Where to Eat in Phoenix Right Now
From must-try luxe caviar spots to new classic food trucks, these are the restaurants you should be hitting for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Just like the sunshine, the food scene in Phoenix is abundant. Also like the sunshine, it’s hot, hot, hot. The Valley is home to a diverse lineup of creative up-and-coming chefs and resourceful restaurateurs who are boundlessly pushing the envelope, and really, reinventing Arizona’s culinary landscape from Downtown to Arcadia. We’ve watched them pivot over the course of a pandemic. They’ve come up with inventive new ways to run restaurants. We love ‘em for their all-out authenticity. And of course, their just plain amazing food—from classic Italian to innovative Mexican to impeccable brunch. Here are the Phoenix restaurants that get five stars in our book.
The gist: The sister restaurant of Melrose’s Restaurant Progress, Sottise enchants from the moment you walk through the door with its warm atmosphere, shareable French-inspired fare, excellent aperitifs, and vibey playlist that sets the tone from happy hour to after-hours. The century-old bungalow that houses Sottise stands out against the growing backdrop of highrises and apartment complexes that pack the Downtown Phoenix landscape, providing an intimate, slowed down dining experience for hungry bon viveurs.
The food: Refined, unpretentious cuisine that draws inspiration from Paris and the French countryside, with a nod to the classics—think warm baguettes decorated with cultured butter and fig jam and savory veal broth onion soup. Standouts include the baked camembert with calvados honey and hazelnut vinaigrette, salmon rillette, braised pork shank, and the croque harmonized with country bread, French ham, gruyere, and egg.
The gist: A new ramen concept by the restaurant pros who blessed us with Clever Koi, Across the Pond, and Fellow Osteria. The Scottsdale Skysong newbie takes a fast-casual approach with counter-service, build-your-own ramen bowls, and a shortlist of sides all served in convenient takeout packaging. Hanging out? Slurp your noodles in Clever’s art-peppered dining room or bring your bao out to the shaded open-air patio.
The food: Choose from traditional, vegan, or gluten-free ramen options and stock your customizable bowl with your choice of full-flavored broth, hot proteins including braised pork belly, chicken, or grilled tofu, and don’t forget the veggies and housemade kimchi. Sides including a full selection of steamed bao buns that run the gamut from pork belly and hot chicken to kimchi cauliflower are on standby. And the kimchi cheese fries and Krazy Fries, decked out with black pepper garlic aioli and pork belly, are a savory indulgence, respectively.
Wren & Wolf
The gist: A fashionable, ultra-luxe hangout oozing with opulence, Wren & Wolf gives restaurant-goers the royal treatment, with caviar served in fabergé eggs, gooey raclette, bread service that involves a literal tower of carbs, and delectable, inventive cocktails. The dining room features drapey greenery, ambient lighting, and whimsical decor ranging from large scale murals painted by local artists to taxidermied animals of the night including coyote, fox, and wolf. It’s truly a visual and sensory experience. A day-to-night experience, the wolf in Wren and & Wolf symbolizes night, and the wren, daytime.
The food: Open for espresso in the morning and martinis at night, Wren & Wolf offers an expansive menu brimming with over-the-top indulgences, many of which are made from locally sourced ingredients—Crow’s Dairy, Chula Seafood, Sonoran Pasta. Steakhouse classics like cast-iron-cooked filets, dry-aged meatloaf and more out there offerings like wild boar ragù and bone-in schnitzel are just a few of the hearty, elevated dishes you can sink your teeth into at Wren & Wolf.
Oak on Camelback
The gist: Oak is a cozy neighborhood restaurant with classic charm conveniently positioned along Uptown’s Camelback corridor (formerly St. Francis). Oak on Camelback offers not one, but two levels of gathering space, from its brick-clad dining room to its upstairs hideaway. And, it is made whole with an open-air bar and a lush gardenesque patio garnished with string lights sets the stage for weekend brunch.
The food: New American cuisine rules, with enticing sandwiches like the braised short rib dip with housemade jus, mains like buttermilk fried chicken and pork osso bucco, wood-fired pizzas, and spectacle of healthful seasonal salads. Brunch favorites from breakfast bowls to burgers come handy when weekend hunger knocks. And a selection of house cocktails hit just right when happy hour rolls around.
The gist: The Valley certainly has its fair share of taquerias. But like tacos, there’s always room for more; we’re looking at you, Taco Boys.
The food: Much of what’s available on the Taco Boys’ compact menu has been kissed by their piping-hot charcoal grill. Expect authentic Mexican fare like tripa, cabeza, and barbacoa, to name a few, at the newest outpost of Taco Boy’s in Tempe—just like the Downtown Phoenix original. And whatever you do, don’t skip the vampiros.
Via Della Slice Shop
The gist: The latest pizza joint to swing open its doors in Downtown Phoenix, Via Della Slice Shop satisfies with its lineup of uncomplicated pies.
The food: Expect crispy pepperoni, gooey cheese, and bubbly crusts at this Downtown Phoenix pizza shop. Available by the slice or whole pie, Via Della’s creations range from classic options to more adventurous takes on Italian staples that include a white pie with a sesame seed crust, a pie smothered with vodka sauce, and a deep dish square pie with crispy-crunchy edges.
The gist: Wood-fired Italian-fusion cuisine that’s steadily gaining popularity with its newly opened second location in the heart of downtown Phoenix.
The food: The downtown Phoenix location offers a seafood-heavy menu consisting of inventive tapas, bowls, seafood dishes, and sandwiches that changes daily. And did we mention—every dish is cooked to perfection in a wood oven? You’ll never get bored with this constantly evolving restaurant so it’s the perfect go-to when you’re craving something different.
The gist: A roving food truck that regularly pops-up wherever something cool is happening, Chilte dishes out an ever-changing menu of palate-pleasers that tickle the taste buds. Hungry for more? Chilte’s opening a brick-and-mortar spot this spring within the restored retro Egyptian Motor Hotel on Grand Avenue.
The food: New school mexican street food like eggy chilaquiles, drippy beef and cheese quesabirria, smokey, sauce-drenched chili relleno, and a carousel of handheld noshable tacos of the duck, barbacoa, and carnitas variety comprise Chilte’s creative, rotating menu. Sure, proteins rule, but vegan options are readily available for the plant-based crowd, too.
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 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 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.
Testal Mexican Kitchen
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.
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.
Belly Kitchen and Bar
The gist: This 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 specialties including a crispy white fish dish that keeps us coming back for more.
Chantico Mexican Restaurant
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 gist: Stoop Kid keeps it simple with coffee, bagels, and burgers served directly 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 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 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 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.