Phoenix

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The biggest problem for diners visiting the Phoenix area is the dizzying number of haute, happening choices. Travelers will find more great restaurants than they have meals in their trip. While Phoenix was traditionally known for Mexican and Southwestern foods, today adventurous eaters can find nearly any ethnic cuisine from Asian specialties and Middle Eastern eateries, to Native American gastronomy and five-star French. At the upscale resorts, steakhouses dominate the landscape. Entrées range from $6 (budget) to $50 (expensive).

Top Restaurants in Phoenix

Binkley’s Restaurant

If you live to eat, eat at Binkley's. Co-owner and chef Kevin Binkley cut his culinary chops at the Inn at Little Washington and The French Laundry, both five-Michelin-star establishments. Menus change daily, sometimes several times in a night, based on the day's fresh ingredients. Binkley is easily one of the most innovative, playful chefs in the Valley. His classical training, coupled with deft applications of molecular cooking, will change the way you look at gourmet food forever.

6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., AZ, 480-437-1072, www.binkleysrestaurant.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | american

Blue Nile Café

Owner/chef Abel Taddesse Meja brings the spicy, pungent flavors of Ethiopia to this non-descript strip mall location near ASU. Inside, sit in the back room on intricately carved wooden stools around traditional mesobs (conical straw tables). Carnivores and vegetarians alike will find many options from the Zegeney (cubes of beef simmered in chile sauce) to Suro Watt (chickpeas in a berbere sauce) and Gomen Watt (collard greens with onions in a garlic sauce). Utensils come in the form of injera, a spongy, pancake-like bread used to scoop up all dishes.

933 E. University Dr., #112, AZ, 480-377-1113
Tags: budget

Cave Creek Coffee Shop

Cave Creek Coffee Shop is an eclectic coffee shop by day that spices things up at night with a wine bar, restaurant, and live music Monday through Saturday. It's a decidedly local haunt – especially popular with BMW and Ducati motorcyclists on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The place is packed on weekends, in part due to a menu featuring fresh sandwiches, salads, and pizza, as well as the guest artist musicians who perform on Saturday nights.

6033 E. Cave Creek Rd., AZ, 480-488-0603, www.cavecreekcoffee.com
Tags: moderate | pizza | wine bar | coffee shop | sandwiches

Chino Bandido

What do you get when you combine Chinese and Mexican cuisine? Well, in Phoenix you get Chino Bandido, a local favorite that made a national splash on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." Opened in 1990 by husband-and-wife team Frank and Eve Collins to showcase their Native Arizonan and Chinese backgrounds, Chino's has grown from a 1000-square-foot hole-in-the-wall to two larger locations (second location is in Chandler; 480-889-5990). The menu features 14 specialties ranging from jade red chicken to Chinese barbecue pork to the Pollo Diablo that proudly proclaims, "If you're from Iowa, you probably can't handle it!" Any of the 14 dishes can be served as a rice bowl, quesadilla, or burrito. Leave room for the complimentary snickerdoodle cookie.

15414 N. 19th Ave., Suite K, AZ, 602-375-3639, www.chinobandido.com
Tags: budget | local favorite | mexican | chinese | asian fusion

Fry Bread House

Owner Cecilia Miller grew up making Indian fry bread on the Tohono O'odham Native American Reservation. The years of experience are evident in the chewy, crispy, piping-hot pillows of dough. Try them with an assortment of toppings like hearty green or red chili, or as a dessert smothered with butter and chocolate. The atmosphere is casual with booths and Native American art.

 

4140 N. 7th Ave., AZ, 602-351-2345
Tags: budget | art

Kai

The lone AAA five-diamond restaurant in Phoenix is known for its gourmet cuisine infused with the spices and ingredients of the local Pima and Maricopa Native American tribes. Consulting chef Janos Wilder is a James Beard Award winner, and his seasonal menu includes entrees such as "potpourri of ancient Pima tribal herbs and plants dancing with Chippewa walleye," a light fish stew infused with unique flavors of bear root, sweetgrass, and desert sage. Pair it with chumath, a local Gila flatbread. Save room for the "maize cheesecake with indigenous seeds" or the "traditional fry bread from the teachings of the elders."

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, 5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., AZ, 602-225-0100, www.wildhorsepassresort.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | hotel restaurant

Los Dos Molinos

Named for the grinders or "molinos" that husband-and-wife owners Victoria and Eddie's families used for cooking while they were growing up, Los Dos Molinos features the cuisine of New Mexico. Locals mob this 1920s hacienda for volcanically hot burritos, tamales, and tacos. Be prepared to down lots of water (or, better yet – margaritas) and to wait for a table. Look for additional locations in Central Phoenix and Mesa.

 

8646 S. Central Ave., AZ, 602-243-9113, www.losdosmolinosaz.com
Tags: budget | mexican

Old Town Tortilla Factory

Raves are routine for this eatery located in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.  Built from an historic adobe house, the restaurant features a 1,200-square-foot outdoor flagstone patio (with cooling misters going full stream in the summer), soothing fountains, and an extensive menu based on Native American and Sonoran staples: corn, chilies, beans, citrus, and tortillas. Don’t miss Margaritas Tequilarilla, a gazebo bar featuring over 80 premium tequilas, plus Mexican beers and liquors.

6910 E. Main St., AZ, 480-945-4567, www.oldtowntortillafactory.com
Tags: family | moderate | historic | great value | patio | mexican

Pizzeria Bianco

The only James Beard award-winning pizza-maker in the U.S., owner/chef Chris Bianco is the man behind this tiny slice of heaven, hailed by many critics as being home to the best pizza in the world. It offers only six pies – but you can augment them with a variety of toppings, including anchovies from Sicily and Mortadella from Modena. That said, the classic Margherita is still a local favorite. Wait times for a table can be extensive, but you can pass the time at Bar Bianco located next door.

623 E. Adams St., AZ, 602-258-8300, www.pizzeriabianco.com
Tags: moderate | notable chef | bar | pizza

Roaring Fork

Check out the fun, laid-back atmosphere and modernized Western-style grub, with hearty menu items like the "Big Ass" burger or the roasted and smoked long-bone ribs with Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce. Whatever your entree, be sure to save room for the hot huckleberry bread pudding. Executive chef Bryan Hulihee was Roaring Fork founder Robert McGrath's protégée for over five years and has had the distinction of cooking at the famed James Beard House in NYC.

 

4800 N. Scottsdale Rd., AZ, 480-947-0795, www.roaringfork.com
Tags: family | moderate | notable chef | great value | burgers

T. Cook's

T. Cook’s is consistently ranked Phoenix’s most romantic restaurant by local media outlets and Zagat has ranked it the top restaurant in the area. Known for seasonal, fire-roasted dishes, this eatery will make even the most demanding critics swoon. Chef Lee Hillson, who has appeared on Iron Chef, is known for rustic, yet elegant Mediterranean cuisine. Try his Mediterranean paella cooked in the wood-burning, visible-to-diners fireplace.

Royal Palms Resort, 5200 E. Camelback Rd., AZ, 866-579-3636, www.royalpalmshotel.com
Tags: romance | expensive

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