The Best of Dining & Drinking in Phoenix

Upward Projects

In the past few years, Phoenix has transformed from a snowbird mecca to a cosmopolitan city with a revitalized downtown. With this transformation has come a happening new food scene that mixes classic Phoenix fare with hip foodie finds. From the best happy hour deal to the most deluxe burger in town, our list of Phoenix’s favorites will have you eating like a local.David Duran

Natalie Walker

Best Bloody Mary

DeSoto Central Market

Located in the center of the Roosevelt Row arts district, DeSoto Central Market is all about community and providing a gathering place reminiscent of a time when the daily market was the heart of every city. The market is a combination of boutique eateries, a gourmet market, and an Art Deco bar that serves one hell of a Bloody Mary, aka the Kraken, a three-course meal in a mug and never garnished exactly the same way twice. While the usual suspects like olives and lemons are always there, each drink has its own elaborate toppings, like a cheeseburger slider, and a homemade dessert, such as a moon pie. 

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Flourish

Best Dinner with a View

Flourish

Flourish is a great restaurant in its own right, but what sets this place apart are the gorgeous views of the Sonoran Desert. With floor-to-ceiling windows highlighting the breathtaking landscape, the views here are just as important as the food.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Joshua Taff of Joshuamatic Creative

Best Mac and Cheese

Mother Bunch Brewing

This brewery has an extensive food menu, but don’t leave without trying the mac and cheese. The sampler here includes small portions of three variations: cheddar sauce spiked with MB ale, spicy sriracha tri-tip, and Bleu cheese with bacon. Paired with any of the Mother Bunch beers, this meal is something truly special.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Upward Projects

Best Sweet Treat

Churn

Churn serves all sorts of sweet treats, including old-school candy, but the ice cream is what takes the cake. With a rotating menu of flavors, you’ll want to come every day to try something new. From goat cheese, honey, and pistachio to Mexican chocolate, there is a flavor for everyone. If you happen to see the Hangover Helper on the menu, give it a try and don’t let the ingredients scare you.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

TEXAZ Grill

Best Classic Phoenix Restaurant

TEXAZ Grill

Since 1985, this Phoenix institution has been serving classic Texas fare. Their house specialty is chicken-fried steak made with two-double dipped tender pieces of beef and topped with their homemade cream gravy. It’s a little bit of Texas in Arizona and it’s scrumptious.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Upward Projects

Best Date-Night Discount

Postino

Monday and Tuesday are perfect for date night at Postino. Eeither night, diners can order a bottle of wine and a bruschetta for only $20. Bruschetta options include smoked salmon and pesto, tomato jam with fresh sheep milk cheese, and brie with apples and fig spread. You can mix and match your bruschetta, so try a few flavors over a great bottle of wine.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Kitchen Sink Studios

Best Cup of Coffee

Giant Coffee

There are coffee shops on almost every corner, but this little shop with a chilled-out atmosphere has space for all kinds of patrons. The elevated workstations with plugs makes it a great spot to get some work done, while the more cozy communal seating invites socializing. They only serve direct-trade first-rate espresso and single-origin brewed coffee—go for the cold brew during the hot summers. If you are there in the morning and hungry, ask for a breakfast burrito; you won’t be disappointed.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Jacob Burke Photography

Best Innovative Burger

FEZ

Another Phoenix standard with a new location closer to downtown, FEZ offers an eclectic menu. There are 12 burger options with all sorts of flavor combinations, but the bleu cheese balsamic is the best: a 1/2-pound grilled Angus burger with balsamic glaze, Danish bleu cheese, spinach, red onion, and aioli. Eat it with a side of spicy harissa fries or garlic and rosemary fries for a fun flavor combo.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Best Tequila Sunrise

Wright Bar

Every bar wants to be known as the place that invented a cocktail, and rumor has it that Wright Bar is the place where the tequila sunrise was created. Regardless of whether the legend is true, they make a perfectly blended version of the classic cocktail. The Biltmore Original is made with Hornitos Plata, crème de cassis, fresh lime juice, and club soda. They also serve a classic and tropical version of the cocktail.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Clever Koi

Best BYOB (build your own bowl)

Clever Koi

The food and the cocktails at Asian-fusion restaurant Clever Koi are expertly crafted. At lunch, guests can build their own bowls with noodles, stir-fry, or rice options serving as the base, and then add a protein such as duck, tofu, shrimp, pork belly, or beef, as well as veggies and toppings. It’s a quick way to enjoy a delicious lunch at a great price.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

The Camby Hotel

Best Craft Cocktails

The Bees Knees

The copper-topped cocktail bar at the hip Camby Hotel is the place to see and be seen at night. Classic and cutting-edge cocktails are expertly poured by all-star bar staff. Try something with honey from the bar’s own honeycomb, proudly displayed behind a glass case.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Courtesy of Little Miss BBQ

Best BBQ

Little Miss BBQ

For BBQ, it doesn’t get better than Little Miss. Barbecued meats like brisket, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, and house-made sausage are served by weight on butcher paper with pickles, onions, and white bread—simple, to the point, and delicious.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Beckett's Table

Best Bacon Dessert

Beckett’s Table

This neighborhood restaurant welcomes both foodies and families with a hearty assortment of seasonal American dishes. The food is sophisticated but without pretentions, like the bacon s’mores dessert, a decadent twist on everyone’s favorite campfire treat. The chocolate-dipped bacon s’mores come with house-made marshmallow, caramel, whipped peanut butter, and, of course, graham crackers—so box up those plates early and take a bite out of bacon heaven.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Upward Projects

Best Happy Hour

Windsor

At Windsor Pub, the mood is relaxed, the people are friendly, and the drinks are cheap…before 5 pm. The restaurant’s $5 before 5 pm happy hour includes cocktails, wine, and pitchers of beer. Cross the street to find Windsor’s sister restaurant, Joyride, which has the same happy hour deal (but with killer margaritas).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

Best Biscuits and Gravy

Phoenix Public Market Cafe

A casual urban hangout offering three meals a day, Phoenix Public Market Café provides the downtown community with a place to gather and enjoy a meal. During breakfast, the cooks are bombarded with orders for their biscuits and gravy, served with two eggs (any style), chorizo gravy, and of course, the house-made biscuits that make the dish so popular.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Sandbar

Best Margarita on Tap

Sandbar

There are a lot of margarita options in Phoenix, but Sandbar has stepped it up a notch by putting their margaritas on tap, possibly to keep up with demand. They’re tasty, cheap, and quick.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Dallaseventsinc | Dreamstime.com

Best Seafood

Little Cleo’s

Named after a fishing lure, this cute neighborhood restaurant is in the heart of Central Phoenix. Seafood is what this place is all about, and the oyster shooters are what people come for. A daily selection of East Coast and West Coast oysters are available at market price.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Lolik | Dreamstime.com

Best Pizza

Pizzeria Bianco

Pizzeria Bianco started more than 25 years ago and now has three locations in Arizona. It’s been hailed as the best pizza in Phoenix by various publications and celebrity chefs, so order a pie and discover for yourself what everyone is raving about. All of the wood-fired pizzas are delicious, but the Rosa might be the best: red onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

The Phoenician

Best Guilty Pleasure

Relish Burger Bistro

If you’re already indulging in a burger, you might as well give in to a milkshake . . . and make it a boozy milkshake, by adding the alcohol of your choice. With “adult” chocolate or vanilla shakes, Relish Burger Bistro adds a twist to their classic milkshakes. Once you have one, you’ll wish you had room for another.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide

Upward Projects

Best Drive-Thru

Federal Pizza

Federal Pizza is located in a restored First Federal Bank from the 1950s filled with midcentury modern furniture. The wood-fired pizza is also available for takeout, so order ahead and drive right up to the bank’s old drive-thru window to pick up your order, but don’t forget your growler of beer. Federal Pizza has an extensive and thirst-quenching selection of beers you can take home in a 64-oz growler. Once you buy your growler, head back for refills anytime at a discounted price.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Phoenix Guide