12 Best Restaurants in Glendale, Arizona

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Glendale is a vibrant city located in central Arizona, just northwest of Phoenix. It has emerged as a top culinary destination in the state, with diverse restaurants that feature a wide range of cuisines and atmospheres, from casual eateries to fine dining establishments.

The best restaurants in Glendale showcase the Southwest’s rich flora and fauna, incorporating flavors like cilantro, lime, chili, and cumin. Fresh, local ingredients shine, whether highlighting favorite staples like tacos or more adventurous offerings like goat or rattlesnake. Diners will find innovative eats along with plenty of classics at these establishments.

Beyond the food itself, these restaurants also highlight Glendale’s heritage, blending Mexican, Native American, and cowboy influences to create an authentic regional experience. The architecture, decor, and hospitality give diners a taste of the Sonoran Desert landscape and its people.

This article covers 12 of the very best restaurants in Glendale, offering distinct flavors, fun vibes, and memorable experiences that encapsulate the city’s culinary scene. From delicious date shakes to BBQ to eclectic fusion, these joints demonstrate why Glendale has become a must-visit destination for foodies.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Tacos: Tacos Paquime

If you’re searching for the best tacos in Glendale, look no further than Tacos Paquime. This casual restaurant specializes in authentic Mexican street fare like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas that stay true to the owner’s family recipes. Tortillas are made in-house daily and stuffed with your choice of meats like carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, lengua, pollo, and more.

The delicate, freshness of the handmade corn tortillas and salsas allows the rich, vibrant flavors of the meats and fillings to shine. Popular menu items include the taco campechano featuring steak and chorizo and the vampiros taco with melted cheese. Make sure to try tacos on homemade blue corn tortillas for a fun twist.

Pair your tacos with one of Paquime’s refreshing aguas frescas like horchata and jamaica. The bright, welcoming space pays tribute to the Casas Grandes people and culture, setting the mood for an authentic, delicious taco fiesta. This family-owned gem offers big flavor at affordable prices.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for BBQ: Little Miss BBQ

When it comes to smoked meats, Little Miss BBQ is hands-down the best in Glendale. This 450-seat restaurant serves carefully smoked proteins by a championship-winning pitmaster in a funky, laidback setting. Featuring both indoor and patio seating, the casual vibe invites guests to relax with an ice-cold beer while enjoying finger-licking barbecue.

The smokehouse menu stars slow-smoked prime meats like brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, sausage and wings available by the pound or on sandwiches and plates. Fit for any meat lover, platters are loaded with your choice of two or three meats alongside classic sides like baked beans, potato salad coleslaw and cornbread. Don’t skip the signature Sunburn Potatoes, crispy bites bathed in spicy queso.

While you wait for your order, nibble from the snacks menu of jalapeño poppers, fried pickles and cheesy tater tots to whet your appetite. The generously portioned, melt-in-your mouth meats paired with a local brew make Little Miss BBQ a finger lickin’ good time any day of the week. This joint proves world-class barbecue need not be pretentious.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Date Shakes: Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor

Nothing says classic Americana like enjoying a creamy date shake at Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor. This old-fashioned soda fountain and lunch counter has been an iconic Glendale fixture since it opened in the 1950s. Today, Sugar Bowl remains a favorite for its sweet treats, sandwiches, hot dogs and that signature, dreamy date shake.

Made from premium dates sourced just down the road in Phoenix’s Deglet Noor Valley, the shake boasts a rich, earthy-sweet flavor. You can order the classic version, blended thick and frosty with vanilla ice cream, or opt for creative combinations with chocolate or strawberry ice cream. Can’t decide? Try the popular Date Royale swirled with both chocolate and vanilla.

In addition to decadent shakes, Sugar Bowl slings classic ice cream parlor fare like hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, malts and floats. Guests rave over their crispy fries and patty melts too. With its pink and teal neon signage, cheerful interior of retro booths and counter seating and kind staff, this landmark still feels like stepping back in time. Stop by this slice of old Glendale for comfort food, nostalgia and Arizona’s best date shake.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Pizza: Oregano’s Pizza Bistro

For the best pizza in Glendale, locals make a beeline to Oregano’s Pizza Bistro. This lively, family-friendly restaurant has been dishing Chicago- and New York-style pies from their brick ovens since opening in 1993. Today with several metro locations, Oregano’s has a reputation for hearty, flavor-packed pizzas served in a playful atmosphere.

So what really distinguishes their pies from average pizza-joint fare? First, only hand-rolled, made-from-scratch dough hits those piping hot ovens. Next comes generous amounts of whole milk mozzarella for serious melt factor. Finally, each pie receives a ladleful of Oregano’s vine-ripened pizza sauce, blended in house from tomatoes canned at peak freshness. The result? A perfect crust foundation for creative flavor combinations.

While you can’t go wrong with classic selections like the meat-loaded Five on Five or the Veggie, glance over the extensive menu for more adventurous choices, from Thai Chicken to Mediterranean Delight. Toppings stay put thanks to the dough’s airy, charred cornicione crust. Looking lighter fare? Build your own pizza from up to 75 toppings or try a calzone. Then wash it down with local Kilt Lifter beer. Oregano’s lively decor and irreverent attitude make this chain feel like your favorite hangout. With pizza this good, you’ll want to make it one!

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Sushi: Harumi Sushi

As Phoenix’s west valley sushi mecca, Harumi Sushi tops many “best sushi” lists. This upscale Japanese eatery beautifully balances artistic presentation with epic freshness and flavor. As a Japanese-owned restaurant, Harumi keeps a close connection to Japanese culture while adapting to local palates. The result? Some of the most authentic, delicious sushi found outside of Japan.

All seafood is expertly sourced and cut by sushi chefs for optimal enjoyment and taste. Signature maki rolls like the Red Dragon and Paradise roll deliver vibrant flavors and colors alongside classic nigiri and sashimi cuts. Beyond stellar raw seafood, the kitchen also turns out cooked Japanese favorites like hibachi, udon noodle bowls, tempura, and pot stickers.

Harumi’s sleek black-lacquered interior and modern lighting set an elegant vibe befitting the contemporary cuisine. Attentive yet unintrusive service helps diners fully immerse in the dining experience rather than distract. Reservations are highly recommended to enjoy front row seats overlooking the chef’s work at the bar. For memorable Japanese fare in inviting surroundings, Harumi Sushi hits the sweet spot.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Local Ingredients: Haus Murphy’s

For a quintessential neighborhood pub experience in Glendale, pull up a chair at Haus Murphy’s. This family-owned gastropub prides itself on serving “cool comfort food” made with fresh, local ingredients in a lively, dog-friendly atmosphere.

The inviting indoor beer garden and patio with misters allow enjoying ales and lagers from their 40 taps of Arizona-made brews any time of day. While you sip, order starters like the Loaded Tater Puffs baked with cheddar, bacon and green onion or giant soft Bavarian pretzels for soaking up all that great beer.

Next, move onto Haus Murphy’s refined pub grub like the Green Chile Burger layered with Hatch green chilies or their signature Haus Chopped Salad tossed with blue cheese vinaigrette and candied pecans. Weekly specials like Beer Can Chicken or savory pot pies satisfy heartier appetites. With gluten-free buns and veggie burgers, all diets find options here.

The owner maintains close relationships with West Valley cattle ranches, dairy farms and growers to source top quality ingredients for always-fresh entrees and sides. This neighborhood hub proudly supports Arizona brewers, farms and products for one delightfully tasty, super local menu.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Mexican Food: Carolina’s

In Arizona, finding mouthwatering Mexican food comes easy. But Carolina’s rises above the rest for its lengthy menu of authentic dishes served with a generous side of hospitality. At this lively cantina and restaurant, guests enjoy the flavors of Mexico through meticulously prepared classics true to the owners’ Sonora heritage.

Carolina’s receives acclaim for its tableside-made guacamole, prepared fresh at your table with Hass avocados, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Award-winning tamales in flavors like chili con carne and chicken mole make tasty meal starters as well. No room remains after feasting upon Carolina’s hearty but expertly spiced signature entrees and combination plates.

The sizzling fajitas platter gives several steak cuts to wrap inside warm flour or corn tortillas with grilled veggies. Craving carnitas? Carolina’s gives tender, braised pork inside giant burritos and street tacos heaped with all the fixings. Seafood lovers praise the salmon al mojo de ajo for perfectly pan-seared salmon fillets napped in bold garlic sauce.

An exhaustive list of tequila and mezcal cocktails jazzed up with prickly pear and mango purees mean a fiesta awaits daily. Carolina’s lively yet cozy atmosphere keeps guests celebrating its authentic flavors all night long. Bellying up to this cantina always guarantees an amazing, spirited south-of-the-border experience.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Happy Hour: Bandera

Bandera is an American kitchen and wine bar specializing in a farm-to-table menu of modern comfort cuisine and 200+ wine varietals. But the absolute best time to visit this neighborhood eatery is weeknights from 2 to 6 p.m. to experience their unbeatable happy hour deals. During these hours, nosh on discounted starters like short rib tacos, wild mushroom tartines, and burrata crostini while sipping from a menu of half-priced craft cocktails, wine pours and beers.

Deals this generous attract quite a lively local after-work crowd mingling indoors and out on Bandera’s breezy back patio. Their Tempranillo sangria sweetened with Arizona dates and honey and the Prickly Pear margarita poured over frozen fruit ice cubes make for thirst-quenching happy hour libations. Pair either with the duck confit or buttermilk fried chicken sliders and stay awhile—deals this good deserve your time!

Beyond happy hour, Bandera entices with nicely plated comfort dishes like herb-crusted rack of lamb, seared sea scallops and Colorado leg of elk. For more casual fare, belly up to the granite-top bar to watch a game while enjoying brick oven pizzas, juicy burgers and shareable appetizers. Thanks to its stylish environs and friendly neighborhood vibe in historic downtown Glendale, patrons happily linger long after the happy hour clock expires.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Fine Dining: T.Cook’s at Royal Palms

For the ultimate special occasion restaurant in Glendale, nowhere surpasses the elegant T. Cook’s at Royal Palms. Set inside the iconic Royal Palms Resort and Spa, this Mediterranean restaurant oozes Old World romance beneath twinkling lights dangling from grand palms. Known for sophistication and consistency since opening on the property in 1948, T. Cook’s garners acclaim for its impeccable service, extensive wine list boasting over 10,000 bottles, and cuisine rivaling America’s top-rated restaurants.

The fairly formal dress code and white table cloths signal the fine dining experience ahead. Begin your evening with rotating appetizers like duck liver pâté, Dungeness crab cakes, or grilled Spanish octopus. For your main plate, opt for an off-the-grill meat like the bone-in New York strip or leg of Colorado lamb prepared simply to highlight exceptional quality and flavor.

Seasonal sides like grilled asparagus in spring or wild mushroom risotto complement without overpowering. And certainly don’t miss their tableside preparation of flaming desserts like bananas foster that provides additional old world theatre to your meal. With its storied past, award-winning underground wine cellar and impeccable standards, T.Cook’s transports diners straight to Europe for a magical epicurean escape.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Weekend Brunch: Morning Glory Cafe

Ask Glendale locals where to find the best breakfast spot and most will sing the praises of Morning Glory Café. This cozy cottage cafe straddles neighborhoods in central Glendale as a favorite for weekend brunches and holiday meals. Morning Glory sticks to the basics done extraordinarily well, churning out fluffy pancakes, crispy home fries and hearty scrambles alongside Arizona-roasted coffee and fresh-squeezed OJ.

Creative options like their decadent Redneck Benedict with buttermilk biscuits, country gravy and fried chicken tenders keep things interesting. Make sure to also try their signature Carne Adovada Burrito with tender pulled pork, potatoes, cheese and smoky Hatch chilies wrapped inside a jumbo tortilla.

Beyond amazing eats, Morning Glory wins loyal fans with its shabby chic Upcountry decor of distressed woods, pastel hues and vintage accents. Outdoor patio seating welcomes all to come relish this home away from home. Owned by a local mother-daughter duo, expect charming hospitality and interactions from a staff who genuinely embodies the ethos “where everybody knows your name.” Lines run long for good reason at this not-so-hidden neighborhood gem!

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Craft Beer: Historic Downtown Glendale Restaurant Crawl

Beer fanatics will fall hard for historic downtown Glendale thanks to its numerous gastro pubs, beer-centric eateries and craft breweries—all within easy walking distance of each other! Named one of America’s top beer towns, Glendale serves locally brewed pints, IPAs, stouts and more to satisfy any palate.

Beer lovers could easily spend an entire afternoon bar and restaurant hopping along Glendale Avenue to sample specialty brews and grub. Start by fueling up on artisanal wood-fired pizzas and salads at Speakeasy Pizza or regional Mexican fare at nearby eatery Calico. From there, cross the avenue to State 48 Brewery to taste their signature Hazy IPA or Vanilla Cream Ale brewed in copper kettles on site.

Continue the crawl south down 58th Avenue to Saddle Mountain Brewing Co. Housed in a former motorcycle dealership, Saddle Mountain’s taproom features 24+ brews like the popular Rain Crow Oatmeal Stout and Pass Mountain Pale Ale. Soak up the booze with tasty pub fare like wings, poutine fries and fish and chips.

End your boozy adventure touring the original 1912 facility for Glendale’s first craft brewery, Historic Brewing Dragoon. Buddy up at the bar to sample their rotating taps poured straight from conditioning tanks before staggering back to downtown hotel or BnB accommodation. This route makes enjoying Glendale’s hopping craft beer scene efficient…and delicious!

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Farm-to-Table Dining: Virtù Honest Craft

Nestled amidst mom and pop shops in Glendale’s Catlin Court, Virtù Honest Craft wows palates with its meticulously sourced New American fare focused on Arizona ingredients. The cozy yet contemporary 40-seat eatery boasts an exhibition kitchen allowing diners to watch chef and proprietor Gio Osso craft each seasonal menu item to perfection.

Dishes burst with sunny flavors like citrus, honey and peppers and rotate availability with what local farms grow best at the moment. Handmade pastas like squid ink tonnarelli tossed with sea urchin cream or venison ragu over beetroot fettuccine showcase Virtu’s knack for balancing bold textures and tastes. Beyond pastas, the kitchen concocts creative plates like duck breast with fermented honey jus and quail stuffed with balsamic grapes.

Given the quality coming from the kitchen, pricing stays reasonable for fine dining. Those wanting to up the epicurean experience should reserve Virtù’s chef table to receive personal attention and watch meals come together from just inches away. Understated sophistication and intimacy define this destination for Arizona’s natural bounty transformed into memorable cuisine.

The Best Restaurants in Glendale for Southwestern Fusion: The Mint Modern Mediterranean Grill

Foodies seeking a modern twist on Mediterranean recipes head to The Mint Modern Mediterranean Grill. Blending cooking techniques from the southwest and North Africa, this fast-casual eatery plates colorful grain bowls, flatbreads, salads and more for dine-in or grab-n-go. While YOU select every component assembled in your bowl, global flavor influences intermix beautifully no matter the combination.

Build a base of organic farro, quinoa, rice stick noodles or leafy greens then heaped on spiced proteins, pickled items, crunchy toppings and zingy dressings. Falafel, shawarma chicken, braised lamb, spicy shrimp…with so many options, each visit invites new flavor journeys! Their flatbreads also satisfy with zesty spreads like muhammara roasted red pepper under oozing haloumi cheese or spiced lamb.

Mint’s airy modern interior dotted with pendant lamps encourages lingering over these palette-piquing meals either indoors or streetside. When a global culinary adventure calls without leaving Central Avenue, this cosmopolitan kitchen cures the craving deliciously.

Conclusion

From comforting southwestern fare to eclectic global fusion, Glendale’s dining scene has exploded with distinct eateries to suit any palate. The city’s location in Phoenix’s Valley of the Sun and rich cultural blend set an ideal stage for chefs to source premier local ingredients while infusing heritage flavors into contemporary cuisine.

Beyond culinary creativity, these restaurants entice through warm hospitality, vibrant decor, patio spaces to soak up sunshine and live entertainment. Visiting favorites like Little Miss BBQ, Carolina’s Mexican Restaurant and Bandera Gastro Pub easily turn meal times into memorable evenings spent connecting with community.

Especially downtown, the sheer proximity of acclaimed eateries, mom and pop shops and craft breweries encourage walking between locations to fully experience Glendale’s welcoming vibe. From weekend brunch at Morning Glory Cafe to happy hour small plates at Virtù Honest Craft to late night schnitzel at historic Haus Murphy’s, this blossoming city offers diners sun-drenched patios, elegant haciendas and electric nightlife locales to match bold menus.

Residents praise the accessibility to high quality dining at nearly every price point as a major perk of calling Glendale home. For visitors too, booking a table at one of these top area restaurants promises a warm welcome through cuisine in a town brimming with southwestern flavor.

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