Mm, mm, mac 'n' cheese. President Thomas Jefferson had it for dinner at the White House in 1802, Crayola made it a crayon color in 1993, and Kraft sells more than one million boxes of it every day.
Dressed up with additional ingredients or stripped down and simple, mac 'n' cheese, essentially cooked elbow macaroni and cheese sauce, has been an American favorite for centuries. And when we get a hankerin' for it in the Valley, our top ten go-to spots for dishes of bubbly hot, creamy and cheesy goodness do the job nicely.
This contemporary lunch and dinner spot of classic American and European fare on Central Avenue calls its mac 'n' cheese a kitchen specialty. Served up by the plateful and made with penne, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and three kinds of cheese, for a few dollars more, it can be had with classic or Canadian bacon, turkey, or decadent pieces of lobster and crab.
In the residential heart of the Coronado District, this low-key and cozy eatery gives its Times Mac and Cheese a delicious kick with crispy bits of prosciutto and herbed breadcrumbs. For a few extra dollars, kick it up a notch with the "add lobstah" option featuring large pieces of the sweet-meat crustacean.
Chef and owner Aurore de Beauduy brings contemporary American bistro cuisine with French influences to this small but stylish eatery in Surprise, including her own take on mac 'n' cheese. Made with truffles and pieces of pancetta, it's the classic dish with a touch of French chic. Délicieux!
An institution when it comes to soul food in Phoenix, this downtown, bare-bones eatery with the menu written on the wall makes sure no one leaves hungry. And what better way to pair platefuls of pork chops or fried chicken than with a side of Mrs. White's gooey and ultra-smooth four-cheese mac 'n' cheese. Warning: food coma imminent.
There's no doubt Mark Tarbell, chef and owner of this award-winning neighborhood restaurant in CenPho, has a flair for contemporary American creations. And what better to start the evening before entrees of dreamy, double-cut pork chops or the Mr. Fish of the Moment than a dish of Mark's Mom's Mac 'n Cheese for the table? Made with Vermont cheddar, rich and creamy, and with a breadcrumb top, it's simple yet immensely satisfying.
This popular Phoenix barbecue joint right off the I-17 understands that mac 'n' cheese doesn't need to go gourmet to be delicious. Crazy-cheesy, creamy, and rich, it's a perfect complement to a slab of baby back ribs or a "smoasted" (smoked and roasted) half-chicken. And there's no shame in ordering an extra container to-go for later.
At this upscale bistro of Parisian fare in Scottsdale, mac 'n' cheese gets French-i-fied courtesy of chef Matt Carter. With noodles in a béchamel sauce along with Parmesan, tangy Mimolette cheese, and pieces of smoked ham, the Macaroni Au Gratin is truly an oo-la-la moment of creamy, cheesy goodness.
Ex-D'licious Dishes owner and chef Tudie Frank-Johnson brings her Southern-style barbecue to this counter-service eatery inside Tom's multi-tasking mecca in North Scottsdale -- and her mac 'n' cheese makes errand-running all the more tasty. This creamy and cheesy delight's best feature is its crispy crumb topping, which is solid enough to have as an entree, or better yet, to share with friends along with some 'que.
If you can score the mac 'n' cheese on the rotating menu at this trendy CenPho spot of coffee, cocktails, and comfort food, do it fast -- you won't regret it. Gooey and packed with bacon and jalapeños that aren't shy about making themselves known in every bite, it's served up on a vintage plate, making one wonder if grandma herself isn't hiding somewhere among the hipsters.
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Former State Senator Ken Cheuvront's cool and casual Phoenix restaurant may be best known for its stellar cheese plate selections, but with five varieties of mac 'n' cheese on the menu, it's not shy about the cooked kind either. Savor or share one or more including versions with luscious blue cheese, pesto and spinach, chorizo and peppers, or bacon and caramelized onions. What to wash them down with? A glass of wine, of course.
All our favorites lists also are available on our Best Of app -- see it in action here.
And check out our other lists: Top Ten Spots for Mac 'n' Cheese in the Valley Three Favorite Espresso Shots in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Farmers' Markets Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Eleven Favorite Favorite Places for Sushi in the Valley Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Cupcakes Eleven Favorite Barbecue Joints in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Wine Bars Ten Favorite Phoenix Irish Restaurant & Pubs Six Favorite Specialty Cocktails in Phoenix Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Craft Beer Bars Ten Favorite Gourmet Pizza Shops in the Valley Five Favorite Japanese Restaurants in Phoenix Ten Favorite Margaritas in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Coffee Shops in Phoenix Five Favorite Thai Restaurants in Metro Phoenix Eleven Favorite Ice Cream Shops in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Phoenix Happy Hours Five Favorite Sonoran Dogs in the Valley Ten Favorite Hot Dogs in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Desserts in Phoenix Ten Favorite First Date Restaurants Ten Favorite Burgers in Greater Phoenix Ten Favorite Downtown Phoenix Restaurants for Late Night Dining Ten Favorite Vegetarian Entrees in Metro Phoenix Ten Favorite Chinese Restaurants in Greater Phoenix