Where to Eat in Phoenix Right Now
Incredible tacos await.
Phoenix is on fire. And we’re not talking about the thermometer-busting temps. Enter the Phoenix food scene where pop-ups, outdoor dining, newcomers, and innovation rule. While the past year undoubtedly posed its challenges, our restaurants and the chefs, servers, bussers, kitchen workers, hosts, and delivery drivers who make it all happen are vigorously rallying. And now it’s our turn to rally alongside ‘em. Phoenix, eat your heart out. And tip very, very well.
The gist: A roving food stand that frequently pops-up where something cool is happening, Chilte Tacos provides palate-pleasers that tickle the taste buds that aren’t just limited to their namesake.
The food: Mexican street food like drippy quesa birria made with tender beef and Oaxaca cheese tucked inside hand-pressed squid ink tortillas, smokey red sauce drenched chili relleno, and a rotating menu of handheld noshable tacos of the duck, barbacoa, and chicken carnitas variety comprise Chilte’s creative and ever-changing menu. Proteins rule, but vegan options are readily available for those who are so inclined.
The cost: Mains range from $10 - $13. Specials are $15. Specialty drinks are $6 - $8.
How to order: Find out where Chilte Tacos will be next, right here.
The gist: Esteemed local pastry chef, desert queen Tammie Coe’s venture into the world of craft pizza; conveniently located in Downtown Phoenix’s buzziest arts district.
The food: An east-meets-west style of ‘za is what’s on the menu; think veg-forward eggplant-adorned pies, inventive, regional-inspired takes that include toppings like roasted corn and cotija cheese, and piping-hot classic pepperoni stunners.
The cost: Slices range from $3.50-$5. Whole pies are $12 - $18. Other noshes including sandwiches and sides like cheesy garlic sticks are between $6 - $7.99. Grab-and-go desserts are also available.
How to order: Open for dine-in. Start your order online with Slice.
The gist: A hip, and also historic, corner spot with expansive picture windows, lots of character, pink walls, and a warm welcoming vibe. Bacanora, the brainchild of a trio of hospitality pros, spotlights flavors of Mexico’s Sonoran region in every dish.
The food: Built on a foundation inspired by Nogales, housemade salsas, organic flour tortillas, peppers, and flame-kissed proteins come together to make burritos that require two hands to hold, tasty pollo asado and potatoes, and refreshing spoonable aqua chile.
The cost: The concise menu includes entrees that span from $12 - $28.50. Apps and sides range from $5 - $12.
How to order: Open for dine-in. Call the restaurant directly with your to-go orders at 602-612-4018.
The gist: Go-to for coffee, cocktails, natural wine, and wood-fired fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
The food: Uncomplicated, desert-inspired dishes like steak and eggs (served with a side of beans and tortillas, naturally), refreshing crudos, and chocolate-covered desserty things round out the menu at Modern Manor’s newest denizen, Valentine.
The cost: Burgers and sandwiches range from $10 - $16. Bar snacks range from $5 - $9. Entrees are between $18 - $28. Natural wines, by the glass or bottle, start at $11. Specialty cocktails are between $6 - $13.
How to order: Open for dine-in.
The gist: A destination for Northern Mexico cuisines, Testal recently swung open their doors in Downtown Phoenix’s ever-growing Grand Avenue neighborhood.
The food: A lineup of hearty burritos and crushable gorditas rule the menu here. For our vegan friends there’s plenty of vegan-friendly options but certainly no shortage of protein-heavy picks, including gorditas and burritos stuffed with shredded beef, saucy pork, and even crispy chicharrones.
The cost: Burritos and gorditas are $3.25 - $5, agua frescas are $3.50, and tortillas by the dozen are $5.50.
How to order: Open for dine-in and online orders.
Baja Fish Tacos & More
The gist: An unmissable bright orange food truck that’s open late, serving plates of dippable quesabirria and cravings-inducing tacos, burros, and quesadillas from the courtyard of Downtown’s Pemberton PHX and other locations across town.
The food: Can’t miss birria, asada, shrimp, and fish tacos and a selection of burros, cheesy dillas, and specials make up this taco truck’s menu.
The cost: Tacos range from $2.85 - $4 each. Burros are between $8.25 - $12.85. Quesadillas range from $5 - $12.85. Baja fries are $8.75. And a plate of birra is $8.75.
How to order: Order by phone by calling 602-803-8292 or show up to Pemberton PHX and devour your tacos outside.
The gist: Naples-style pizza dished-out al fresco at the buzzy Pemberton PHX’s back patio.
The food: A changing selection of hand-tossed fire-kissed pies that run the gamut from meaty sausage options to veg-friendly zucchini pies, plus a shortlist of snacky things.
The cost: Full pies range from $14 - $16, shareables including roasted olives and fresh ricotta cheese are $6 - $10.
How to order: Roll up to The Pemberton PHX and snag and outdoor table at Dino’s.
Belly Kitchen and Bar
The gist: This newly opened Southeast Asian-inspired eatery from the folks at Instrumental Hospitality is keeping our bellies full with contemporary takes on classics like scratch-made spring rolls and slurpable claypot dishes.
The food: Equal parts funky and fresh, Belly churns out a lineup of handmade Asian eats that run the gamut from housemade cha lau pork fried rice, pan mi handheld sammies of the jackfruit and pork varieties, a parade of scratch-made rolls, and specialities including a crispy white fish dish that keeps us coming back for more.
The cost: Spring Rolls are $7, claypots range between $16.25 - $18.25, specialities are between $15 - $20, and sides range from $3.75 - $7.50.
How to order: Order your takeout direct; get your eats delivered via Grubhub.
The gist: This full-service restaurant and bar takes an organic approach to Mexican cuisine and offers a patio dining experience best enjoyed with a cocktail in your hand.
The food: Chantico sources many of its ingredients from local farms and purveyors and brings a taste of Mexico to its menu with chilies and heirloom corn varieties direct from Mexico. Stars of the show include a roasted lamb neck dish and the hefty prime Sonoran ribeye with chipotle mashed potatoes. But the tacos, flautas, and Yucatan-style tamales ain’t too shabby either.
The cost: Appetitizes are $11 - $15, salads range between $12 - $14, large plates are $18 - $45, tacos are $3.50 - $4.50 each, enchiladas, quesadillas, tamales, and chimichangas range between $12 - $17, and desserts start at $9.
How to order: Make your reservation here or place your order online.
The gist: The Churchill’s newest tenant keeps it simple with coffee, bagels, and burgers served direct to you from a super-convenient service window. Sure, you can get your bagel to go, but there’s no shortage of outdoor seating so you can make like cream cheese and spread out.
The food: Bagelfield’s keeps Stoop Kid stocked with their carby, hand-rolled Brooklyn-style bagels. But you gotta be quick—these babies sell out, and quick. If you miss the bagels you can get your fill of classic burgers, fried plantains, and handheld hash browns.
The cost: Bagels are between $4 - $9.50, burgers range from $6.50 - $9.50, and your snacky stuff is $3 - $4.
How to order: Swing by or order online.
The gist: Downtown Phoenix’s newest Japanese joint has a robust selection of slurpable ramens, curries, and bento boxes that can be enjoyed at Ramen Kagawa’s open-air patio or at home on the couch.
The food: An approachable selection of authentic Japanese-style ramens and curries are yours to explore. Get acquainted with Ramen Kagawa and order a little bit of everything. It will make your tastebuds very, very happy.
The cost: Ramen is $11.50 - 15.50, curries are $9.50 - $12.50, bento is $14, sides range from $5-$6.50, and the green tea cheesecake is $3.
How to order: Ramen Kagawa is open with limited dine-in options. Start your takeout order here.
The gist: This immersive, speakeasy-style dining experience takes up residence above Citizen Public House. With its upscale fare and location, Benjamin’s Upstairs literally offers elevated dining experience, in every sense of the expression.
The food: Southern comforts like fried chicken and cornbread waffles get a fancy, and boozy, makeover here. And tasty delicacies like yellowfin tuna sashimi, fresh raw oysters, shrimp cocktails, and beef tartare complement the natural wine list effortlessly.
The cost: Sharable chef’s plates range from $12 - $26. Cocktails start at $13, wine, by the bottle or glass, starts at $12.
How to order: Reserve your table here.
The gist: Fancy French-meets-Mediterranean cuisines are served-up in even fancier digs at Francine, the newest restaurant to pop-up at Scottsdale Fashion Square’s uber-posh luxury wing. The contemporary restaurant has an airy-vibe, expansive bar, and plenty of indoor/outdoor seating.
The food: The menu here will take you from brunch to dinner, and features an array of fare inspired by the south of France including hor d'oeuvres like grilled octopus and roasted bone marrow and other treats like branzino, diver scallops, striped bass, steak tartare and beef carpaccio, rack of lamb, and duck a la provencale. And a stellar bread service, naturally.
The cost: Hor d’oeuvres range from $18 - $25, salads are $16 - $22, pasta dishes are $24 - $34, mains range from $18 - $48 per plate, and desserts like the chocolate pot de creme and olive oil cake are $12.
How to order: Make your reservation here.
The gist: Using sushi, sashimi, and a series of small plates and entrees as vessels, Kaizen effortlessly brings the flavors of Japan, Mexico, Central, and South America together.
The food: Take your tastebuds on a ride with an order of shisitos to start, a big bowl of yakisoba noodles, and some house rolls. Or leave it up to the sushi pros by ordering omakase; you’re in good hands.
The cost: Small plates are $4 - $12, bowls and salads are $10 - $15, signature plates are $14 - $26, signature rolls are $6.50 - $14, house rolls are $14 - $19, sushi assortments are $20 - $43, and cocktails start at $10.
How to order: Open in for dine-in, delivery, and takeout; place your order online.
The gist: Plant-based food that will leave you craving more? Say less. A farmers market favorite, husband and wife duo Maria and Kevin’s Pachamama has expanded to brick-and-mortar digs.
The food: The 100% plant-based menu features tacos de papa, crispy tacos filled with a chile garlic mash, the mexiyaki, a tribute to the savory okonomiyaki with a latin twist, and the ever-popular ceviche de mi corazon comprised of hearts of palm and fragrant citrus.
The cost: Tacos are $9 - $13, burritos are $10 - $11, and sides are $5 - $11. Check their social media for specials.
How to order: Dine-in or start your order online.
The gist: Vecina’s elevated cuisine and warm hospitality nabbed the Arcadia-based eatery a Beard nomination for best new restaurant, which is quite the achievement.
The food: Mesquite-fired elote, while seemingly simple at first look, will surprise and delight every single one of your tastebuds and serves as a tasty precursor for what’s next along your gastronomical journey.
The cost: Starters range between $8 - $16, entrees are $14 - $32, and desserts are $10 - $12.
How to order: Reserve your seats here or order takeout.
The gist: Ranked at the top of every gourmand’s “must visit” list, Cat Bunnag’s Glai Baan is a paradise for Thai food.
The food: Thai street food is the name of the game. Feast on steamed dumplings, curries, and classic noodle dishes loaded with umami flavors.
The cost: Small plates are $8 - $14, noodles from $13 - $14, classic dishes $13 - $18, specials are $5 - $26. Desserts are $5 - $7.
How to order: Currently open for dine-in and takeout. Call 602-595-5881 to order. Ask about the housemade cocktails Glai Baan so craftily conjures up.
Lauren Topor Reichert is a Phoenix-based multimedia storyteller, photographer, and content creator. Her work has been featured in travel guides, national publications, and the social feeds of some stellar local restaurants. Follow her around Arizona, and beyond, on Instagram @hungryinphoenix.