Eat + Drink

Chef’s Choice: 8 Can’t-Miss Restaurants in Phoenix

Phoenix may be best known for its sunny desert location and more than 200 golf courses, but the city is also fast becoming a destination for foodies. Here, we share some of our favorite Phoenix restaurants.

Matt’s Big Breakfast

Originally tucked into a quiet Phoenix neighborhood, Matt’s Big Breakfast quickly won a loyal following for its perfect black coffee, thick-cut toast, crispy bacon, bright, fluffy eggs and buttery waffles—all sourced from local, organic and/or small-batch purveyors.

phoenix restaurants
Breakfast is better at Matt’s. (Photo: Courtesy of Matt’s Big Breakfast)

As word spread, Matt’s spawned several locations, including one in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, gaining national notice on the Food Network.

Welcome Diner

The classic vintage Welcome Diner, situated in the heart of downtown Phoenix, operates from a “Valentine Diner” originally shipped to a location on Route 66 in Winslow, Ariz.

However, the diner never opened and sat rusting away until 2003, when a local artist restored it. Now boasting a cozy outdoor patio and a soulful Southern spin on classic American fare, this restaurant continues to “welcome” fans of the diner experience.

OHSO Brewery

Short for “Outrageous Homebrewer’s Social Outpost,” OHSO Brewery features an ever-rotating menu of small batch brews and pub-style food. Located in the Arcadia neighborhood, the nano-brewery offers seating around the kettles and tanks or outside on a sprawling patio with plenty of water bowls for four-legged guests.

phoenix restaurants
Enjoy a brew and grub at OSHO. (Photo: Courtesy of OSHO Brewery)

The menu features everything from a pretzel board complete with corn nuts and pickles, to a dozen different burgers and sandwiches, like the AZ Burger with jalapeno cream cheese and poblano aioli. The weekend Beer Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays includes your choice of a 10-ounce beer or mimosa with an entree.

Pizzeria Bianco

James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Bianco started with a passion for artisanal pizza 25 years ago and has since built a mini-empire of Italian restaurants under the Pizzeria Bianco nameplate. Beyond their signature pizza and pasta dishes, Bianco’s restaurants also are known for their welcoming ambience and interior design.

In downtown Phoenix, the Pizzeria is located in a former machine shop from the 1920s that still shows off its original red brick and display windows. In the central Phoenix location, a beautifully faded Persian rug is from the chef’s childhood home and all the artwork is hand-painted by Bianco’s father.

Los Dos Molinos

Given its geography, Phoenix offers a range of authentic Mexican restaurants. One of the best known is Los Dos Molinos, which serves enchiladas, tacos, tamales and other traditional favorites from south of the border. The food packs plenty of heat, courtesy of its signature New Mexico chilis. As the disclaimer on the menu says: “Food is spicy. You order it. You own it.”

The Parlor

Located in the heart of central Phoenix, The Parlor offers another example of delicious food served in a unique architectural adaptation. As a former mid-century beauty parlor, the restaurant bar features real salon chairs, exposed brick, wood beams and a covered patio.

phoenix restaurants
Savor rustic, casual fare at The Parlor. (Photo: Courtesy of The Parlor)

An on-site garden showcases blooming herbs and ingredients used in the dishes and cocktails. The rustic, casual menu spans thin crust pizza from a wood-fired oven, handmade pastas and traditional Italian dishes like fritto misto and arancini.

Kai

Located on the outskirts of the city surrounded by mountain and golf course views, Kai at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is the only AAA Five Diamond/Forbes Five Star restaurant in the state.

Its name, which means “seed” in the Pima Indian Tribe language, sets the tone for a menu that incorporates locally sourced ingredients from the Gila River Indian Community into dishes like mesquite smoked caviar and saguaro lacquered quail breast. For the most adventurous diners, the 13-course tasting menu offers a taste of nearly every signature dish on the menu.

St. Francis

This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Chef Chamberlin’s restaurant, St. Francis. Located in a refurbished 1950’s office building, the restaurant’s is built on “a respect for simple and honest food” cooked over a custom, wood-fired oven.

From the open kitchen come baskets of freshly baked bread, flatbreads, steaks, fish and even bread pudding with bourbon caramel and walnut crumble.