5 Best Restaurants in Metro Phoenix Right Now

The star of the show at Tacos Chiwas.
The star of the show at Tacos Chiwas. Jackie Mercandetti
The star of the show at Tacos Chiwas. - JACKIE MERCANDETTI
The star of the show at Tacos Chiwas.
Jackie Mercandetti

From a quick meal of tacos to a 22-course dining experience, the Phoenix food scene has it all these days. Check out Chow Bella's five current must-try restaurants.

Tacos Chiwas

McDowell Road, in that sleepy stretch east of downtown Phoenix, has long been a reliable source for good, home-style Mexican food. There’s La Barquita, with its molcajete dinners for two, a pile of grilled meats, nopales, and fresh herbs that’s hearty enough to stretch into a light dinner for four. There’s Rosita’s Place, with its $3 beer specials and menu of saucy, cheesy Sonoran plates, whose recipes appear to be more or less blissfully unchanged since 1964. And now, there’s a (relatively) new prime spot for Mexican food on McDowell: Tacos Chiwas, situated just west of the State Route 51 overpass, whose funny-sounding name evokes the sprawling northern border state of Chihuahua, the biggest state in the Mexican union, famous for its rugged deserts and mountains, and worshipped by some as the birthplace of the burrito.

But this place is home to what might just be the best taco in town.

Kevin Binkley's new take on fine dining involves three hours, 22 courses, and $160 (before drink pairings) — and it's worth every penny.  The restaurant, billed as a ticketed "dining experience," is the newest and most ambitious effort from the James Beard Award-nominated chef and his team to date. It might also be the most ambitious independent restaurant to open in metro Phoenix in years.

House of Egg Roll
There's probably a restaurant named House of Egg Roll in every major metropolitan city between Los Angeles and New York. In fact, a quick Google search turns up results including a Vietnamese-Chinese fast food spot by that name in Santa Clara and a similarly named Egg Roll House restaurant in Milwaukee. It's the kind of generic Chinese restaurant moniker that conjures mental images of steaming plates of General Tso's chicken and cream cheese-stuffed wontons.

There's nothing ordinary about the food at this House of Egg Roll. It's cuisine from northwest China — and it's some of the best Chinese food we've in town. (And if you're nervous about trying something new, don't worry, you can still get your General Tso's fix.)

If you take even a passing interest in Arizona’s culinary scene, you know the name Chris Bianco, the self-made pizzaiolo and restaurateur whose handicraft and devotion to quality ingredients has singlehandedly made Phoenix, of all places, synonymous with world-class pizza.

You won't find a single slice of pizza at Tratto, Bianco's latest Phoenix culinary endeavor. That's more than fine, because the tiny restaurant's small menu of pasta and other items is one of the biggest things going right now.

click to enlarge Pavle Milic included a little nod to the beginnings of FnB in the tile floor of the newly refurbished bar area at the Scottsdale restaurant. - EVIE CARPENTER
Pavle Milic included a little nod to the beginnings of FnB in the tile floor of the newly refurbished bar area at the Scottsdale restaurant.
Evie Carpenter

As front-of-the-house-man Pavle Milic puts it, this "little gin joint" is still going strong several years in. Thank Charleen Badman, whose New American food focuses on vegetables without sacrificing flavor. FnB walks the walk when it comes to local — whether it's Dave Jordan's chicken or Bob McClendon's produce — and it shows in every bite. Stop by to check out the new little bar, featuring a new cocktail menu and tile designed to evoke FnB's original location a few blocks away. Don't skip the butterscotch pudding for dessert.
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