Best Restaurants in Phoenix, Best Restaurants in Scottsdale, AZ
If you’re like me, you want to eat healthy most of the time, but aren’t afraid to splurge every once in awhile–especially at restaurants. You’ll find a nice balance of both in my “Best of Phoenix” list. This is a work in progress, so be sure to check back regularly for updates. Don’t know me? Learn about my culinary street cred. The mealtimes included (breakfast, lunch, dinner) are not necessarily all-inclusive, but rather the times of day that I dined at each establishment.
Best Restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale Area (according to moi)
The Mission (dinner)
Summary: Authentic Mexican food What I order: Spinach date salad, pork shoulder tacos, white bean puree, street corn, mahimahi tacos, great margaritas made with fresh-squeezed juice Highlights: Loud and lively indoor seating, patio seating in the front, check out the illuminated orange “brick wall – it is made of salt blocks! Added: 5/14
FnB (lunch, dinner)
Local foods and wine, nice dinner. The menu changes daily. The chef owner eats mostly plant-based so you’ll find some really creative vegetable dishes. She also plays deeply into cured meats and other deliciousness. Disclosure: I am professionally acquainted with the chef.
J & G Steakhouse at The Phoenician (dinner): What I order: Their steaks and seafood are top notch. Service is refined. Highlights: You can’t beat the view in Phoenix or Scottsdale. This is a high-end, more refined steakhouse with French influences. A variety of sauces to accompany your steak. Romantic Notes: Bar, indoor dining, patio Added: 11/16
City Hall (dinner): What I order: Their steaks and seafood are top notch. Like any high-end steakhouse, I typically order the seafood tower, wedge salad, bone-in filet and butter cake. I share it all with my husband. With some wine, it’ll run you about $225 with tip. Highlights: In addition to great food, this place is all about people watching. There is live music in the bar. Added: 12/16
R n R (breakfast, lunch, brunch): What I order: The bloody Mary is killer (I ordered the virgin since I was driving), Hangover Fries (minus the bacon, since I already ate the nice big bacon strip in the bloody Mary. Highlights: Fun, loud (maybe too loud-does that sound old? yes) music, you’ll want to dance in your seat amongst the 20-30-somethings Notes: Bar, indoor dining, patio; two levels; sit upstairs for less deafening music, wear sunglasses and look cool; be prepared to wait a long time on Sundays; not for the timid. Added: 8/27/12
Sushi Roku (dinner, in the W Scottsdale hotel)
Mabel’s on Main (late night fun): Speakeasy-type lounge. Private room available. Tasty appetizers.
North Scottsdale Restaurants:
True Food (lunch, dinner)
What I order: Sea bass, bison burger with half kale salad, half sweet potato hash; kid’s pizza; sangria; vegetable crudite for a large group, hummus Highlights: I love this place and visit regularly. By Fox Restaurant Concepts (always a winner) and Dr. Andrew Weil, comfy patio dining, herb garden, caters to many dietary preferences including gluten free, endless healthy options, very friendly service Notes: Bar and dining room, located in Scottsdale Quarter and Biltmore Fashion Park Added: 8/21/12
Barrio Cafe (dinner)
Incredibly authentic Mexican cuisine. Live music. Sit at the bar and eat guacamole with pomegranate seeds while you wait. No shredded lettuce and tomato garnishes here. Disclosure: I am friends with one of it’s investors.
Stingray Sushi (dinner)
What I order: Edamame, salmon sashimi, yellowtail sashimi, signature rolls Highlights: Amazingly fresh sashimi, some unique offerings Notes: Bar, dining room, patio; located in Biltmore Fashion Park; service quality is hit or miss at the Scottsdale Quarter Added: 8/21/12
Midtown Phoenix Restaurants:
Bink’s Midtown (dinner)
What I order: I was there for a private event so I didn’t see the menu and they brought us plate upon plate of deliciousness. Amazing standouts: pork belly (the largest cross-section I have ever seen) with kale and apricots, Bolognese sauce over garlic bread pudding (now this is how I always would like to enjoy this sauce), spaghetti squash with raisins, roasted cauliflower with curry sauce, cashews and currants, duck breast. Highlights: By the same chef and owner of the acclaimed Binkley’s Restaurant Notes: Bar, dining room, private room; Disclosure: I am professionally acquainted with the co-owner. Added: 5/19/13
Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend (dinner)
What I order: “Bacon and Eggs” (think Croque Madame, but with sturgeon bacon and chive creme fraiche), Sweet Corn Hush Puppies, Blue Crab Salad, Grilled Loup de Mer with Sunchokes (cooked to perfection), Donuts Highlights: Another Fox Restaurant concept gone right Notes: They do not take reservations, be prepared to wait 45 minutes or more for a table, counter service is available, you can go next door to Culinary Dropout or The Yard for a drink while waiting, great waiter service Added: 8/24/13
Amazing raw fish and sushi dishes. Added: 7/15/15
Cave Creek, AZ Restaurants:
Overview: Modern French-American influences, molecular gastronomy, fine dining in an enjoyably relaxed atmosphere What I order: I’m writing this post a year after I dined here. Since I know the co-owner, we experienced many (as in, like, 20) courses. It was all mind-blowing. Just go. That is all I can say. Highlights: Fine dining, James Beard-nominated Best Chef of the Southwest, this food will really surprise, you can’t get food like this anywhere else in the valley Notes: Give yourself a couple of hours to enjoy this experience. You won’t want to rush. Added: 5/14
Gilbert, AZ Restaurants:
Joe’s Farm Grill (breakfast and lunch)
I love their burger with the egg on top, hand-spun milkshakes, and vegetable and pesto egg scramble. Guy Fieri featured this restaurant on his Food Network show. Sit outside under one of the gigantic trees and watch the kiddies run around.
Citywide, multiple locations:
Paradise Bakery & Cafe (casual breakfast and lunch)
What I order: Half sandwich (Chicken Walnut, Tuna, Tomato Mozzarella) with soup (Roasted Tomato) or salad (Blueberry Cranberry, Caesar); unsweetened passionfruit tea; cookies Highlights: Homemade and fresh, kid-friendly; free cookie with your entree Notes: Counter service, very casual Added: 8/21/12
Pita Jungle (lunch and dinner)
What I order: Lentil Fatoush Salad, Gyro, Trio Hummus, Bavlava Highlights: So fresh and so good! Notes: Table service, casual, I enjoy takeout from here monthly Added: 5/14
Best Restaurants in San Diego (my favorites)
What I order: salmon and hamachi sashimi, miso black cod
Highlights: really fresh seafood, trendy and fun atmosphere, unpretentious service staff, they were even kid-friendly
What I order: miso black cod, you can’t really go wrong with your menu selections here
Highlights: really fresh seafood, trendy and semi-casual atmosphere, unpretentious service staff