Phoenix Restaurants


Phoenix Restaurants

The city of Phoenix is becoming known more and more its eclectic choices of restaurants, however with the rapid growth there are many chain restaurants that have made their homes in Phoenix as well.  These restaurants include P.F Changs, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, The Cheesecake Factory, Morton’s Steakhouse, The Keg Steakhouse, and many others.  The influx of many of these chain restaurants has been a considerable boost to the economy of Phoenix and also a lure for many other chain restaurants to expand to the Valley of the Sun.

Zinc Bistro

Zinc Bistro features the ambiance of a romantic French bistro combined with contemporary touches. Food and Wine magazine nominated this restaurant as a Top 10 New Bistro in North America and the Arizona Republic awarded Zinc Bistro as the Best French Restaurant in Phoenix. This Scottsdale eatery features marble bistro tables with wicker chairs and an abundance of sidewalk seating, perfect for people watching. For those seeking a more intimate environment, Zinc Bistro also has a quaint garden patio complete with a fountain and tables that are lit by candlelight. Urbanspoon.com awarded Zinc Bistro with four out of five stars. At Zinc Bar, diners will find a 25 foot long bar that includes an impressive selection of fresh shellfish that is delivered daily. In addition to oysters, this bar features fresh clams, lobster and mussels. The kitchen at Zinc Bistro is run by Executive Chef Matt Carter, who trained at Paris’ Le Cordon Blue. According to Phoenix Magazine, a meal at Zinc Bistro is not complete “without the onion soup, the mussels with pommes frites and the roasted chicken”.

Lon’s Hermosa Inn

Located at the luxury boutique hotel, the Hermosa Inn in Scottsdale, is the award-winning restaurant, Lon’s at the Hermosa. The Hermosa Inn is the renovated home of legendary artist Lon Megargee, which is where this restaurant got its name. This upscale restaurant is known for its romantic ambiance, with oil paintings, cowboy motif and a spectacular patio complete with glowing fireplaces. Gayot.com describes this patio as “heaven on earth”. Lon’s Hermosa Inn serves gourmet American cuisine with a southwestern twist. To ensure freshness and quality, the restaurant has a one acre garden located on the hotel property. According to executive chef Jeremy Pacheco, this is essential to the culinary experience at Lon’s because “cooking something we have grown ourselves creates a stronger, more passionate connection to our food”. The food at Lon’s is prepared with European cooking techniques such as roasting, wood grilling and smoking and many diners describe the food as regional comfort cuisine. Menus are ever-changing at Lon’s at the Hermosa and weekly there is a new chef’s tasting menu to showcase the creativity of the kitchen at Lon’s. In addition to the dinner menu, which features items such as the Braised Beef Short Ribs with truffle-creamed corn, roasted potatoes and a gremolata salad, Lon’s Hermosa Inn has a spectacular wine list. The wines are housed in a subterranean wine cellar and three wine vaults. Over 500 wines are offered at Lon’s from American appellations and Old World vintages.

Carolina’s

Around Phoenix, the legendary Carolina’s has a cult following for its unforgettable tortillas, mouthwatering green corn tamales and foot long chorizo burritos with beans. The following at Carolina’s Mexican Food began in 1968 when Carolina Valenzuela opened a simple authentic Mexican neighborhood eatery. Today, the restaurant employs 23 cooks to hand prepare the tortillas, beans, machaca and chorizo. This is a family affair, with over half of the employees being relatives of Carolina. Located in south-central Phoenix, the exterior of Carolina’s is minimal and even a bit rough but the food will make you instantly forget your surroundings. Since opening, Carolina’s has opened a satellite location in Peoria and a another Phoenix shop on East Cactus, but the true Carolina’s is located on East Mohave Road. On Yelp.com, Carolina’s received four and a half out of five stars. In nearly every review about Carolina’s it is mentioned that this restaurant serves the best tortillas in town. According to the Arizona Republic, “the truth is that Carolina’s tortillas are irresistible”. Follow the recommendations of habitual Carolina’s diners and order the Oaxaca Special, which features potatoes, cheese and beans or the Green Machaca.

Salt Cellar

Since opening its doors in 1971, the Salt Cellar has maintained itself as a top seafood restaurant in Phoenix. Accolades for this restaurant include the 10 year continuous winner of the Arizona Business Magazine Best Seafood restaurant and the Phoenix New Times Best Seafood restaurant. The key to this consistency is in owners Richard and Cindy Huie’s philosophy that quality, equitable pricing and great service are essential for success. The fresh seafood served at the Salt Cellar are delivered from far corners of the world including New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and Boston. Even entering the Salt Cellar is a bit of an experience, you will descend three flights by an antique wooden stairway into what is described as a “snug seaside hideaway”. According to Gayot.com, “the seafood is fresh and the atmosphere is pure retro-fun” at the Salt Cellar. The menu is featured on a market board and it is constantly changing because only seasonal, fresh fish are served at the Salt Cellar. While the menu is ever changing, one item is always available at the Salt Cellar. This is the 1 ¼ pound, 3 pound and 5 pound lobsters. In addition to the large seafood selection, the Salt Cellar serves Black Angus steaks, beef Wellington and chicken dishes.

The Breakfast Club

When looking for the perfect eggs Benedict, Belgium waffles or omelets, look no further than The Breakfast Club. This popular eatery is located on North Scottsdale Road. The atmosphere of this small eatery is relaxed and you will never be rushed to finish your meal. This is the type of place where you can come in and spend hours catching up with friends over some incredible food and fresh coffee. As the Arizona Republic stated, the Breakfast Club “serves anything and everything for breakfast”. Looking over the menu, the items are described with mouthwatering, elaborate details, making it difficult to choose. Follow the recommendations by Phoenix Magazine and “try the huevos con masa, eggs Benedict (in all of its delicious versions) or the Bananas Foster pancakes”. In addition to the small dining room, the Breakfast Club has limited outdoor seating. Be warned, the popularity of the Breakfast Club skyrockets on the weekends and there often is a wait.

Tom’s BBQ

Serving up great barbeque, Italian beefs and Chicago-style hot dogs since 1988, Tom’s BBQ has several locations in the Phoenix area. The success of this laidback restaurant can be equated to its motto of serving great food with friendly service at reasonable prices. According to founder and owner Tom Ryan, his aim is for “Tom’s to be the Walmart of restaurants-good quality at fair prices”. Inside most Tom’s locations, diners will find a low-key atmosphere, with televisions playing sports games and an outside patio complete with the popular game, cornhole. When it comes to the Chicago Italian beefs, go for the standard and order the beef and ask for it wet and sweet. You will not be disappointed. This barbeque joint serves traditional barbeque fair such as pulled pork sandwiches, sides of fresh coleslaw, rib tips, hand-cut fries and red beans and rice. Every day, Tom’s has a different all day special offered, these range from the All You Can Eat Fish Fry to the All You Can Eat Rib Tips.Crackers and Co. Café

Crackers and Co. Café is known for its heavenly breakfast and comforting lunches. Many reviews state that this is “the best breakfast in the Phoenix area.” There are three Crackers and Co. locations in the Phoenix area, two in Mesa and one in Tempe. This family owned restaurant opened in 1984 and designed its menu around “from scratch cooking”. Yelp.com awarded Crackers and Co. Café with four and a half out of five stars. Known as a well kept secret, the menu at Crackers and Co. is length, featuring items from Swedish pancakes to char grilled gourmet burgers. Diners state that eating breakfast at Crackers and Co. is the best way to start your day and no matter what time you awake, breakfast is awaiting you at Crackers because it is served all day. In addition to the standout breakfast and lunch items, it would be sinful to leave Crackers and Co. without trying the signature dessert. This is the cinnamon blackberry bourbon bread pudding with real whipped crème. According to some diners, no matter what you order from the menu at Crackers and Co. Café, “you cannot go wrong”.

Indulge Burgers & More

It seems almost impossible to comprehend how the owners at Indulge Burgers & More were able to create a menu that has literally thousands of burgers creations. According to Phoenix Magazine, Indulge Burgers & More is the “world’s best burger concept”. Yelp.com awarded Indulge Burger with three and a half out of five stars. This restaurant keeps the key ingredients simple but makes sure that these items are spectacular. All the protein choices are free of antibiotics, hormones and have only been given all natural feeds. When dining at Indulge Burgers & More, you can choose between ground beef, Kobe beef, chicken, turkey and ground vegetable patties. From this point, burgers can be topped with a wide variety of cheeses, dozens of toppings, homemade sauces and finally you can select from three different freshly baked buns to ensure you have crafted the perfect burger for your taste. If the 1000’s of burgers are not enough, Indulge Burgers and More has fresh seafood, entrees salads overflowing with fresh vegetables, garlic parmesan chips, fried pickle chips, fried bologna sandwiches and fabulous desserts. The Best Phoenix Directory recommends the Vesuvius Volcanic Burger and explains that dining at Indulge Burgers is a “true slice of American cooking that makes for an experience that won’t soon be forgotten”.

The Vig

With two posh and modern locations, the Vig is a contemporary twist on the neighborhood tavern. Tripadvisor.com awarded The Vig with four stars out of five. Aiming to become your new local hangout, The Vig has a hip atmosphere with good-nature and attentive servers. If the inside area of The Vig is overcrowded, head out to the romantic outdoor patio that features candles and low overhanging trees. The food is familiar but with an upscale twist. The menu at this tavern takes traditional food and reconstructs it into something extraordinary. Traditional items such as meat and potatoes have been revamped into Carne Asada on a Potato Pancake. Your standard turkey sandwich at The Vig features roasted turkey breast topped with dill havarti, cranberry chutney, roasted tomatoes and cole slaw, then served on pretzel bread smeared with honey-mustard mayonnaise. According to the locals, the great food at the Vig gets you in the doors but the bocce ball will have you staying all night. Recommended dishes at The Vig include the deconstructed fish taco and the potato gnocchi with sautéed shrimp.

Irish Wolfhound

Urbanspoon.com awarded the Irish Wolfhound with four and a half stars out of five. This traditional Irish pub is located in Surprise, Arizona along North Litchfield Road. The Irish Wolfhound opened in 2009 and successfully creates a warm and friendly atmosphere based around the rich traditions of Irish pubs. This concept is called the “Craic” of Ireland and the Irish Wolfhound perfectly blends together this exuberant atmosphere with a menu filled with traditional Irish fare and a vast selection of Irish beer. On the weekends, Irish Wolfhound often has live music. Like much of Ireland, this bar loves its soccer and diners can enjoy watching live sporting events on one of the many big screen televisions scattered throughout the bar. The menu has several hearty soups that are made from scratch daily, a variety of salads and many traditional Irish dishes. Consider ordering one of the several seafood dishes on the menu, like the Guinness Battered Fish or follow the Arizona Central recommendation and try Declan’s Wolfhouse Irish Stew or the “enough-for-two Shepherd’s Pie”.

Keegan’s Grill and Taproom

A local favorite around Phoenix is Keegan’s Grill and Taproom, which has three locations in the area. According to reviewers on Citysearch.com, this restaurant has the “best burgers in town”. The grill is based around the concept of the early American restaurants and works to create a “home away from home” for diners. Apparently this concept works because the Arizona Central states that Keegan’s Grill and Taproom makes everyone “feel homey with a relaxed and friendly vibe”. This restaurant is designed to be the neighborhood gathering place that serves up consistent food and flavorful drinks with top notch hospitality. Arizona Central awarded Keegan’s Grill and Taproom as the Best Neighborhood Bar. The menu is traditional American fare with a southwestern twist. Reading the detailed descriptions on the menu will have your mouthwatering long before you even taste the food. All burgers feature free range, natural, hormone-free grass-fed beef. If you want to step it up a notch from the hormone-free beef, order the elegant American-style Wagyu beef burger. Burgers are served on your choice of a griddled onion knot bun or an oatmeal wheat bun. In addition to burgers, Keegan’s Grill and Taproom serves up sandwiches and entrée size salads like the Great Thai Cobb.

The annual corks and forks will be held Thursday April 7, 2012 at the City Scape center.  This is a great chance to get to taste many of the valley’s top restaurants in one setting.  The downtown location is central although parking may be a challenge.  Priority parking is available for those with hybrid cars and handicapped tags, of course.

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Phoenix Restaurants

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