Can the NYC Steakhouse Survive?
North Scottsdale and Arcadia
North Italia serves up its Italian goodness across six states, but we feel an extreme amount of pride about the fact that this Fox Restaurant Concept has its roots here in Arizona. The cocktails are handcrafted, the dishes are handmade, and every detail of the menu has been carefully chosen to evoke the authentic flavors of Italy. The bruschetta, salads, and pizzas are all amazing, but we love the freshly prepared pastas. The Squid Ink Mafaldine is a seafood lover’s dream, created with white shrimp, calamari, and acqua pazza, then seasoned with mint and fennel pollen. North Italia also has a great brunch menu that includes an unforgettable bacon & egg pizza.
There are few places in Phoenix more celebrated and more authentically Italian than Tomaso’s. For nearly 40 years, chef Tomaso Maggiore has been perfecting his menu based on his Italian heritage, culinary training, and frequent trips to Italy. You’re guaranteed a delicious experience from first course to cannoli -- from the extensive wine list and the impressive variety of appetizers and salads, to the mains and desserts. Order the Piemontese Filet Mignon Ravioli, and let these handmade raviolis with mushrooms, black truffle, mascarpone, and veal sauce be the entree envy of everyone at your table.
Crudo, which means raw in Italian, brings a unique and modern approach to Italian food, with a menu separated into cheese dishes and those that are served raw, cooked, or grilled. The raw menu boasts unexpected dishes like octopus and ahi, as well as more traditional grilled dishes like pork belly, which is flavored with smoked tomato agrodolce and polenta. Crudo is also known for its cocktails, which are often crafted with house-made syrups and farm-fresh ingredients, conceptualized by an award-winning mixologist and certified sommelier.
While Defalco's isn't set up like a traditional restaurant, don’t let the racks of products, mismatched chairs, and deli-style ordering system stop you from hanging out for a while. The family-owned deli and grocery has every type of Italian food you might be craving -- from a chicken Parmesan sandwich to pizza or a calzone. The assortment of authentic Italian desserts, like the tiramisu and the lemoncello cake, is unbeatable.
Cibo’s bungalow-style exterior and warm, cozy interior make it the kind of restaurant where you immediately feel like home -- which we especially appreciate when we want to chow down on some Italian comfort food. While Cibo does offer a great selection of classic Italian appetizers like burrata and bruschetta, as well as some salads, pizza is really the way to go here. The menu is broken down by white pizzas and those with tomato sauce, and there’s plenty to choose from. Some of our favorites are the Calzone pizza, which is topped with tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, prosciutto, and salami, or the Pomodoro Fresco, a simple pizza topped with tomatoes and basil.
Solo Trattoria is the go-to Italian spot when you want to enjoy a comfortable patio and dining experience that’s as amazing as the food. While Solo Trattoria offers a well-rounded and traditional Italian menu, there are many seasonal items that help to ensure that each dish is fresh and delicious (and that you won’t order the same dish too many times). It’s hard to go wrong with any of the entrees, but we like the classic rigatoni.
Established in 1974, Avanti is one of Arizona’s oldest Italian restaurants and has kept its unique charm throughout the years. The all-black-and-white décor, zebra-print accents, and checkered tiles are just as memorable as the food. One of our favorite dishes is the baked lasagna, which you can order with eggplant or a classic Bolognese meat sauce.
Arcadia, Central Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, North Scottsdale, Old Town Scottsdale
Postino first opened its doors in Arcadia back in 2001, and has since become a go-to spot for locally grown fare and wine. The six locations each have their own charm and are set in repurposed, historic buildings. While it’s easy to be distracted by the impressive bruschetta menu, try the unconventional Italian dishes Postino offers, including the meaty Autostrada panini, which features sopressata, ham, capicola, mortadella, provolone, arugula, and tomatoes pressed between two delicious pieces of bread.
Chris Bianco, the mastermind behind perennial favorite Pizzeria Bianco, has another amazing, but often overshadowed, restaurant. Pane Bianco opened more than a decade ago, primarily as a sandwich shop for lunch, but it also offers delicious Italian food. Our favorite sandwich is the Housemade Mozzarella, which features a simple combination of cheese, roasted peppers, basil, and olive oil -- but you can also look forward to a great assortment of salads, pizzas, and even a lasagna.
1. North Italia4925 N 40th Street, Phoenix
2. Tomaso's3225 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix
3. Crudo3603 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix
4. Defalco’s Italian Eatery2334 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale
5. CIBO Urban Pizzeria603 N 5th Ave, Phoenix
6. Solo Trattoria2501 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix
7. Avanti2728 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix
8. Postino3939 E Campbell Ave, Phoenix
9. Pane Bianco4404 N Central Ave, Phoenix
It's all about detail at this chic trattoria in Scottsdale, where the cocktails are handcrafted, the dishes are homemade, and the rustic wooden tables are aglow with tiny tea lights. North's menu brings you authentic Italian flavors in the form of plates like braised meatballs, burrata tortelloni, and a handful of scrumptious pizzas. A favorite among the pasta dishes is the squid ink mafaldine, served with white shrimp, calamari, and acqua pazza, and seasoned with mint and fennel pollen. Stop in for brunch and you'll be treated to a savory bacon and egg pizza.
Tomaso's has become a landmark restaurant over the past few decades thanks to Chef Tomaso Maggiore, whose upscale Italian dishes are some of the best and most authentic in Phoenix. From first course to cannoli, you'll be consistently impressed as each plate is presented at your white-clothed table in this spacious dining room. A tip: order the Piemontese Filet Mignon Ravioli, a rich, delicate meal with handmade raviolis, mushrooms, black truffle, mascarpone, and veal sauce.
There’s no doubt that Crudo, located off 36th St and Indian School Road, is a favorite in town for both food and cocktails. And when it’s time to brunch, Crudo is at the top of the list. Potato croquettes with poached eggs, brisket and beet hash, pork belly poutine, and sweet/savory brunch jars are all just a taste of what Chef Cullen Campbell’s menu has to offer.
This Scottsdale establishment wears many hats, serving as a deli, boutique Italian grocery store, and dine-in or take-out Italian restaurant, and it does them all well. Stop in for lunch and enjoy a calzone bigger than the size of your dog, or sample anything from its expansive menu.
Having been in the neighborhood for over a decade, Cibo is an undeniable Downtown Phoenix favorite, with every kind of gourmet Neapolitan pizza you could ever want. It's housed in a charming 1900s bungalow in the heart of the city, and serves one of the best Pomodoro Fresco pies around (mozzarella, grape tomatoes, and basil), amongst an extensive list of other thin crust, wood-fired red and white pizzas prepared in classic Italian fashion.
From the comfortable patio to the comfortable dishes, Solo Trattoria is the kind of Italian restaurant that's good for the soul. It gets plenty of foot traffic from movie-goers looking for a bite to eat (it's located below the AMC at the Esplanade) and quickly turns them into regulars with its homemade pasta dishes, such as the classic rigatoni with a simple tomato sauce and mozzarella, and pizzas like the Coppa, topped with house-made pepperoni, tomato, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano, and chili flake.
One of the oldest Italian restaurants in Arizona, Avanti has maintained its retro, '70s style over the years, much to its fans' delight -- not to mention its classic, comforting pasta dishes. Lively and nostalgic, the dining room is outfitted with black-and-white checkered tile, zebra print accents, and red walls, making it just as memorable as the traditional Italian food. You'll want to try the baked lasagna, which you can order with eggplant or a classic Bolognese meat sauce.
Bright, industrial-chic wine bar Postino in Arcadia is beloved for its magical combination of scrumptious bruschetta and exceptional wine. The masterminds at Upward Projects have wooed Phoenix with a handful of staples (Joyride, Federal Pizza, Churn), but if we're being honest, Postino is our favorite -- not just for the wine cafe’s hip, laid-back feel, but also for its excellent service, solid lineup of primarily European and Californian wines, and its dozen (!) varieties of bruschetta (the burrata/bacon/arugula/tomato option is always a smart decision).
It shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the best pizza-makers in the country -- James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Bianco -- also makes stand-out sandwiches with crispy, olive-oil-glistened focaccia, house-made mozzarella, and salty soppressata. Pane Bianco's sandwiches are only served during lunch; at dinner, they give way to red-sauce Italian entrées like lasagne, eggplant parmesan, and most importantly, Bianco's famed wood-fired pizzas.