Acquired Taste: Blood Rice Cakes With Timothy DeLaGhetto and Justina Valentine
Best Italian: Crudo
While there’s no shortage of places to get your run-of-the-mill Italian food, Crudo is our top pick because its “modern Italian” is amazingly delicious. Think fresh mozzarella with bacon relish, brisket, or egg yolk raviolo -- paired with an exceptional wine, of course.
Best French: House of Tricks
If you ask most Valley dwellers what they think of when they hear “French food in Phoenix,” they’ll say House of Tricks -- a Downtown Tempe staple since the late 1980s. If you want the best French food in the state, this is the place to get it and fortunately you’ll get the cozy garden atmosphere to match.
Best Mexican: Barrio Cafe
Mexican food in Phoenix and Chef Silvana are practically synonymous -- her twist on authentic Mexican cuisine has made her well known throughout the country, and earned her multiple awards. Her original concept, Barrio Cafe, opened in 2002 and has earned acclaim ever since.
Best Thai: The Wild Thaiger
For fresh, mouthwatering Thai food and a great atmosphere look no further than The Wild Thaiger (plus the creativity points for the name are through the roof). You can also look forward to the largest selection of wines at any Thai restaurant in the Valley, and who isn’t interested in that?
Best Indian: The Dhaba
Authentic Indian food is hard to come by in the Phoenix metro area, so when you find it at a place like The Dhaba, take full advantage. We can’t pronounce half the entrees but even if you just order the first thing you can point out to your server, you’ll find yourself with an unforgettable, flavorful dish.
Best Chinese: Great Wall Cuisine
If you love long-standing family-owned businesses as much as we do, you’ll be in Chinese food heaven at Great Wall Cuisine, which has been serving up authentic cuisine for 23 years. This hidden gem leaves nothing to be desired, offering up fresh, high-quality food that will have you dreaming about your next visit the moment you leave.
Best Japanese: Nobuo at Teeter House
This place is no joke, it’s pulled in plenty of awards for its delicious Japanese food, thanks to James Beard Award-winning chef and Tokyo native, Nobuo Fukuda. The seasonal menu is inventive and unique, while still managing to be authentic.
Best American: Grassroots Kitchen and Tap
It can be hard to put your finger on exactly what “American food” is, but take a look at Grassroots Kitchen and Tap’s menu and you’ll definitely find it. The family-owned concept serves up the kind of Southern comfort food you already know and love -- but better.
Best Greek: Bellagio Pizzeria
Don’t let the “Pizzeria” part of the name throw you off -- this place may offer old Italian favorites (which is never a bad thing in our opinion) but it will definitely be your new go-to for Greek food. Get ready for all kinds of pitas, hummus galore, Mediterranean platters, and falafel.
Best Korean: OHYA Sushi, Korean Kitchen & Bar
For the best Korean food in town AND plenty of options, ranging from fresh, top-quality sushi favorites to Korean BBQ, head over to OHYA Sushi, Korean Kitchen & Bar, where it’s pretty much impossible to leave hungry. To make the experience even more authentic, be sure to sample the variety of Korean wines and sakes.
Best steakhouse: Pink Pony
The newly remodeled and reopened Pink Pony is as modern as it is tasty -- we guarantee you’ll find yourself enjoying the atmosphere and interior almost as much as the food. Everything is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients -- making it a completely new kind of steakhouse.
Best vegetarian: Green New American Vegetarian
While many Phoenix restaurants have come a long way in offering more vegetarian options, it’s still rare to find an entirely vegetarian, much less vegan restaurant. Green New American Vegetarian is it. There are plant-based “chicken” sandwiches and a BBQ “bacon burger” even meat eaters will love.
Best burger joint: Rehab Burger Therapy
When it comes to burgers, we’re big proponents of options, lots of options. At Rehab Burger Therapy there are nearly 20 different burgers to choose from, and there’s nothing typical about these burgers, which include a PBJ & bacon burger and a ghost burger. If those options aren’t enough for you, there’s always the B.Y.O.B -- or build-your-own-burger, which offers pretty much endless options.
Best diner: Welcome Diner
The Welcome Diner, housed in a 1940s diner originally built in Kansas, is about as classic as it gets. Since then, it’s been given a makeover, and a patio, but stays true to the diner feel we love. The menu is classic too, but features a Southern twist -- offering an entire section devoted to different varieties of biscuits.