hot spot for chefs and savvy diners. One of the best attributes of this dining scene is definitely its accessibility by both car and public transportation -- in other words, the lightrail. James Beard Award winning chef Chris Bianco chose this neighborhood for his sandwich spot and bakery Pane Bianco and more recently a group of up-and-coming chef and restaurateurs opened Clever Koi, the modern Asian fusion spot, on Central Avenue just north of Indian School Road. This area is also home to some longtime favorites including chef Aaron Chamberlin's St. Francis and the classic Phoenix steakhouse, Durant's.

Old Town Scottsdale

When it comes to the best selection of upscale and award-winning dining destinations, there's no contest. Old Town Scottsdale is where it's at. This is the part of town where the best chefs tend to set up shop including Charleen Badman of FnB, Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft, Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House, Matt Carter of The Mission and The House, Silvana Esparza Salcido of Barrio Queen...we could on but you get the idea. Sure, it's not the most accessible dining scene in town but there are also some low-key spots. For a light lunch we like options such as Original ChopShop Co. or Cornish Pastry, which offers hearty fare and a cozy vibe. Wine and beer-focused spots are also plentiful in this neighborhood, making it a great place for nightlife as well.

See also: - 5 Best Restaurants in South Scottsdale Right Now - 5 Best Places for Lunch in Scottsdale - 5 Best Places for Dinner in Scottsdale


If you had asked us a year ago, we might not have named Gilbert as one of our favorite dining neighborhoods in town. But this southeast Valley neighborhood has exploded with new dining options, some of which have yet to open. It's only fair to point out that many of the new restaurants that have come and will soon be coming to this part of town and transplants or duplicates of central Phoenix spots, but in our opinion that makes this one of the best suburbs in which you can reside. Not having to drive to CenPho or Scottsdale for food from places such as LoLo's Chicken & Waffles, Snooze, and Barrio Queen sounds like a good deal to us. Plus, Gilbert is where restaurateur Joe Johnston has opened all of his dining spots. We love Joe's Real BBQ, Liberty Market, and The Coffee Shop. As a cherry on top, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. set up shop in this part of town. And since you have to go to their tap room to get a taste of their beers, it seems Gilbert is now an unavoidable destination for beer lovers as well.

See also: 5 Best Restaurants in Gilbert Right Now

Runners up: - Seventh Street - Biltmore

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria