Lists

Save Room For Dessert at These Phoenix Restaurants

The Pumpkin Banana Bread Pudding from The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale features hot cake and cold ice cream. It's topped with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds.
The Pumpkin Banana Bread Pudding from The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale features hot cake and cold ice cream. It's topped with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds. Jacob Tyler Dunn
click to enlarge Earth Plant Based Cuisine's gansito is a vegan revelation. - ALLISON YOUNG
Earth Plant Based Cuisine's gansito is a vegan revelation.
Allison Young
Did you know that stressed spelled backward is desserts? Not that you should smother your stress in caramel sauce, but what better way to end an epic restaurant meal than on a (sugar) high note? Or skip dinner altogether and go straight to dessert. Either way, here’s where to find the best restaurant desserts and dessert menus in Phoenix.

Earth Plant Based Cuisine

1325 Grand Avenue

Earth’s vegan dessert menu is a dairy-free revelation. Let’s start with the gansito, a Mexican-style Twinkie with spongy white cake that's filled with a creamy, jammy inside and coated in tappable chocolate and sprinkles. It's a treat that tastes like childhood. Then there’s the churro ice cream sandwich, a two-handed beast bookended by coils of deep-fried dough that are stuffed with organic soy ice cream. And we haven’t even mentioned the truly Monster Shakes, more than half-liter sips in flavors like chocolate peanut butter pretzel and Crazy Churro, stacked with cookies, candy, fruit, and even popcorn toppers. All Insta and instant faves.

click to enlarge Belly's sweet potato donuts swimming in pandan sauce. - ALLISON YOUNG
Belly's sweet potato donuts swimming in pandan sauce.
Allison Young

Belly

4971 North 7th Avenue

Belly is at the corner of Camelback and 7th Avenue, yet the chic second-story spot feels like you could be sitting over a steaming pork belly clay pot in trendy Singapore or sharing soft-shell crab bao buns in bustling Barcelona. It’s that exotic – and so are the sweet potato donuts. The crispy-on-the-outside-rich-and-doughy-on-the-inside fried bites are comforting like a donut, yet beignet sophisticated. Add in its swimming pool of galactic green pandan sauce, an otherworldly blend of creamy coconut with the earthy vanilla-ness of pandan leaf, and you’ll be sopping up every green drop – and wondering, "Why aren’t more desserts green?"

click to enlarge Elements' PB Bombe is the bomb! - ALLISON YOUNG
Elements' PB Bombe is the bomb!
Allison Young

Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley

The highlight of Element’s seasonal dessert menu is the PB Bombe. Like its name implies, there’s nothing subtle about it: A dome of creamy chocolate ganache sits on a crispy macadamia nut base, surrounded by homemade Cracker Jack, candied hazelnuts, and a flourish of chocolate pearls, with an artistic swipe of chocolate across the plate and chocolate spiral winding above. But the real magic is in diving in, cutting your fork through the ganache and revealing the peanut butter mousse inside – it's like a Reese’s peanut butter cup’s rich and sophisticated aunt. Best eaten amid sighs with your eyes closed.


click to enlarge Dilla Libre churros are mandatory. - ALLISON YOUNG
Dilla Libre churros are mandatory.
Allison Young

Dilla Libre

1339 East Northern Avenue
8018 East Thomas Road, Scottsdale

Sometimes all you want is a back-to-basics dessert, something sweet and done so right, it’s right on. For those times, there are Dilla Libre’s churros. Ordered a la carte (one order gets you two five-inch sticks of deliciousness for three bucks), these cinnamon sugar-shrouded sticks of crispy fried dough are done just right on the outside, all crispy and golden-hued, and tender and cajeta-filled on the inside. Each bite is simultaneously crunchy and creamy, totally tasty on its own, yet the side of Mexican chocolate sauce for dipping is so worth the extra buck.

click to enlarge Tratto hazelnut praline cake by pastry chef Mark Chacón - ALLISON YOUNG
Tratto hazelnut praline cake by pastry chef Mark Chacón
Allison Young

Tratto

1505 East Van Buren Street

Scroll Mark Chacón’s Instagram and you’re in for a sweet treat. As pastry chef for Chris Bianco’s restaurants (Tratto, Pizzeria Bianco, and Pane Bianco), Chacón posts pic after gorgeous pic of apple huckleberry crostadas glazed to perfection, tempting maple bourbon pecan tarts ready for their closeup, perfectly profiled horchata cake, toasted hazelnut brown butter beauties coated in cognac ganache and candied nuts, all fabulously photogenic and rustically regal. Chacón comes from a pastry pedigree, with stints at Tartine and Chez Panisse in San Francisco and Noma in Copenhagen, so as drool-worthy as his creations are to look at, they taste even better.

click to enlarge Angel's Trumpet house-made pop-tarts - ALLISON YOUNG
Angel's Trumpet house-made pop-tarts
Allison Young

Angel’s Trumpet Ale House

810 North 2nd Street

Granted, a gastropub isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think dessert, yet Angel’s Trumpet has a sweet standout that’s about to change all that. As well as 31 beers on tap, standout burgers, wings, and brisket, and one of the best dog-friendly patios downtown Phoenix, its rotating roster of house-made pop-tarts taste like heavenly nostalgia. Way fancier than the toaster kind, made with buttery puffed pastry and drizzled in glazy goodness, they come two per order, served hot and glazed. Flavors come and go, with standouts like lemon lavender, s'mores, apple strudel, and pumpkin churro leaving even hopheads wanting more.

click to enlarge Pumpkin bread pudding at The Mission is a must. - ALLISON YOUNG
Pumpkin bread pudding at The Mission is a must.
Allison Young

The Mission

7122 East Greenway Parkway Ste 140, Scottsdale
3815 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale

The pumpkin bread pudding at The Mission takes you on a texture adventure. What starts with homemade pumpkin bread is baked into bread pudding and bathed in a scotch-spiked caramel sauce for an immensely moist, yet not at all mushy, pitch-perfect bite with hints of pumpkin spice. The tart acid pop of the pomegranate seeds, nutty pepitas, and lush mouthfeel of Sweet Republic vanilla ice cream uplifts it all, adding color, crunch, and creaminess. There’s a gorgeous Guatemalan chocolate pasilla and espresso churros with a Mexican chocolate milkshake for sipping or dipping. In other words, save room for dessert.


click to enlarge Cornish Pasty Co's Banoffee is bananas! - ALLISON YOUNG
Cornish Pasty Co's Banoffee is bananas!
Allison Young

Cornish Pasty Co.

Multiple Locations

Banoffee (as in bananas and toffee) is not only fun to say, it’s fun to eat. The classic English dessert pie served at Cornish Pasty layers sliced bananas, thick whipped cream, and decadent dulce de leche on a more than ample buttery graham cracker crust for a mammoth dessert that’s not just built for one or two – four people armed with spoons will race to the finish, each getting more than their fill. The dessert menu features a peanut butter and jelly pasty with bananas and raspberry jelly, and a toffee-drenched sticky pudding served hot with crème anglaise. Not that you have to share any of the above.

click to enlarge Tarbell’s cheesecake with rosemary caramel is a masterpiece in taste and appearance. - ALLISON YOUNG
Tarbell’s cheesecake with rosemary caramel is a masterpiece in taste and appearance.
Allison Young

Tarbell’s

3213 East Camelback Road

Art on a plate. That’s your first impression of Tarbell’s cheesecake, a sculptured lady that sits high and proud on its delicate graham cracker crust, drizzled with a fancy flourish of bronzed caramel. The avant-garde plating looks too good to eat ... for a second. Take a moment to appreciate its sublime silhouette, and then go all in: You’ll be greeted with a dense delightful texture that coats your mouth in the most disarming way. You’ll taste the subtle-yet-welcome hint of rosemary in the caramel, and don’t be surprised if you mutter something like, "This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted." You won’t be the first.
click to enlarge Pomo's tiramisu is more than the sum of its - parts. - ALLISON YOUNG
Pomo's tiramisu is more than the sum of its parts.
Allison Young

Pomo Pizzaria

Multiple Locations

The secret to Pomo’s standout and standup tiramisu is Italy itself. The mascarpone is a small-batch artisan variety that comes straight from lo Stivale (the Boot). Ditto for the impossibly dark cacao that’s dusted on top like an opaque chocolate veil, and the imported ladyfingers, which are dipped in a brandy espresso bath for a spongy sinewy texture. Lest we forget, owner Stefano Fabbri, who hails from the motherland, not only knows authentic Neapolitan pizza, but he grew up in his grandpa’s Italian bakery. Add it all together and you have a lusciously layered light and fluffy feast that’s impossible not to finish.
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Allison Young has written about food, nutrition, and travel for Sunset, Women’s Health, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Mindbodygreen, and Prevention. Her local jam is food writing, where she happily eats her way across the Valley to discover the best hidden gems, hole-in-the-walls, pizza joints, and the latest Phoenix food trends. She also loves to pick Valley chef’s brains for their favorite food finds. On her website, TheGlitterList.com, she posts one thing she’s looking forward to each day, from food to books and podcasts.
Contact: Allison Young