Top Restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale
Dinners served at long tables set up in the desert, pizza that some critics claim is the best in the country, a bountiful and somewhat surprising flow between local farms and restaurant kitchens, Phoenix and Scottsdale offer visitors everything from tacos and fry bread to sushi and seafood places that coastal cities would envy. In formal dining rooms and at farmers’ market stands, you can taste craft beer, great bagels, barbecue, chocolate bacon caramel corn, or fine local wines and mesquite-grilled filet mignon, or Indonesian curry noodle soup.
1205, 2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006, USA
There are a handful of chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio restaurants around Greater Phoenix, including an outpost at the airport, but the original Barrio Café location on 16th Street (Calle 16) is the one you can’t miss. Since 2002, Esparza has been serving up elevated versions of classic Mexican dishes, including signatures like cochinita pibil (citrus-marinated and slow-roasted pork), chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano chiles in a walnut-based cream sauce), and, of course, a killer tableside guacamole (topped with sweet pomegranate seeds). Make time to view the bold street murals on Barrio Café's exterior and all around Calle 16—many of them are the masterworks of an ad hoc group of activists, artists, and small-business owners called Calle 16, co-founded by Esparza.
8015 E Roosevelt St, Scottsdale, AZ 85257, USA
It may be in a random stretch of south Scottsdale, but Chula Seafood is definitely worth the drive. What started as a family wholesale business now includes a small kitchen and retail space where you can get delicious Hawaiian-style poke bowls and fresh seafood sandwiches. On Saturdays, the hot-smoked salmon—which tops a toasted everything bagel from nearby Super Chunk Sweets & Treats—draws a crowd. It’s served with the typical sides, plus a bit of jalapeño for spice. All of the fish at Chula Seafood comes fresh, never frozen, from San Diego in two weekly runs made by the owners themselves.
7111 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
A contemporary take on a traditional pub, Citizen Public House is known for its craft beers, classic and modern cocktails, and interesting pub grub. Snacks include bacon-fat popcorn and a beer fondue made with the local Kilt Lifter brew. Main courses like short ribs with a coffee rub and pan-seared scallops with grits are hearty and delicious. The spot is beautiful, too, with mahogany furniture, oversize leather booths, and a large stainless steel–topped center bar. Speaking of the bar—Citizen Public House is a good spot to tip one back with the locals. Because the bar supports Arizona brewers and wineries, you’ll find Four Peaks Hop Knot IPA and Pillsbury Wild Child white blend on the list, along with wines from Caduceus Cellars and Dos Cabezas.
6434 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85283, USA
The only thing better than chef-owner Azhar Began’s brick-oven pizza is his delightfully unexpected wine list. It’s packed with varietals from lesser-known international growing regions like Croatia, Bulgaria, and even Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ask him to walk you through some of his favorites; his passion and animated personality make it a downright entertaining experience. Began’s pies—there’s a Hatch chili pizza, spice-roasted lamb, and Greek-style pie among the more typical flavors—are fresh and made entirely from scratch. His care in crafting the pies and his warm, welcoming personality are what make this neighborhood joint a draw for locals and in-the-know travelers.
Sacred Pi was formerly called Classic Italian Pizza.
Sacred Pi was formerly called Classic Italian Pizza.
6922 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Grab a spot on the backyard patio, and order up some wood-fired pizza and your choice of 36 different Arizona beers. Craft 64’s rotating beer selection changes daily, and its signature Smooove Hoperator, brewed on-site, is regularly available. The Uovo pizza, a delectable pie topped with three types of cheese, bacon, two eggs, and spinach, is a tasty adventure, while the Margarita pizza with prosciutto is simple and so good when you’re looking for a basic choice. Craft 64 is cozy and casual, a great come-as-you-are spot for a posthike lunch or easygoing dinner.
6316 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253, USA
Fat Ox is a recent venture from chef Matt Carter, the same Phoenix-born culinary genius behind other area hot spots like the Mission and Zinc Bistro. The restaurant dishes out modern takes on the hearty recipes of rural Italy—think hand-pulled cheeses, homemade pastas, and generous cuts of steak, poultry, and seafood slow-roasted over local mesquite. The bar menu is extensive and includes some Italian classics (digestifs and aperitifs included!), plus local craft beers and an impressive collection of wines from all across Italy—even a few international varietals from France, Argentina, and New Zealand.
7125 E. 5th Ave. Suite 31, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
The owners of FnB—James Beard Award semifinalist chef Charleen Badman and front-of-house manager Pavle Milic—were early champions of Arizona wine and produce, curating a wine list that includes lots of Grand Canyon State vintages to accompany their locally sourced dishes. They still highlight the state’s great bounty, and Milic even produces his own wine label, Los Milics, which is available in small batches at the restaurant. Badman’s seasonal menu showcases Arizona’s flavor with an imaginative, very veggie-forward lineup. (Don’t worry, meat and seafood are on the menu, too.) The cozy eight-seat bar is the perfect spot to sample FnB’s wine offerings, showcasing a different region every four weeks.
3000 E. Ray Road, Building 7, Gilbert, Arizona 85296, USA
Garage East, owned and operated by a former Gilbert Fire Department battalion chief, is a self-proclaimed “farm winery” in the community of Agritopia. The staff blend and barrel their own wine using grapes sourced from Dos Cabezas WineWorks in Sonoita, Arizona. The pinot gris and primitivo red blend are among the more popular varietals, but the #BreakfastWine is a definite must-try—it’s white wine paired with carbonated fresh citrus juice (whatever’s seasonal) and served in a tallboy can. What’s not to love? Garage East doesn’t have a food menu, so this is what you’ll want to do: Grab a spot on the outdoor patio, order your bottle of wine, and then walk right next door to Fire & Brimstone and place a to-go order of wood-fired artisan pizza and farm-fresh salad —it’ll be delivered right to your table at Garage East.
5651 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014, USA
Helmed by Chopped judge and celebrity chef Scott Conant (of NYC’s Scarpetta and Impero restaurants), Mora Italian is one of the Valley’s buzziest eateries. It’s all about Conant’s wholesome Italian cuisine—ricotta fritters and all. Expect to find plenty of his famous dishes on the menu, including Neapolitan pizzas, signature polenta, and freshly made pastas, such as his now-famous pasta al pomodoro. (The black campanelle with clams and Fresno chilis is sinfully good, too.) Cocktails range from the fun and flirty—rosé snow cone with a pink peppercorn tincture—to the more traditional, including the always popular negroni.
15205 N Kierland Blvd Suite 150, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, USA
The Queen Creek Olive Mill is a local, sustainable farm that produces some of Arizona’s best olive oil. Oils & Olives by Queen Creek, situated in Kierland Commons, allows you to shop local when you visit the region. Sample its signature extra-virgin olive oils, mouthwatering stuffed olives, balsamic vinegars, and tapenades. It also has its own line of natural bath products made from EVOO and stocks local Arizona wines. It even has bacon olive oil. Because it’s open every day of the week, there is no excuse not to stop by for a taste. If you’re looking to go for a drive, head out to the olive mill in Queen Creek, where more than 16 varieties are grown. All of the olives are hand-harvested—the oils are pressed within 24 hours of harvest.
6106 S 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85042, USA
An oasis sits under a canopy of pecan trees in the heart of Phoenix: the Farm at South Mountain. Arrive for a home-style breakfast at the farm’s Morning Glory Café, and hang around all day until it’s time for a rustic, farm-to-table dinner of locally sourced produce, meat, and wine at the on-site restaurant, Quiessence. In between, you can meander the gardens, greenhouse, and pecan groves, making stops at Botanica for modern home accessories or Mi Tierra Healing Arts & Aromatherapy for a massage or energy reading. The farm is a Phoenix mainstay; its naturally rich soil was first cultivated by Dwight Heard (founder of the Heard Museum) in 1927.
3815 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
The Mission is a rechanneling of chef Matt Carter’s traditional French culinary training into a restaurant and menu that dishes out some serious Latin flair. The tableside guacamole—with toasted pepitas and a light dusting of cotija cheese—is an absolute must for a starter, and co-owner Brian Raab’s signature margaritas, in strawberry-banana, blood orange, or cucumber-jalapeño flavors, are the perfect accompaniment. Popular main dishes include a Malbec-braised short rib and a chorizo pancetta. The Mission’s decor, rich and romantic, features palm-wood floors, ornate chandeliers, and a glowing Himalayan salt-block wall. The backyard patio is laid-back.
3701 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
At Virtù Honest Craft, a rotating menu features locally sourced goods alongside handcrafted cocktails and craft beer. Chef Gio Osso, a longtime Scottsdale favorite, has run the kitchen at some of the city’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. His “wandering Mediterranean” cuisine at Virtù scored him a spot on Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurants 2013 list as well as a 2014 nomination for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. You can’t go wrong with any of the handmade pastas, but there are also heartier (read: meatier) dishes like braised oxtail and house sausage. Virtù’s wine list is a global one, with a selection of 30-plus bottles.
6114 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253, USA
You’ll want to press your face up to the glass of the exhibition kitchen at Weft & Warp to watch the culinary masterminds create their beautiful dishes. Check it all out and then kick back at a cozy corner table and order up some charred elote (Mexican street corn), drizzled in aioli and cotija cheese, to start. Then, take your time perusing chef Adam Sheff’s innovative menu. Weft & Warp is named to honor the local textiles—weft and warp refer to the intersecting threads in weaving—and the experience is simultaneously a nod to area culture and a tasty tapestry of modern culinary techniques. Weft & Warp’s cocktail lineup takes this blended approach, listing classic drinks alongside more localized, specialty libations. The Fair Weather Phoenix, for example, blends bourbon with lemon, ginger syrup, and jalapeño agave, and the Mercury Mirage is made from smoked tea-infused rye whiskey, chile bitters, and smoked applewood. The latter is practically a tableside performance: It’s set on fire and smokes as it’s being poured from the snifter into your glass.
4301 East University Drive
The crew behind Little Miss BBQ got its start as a competitive barbecue team. Now they run this small but highly sought-after joint where lines often wrap around the block (and yes, it’s completely worth the wait). As with all quality barbecue spots, ordering is a simple and straightforward experience: Pick your meat (brisket, pulled pork, ribs, turkey, or sausage), tell them how much of it you want, and then select your sides—ranch-style beans, jalapeño cheddar grits (seriously!), potato salad, or coleslaw. There’s only one option for dessert and that’s really all that’s needed, because Bekke’s Smoked Pecan Pie is simply glorious.
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
This place always has a wait (though reservations are available for a party of six or more). Thankfully, the bar across the street makes waiting a little easier, and when you taste the pizza, you’ll know why Pizzeria Bianco has earned a big following in Phoenix and is considered by national foodies to offer one of the top pies in the country. So, don’t let the crowds deter you. The crust—charred to perfection and full of toasty flavor—makes other pizza crusts pale in comparison. Don’t forget to try some of the often-overlooked salads.