When it comes to the best restaurants in the heart of our fair city, there's something to appeal to just about every kind of diner.
Whether you're looking for world-famous eats from a James Beard Award-winning chef or just a place for a wallet-friendly lunch, you'll get your fill in downtown Phoenix.
The Larder + The Delta
Though it's just a food court stall inside DeSoto Central Market, chef Stephen Jones' The Larder + The Delta is a don't-miss destination for Southern food enthusiasts. From inside the tiny kitchen, Jones and his team produce bold, memorable flavors, including those found in the chef's popular cauliflower dish. Pieces of the often-overlooked veggie come battered and tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce, then paired with blue cheese and pickled celery for a familiar but elevated dish that's impossible to resist. Other favorites include the Kentucky fried quail, Hoppin' John, and Cheetos pig ears that come deep-fried and dusted in cheesy chip dust.
Nobuo at Teeter House
Nobuo at Teeter House is a cozy but elegant spot tucked into an old home at Heritage Square. And though you might expect high prices from James Beard Award-winning chef Nobuo Fukuda, the lunch menu keeps things surprisingly affordable. For dinner, you'll want to explore the seasonal menu, which showcases Fukuda's talent for elevating Japanese cuisine. If you call ahead, you can request a multi-course omakase dinner, the chef's signature offering.
Though it's technically just outside downtown proper, Welcome Diner is a favorite dining spot and meeting place for downtown residents and visitors alike. Housed in a nine-seat Valentine diner, this place is anything but short on charm, with a large patio complete with twinkly lights and large community tables. Spread out and enjoy anything off the Southern-inspired menu, which includes everything from fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches to the well-loved PB&B, a burger topped with peanut butter, pickles, and bacon.
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You can hardly talk about dining downtown without mentioning Pizzeria Bianco, the world-famous restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Bianco. The legendary chef's dedication to using the very best ingredients accounts for part of the reason this place has become a veritable food pilgrimage destination. Take the Wiseguy pizza for example, made with house smoked mozzarella cheese, locally made fennel sausage, and wood-roasted onion. Of course, all the pizzas also come on Bianco's near-perfect crust — blistered in the wood-fired oven and yet perfectly chewy
Matt's Big Breakfast
Dining at Matt's Big Breakfast is pretty much a rite of passage for Phoenicians. Not only because the food is great, but also because waiting for a table on a Sunday morning is pretty much expected. And there's good reason you'll find so many people hungrily standing around outside the spot. The breakfast classics served here are top-quality, whether you're looking for go-to combo like the Hog and Chick (a pork chop and eggs) or one of the restaurant's giant waffles. Whatever you do, don't skip the legendary hash browns.
Originally published February 3, 2015. Updated February 8, 2016.