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A filet of skin-on seared fish on a plate with bright green sauce and ribbons of raw vegetables.
A crispy-skinned seared fish at Virtu Honest Craft.
Virtu Honest Craft

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Phoenix

Where to go now for plate-sized fry bread, uni-topped oyster shooters, modern Italian dishes, and more in the Valley of the Sun

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A crispy-skinned seared fish at Virtu Honest Craft.
| Virtu Honest Craft

Despite the staffing and supply chain issues wrought by the pandemic, the metro Phoenix food scene has never looked better. The city has more creative food trucks, more destination mom-and-pops, more sophisticated neighborhood joints, more interesting pizza, more regional Mexican, more sushi bars, and more dazzling fine dining restaurants — in short, more everything — than ever before.

There are so many great places to eat in Phoenix right now that it’s difficult to limit this list to 38, but here are the places — old and new, classic and cutting edge — that currently define and reflect Phoenix, a city of transplants set in what’s still affectionately called the Valley of the Sun.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Confluence

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After cooking under lauded chef Kevin Binkley for more than a decade, Brandon Gauthier and his wife purchased Cafe Bink from Binkley in 2018, renaming it Confluence to reflect everything coming together: styles, influences, opportunities. Gauthier’s gorgeous plates of elegant, soulful food, French-inspired with global elements, make it clear he’s his own man. He sources hard-to-find fish, wagyu beef cheek, and frog legs for the menu, offering a luxurious fine dining experience at a surprisingly reasonable price. The wine list is well-rounded, and there’s a breezy patio for catching the remains of the day.

Six golden breaded and fried frog legs over Parmesan risotto dotted with deep green chunks of asparagus and caper spheres.
Crispy frog legs with Parmesan risotto, Meyer lemon, asparagus and capers.
Nikki Buchanan

Cafe Chenar

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Run by the Uvaydov family, Cafe Chenar brings Bukharian culinary traditions — a melting pot of cuisines from the Middle East, India, Russia, and China — to a pleasant, sun-filled cafe in North Phoenix. Dumplings like pelmeni and manti abound, and the kitchen serves a wide-ranging selection of kebabs — liver, sweetbreads, lamb ribs, and rib-eye, for example — on metal skewers. Hearty meat pies, plov, lagman, and grilled Cornish hen are among the specialties.

Hush Public House

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At Hush, chef and owner Dom Ruggiero pulls from an arsenal of skills honed over the years, including butchering, curing, and smoking meat, as well hand-making pasta. A long bar dominates the intimate and unfussy new American restaurant where the kitchen builds novel dishes off of what’s in season. Staples include crab hush puppies, date cake, and a deliriously good riff on Chicago’s Italian beef, made with oxtail.

Andreoli Italian Grocer

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Chef and owner Giovanni Scorzo has been turning out some of the city’s best Italian food for decades, long before he landed a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best Chef Southwest this past year. Though imported meats, cheeses, and other foodstuffs line shelves and fill cases in this casual, old world-style restaurant, most people come for Scorzo’s ridiculously good food, including a rotating list of pastas, house-made burrata and salumi, and freshly baked bread. There’s no one dish to name (okay, maybe the exquisitely rich gnocchi alla Romana if it’s offered that day) because it’s all wonderful.

Dick's Hideaway

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Like the other two restaurants under this restaurant family’s umbrella (Richardson’s, the Rokerij), this sliver of a spot dominated by a long bar specializes in New Mexican cuisine, although the menu here ventures into ’80s-era Southwestern territory as well. Regulars come for the all-day brunch, offering just about everything imaginable — rellenos, huevos rancheros, enchiladas, steak, green chile stew, and Vic’s meatloaf with eggs. The menu is broad, the choices seemingly endless.

Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion

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Perched on the edge of a hilltop and attached to the graceful, 90-year-old Wrigley Mansion, Christopher’s is the city’s most dazzling restaurant. Minimalist and modern without being cold, the dramatic dining room offers 180-degree views of the city, an experience upstaged only by James Beard award-winning chef Christopher Gross’s French-inspired cooking. The prix fixe tasting menu (starting at $275 per person) is a two- or three-hour fete of opulent ingredients, an evening filled with surprises in service and presentation. Wine pairings run an additional $230 per person.

Hana Japanese Eatery

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Lori Hashimoto’s family-style Japanese restaurant covers a lot of ground: sushi, katsu, tempura, noodles, and deftly prepared classics, some prepared on the hibachi. Grilled seafood, including miso-marinated tuna, yellowtail collar, and whole squid, are highlights, but don’t sleep on the raw fish (broken down in-house), or Hashimoto’s signature oyster shooters, combined with uni and a quail egg and downed in one go. Once BYOB, Hana now offers Japanese beer, and small-bottle sake. The super-smooth house sake, crafted by the only female sake master in Japan, is fortified with shochu.

A look down at a bowl filled with oyster, uni, raw quail egg yolk in bright orange. A thin brown sauce sits at the bottom of the bowl.
Oyster, uni shooter with quail egg at Hana in Phoenix.
Nikki Buchanan

Chula Seafood Uptown

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What started for the Heflin family as a sustainable commercial fishing operation in San Diego with a boat named Chula has become a mini seafood empire here in metro Phoenix, boasting two (and soon three) Valley outlets. Each store contains both fish market and restaurant, the latter offering bacon-studded clam chowder, poke bowls, a mind-blowing Hatch chile tuna melt, and a legendary burrito stuffed with mahi-mahi, fries, and guacamole. Plan a trip around daily specials such as Friday’s Hawaiian plate lunch: seared albacore katsu with sushi rice, spicy Kewpie slaw, jalapeno-onion jam, and a soft, soy-marinated egg.

A plate filled with various foods.
Chula’s inspired take on the Hawaiian plate lunch.
Nikki Buchanan

Da Vang Restaurant

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One of the jewels in greater Phoenix’s robust Vietnamese food scene, Da Vang offers a seemingly endless menu of spring rolls, bún, pho, and other specialties. The banh mi are classic and priced well, just like the rest of the menu. Vietnamese hot pot and chao (long-stewed rice porridge) hit the spot, even in the withering heat of the desert.

Fry Bread House

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This over-20-year-old metro Phoenix dining staple (and James Beard Award America’s Classics winner) specializes in Indigenous preparations of stews, tamales, and hand-stretched, plate-sized fry bread — puffy, golden brown, and faintly greasy. Filled with meat, beans, cheese, and various other savory combos, each fry bread is folded like a giant taco. Of course, there’s plenty of sweet fry bread too (honey and sugar, chocolate, and butter, for example), all profoundly satisfying. Late founder Cecilia Miller used the Tohono O’odham recipes from her youth, hand-stretching large tortillas called chumuth to accompany hearty stews and as wraps for hefty burros.

Noble Eatery

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This “modern wood-fired deli” easily outpaces the average sandwich shop with a menu featuring an elote bowl, potato-bacon pizza, roasted mushroom toast, and a spectacular hummus topped with the spicy, salty ’nduja, pickled vegetables, and charred pita. Go home with a country loaf. Owner Jason Raducha also founded Noble Bread, an artisan bakery specializing in naturally leavened bread and old-world techniques.

A plate of beige hummus topped with slices of pickled red onions discs of orange carrots.
Hummus with pickled vegetables and ‘nduja at Noble Eatery.
Nikki Buchanan

Franco's Italian Caffe

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Longtime Valley restaurateur Franco Fazzouoli has been turning out classic Italian dishes for over 30 years, and the vibe in his dimly lit white tablecloth restaurant is decidedly old-school, but therein lies its charm. It’s a place for grownups who crave tried-and-true dishes such as prosciutto and melon, linguine and clams, and chicken paillard. The impeccable service never goes out of style, nor does Fazzuoli’s outstanding merenghata, a sweet, fluffy meringue-based confection you shouldn’t miss.

FnB Restaurant

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For more than a decade, James Beard Award-winning chef Charleen Badman has skillfully turned the Valley’s bounty into vegetable-rich plates drawing inspiration from a constellation of world cuisines. On her frequently changing seasonal menu, you might find chickpea cakes from Nice, Peruvian chicken spring rolls, or Hungarian potato bread, each dish enlivened with local ingredients and a rainbow of spices. Partner Pavle Milic echoes Badman’s local focus with a beverage menu that puts Arizona wines at center stage.

Valentine

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This modern Southwestern restaurant, brought to life by Blaise Faber and Chad Price during the first year of the pandemic, offers innovative food, coffee, pastries, and beverages that never fail to impress. Cocktails combine regional ingredients like cactus vermouth, Arizona gin, and creosote bitters. Lattes are made with squash, chiltepin, and cajeta. Chef Donald Hawk blends ingredients from his Korean ancestry with desert crops such as Red Fife wheat, heirloom squash, and tepary beans to create a style uniquely his own. His most famous dish is hiramasa crudo, bathed in brown butter and tomatillo vinaigrette, but he also turns out fabulous smoked chicken with herb yogurt, and the city’s best crispy cauliflower.

A white bowl filled with white hiramasa crudo with brown butter, raisin, and a pool of tomato vinaigrette.
Hiramasa crudo with brown butter, raisin, and tomato vinaigrette at Valentine.
Nikki Buchanan

Nelson's Meat + Fish

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Chris Nelson sources impossibly fresh seafood from around the world, earning himself a reputation as the city’s best source for pristine fish. Plenty of customers also drop by for his ready-made seafood dishes, including a rotating offering of ceviches, salmon banh mi, and a lobster roll to rival any in New England. Don’t miss the oyster or raw fish platters, the latter made with whatever’s fresh that day.

ShinBay

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Shinbay’s multi-course omakase dinner makes for the kind of breathtaking evening diners think (and brag) about for months afterward, priced starting at $185 (and worth every penny). Shinji Kurita’s menus highlight seafood, some of it hard to find and much of it imported from Japan. The meal progresses from a trio of traditional Japanese vegetable dishes to sashimi “salads” to a plate of seafood bites (such as jellyfish, snow crab, oyster, bluefin tuna belly), to custard-like chawanmushi, then sashimi, and finally, 10 courses of spectacular nigiri sushi. Meanwhile, the sake selection is first-rate. Kurita never books more than eight customers per seating, so a two-hour meal is always serene and well-paced.

A gray plate topped with various bites of seafood.
Seafood bites course at ShinBay.
Nikki Buchanan

Virtu Honest Craft

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Tucked inside the charming Bespoke Inn, chef Gio Osso’s tiny, intimate Virtù offers up the city’s best modern Italian food. The grilled octopus, drizzled with Calabrian chile butter, is justifiably famous, as is an obscenely rich dish of asparagus with feta crumbles, bacon candy, foie gras hollandaise, and an oozy duck egg. For dessert, affogato or an amari from Virtù’s vast selection satisfies.

Vecina means “neighbor” in Spanish, an apt name for this lively neighborhood hangout consistently buzzing with regulars as Latin hip-hop plays in the background. The Latin-inflected menu includes dishes like Peruvian-style hiramasa ceviche (a local favorite); pork belly tacos; mesquite-grilled prime carne asada rib-eye; and carnitas empanada with manchego cheese, onion marmalade, and salsa verde. Arrive early or make a reservation.

An empanada on top of a deep green salsa. Yellow dots of smooth sauce on the side of it and fresh crumbles of white cheese and microgreens on top of it.
Carnitas empanada with Manchego, onion marmalade, and salsa verde at Vecina.
Nikki Buchanan

Binkley’s Restaurant

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A night at Binkley’s is like no other dining experience in town, unfolding in a small house with the laid back vibe of a dinner party. Dinner begins on the patio with drinks and light bites before moving to the bar for clever pub food. The finale, a heart-stopping run of perfectly executed, beautifully plated courses made with luxurious ingredients, takes place in a dining room overlooking the kitchen. The multicourse feast (starting at $240 per person) takes about two and a half hours, so feel free to get up and wander through the house or take a moment to watch chef Kevin Binkley at work in the kitchen. Pay extra for courses of caviar and foie gras, as well as an extra $200 for wine pairings with each course.

Glai Baan

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At this Central Phoenix restaurant specializing in northeastern Thai food, the cozy, brick-walled dining room, twinkling with string lights, draws an eclectic crowd who come for steamed dumplings, juicy with local pork; mackerel fried rice; and PEI mussels, fragrant with lemongrass and chile jam. Chef Pornsupak “Cat” Bunnag highlights dishes from her native Isan, with an emphasis on street food. The outstanding cocktails on offer incorporate Thai ingredients.

A plate of Thai minced pork (larb moo) dotted with toasted rice sits next to a wedge of fresh green cabbage on a white plate painted with maroon and yellow flowers.
Larb Moo — local minced pork with toasted rice, herbs, shallots and lime dressing, wrapped in cabbage leaves.
Nikki Buchanan

El Caprichoso Hot Dogs

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If Phoenix has a signature dish, it just might be the Sonoran hot dog; and yes, the irony is deep, given that Sonora is the Mexican state that borders Arizona. But they’re everywhere here, offered in dozens of permutations. Local enthusiasts generally agree that El Caprichoso turns out the very best of its kind, served from a truck until well after midnight. People gather at picnic tables under a giant tent to eat plump, charred dogs, wrapped in bacon, cradled in puffy griddled buns, and smothered in whole pintos, grilled onions, guacamole, salsa, cotija cheese, and generous squirts of ketchup and mustard.

 

Barrio Cafe

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The Mexican food scene in metro Phoenix can be divided into two eras: before Barrio Cafe’s opening in 2002 — and after. Classically trained chef Silvana Salcido Esparza broke the mold, serving pre-dinner bread instead of the usual chips and salsa, while lightly applying French cooking techniques to preparations from all over Mexico — cochinita pibil from the Yucatan, nut-studded chiles en nogada from Puebla, fish from Veracruz, and silky moles from Oaxaca. The work of local Mexican artists fill the restaurant’s interior walls, while the exterior swirls with colorful murals. Agave-based spirits are everywhere these days, but Barrio was the first restaurant in the area to offer a vast selection of them.

Durant's

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Jack Durant opened his eponymous pink stucco steakhouse in 1950, and none of the important things have changed much since. Customers still enter through the back door and walk through the kitchen to enter the dining room. The flocked red wallpaper still conjures a bordello, and Phoenix movers and shakers still drink martinis at the bar or slide into deep booths for dinner. The menu still features shrimp cocktail, sauteed chicken livers, prime rib, and lots of steak. Don’t miss the legendary strawberry shortcake.

El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant & Bar

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Cozy El Chullo remains one of the best Peruvian restaurants in town, where owners Esperanza Luzcando and Jose Ramirez dish out a range of well-executed classics. Look for seafood (ceviche, jalea), beef (lomo saltado, grilled beef hearts), choclo (large-kennel corn), and the ubiquitous huancaina (creamy yellow pepper sauce) on top of Peru’s favorite ingredient: potatoes.

TEG Torta Shop - Tortas El Güero

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Owner Gustavo Lom’s shop is a mainstay of the 16th Street corridor and a hotbed of great Mexican eating, where the classic Mexican sandwiches come filled with options like cochinita pibil and fried turkey tails. Check out the torta ahogada, Mexico’s fiery answer to the French dip: a crusty bolillo roll stuffed with tender carnitas and avocado and “drowned” in chile de arbol sauce. Lom also stocks a decked-out salsa bar.

 

Chef and owner Claudio Urciuoli is a fanatic — in a good way. Having grown up on the Ligurian coast of Italy with a father who worked as a flour salesman, he’s obsessed with pristine seafood, perfect bread, quality olive oil — well, really, premium everything. Because the Pa’La menu is based on what he finds that day, it changes constantly. Still, you can expect to find tapas-style small plates of meats, cheeses, and seafood, often accompanied by exquisite breads from the wood-burning oven. There’s burrata, mozzarella, local tomatoes, and fresh, minimally-handled vegetables, some appearing in wholesome grain bowls or atop burnished wood-fired flatbreads.

The Larder and the Delta

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James Beard semifinalist Stephen Jones calls the cooking at his downtown restaurant “new Southern.” With roots in the Midwest, West Coast, and South, he weaves disparate influences into contemporary versions of Southern dishes. Imagine hoe cakes with cured egg yolks, Hoppin’ John with herb salad, and crispy hush puppies filled with smoked catfish. His sleek space manages to feel “big city” but also cheerful and diner-ish. The best seats are at the bar or on the small patio overlooking a narrow, tree-shaded park. For a new-fashioned Southern breakfast, check out the weekend brunch.

A platter of purloo — a generous pile of cobs of corn, mussels, shrimp, and other seafood.
South Carolina low country purloo.
The Larder and The Delta

Rito's Mexican Food

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Friendly and unassuming, Rito’s is a great place to enjoy the particular collision of Southwestern, Mexican, and Mexican American cuisines that characterizes so many Arizona restaurants. On the Garfield location’s small patio, people eat hard-shell tacos with chile beef and yellow cheese, bean burritos smothered with red or green chile, and one of the state’s more legendary chimichangas.

Mariscos Playa Hermosa

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For nearly two decades, the Maldonado family has served Mexican seafood and oversized drinks at this popular 16th Street staple. The restaurant kitchen is just as fluent with raw seafood (ceviche tostadas and aguachiles with oysters and shrimp) as it is with cooked (filet divorciadas and molcajetes teeming with shrimp). Diners can go as big as party-sized seafood towers or as small as tacos gobernador.

Bacanora PHX

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Because Arizona borders the Mexican state of Sonora, Phoenicians have long assumed they know what’s what when it comes to Sonoran food. Then Rene Andrade opened his tiny, hot pink Grand Avenue restaurant and devoted it to all things Sonoran. He chars local chickens, steaks, elote (and just about everything else) on a Santa Maria grill; sources local vegetables for light, beautiful salads; hauls up fiery chiltepins from his family’s ranch; and pours Sonora’s signature spirit — bacanora — in a dramatic, cinnamon-scented presentation of fire and smoke. He demonstrates that Sonoran cooking can be simple yet complex, rustic yet sophisticated, a regional cuisine this city is only beginning to fully appreciate.

A red clay bowl of beef birria topped with thinly sliced radish, chopped white onion, and minced cilantro.
Beef birria, a special at Bacanora in Phonenix.
Nikki Buchanan

Welcome Diner

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This Garfield diner takes cues from the South and Southwest alike with plates of chorizo meatloaf and smoked pork over heirloom corn grits, fried chicken tucked in a biscuit, spicy chili with a dab of pimiento cheese, or fried green tomatoes stacked on a sandwich. Never mind that the cheery turquoise interior looks like an old-fashioned diner; the cocktails are surprisingly good (especially the Hurricane). Folks sip, eat, and relax on the greenery-filled patio deep into the night.

Pizzeria Bianco

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Chris Bianco, America’s best pizza maker, is meticulous about everything, sourcing (and sometimes even milling) flour blends, hand-shaping mozzarella, and topping pies with tomatoes from his own California label. His wood-fired pizza — a little Neapolitan, a little American, a lot Bianco —  defies strict categorization, but the result is always a light, charred-at-the-edges crust, offering just the right amount of chew. An expanded menu at the Town and Country location also includes beautiful salads, excellent pastas, lush chicken cacciatore, and a rice pudding that zips you back to childhood. (The tiny pizza shop spawned a mini-empire, which includes the Italian Tratto and also sandwich and salad gem Pane Bianco. All of Bianco’s restaurants are worth visiting.)

Little Miss BBQ-University

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Scott Holmes’s indoor-outdoor barbecue joint by the airport stars Central Texas-style meats. On giant offset smokers welded from old propane tanks, Holmes smokes all of the major barbecue staples and sells them by the pound and on sandwiches. The beef — fatty brisket, short rib, and pastrami — is local legend, as is the pecan pie, which is also smoked. The satellite restaurant on Seventh Street is bigger and sports a covered, enclosed patio.

Cafe Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine

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Cafe Lalibela is Phoenix’s longest running Ethiopian restaurant, a comfy classic with a top-notch reputation. Tangy discs of spongy injera serve as the delivery vehicle for soft, seasoned stews made with meats, lentils, and split peas. Begin with small plates of kitfo (raw ground beef) or fried lamb, and check out the impressive Ethiopian coffee and tea on offer, a selection that includes clay pot brews.

Chou's Kitchen

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Lulu Zhou and Sunny Zhao’s two Chou’s Kitchen locations focus on northeastern Chinese delicacies, but are unafraid to reach to provinces beyond. Noodles, soups, and stews abound. The main events here, though, are savory pies and lavish dumplings stuffed with mackerel, squash, pork, and pickled vegetables.

 

Tacos Chiwas

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Despite the restaurant’s name, Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez’s Chihuahuan specialties extend beyond the taco. Fluffy gorditas enrobe picadillo and shredded beef, while burritos are supremely simple — packed with little more than meats like al pastor and lengua, and tucked into fresh, organic flour tortillas. Doctor everything up with excellent salsas. Bonus: The downtown Mesa location has a cocktail bar.

Haji-Baba

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This Tempe restaurant and grocery has been serving Arizona State University and the surrounding community for decades. Middle Eastern specialties, including staples like tabbouleh, falafel, and ful medames, are surprisingly well-priced. Some of the most popular selections are kebabs, Greek gyros, and lamb tongue sandwiches built on hot, handmade pitas and minimally adorned. Several flavors of baklava, like pistachio and Arizona pecan, are available for dessert.

Kai Restaurant

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The only restaurant in Phoenix with five diamonds from AAA and five stars from Forbes, Kai (which means “seed” in the Pima language) sits in the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass on Gila River Community land. It’s fancy, no question, but also down-to-earth thanks to an expanse of windows overlooking the desert and a menu rife with Native American-inspired dishes and Indigenous ingredients, many grown by the community on nearby land. Here, local products are transformed into elegant representations of the diverse culinary cultures of the Southwest. Case in point: grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo served with smoked corn puree, oxtail, and scarlet runner bean cassoulet, cholla buds, and saguaro blossom syrup. For the full experience, opt for the “journey” tasting menu.

Confluence

Six golden breaded and fried frog legs over Parmesan risotto dotted with deep green chunks of asparagus and caper spheres.
Crispy frog legs with Parmesan risotto, Meyer lemon, asparagus and capers.
Nikki Buchanan

After cooking under lauded chef Kevin Binkley for more than a decade, Brandon Gauthier and his wife purchased Cafe Bink from Binkley in 2018, renaming it Confluence to reflect everything coming together: styles, influences, opportunities. Gauthier’s gorgeous plates of elegant, soulful food, French-inspired with global elements, make it clear he’s his own man. He sources hard-to-find fish, wagyu beef cheek, and frog legs for the menu, offering a luxurious fine dining experience at a surprisingly reasonable price. The wine list is well-rounded, and there’s a breezy patio for catching the remains of the day.

Six golden breaded and fried frog legs over Parmesan risotto dotted with deep green chunks of asparagus and caper spheres.
Crispy frog legs with Parmesan risotto, Meyer lemon, asparagus and capers.
Nikki Buchanan

Cafe Chenar

Run by the Uvaydov family, Cafe Chenar brings Bukharian culinary traditions — a melting pot of cuisines from the Middle East, India, Russia, and China — to a pleasant, sun-filled cafe in North Phoenix. Dumplings like pelmeni and manti abound, and the kitchen serves a wide-ranging selection of kebabs — liver, sweetbreads, lamb ribs, and rib-eye, for example — on metal skewers. Hearty meat pies, plov, lagman, and grilled Cornish hen are among the specialties.

Hush Public House

At Hush, chef and owner Dom Ruggiero pulls from an arsenal of skills honed over the years, including butchering, curing, and smoking meat, as well hand-making pasta. A long bar dominates the intimate and unfussy new American restaurant where the kitchen builds novel dishes off of what’s in season. Staples include crab hush puppies, date cake, and a deliriously good riff on Chicago’s Italian beef, made with oxtail.

Andreoli Italian Grocer

Chef and owner Giovanni Scorzo has been turning out some of the city’s best Italian food for decades, long before he landed a James Beard Foundation nomination for Best Chef Southwest this past year. Though imported meats, cheeses, and other foodstuffs line shelves and fill cases in this casual, old world-style restaurant, most people come for Scorzo’s ridiculously good food, including a rotating list of pastas, house-made burrata and salumi, and freshly baked bread. There’s no one dish to name (okay, maybe the exquisitely rich gnocchi alla Romana if it’s offered that day) because it’s all wonderful.

Dick's Hideaway

Like the other two restaurants under this restaurant family’s umbrella (Richardson’s, the Rokerij), this sliver of a spot dominated by a long bar specializes in New Mexican cuisine, although the menu here ventures into ’80s-era Southwestern territory as well. Regulars come for the all-day brunch, offering just about everything imaginable — rellenos, huevos rancheros, enchiladas, steak, green chile stew, and Vic’s meatloaf with eggs. The menu is broad, the choices seemingly endless.

Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion

Perched on the edge of a hilltop and attached to the graceful, 90-year-old Wrigley Mansion, Christopher’s is the city’s most dazzling restaurant. Minimalist and modern without being cold, the dramatic dining room offers 180-degree views of the city, an experience upstaged only by James Beard award-winning chef Christopher Gross’s French-inspired cooking. The prix fixe tasting menu (starting at $275 per person) is a two- or three-hour fete of opulent ingredients, an evening filled with surprises in service and presentation. Wine pairings run an additional $230 per person.

Hana Japanese Eatery

A look down at a bowl filled with oyster, uni, raw quail egg yolk in bright orange. A thin brown sauce sits at the bottom of the bowl.
Oyster, uni shooter with quail egg at Hana in Phoenix.
Nikki Buchanan

Lori Hashimoto’s family-style Japanese restaurant covers a lot of ground: sushi, katsu, tempura, noodles, and deftly prepared classics, some prepared on the hibachi. Grilled seafood, including miso-marinated tuna, yellowtail collar, and whole squid, are highlights, but don’t sleep on the raw fish (broken down in-house), or Hashimoto’s signature oyster shooters, combined with uni and a quail egg and downed in one go. Once BYOB, Hana now offers Japanese beer, and small-bottle sake. The super-smooth house sake, crafted by the only female sake master in Japan, is fortified with shochu.

A look down at a bowl filled with oyster, uni, raw quail egg yolk in bright orange. A thin brown sauce sits at the bottom of the bowl.
Oyster, uni shooter with quail egg at Hana in Phoenix.
Nikki Buchanan

Chula Seafood Uptown

A plate filled with various foods.
Chula’s inspired take on the Hawaiian plate lunch.
Nikki Buchanan

What started for the Heflin family as a sustainable commercial fishing operation in San Diego with a boat named Chula has become a mini seafood empire here in metro Phoenix, boasting two (and soon three) Valley outlets. Each store contains both fish market and restaurant, the latter offering bacon-studded clam chowder, poke bowls, a mind-blowing Hatch chile tuna melt, and a legendary burrito stuffed with mahi-mahi, fries, and guacamole. Plan a trip around daily specials such as Friday’s Hawaiian plate lunch: seared albacore katsu with sushi rice, spicy Kewpie slaw, jalapeno-onion jam, and a soft, soy-marinated egg.

A plate filled with various foods.
Chula’s inspired take on the Hawaiian plate lunch.
Nikki Buchanan

Da Vang Restaurant

One of the jewels in greater Phoenix’s robust Vietnamese food scene, Da Vang offers a seemingly endless menu of spring rolls, bún, pho, and other specialties. The banh mi are classic and priced well, just like the rest of the menu. Vietnamese hot pot and chao (long-stewed rice porridge) hit the spot, even in the withering heat of the desert.

Fry Bread House

This over-20-year-old metro Phoenix dining staple (and James Beard Award America’s Classics winner) specializes in Indigenous preparations of stews, tamales, and hand-stretched, plate-sized fry bread — puffy, golden brown, and faintly greasy. Filled with meat, beans, cheese, and various other savory combos, each fry bread is folded like a giant taco. Of course, there’s plenty of sweet fry bread too (honey and sugar, chocolate, and butter, for example), all profoundly satisfying. Late founder Cecilia Miller used the Tohono O’odham recipes from her youth, hand-stretching large tortillas called chumuth to accompany hearty stews and as wraps for hefty burros.

Noble Eatery

A plate of beige hummus topped with slices of pickled red onions discs of orange carrots.
Hummus with pickled vegetables and ‘nduja at Noble Eatery.
Nikki Buchanan

This “modern wood-fired deli” easily outpaces the average sandwich shop with a menu featuring an elote bowl, potato-bacon pizza, roasted mushroom toast, and a spectacular hummus topped with the spicy, salty ’nduja, pickled vegetables, and charred pita. Go home with a country loaf. Owner Jason Raducha also founded Noble Bread, an artisan bakery specializing in naturally leavened bread and old-world techniques.

A plate of beige hummus topped with slices of pickled red onions discs of orange carrots.
Hummus with pickled vegetables and ‘nduja at Noble Eatery.
Nikki Buchanan

Franco's Italian Caffe

Longtime Valley restaurateur Franco Fazzouoli has been turning out classic Italian dishes for over 30 years, and the vibe in his dimly lit white tablecloth restaurant is decidedly old-school, but therein lies its charm. It’s a place for grownups who crave tried-and-true dishes such as prosciutto and melon, linguine and clams, and chicken paillard. The impeccable service never goes out of style, nor does Fazzuoli’s outstanding merenghata, a sweet, fluffy meringue-based confection you shouldn’t miss.

FnB Restaurant

For more than a decade, James Beard Award-winning chef Charleen Badman has skillfully turned the Valley’s bounty into vegetable-rich plates drawing inspiration from a constellation of world cuisines. On her frequently changing seasonal menu, you might find chickpea cakes from Nice, Peruvian chicken spring rolls, or Hungarian potato bread, each dish enlivened with local ingredients and a rainbow of spices. Partner Pavle Milic echoes Badman’s local focus with a beverage menu that puts Arizona wines at center stage.

Valentine

A white bowl filled with white hiramasa crudo with brown butter, raisin, and a pool of tomato vinaigrette.
Hiramasa crudo with brown butter, raisin, and tomato vinaigrette at Valentine.
Nikki Buchanan

This modern Southwestern restaurant, brought to life by Blaise Faber and Chad Price during the first year of the pandemic, offers innovative food, coffee, pastries, and beverages that never fail to impress. Cocktails combine regional ingredients like cactus vermouth, Arizona gin, and creosote bitters. Lattes are made with squash, chiltepin, and cajeta. Chef Donald Hawk blends ingredients from his Korean ancestry with desert crops such as Red Fife wheat, heirloom squash, and tepary beans to create a style uniquely his own. His most famous dish is hiramasa crudo, bathed in brown butter and tomatillo vinaigrette, but he also turns out fabulous smoked chicken with herb yogurt, and the city’s best crispy cauliflower.

A white bowl filled with white hiramasa crudo with brown butter, raisin, and a pool of tomato vinaigrette.
Hiramasa crudo with brown butter, raisin, and tomato vinaigrette at Valentine.
Nikki Buchanan

Nelson's Meat + Fish

Chris Nelson sources impossibly fresh seafood from around the world, earning himself a reputation as the city’s best source for pristine fish. Plenty of customers also drop by for his ready-made seafood dishes, including a rotating offering of ceviches, salmon banh mi, and a lobster roll to rival any in New England. Don’t miss the oyster or raw fish platters, the latter made with whatever’s fresh that day.

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ShinBay

A gray plate topped with various bites of seafood.
Seafood bites course at ShinBay.
Nikki Buchanan

Shinbay’s multi-course omakase dinner makes for the kind of breathtaking evening diners think (and brag) about for months afterward, priced starting at $185 (and worth every penny). Shinji Kurita’s menus highlight seafood, some of it hard to find and much of it imported from Japan. The meal progresses from a trio of traditional Japanese vegetable dishes to sashimi “salads” to a plate of seafood bites (such as jellyfish, snow crab, oyster, bluefin tuna belly), to custard-like chawanmushi, then sashimi, and finally, 10 courses of spectacular nigiri sushi. Meanwhile, the sake selection is first-rate. Kurita never books more than eight customers per seating, so a two-hour meal is always serene and well-paced.

A gray plate topped with various bites of seafood.
Seafood bites course at ShinBay.
Nikki Buchanan

Virtu Honest Craft

Tucked inside the charming Bespoke Inn, chef Gio Osso’s tiny, intimate Virtù offers up the city’s best modern Italian food. The grilled octopus, drizzled with Calabrian chile butter, is justifiably famous, as is an obscenely rich dish of asparagus with feta crumbles, bacon candy, foie gras hollandaise, and an oozy duck egg. For dessert, affogato or an amari from Virtù’s vast selection satisfies.

Vecina

An empanada on top of a deep green salsa. Yellow dots of smooth sauce on the side of it and fresh crumbles of white cheese and microgreens on top of it.
Carnitas empanada with Manchego, onion marmalade, and salsa verde at Vecina.
Nikki Buchanan

Vecina means “neighbor” in Spanish, an apt name for this lively neighborhood hangout consistently buzzing with regulars as Latin hip-hop plays in the background. The Latin-inflected menu includes dishes like Peruvian-style hiramasa ceviche (a local favorite); pork belly tacos; mesquite-grilled prime carne asada rib-eye; and carnitas empanada with manchego cheese, onion marmalade, and salsa verde. Arrive early or make a reservation.

An empanada on top of a deep green salsa. Yellow dots of smooth sauce on the side of it and fresh crumbles of white cheese and microgreens on top of it.
Carnitas empanada with Manchego, onion marmalade, and salsa verde at Vecina.
Nikki Buchanan

Binkley’s Restaurant

A night at Binkley’s is like no other dining experience in town, unfolding in a small house with the laid back vibe of a dinner party. Dinner begins on the patio with drinks and light bites before moving to the bar for clever pub food. The finale, a heart-stopping run of perfectly executed, beautifully plated courses made with luxurious ingredients, takes place in a dining room overlooking the kitchen. The multicourse feast (starting at $240 per person) takes about two and a half hours, so feel free to get up and wander through the house or take a moment to watch chef Kevin Binkley at work in the kitchen. Pay extra for courses of caviar and foie gras, as well as an extra $200 for wine pairings with each course.