Where to Eat and Drink During the 2019 Phoenix Fan Fusion

Actor Jeff Goldblum in 2017.
Actor Jeff Goldblum in 2017. Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/via Flickr
Phoenix Fan Fusion 2019 is happening this week, Thursday, May 23, to Sunday, May 26, in downtown Phoenix. That means a lot of comic, sci-fi, fantasy, pop culture, and Jeff Goldblum fans are going to be on the hunt for restaurants and drinks — and we're here to help.

Not only is it spring 2019 Arizona Restaurant Week (may we suggest our favorite five menus?), but we're in the last few days of patio season. And if you're branching out beyond the action, the Valley is chock-full of regional fare, famous pizza, quick favorites, and neighborhood bars.

Here's where to eat and drink, downtown Phoenix or otherwise, during Fan Fusion.

Dining Guide: All Day in Downtown Phoenix

Operating as the epicenter of the bustling Valley, downtown Phoenix is a burgeoning place. At first glance, you might think there are only a few spots to enjoy a nice coffee, bite to eat, or sip of vino. But think of the center of the city as an onion; all you need to do is peel back the layers. What follows is a thorough rundown, from morning brew to breakfast, lunch, afternoon pick-me-up, and late night. Here's your downtown Phoenix dining guide. Let the peeling begin.

Where to Find Metro Phoenix's Best Restaurants

The Phoenix area is fast becoming a foodie's paradise. There are so many choices that we figured you'd need a little help deciding where to spend your valuable dining dollars. With that, here are our best restaurants in town.

Our Best Pizza Places

We may be biased, but we think Phoenix is one of the best pizza towns in the entire United States. And if you think we're crazy, may we suggest 11 pizza places in the Valley that will back up our claim. From Cibo to the world-famous Pizzeria Bianco, we think Phoenix's pizza restaurants are sure to impress.

Our Burgers, Ranked for Your Pleasure

Not too long ago, our food critic Chris Malloy ranked 20 burgers across metro Phoenix. As he puts it, there are a flabbergasting number of places to demolish a burger in this city, and after two weeks of cheese and grease, he made this list. And it's National Hamburger Month to boot.

click to enlarge There are about nine different tacos offered daily at Tacos Sahuaro. - PATRICIA ESCARCEGA
There are about nine different tacos offered daily at Tacos Sahuaro.
Patricia Escarcega

Our Best Mexican Dishes

East side, west side, and smack dab in the middle — everywhere you turn in the Phoenix area, there are great Mexican dishes. From burros and birria to tacos and tamales, we've put together our choices of where to find the 32 best Mexican dishes in the Valley. Call it a treasure map to Mexican food in Phoenix.

Our Best Breakfast Spots

The most important meal of the day can't be squandered on just any old restaurant. No, around Phoenixland, we take our breakfast very seriously. That means we hunted down the best places in the Valley for everything from pancakes, bacon, and eggs, to more nontraditional morning fare like pork chops and doughnuts smothered in syrup and authentic New York bagels loaded with pastrami and eggs. Start your day off right with a meal at one of these best breakfast spots in greater Phoenix.

Our Favorite Beers and Booze

Here's where to find the best bartender, the best tequila, the best whiskey, the best wines, the best cocktails, the best selection of beers, and even the best sake (hint, it's made here in Arizona, not in Japan). However, if you take our recommendations a little too seriously, you may also want to check out this list of the best dishes to help you deal with that hangover.

Our Favorite Giant Pretzels

Buckle up, because we're about to get Bavarian: butter, salt, and delicious warm pretzel bread, not to mention killer dipping sauces like gooey beer cheese, stinging mustard, cream cheese, and probably a super inventive one or two. Here are several spots across the Valley where you can get your hands on some knotty pretzels.

Best Spots for Wings

From Buffalo style to unique Vietnamese takes, big meaty ones to crispy little guys, we have a lot of wing options in this town. They're at our sports bar, our modern "concept" restaurants, and more importantly, just about everywhere else. Here are over a dozen places to wing it this week.

Our Favorite Loaded Fries

Hello hedonists, prepare yourself for a mess-load of crazy fries. It’s already french fries, but they're hidden beneath savory meats, oozing cheese, gobs of sauce, and who knows what else. The demand has been rising for starches weighed down with zany ingredients, so they're easy to find. From jalapeño-chili-cheese-pastrami fries to bulgogi poutine, here are some impressive orders of loaded fries.

The churro ice cream sandwich from The Dressing Room: "Cold gelato between hot dough — yes, please." - ALLISON YOUNG
The churro ice cream sandwich from The Dressing Room: "Cold gelato between hot dough — yes, please."
Allison Young

Our Favorite Desserts

Phoenix has a wide array of sweet options including everything from heavily doctored churros to Thai bread and custard — plus, you know, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, cake, pie, and more. Most can be shared, but if you want one of these all to yourself, have at it. Here are our favorite desserts in the Valley.

Our Favorite Dive Bars

Staying near the action? Got an Airbnb a couple miles away? Having to stay with friends in the suburbs? No matter where you end up before or after Fan Fusion, there's a neighborhood tavern nearby. And you're almost certainly going to make friends.
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano