Restaurants in Phoenix

If you’ve ever been to Phoenix, at any time during the year, you quickly come to understand why it’s named after a bird on fire. But the sun is not the only thing that’s hot there. The food scene is just as on fire, with fine dining and local eats that will blow your mind. Check out some of the best restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona:

Best Downtown Phoenix Restaurants


The Arrogant Butcher

More than an upscale pub, this stylish eatery focuses on both turf and surf, turning out hearty chops as well as carefully crafted seafood dishes.


Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

What was once the Arizona Prohibition Headquarters now houses this plush cocktail bar that serves reimagined bar food late into the night.


Matt’s Big Breakfast

To craft its menu of all-day breakfast items and lunch specialties, the kitchen procures products from a number of local vendors. This means that, while there’s nothing surprising on the menu, the food is all surprisingly good—made from scratch every single day.

Five Steak Cuts to Know

To help you choose a chop when you’re perusing a steakhouse menu, it’s best to know your cuts. Simply put, it depends on how you want it cooked: fatty steaks can withstand more time on the grill; lean cuts are best served rare. The fattiness is signaled by a cut’s marbling—that’s the term for the ribbons of fat that wind through the meat. Here are the more popular cuts you’ll find at just about any steakhouse.


Rib Eye

The rib eye carries the richest marbling of almost any cut, as it’s taken from along the cow’s spine. Order it cooked to medium at the very least.


Strip Steak

You might find this cut by its other names, kansas city steak or new york strip. It texture is tight and well balanced, with thin ribbons of fat throughout, making it delicious when cooked medium rare or medium well.


Filet Mignon

Also known as tenderloin, it’s supple and contains very little marbling—so it should definitely be ordered rare to medium-rare.



The T-shaped bone actually separates two different types of cuts: a strip and a tenderloin. This presents a unique challenge to the chef, as each cut is better suited to different temperatures. Medium-rare often strikes a good balance.



Similar in appearance to the T-Bone, it’s actually larger and cut from the back end of the loin, as opposed to the middle. Because it’s so big, it’s often part of a “steak for two” meal—and is best served medium-rare.

Best Mexican Restaurants in Phoenix


Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva

With an open kitchen and gorgeous views of downtown Phoenix, there’s likely no bad seat in this house. Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza crafts modern Mexican cuisine, with bright green moles and hearty chicharron, paired with delightful mezcal cocktails.


Blanco Tacos + Tequila

A bright, modern take on Mexican classics results in dishes such as short-rib nachos with queso blanco and crispy shrimp taco with pickled onion and fresno chiles. Pair a red chile chicken burrito bowl with inspired cocktails, such as the Oaxacan shandy, with pineapple. blood orange liqueur, and top-shelf tequila.

Indian Food 101

If you’re new to Indian cuisine, here’s a quick primer on the types of Indian cuisine—and some dishes you should try.


North or South


Northern Indian cuisine is known for its complex spice blends, the use of dairy, and dishes baked in the tandoori. Northern India also grows lots of wheat, so you’ll find not just naan, but other breads, such as roti and paratha. Also, due to its Persian influence, the spiciness is often balanced by liberal amounts of butter, cream, and ghee.


Southern Indian cuisine, on the other hand, is known for spicy vegetarian dishes, and less dairy but more coconut. Mostly though, this region is known for rice dishes, rather than breads, and seafood rather than meat.


The Best Dishes for Newbies

For an easy introduction to Indian food, try these common dishes:


  • Chicken tikka masala: chicken simmered in a spicy tomato sauce flavored with spices that include cloves, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon
  • Daal tadka: a yellow lentil soup fragrant with garlic and ginger
  • Lamb vindaloo: super-spicy curry made with lamb and a lot of chili peppers
  • Chana masala: chickpea curry in a tangy masala sauce
  • Saag paneer: spiced spinach cooked and tossed with cubes of fresh cheese

For more or Indian cuisine basics, click here.

Best Italian Restaurants in Phoenix


Mora Italian

In this kitchen, pasta is crafted by hand every day, and the wood-burning oven fires up neapolitan-style pizzas. This is modern Italian at its best, with grilled Niman Ranch pork chops and diver scallops seared and served with salt-baked sunchoke and currants. Equally inventive are the aperitif-inspired cocktails, such as the red light negroni, made with Bols Genever, Galliano Aperitivo, and Cocchi di Torino.


Avanti Restaurant of Distinction (old school)

Since 1974, Chef Angiolo Livi and his team have crafted and curated old-world dishes, such as beef carpaccio and linguine carbonara. And of course, to honor old-world traditions, Chef Livi himself just might stop by your table to make sure you’re well taken care of.

How Authentic Is This Thai Place?

We spoke with blogger and Thai cookbook author Leela Punyaratabandhu to get her tips on how to determine the authenticity of a Thai restaurant.


1. Is there other food on the menu besides Thai?

If the kitchen cooks Thai food alongside another cuisine, such as Chinese or Japanese, their focus—and efforts—are likely split. "If they happen to have really good, authentic Thai food—which is not impossible, but it's very unlikely—it makes me question why they can't just pick one [cuisine]," Leela said.


2. How big is the menu?

The smaller the menu, the more authentic—at least it should focus on a single Thailand region. Restaurants that cater to tourists, says Leela, often list curries and pad thai on the same menu.

3. Beware the chopsticks.

It’s not a good sign when there are chopsticks on the table, Leela warns. In Thailand, diners eschew the chopsticks for forks and spoon. "The fork pushes the food into the spoon, transporting both the sauce and the rice. But if you transport that same bite with a fork, all the liquid falls through," she said. "It's even worse when you use chopsticks."


For more tips on finding a good Thai place, click here.

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