Foodie Friday: Where to Eat in Phoenix

by  Teresa Bitler | Mar 29, 2013
Camelback Mountain, Arizona
Camelback Mountain, Arizona / Jeremy Janus/iStock

Gone are the days when cowboy steaks and beef burritos drowned in cheesy red sauce dominated Phoenix menus. Today, you're just as likely to be tempted by offerings of pecan-crusted lamb, yellow tail ceviche, and deviled quail eggs. In fact, foodies across the nation have begun to take note of the local culinary scene, even labeling Pizzeria Bianco as the country's best pizza producer. Here's a guide to five must-try eateries in the Valley of the Sun.

Chelsea's Kitchen
Located on the canal in the historic Arcadia neighborhood, Chelsea's Kitchen has one of the Valley's best patios with a seating area nearly as large as its indoor counterpart. But, the real draw here is the farm-to-table menu, flawlessly executed by executive chef Jorge Gomez. Try the Brussels sprout salad with manchego cheese, short rib tacos, or rotisserie pork.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
Forget the traditional everyone-eats-their-own-meal rule at this downtown Phoenix gastro-lounge – you're encouraged to share your ancho chile-dusted butterscotch popcorn, smoked bacon tater tots, duck confit flatbread, and Kentucky fried quail with others at your table. But, if you want to keep your craft cocktail to yourself, I understand. Blue Hound boasts Phoenix's largest selection of bourbons, scotches, and gins. Sip a Prohibition-era classic or sample a Blue Hound original like a Screaming Scot which blends scotch, honey, lemon, and an egg white (among other ingredients).

An evening at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass's Kai is just as much a cultural experience as it is a dining one. Native American flute music floats through the small space as you peruse a hand-painted menu featuring indigenous ingredients, game meats and produce from Gila River Indian Community lands. With an average price of $50 per entrée, this is definitely a splurge, but you should also know it's for a reason (and well-worth it) – Kai has multiple Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond awards. Expect to find entrees like grilled buffalo tenderloin, saffron-poached Spanish turbot, and dry-aged rib eye on the seasonal menu.

Lon's at the Hermosa
The Hermosa Inn was the home of celebrated cowboy artist Lon Megargee in the 1930s; today, it's an internationally renowned boutique hotel, and Lon's is the property's restaurant. Expect to find traditional standards like roasted duck breast or grilled beef tenderloin on Chef Jeremy Pacheco's ever-changing menu. Feel good about your footprint as much of the produce used in the restaurant comes from the on-site, one-acre garden (plus, the inn's fruit trees supply the juice for the craft cocktails).

The Mission
This Old Town Scottsdale favorite gets rave reviews for its lunchtime guacamole – prepared table-side to your specifications – and skirt steak tacos, served with handmade corn tortillas. Wash it all down with one of 54 premium tequilas or a signature margarita made with fresh-pressed lime juice.

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