Top 12 Best Restaurants in Phoenix

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Greater Phoenix dining captures influences from Mexico’s hearty flavors to the Mediterranean’s light fare blended with specialty ingredients flourishing across Arizona’s arid landscape. Iconic Sonoran cuisine staples like chimichangas meet artisan pizzas, soba noodles and molecular gastronomy waiting to tantalize sophisticated palates.

Restaurant NameCuisine/Highlight
Barrio CaféInnovative Mexican cuisine with award-winning moles.
Pizzeria BiancoIconic thin crust pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven.
Nobuo at Teeter HouseJapanese kaiseki cuisine with seasonal ingredients.
Singh FarmsFarm-to-table concept with organic weekend brunches.
Lon’s at The HermosaModern Arizona cuisine with a historical setting.
Matt’s Big BreakfastClassic breakfast with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
CRUjiente TacosMexican street food with handmade corn tortillas.
Ghost RanchSouthwestern comfort cuisine with global influences.
The ParlorGourmet pizzas with a showcase kitchen.
Southern RailSeasonal Southern cuisine in a vintage train car setting.

With over 8,500 restaurants scattered across the metro area, visitors face limitless options when mealtimes strike. But make sure to pencil in these 12 Phoenix gems spanning chef-driven concepts, local institutions and seasonal sensations that satisfy cravings while also connecting to authentic local spirit.

Barrio Café

Name and Location: Barrio Café is located in Phoenix, Arizona in the historic neighborhood of Barrio Viejo.

History and Significance: James Beard Award winning chef Silvana Salcido Esparza opened Barrio Café in 2002 to showcase authentic regional Mexican cuisine from her hometown in Sonora, Mexico amid vibrant folk art decor. Her traditional family recipes ignite the palate.

What to Expect: Signature moles, handmade tortillas and scratch preparations from Esparza family recipes reflect authentic Mexican cuisine spanning famous chiles rellenos to succulent Cochinita Pibil alongside an extensive tequila and mezcal lineup best enjoyed slowly over flavorful conversation on the festive patio.

Visitor Information: Reservations recommended at Barrio Café open Tuesday through Saturday evenings serving dinner plus brunch Saturdays and Sundays. Street parking available though carpool or rideshare is easiest for the popular neighborhood locale. Cash only.

At the forefront of Phoenix’s culinary community for over 20 years, Barrio Café in downtown Phoenix leads the pack focusing innovative Mexican cuisine “outside the box” of common combination plates while respecting time-honored recipes. Talented chef Silvana Salcido Esparza sources premium local ingredients to honor regional tradition through signature dishes like tequila-marinated chicken enchiladas bathed in complex guajillo chile sauce or tender barbacoa tacos paired with avocado leaf salsa. Their exceptional cocktail and tequila programs accentuate award winning mole sauces and complex moles to traditional Spanish colonizer recipes. Just save room for tres leches cake drowned in agave nectar! At Barrio Café, creative culinary artistry shines.

Pizzeria Bianco

Name and Location: Pizzeria Bianco is located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona in the Heritage Square neighborhood.

History and Significance: James Beard award recipient Chris Bianco opened his eponymous pizzeria in 1988, focusing on perfecting thin crust brick oven Neapolitan-style pizza with simple fresh ingredients. The house-made mozzarella and signature pies earn global praise for taste and technique.

What to Expect: Customers sample wood-fired pizzas baked in moments to crisp, smoky perfection dressed with bright vegetables, imported cheeses and housemade sausage among other thoughtful toppings and salads befitting the sleek urban locale with lines often extending down the block.

Visitor Information: Pizzeria Bianco serves dinner daily plus lunch Friday through Sunday. No reservations accepted so come early to leave names for communal tables. Free customer parking offered behind the restaurant with other metered parking nearby.

The epic rise of Phoenix’s dining scene towards national prominence traces directly back to Bronx native Chris Bianco’s iconic Pizzeria Bianco, founded originally downtown in 1996 baking superlative thin crust pies in a wood-burning oven using organic starters he carried from the East Coast. Today two locations still draw daily lines out front with loyal fans craving roster menu classics like the Wiseguy pie topped with housemade fennel sausage or famed Rosa with red onions, rosemary, pistachios and rich Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese dollops. Their petite yet potent salads surprise too, like candy cane beets amped by blood orange vinaigrette. For the quintessential Phoenix restaurant experience visiting Chris himself occasionally emerging from the kitchen to mingle, no trip feels complete without reveling in Pizzeria Bianco’s flawless intensity.

Nobuo at Teeter House

Name and Location: Nobuo at Teeter House serves Nikkei cuisine blending Japanese and Peruvian flavors inside a renovated Craftsman style home in central Phoenix, Arizona.

History and Significance: Acclaimed chef Nobuo Fukuda opened the intimate venue in 2016 to spotlight Nikkei cooking techniques from Japanese ingredients nourished by South American growers across shared Pacific Rim heritage. The refined space centers around a custom bincho grill aimed at forging connections.

What to Expect: Guests reserving coveted counter seats interact directly with Chef Nobuo preparing omakase fusion tasting menus of obsidian fish, Wagyu, smoked corn chowder dashi andinventive chilled desserts drawing harmony through fire and ice between contrasting cultures linked by respect and passion.

Visitor Information: Nobuo offers two seatings for multi-course omakase dinners nightly Wednesday through Saturday by reservation only. Valet services the small venue or rideshare recommended given limited parking off 7th Avenue in central Phoenix areas.

Minimalist Japanese kaiseki cuisine blooms across ten artistic courses within downtown Phoenix’s intimate Teeter House highlighting seasonal ingredients interplaying textures and temperatures from acclaimed Chef Nobuo Fukuda. Sublime bites like Monkfish liver with freshly grated wasabi and brûléed sea urchin with velvety Hokkaido uni cream precede beautifully plated raw Hamachi collar dressed in orange kosho. Exquisite Wagyu beef sashimi and chicken dashi broth poured tableside over concealed tempura veggies reveal meticulous preparation resulting in harmonious flavors equaling far greater than any single component. For under 20 seats nightly, Nobuo’s 8-week waiting list attests to spectacular culinary adventures merging Old World precision with Arizona’s bounty.

Singh Farms

Name and Location: Singh Farms is a seasonal farm venue located outside Scottsdale, Arizona focused on hosting events showcasing local agriculture through U-Pick fruit harvests, dinners, tastings and weddings.

History and Significance: The Singh family stewards their multi-generational farm employing sustainable growing practices across three specialty orchards in the Sonoran Desert fostering an oasis producing some of Arizona’s finest pomegranates, oranges, apples and olives since the mid 1990s.

What to Expect: Visitors tour groves picking tree-ripened Valencia oranges or Rhine apples in season directly from branches during scheduled U-Pick weekends. Some crops yield fresh fruit year-round for preserves, juices and baked goods sold in the farm’s storefront supported by seasonal dinners and tastings.

Visitor Information: Singh Farms offers public weekend fruit harvests in winter and spring months. Booking required for group tours or private events at the farm including meal services showcasing estate olive oils, produce and dairy.

Appreciate why Phoenix earns the title of CSA Basket of America at Singh Farms, an organic farm-to-table restaurant in Scottsdale integrating seasonal gluts of produce into creative weekend brunches and event space. Relax into the sunny courtyard or airy greenhouse dining room to graze on shareable small plates like beignets stuffed with olallieberries from their orchards, vibrant salads mixing tender microgreens with candied pecans and goat cheese or savory flatbreads piled with roasted vegetables. Don’t skipMIX-ology cocktails from their onsite distillery either. Farm tours offered daily educate how Singh’s arid land management and crop biodiversity culture their flavorful concept literally from seed to table. Everything tastes extraordinarily fresh and inspired by sustainable efforts.

Lon’s at The Hermosa

Name and Location: Lon’s at the Hermosa is a contemporary American restaurant located inside the boutique Hermosa Inn nestled amid eight acres of lush gardens in Paradise Valley, Arizona, minutes from Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Award-winning chef Jeremy Pacheco helms the kitchen at the historic inn’s signature restaurant, founded by artist Lon Megargee in the 1930s as an elite desert escape. Today’s seasonal preparations honor Southwestern and local flavors at what’s considered the Valley’s ultimate garden dining experience.

What to Expect: Lon’s patio frames pristine views of Camelback Mountain from amid bougainvillea vines. Toast sunsets with specialty cocktails and wines by the glass, selecting garden-inspired shared plates or grass-fed entrees from the daily menu supporting Arizona farmers and purveyors at an idyllic flatbread oven table.

Visitor Information: Lon’s at the Hermosa serves daily breakfast through dinner, with reservations strongly suggested for outdoor courtyard tables and special tasting dinners. Inn guests receive priority otherwise book early at the intimate escape.

For quintessential modern Arizona refinement meet old cattle ranch hospitality, Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn transports guests back to an earlier era of desert elegance within downtown Scottsdale’s secluded luxury hideaway. Breezy patios, swinging saloon doors and candlelit booths conjure the romance of yesteryear while contemporary Southwestern cuisine thrills palates with prickly pear margaritas, succulent buffalo tenderloin and velvety whiptail chile bisques. Their garden-to-table mantra incorporates ingredients like mesquite or cranberries harvested from the onsite orchard into appetizers consistently rated Phoenix’s best including one legendary world-famous pretzel. Visitors settle into hand-crafted heritage realizing Lon’s restaurant made locally-raised provisions sexy long before modern movements did.

Matt’s Big Breakfast

Name and Location: Matt’s Big Breakfast is a mini locally-owned diner amid downtown Phoenix dedicated towards breakfast classics and melts made from scratch.

History and Significance: Arriving in 2006 emphasizing quality, Matt Pool has crafted a cult following at his short-order counter-service breakfast stop praised for generous portions inspired by childhood memory alongside quirky nostalgic decor brimming with classic toys and antiques collected over decades.

What to Expect: Upon no-frills squeeze-in at red vinyl booths or diner counter, patrons salivate over Matt’s Big Breakfast fare showcasing signature eight inch high stacks of fluffy pancakes plus three egg scrambles buried under chiles beside riveting chorizo bloody marys through melty grilled cheese sandwiches oozing with housemade pork green chile and fries.

Visitor Information: Matt’s Big Breakfast serves popular all-day breakfast and lunch with no reservations leaving lines out the door during peak times. Cash-only payments keep things moving fast at the tiny restaurant with paid street parking available if lucky.

Inside a retro 1940s bungalow decorated with colorful Mexican folk art in central Phoenix, James Beard Award nominee Matt Pool leans on classic Midwestern formulas learned from his grandmother to start diners’ days deliciously with pancakes, scramblers and signature hashes at Matt’s Big Breakfast. Two locations draw consistent lines for fluffy ricotta lemonade pancakes crowned with juicy berries, broken yolk chorizo breakfast tacos wrapped in flour tortillas, and their famous “chuck wagon” hashbrowns chopped then crisped to absolute perfection in beef tallow. Value combo plates keep inclusive while quality focus on sourcing fresh ingredients daily puts Matt’s miles ahead of basic coffee shop fare. For hearty breakfast plates filling your love tank, Matt’s Big Breakfast always satisfies loyal regulars and first timers.

CRUjiente Tacos

Name and Location: CRUjiente Tacos brings fast-casual agave-roasted cricket tacos celebrating ancient Mexican protein wisdom to downtown Phoenix inside the Ro Roosevelt Room event space.

History and Significance: Since a 2016 pop-up, chef Robert Vasquez’s Sonora family recipes transform roasted crickets from veteran-owned family ranch Haystacks into masa “crujiente” tacos honoring ancestral protein sources with blue corn tortillas, spicy salsas, pickled vegetables and sauteed criadillas alongside craft tequila in a warehouse district setting.

What to Expect: Adventurous sustainably-minded eaters taste pre-Hispanic Mexican street food heritage rediscovering 4,000 types of edible North American insects respectfully revived by Vasquez’s authentic recipes and rare heirloom corn now with two Valley taqueria locations preserving beloved ingredients for future food security.

Visitor Information: CRUjiente serves specialty blue corn tacos with roasted cricket or beef fillings daily for lunch through late nights. Order ahead online for quick service at the counter-only urban outpost with bar and patio amid ample paid garage parking options downtown.

Three college friends cooking authentic Mexican street food from family recipes aimed towards approachable pricing created Phoenix’s sensation CRUjiente Tacos dishing overflowing portions across two metro locations for lines constantly out the door. Their diverse menu spans beyond superb al pastor and carnitas tacos on double handmade corn tortillas to embrace the Sonoran hot dog wrapped in bacon before bathing in pinto beans, onions, pico de gallo and mayo then finally capping with fresh jalapeños for a messy marvel. Other gut-busting signatures like the Anaconda quesadilla cram spicy chicken between crisped cheese wide as your forearm while the legendary California burrito swaddles fries inside carne asada, guacamole and salsa for ultimate late night cure. With rock-bottom prices and rockstar flavor, CRUjiente Tacos crushes cravings!

Ghost Ranch

Name and Location: Ghost Ranch is a dinner-only speakeasy lounge concealed behind the corner entrance of The Mission restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona just off Fifth Avenue.

History and Significance: James Beard nominee and The Mission executive chef Andrew Fritz collaborates alongside owner Dushyant Singh to conceal a hidden upscale retreat behind secret doors hidden inside adjoining contemporary Southwestern restaurant The Mission. Sophisticated seasonal surprise tasting menus bridge global cuisines for discreet reservation-only patrons co-authoring customized culinary experiences.

What to Expect: Exclusivity, intimacy and flexibility form the backbone of this 12-seat clandestine kitchen. Personal interactions shape tailored multi-course menus artfully infused with aromatic spices, unexpected flavor marriages and precise plating supporting uncommon ingredient pairings inspired by each journey unfolding uniquely through the theatrical space.

Visitor Information: Find the disguised Ghost Ranch entry to one side behind The Mission restaurant after 7PM just off Old Town’s Main Street. Valet services the shared building with additional paid public parking accessing 5th Avenue shopping and nightlife. Smart casual dress requested.

Oozing artsy energy within a restored Downtown Phoenix warehouse, Ghost Ranch restaurant elevates Southwestern comfort cuisine through global influences learned from owner Trev Miller’s travels across 6 continents towards philanthropic initiatives. Housemade masa pays homage to regional tastes via unparalleled tamales enrobed with spiced pineapple habanero glaze. Korean bulgogi tacos skip any fusion gimmicks by nailing simultaneous flavor layers just like Miller’s Moroccan Maji tagine stew brimming with figs, spices and lamb melt-off-the-bone tenderness. Don’t skip appetizers either because manchego empanadas with sofrito aioli disappear fast! Classy cocktails embody Miller’s imaginative architecture too, blending Puerto Rican rum with Andean purple corn for stunning complexity. At Ghost Ranch, creative cooking makes the world feel deliciously smaller.

The Parlor

Name and Location: The Parlor is a modern pizzeria located along North Central Avenue amid midtown Phoenix dining district.

History and Significance: James Beard rising star chef Damon Brasch reinvented the former Beckett’s Table into a comfortably upscale neighborhood pizzeria in 2018 focused on perfecting a delicate pizza dough developed over months using premium olive oil and specialty flour to achieve an ideal Neopolitan-style crust as the foundation for creative seasonal pizzas and small plates.

What to Expect: Contemporary exposed brick walls dotted with local artwork surround guests at warm booths or conversing over the marble chef’s counter stretching past the copper-clad wood-burning oven. Daily whole vegetable boards precede blistered sourdough pies draped in inventive seasonal combinations from squash blossoms to aged salami finished with locally churned mascarpone gelato.

Visitor Information: Walk-ins welcome, but reservations highly recommended at cozy dates along the central pizzeria bar or tables inside and streetside. Paid public parking accessed from rear alley off North 3rd Avenue. Closed Sundays.

Pizza constantly pushes towards gourmet heights in Phoenix across numerous critically acclaimed concepts. But The Parlor inlaid downtown with vintage Vegas ambience turned hand-stretched and twice-cooked pies into interactive theater thanks to a showcase kitchen pressed up against the restaurant’s front window. Watch closely as veteran pizza ninjas rhythmically pinch and twirl flour-dusted dough into stunning thin crusts before dolloping San Marzano marinara and toppings from meatballs to fig jam. Their signature fennel sausage pie dusted with orange zest and chili flakes dazzles devotees while wildNettie’s Pie honoring the founder’s mom with Italian bacon, whole cloves garlic and spicy honey hypnotizes. Expect reasonable prices but memorable flavor fueling animated atmospheres nightly.

Southern Rail

Name and Location: Southern Rail restaurant brings contemporary Southern cuisine with global accents to Central Phoenix amid a former warehouse turned vibrant downtown oasis.

History and Significance: Justin Beckett draws menu inspiration from family traditions across the American South, reinterpreting heirloom recipes through international training honed working under culinary icons like Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Seasonal changing plates started as pop-ups before anchoring the Southern Rail venue established in 2016.

What to Expect: Expect genuine warm hospitality first. Creative comfort food mainstays like jalapeño cheese hush puppies then take guests through fare spanning hearty weekend brunch plates to Cajun fried chicken at rustic wood tables surrounded by indoor plants, natural light and colorful murals framing an open kitchen adding global twists to the Dixieland cuisine.

Visitor Information: Southern Rail offers weekday lunch, weekend brunches and dinner nightly. Reservations recommended for large groups while duos or singles seat first-come. Paid public garage parking accessed off Fillmore Street. Closed Mondays.

All aboard the vintage train car permanently parked alongside Scottsdale’s entertainment district supplying seasonal Southern cuisine and fanciful cocktails as uniquely satisfying as the memorable concept itself. Chefs Eric Beaird and Matt Segal adapt family recipes like Grandmom Beaird’s Carolina Gold Rice with shrimp and country ham across plates sharing comfort heritage of humbler upbringings before tonight’s confident refinement. House smoked beef links amp up the best cheeseburger west of the Pecos while Lowcountry Frogmore Stew rumbles with plump Gulf shrimp and smoked sausage. Every preparation utilizes prime Arizona ingredients from Niman Ranch pork to desert honey showcasing how Southern Rail rolls the roots on tradition towards relevant innovation.

Beyond stunning sunsets and cacti vistas, Phoenix dining captures outstanding complexity rivalling any global dining destination through vibrant experimentation, respect for regional traditions, and intense ingredient quality. From James Beard honorees to neighborhood holes-in-the-wall equally worthy of acclaim… visitors dine extraordinarily well around every corner of the Valley of the Sun where Southwestern fusing with Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and classic American cooking. Just make reservations early wherever your GPS suggests because Phoenix tables stay fully booked chasing innovative culinary excitement happening daily – an underrated aspect about America’s hottest emerging food city!

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