Before the thermometer hits 120 degrees, Arizona’s perfect weather and baseball spring training attract a slew of tourists. From BBQ brisket to bao buns, there is something for every food yen.
Named one of Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurants, Bacanora is run by Mexican grill master, Rene Andrade — who brings authentic flavors to his ultra-simple menu. DO NOT miss the ribeye and beans.
Vintage furniture warehouse fronted by an eclectic modern Southwestern restaurant, featuring a coffee shop, lounge and an Arizona-themed cocktail bar in the back.
Larder & The Delta
Chef Stephen Jones goes modern Southern cooking: Think Sean Brock but with more gravy and swagger.
A staple on every Phoenix dining list, Chris Bianco, considered to be the “Pope of Pie” has been leading the pack and opening the door to a thriving pizza scene in the desert.
Also Bianco-owned, Tratto features a full menu sans pie. Expect locally sourced gems — Chiogga beets roasted in fig leaves with Gorgonzola dolce and soulful entrees like smoked and braised pork shank.
Little Miss BBQ
Pitmaster Scott Holmes made his bones (preferably the St. Louis ribs) competing on the local AZ BBQ competition circuit. His brisket steals the show.
Chef James Fox has a runaway hit on his hands with his contemporary take on Mexican cuisine. Self-described as punch-you-in-the-face flavors. Salmon tacos are a must.
This small boîte features a refined take on Thai street food and a strong menu of regional Thai dishes. We’re still dreaming about the kanom jeeb (steamed pork dumplings.)
Hana Japanese Eatery
Sushi is abundant in Phoenix, but great sushi is not. Lori Hashimoto has been at the helm of this local fave for years and repping real sushi in the desert.
Sotisse is a newish French bistro and wine bar with a small menu of classic bistro fare housed in an enchanting little house. Tartare de boeuf, oysters and a nice Bordeaux for the win.
Bitter & Twisted
Ross Simon had a dream to one day open his own bar. Well not only did that dream materialize, but it has become a national hot spot with a fun and imaginative fairy-tale cocktail menu. Drinks served with rainbow dust or served in ceramic ducks.
Mixology at a high level without the attitude. Owners Libby Lengua and Mitch Lyons, both local stars in the bar scene, came together to open a spot that is focused and elegant where the drinks are the scene stealers.
John McDonald’s first foray into hospitality is still alive and strong, but just not in SoHo. After 25 years, MercBar continues to thrive and live up to its NY mantra of “No Live Music, No Dancing, No Food — Just a Bar.” Patrons sink into the living room decor feeling transported to Mercer Street — dark woods, artwork, loungy music, speakeasy vibe.
Jason Asher must be the Valley’s most revered bartender turned bar owner. Grand must be the most adventurous. The building houses three concepts, Platform 18, a cocktail bar that’s also a 90-minute train simulation, The Grey Hen Bourbon Bar, and Undertow Tiki Bar. Think of it as the Disneyland of cocktails bars.
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain
This 4-star resort recently traded hands to the Gurney’s Resorts group from New York. With incredible views of Mummy Mountain, mid-century modern design, and a “Bar Chef,” this local fave has been leading the pack for years.
Originally built in 1959 at the foot of Camelback Mountain, this icon was completely rebuilt and re-opened in 2017. Its clean minimal design, mid-century modern aesthetics, and a true farm-to-table restaurant —Hearth 61— make for a sleek stay.
Another iconic hotel from 1956 saw its complete renovation and re-opening in 2005. Much of the original architecture still stands creating a head-to-toe Palm Springs vibe with bright colors, spa tubs in the middle of some rooms, and a groovy lobby scene.
A gorgeous resort that recently completed a 3 year, $90M renovation featuring a new lobby, new restaurants, a new golf clubhouse and tavern, and a brand-new three-story spa. They put luxury in their Luxury Collection of hotels.