10 Phoenix-Area Restaurants With the Best City Views | Phoenix New Times

10 Phoenix-Area Restaurants With the Best City Views

Our top story.
Four decades of killer Phoenix view from Compass Arizona Grill.
Four decades of killer Phoenix view from Compass Arizona Grill. Courtesy of Compass Arizona Grill
Share this:
Sometimes what you’re seeing is as important as what you’re eating. Yes we’re referring to the experience of patio or balcony dining with an amazing urban view laid out in front of you. It can certainly make your meal feel more cosmopolitan, your glass of wine or mixed drink a little more sophisticated, your view of self a little more worldly.

If you seek an urbane experience such as this, or just really enjoy people watching with a drink and good point of view, here are 11 restaurants in greater Phoenix with the best city views.

Compass Arizona Grill

122 North Second Street

The ultimate special occasion restaurant, Compass Arizona Grill — or just Compass Room — is the spherical, slowly spinning hotel eatery pinned to the top of Hyatt Regency Phoenix. People usually remember the 24th-floors views of downtown Phoenix versus the food, but the new American menu still features some classics. Think calamari, wedge salads, scallop, pasta, and prime New York strip. There’s also a lengthy wine list and decent selection of craft beer and handcrafted cocktails. After 40 years of spinning around, you’re not going to find a more appropriate place for a graduation, anniversary, or job promotion dinner than Compass Arizona Grill.

click to enlarge
Crescent Ballroom has a place to hang out outdoors during the cooler hours of the day.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Crescent Ballroom

308 North Second Avenue

This downtown spot is best known as the midsize venue instrumental in re-energizing the Phoenix's live music scene. But Crescent Ballroom should also be recognized for its outstanding patio and balcony, which brings some much-needed urban nightlife to the once relatively quiet streets of this section of downtown. The bottom floor offers shaded seating, while the top floor boasts views of downtown Phoenix. But no matter where you sit, you have easy access to Cocina 10, the venue's Mexican-inspired kitchen. The menu has house favorites like the I-10 Nachos and the Poquito bean and cheese burrito.

click to enlarge
Nook Kitchen Downtown has those floor-to-ceiling windows.
Courtesy of Nook Kitchen Downtown

Nook Kitchen Downtown

15 East Monroe Street

Every day at 5 p.m. the crew at Nook Kitchen Downtown start setting up the Italian eatery’s urban patio. Dubbed "modern American with Italian roots" and overseen by chef Nick LaRosa, the downtown location of Nook opened inside the Hilton Garden Inn in 2016. Recommended dishes at Nook Kitchen Downtown include arancini, balls of risotto stuffed with hand-pulled mozzarella and pomodoro sauce, or the Canadian favorite, poutine — hand-cut fries topped with mozzarella curds and beef gravy. There are also salads, pastas, entrées and pizzas rosso, and house favorites like osso bucco. But maybe you just want a glass of wine on the patio, in which case, we’ll leave you to it.

click to enlarge
Right in the thick of it.
Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

2 East Jefferson Street

This handsome dining spot is one of downtown Phoenix's favorite destinations. Located at the Hotel Palomar at CityScape, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails serves elevated gastro-pub fare such as shrimp and grits, handmade pasta, and braised pork shank. In addition to the upscale Southern fare and drinks, soak in the 360-degree views of downtown. Dinner service is 5 to 10 p.m. except on Friday and Saturday, when service runs an hour longer. And the bar is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight.

click to enlarge
See the Phoenix skyline from the Lustre Rooftop Bar in your private cabana.
Courtesy of Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix

Lustre Rooftop Bar

2 East Jefferson Street

Also at Hotel Palomar at CityScape, Lustre Rooftop Bar offers sweeping views of South Mountain and the downtown Phoenix skyline — making it one of the go-to open-air lounges for travelers and Valley locals. Lustre has ample seating space with sofas and tables, a pool, and a full bar featuring local brews like Four Peaks Kilt Lifter and San Tan Brewery's Mr. Pineapple on tap. But there’s also a menu with pretzel sticks, green chili fondue, flatbread, salads, and sliders. Enjoy discounted food and drink specials during happy hour, which is Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

click to enlarge
Won't you have a drink at Little Rituals?
J. Mercandetti Photo

Little Rituals

132 South Central Ave, Fourth Floor

One of the newest cocktail lounges downtown, Little Rituals is found on the fourth floor of the Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott. It offers 30 custom cocktails (not that you have to go for one of the signature drinks but if you're looking to spend they're pretty inventive), plus beer and wine, and gourmet bar bites like the "Pho" French Dip. All comes from the minds of people behind the neighboring Bitter & Twisted and Casino del Sol resort in Tucson. The view from the fourth floor is a little lacking, for now, so just stare at their mural of Phoenix and Arizona references.

click to enlarge
Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva: In the corner of Bragg's Pie Factory on Grand Avenue.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva

1301 Northwest Grand Avenue, #1

This is one of the more unique dining rooms in Phoenix. Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva occupies the old Braggs Pie Factory in the Grand Avenue Arts District. The menu is packed with upscale Mexican fare overseen by James Beard Foundation Award-nominated chef Silvana Salcido Esparza and sous chef Brianna Arzaga, and the mole is unmatched. But let’s go back to the scenery. Your views are of the open kitchen, the weird and colorful sidewalks of Grand Avenue, or, if you’re seated in the front of the house, some amazing views of downtown Phoenix.

click to enlarge
Head upstairs at The Perch if you can tear yourself away from these two.
Lauren Cusimano

The Perch Brewery

232 South Wall Street, Chandler

There are birds, beers, and live performances held at The Perch Brewery’s rooftop lounge area in the middle of downtown Chandler. Sample some of the unique fare like The Perch Bird Race or The Perch Bird Hands, or just grab a drink and reflect on how much Chandler has grown. Enjoy $5 appetizers and drink discounts during happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Perch's rooftop spot is open Wednesday through Saturday starting at 6 p.m.

click to enlarge
Grab some food at Tranquilo and head upstairs to the Skydeck.
Jackie Mercandetti


401 West Clarendon Avenue

While Tranquilo — the in-house, modern-Mexican restaurant at the boutique Clarendon Hotel and Spa — is technically on the ground level, there is the Skydeck. The rooftop hangout with views of downtown Phoenix as well as The Clarendon’s well-known pool area doesn't actually serve food, nor is there service from below, but it is BYOF. That means you can order dinner from Tranquilo, like the cactus fries, tinga de pollo tacos, or the Tranquilo Burger, and bring it upstairs. The Skydeck bar is open daily (well, nightly) from 5 to 10 p.m.

click to enlarge
Social Tap Eatery has expanded...upward.
Katelyn Greno

Social Tap Eatery

4312 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale bar and restaurant, Social Tap Eatery, is moving up — literally. The spot has recently opened a 1,800-square-foot rooftop bar with more of a sophisticated wine and cocktail lounge feel. Think fireplace, lounge chairs, swooping outdoor lights, and views of Old Town Scottsdale from on high. However, the menu still features those sought-after street tacos and upscale bar fare. Plus, the rooftop bar is just that, a bar, so you may still bring a cocktail or glass wine of wine back to your lounge chair from just a few feet away.
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Phoenix New Times has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.