The newspaper critics have their favourites – but Phoenicians have their own ideas about which are the best restaurants in Phoenix.
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You’re hungry, have your good shoes on, and are ready to head out for a bite to eat. The restaurants in Phoenix offer you a wide array of choices – a significant improvement over the culinary wasteland it was just a decade or so ago – but you’ve got a happy problem: Which one to choose? Of course, you can check with the newspapers and find out which “artisanal,” clever-twist-on-comfort-food meal is currently floating their stuffy food critics’ boats. Or you can go straight to the people who know what’s up. Your fellow Phoenicians!
Skip the Googling. We’ve got you covered right here with five of the best restaurants in Phoenix, each serving different cuisine and each selected by a poll of the Phoenicians who actually eat there regularly.
Best restaurants in Phoenix for Mexican cuisine
Mariscos Playa Hermosa
It is bold to claim that you know where to get the best Mexican food in Phoenix. I make no such claim – only that Phoenicians have decided, via online reviews, that among the many excellent Mexican restaurants in Phoenix, this is one you need to try: Mariscos Playa Hermosa in the heart of Central City.
The portions will satisfy the hungriest diner (but not so big as to put you into a food coma), and the prices are affordable (though a little high relative to other Mexcian restaurants in Phoenix.) One of the surest indicators you’ve found a quality Mexican joint is the quality of their fish tacos – and this place does not disappoint with their authentic Sinaloan seafood offerings. There are a lot of great Mexican restaurants in Phoenix, but Mariscos Playa Hermosa stands out in a crowded field.
Best restaurants in Phoenix for French cuisine
Vincent Market Bistro
Out of all the French restaurants in Phoenix, the best has been open for about a decade – it’s just been hiding over on the East Side. Vincent Market Bistro opened up next to the popular Saturday Camelback Market about 15 years ago. They’ve expanded since then to include breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, pizza and a very affordable, high-quality prix-fixe offering. Visiting Vincent Market won’t break your bank, and the flavours are incredible. If you head in for lunch, try their Niçoise salad – it’s the best in the metro area. And if you’re there for dinner and miss the incredible Coq au Vin with Gratin Dauphinois (nothing that costs $10 should have flavours this bold, complicated and delicate). It’s your loss – and don’t say we didn’t let you know.
Best restaurants in Phoenix for Greek/Mediterranean Cuisine
Good Fellas Grill
You could search all the restaurants in Phoenix and not find one with a more confusing title – after all, when you think Goodfellas, you think Joe Pesci, not Joe Pescanopoulos; Robert DeNiro, not Robert Dimitriadis. So if you’re in the mood for Italian, don’t go downtown to Good Fellas Grill on the 19th.
Good Fellas doesn’t offer fine dining – they offer perfectly seasoned, balanced, hearty Greek offerings that don’t displease at an excellent price. Their gyros are famous for a reason, but if you’re thinking of branching out and trying some other Mediterranean fare, they’ve got plenty of choices: Their kafta is as good as anything you can find in Athens or Istanbul, and if you’re up for a bit of adventure, try the complicated Kabob Hindy, which you won’t easily find in other Greek restaurants in Phoenix. Whatever you do, make sure you try their lentil soup before you go…or pick some up to go.
Best restaurants in Phoenix for Italian cuisine
Postino Arcadia Wine Cafe
Another oldie-but-goodie (Postino Arcadia, like Vincent Market Bistro, is one of the rare restaurants in Phoenix that makes it past its tenth birthday) and, without a doubt, the highest-rated Italian eatery in the city. Their olives are fresh and flavorful, their wine selection is outstanding, and their bruschetta – which they’re really famous for – is out of this world.
One of the best things about Postino Arcadia is that they’re an Italian-American restaurant with deep roots in New York City. So you get all the benefits from marinating Italian cuisine in the ethnic soup of the Big Apple. So if you stop in for lunch, try an authentic New York Grilled Cheese sandwich, which they serve with Sierra Nevada mustard, ketchup and pesto, or if you’re in the mood for a Panini sandwich, the Autostrada is not to be missed.
Their $20 Monday and Tuesday special – consisting of a house bottle of wine and their incredible, authentic bruschetta – is a perfect date night. If you’re looking for the best of all the Italian restaurants in Phoenix, Postino Arcadia takes the cannoli.
Best restaurants in Phoenix for vegan cuisine
Green New American
Finding places in Phoenix that serve good vegetarian and vegan options can be challenging for folks who have decided to turn their incisors to less violent purposes. Luckily, there’s Green New American on 7th downtown, serving food that will please omnivores and herbivores. To boot, it’s got an excellent gluten-free section, which is also a rarity (and a blessing for those with allergies or who have decided to give the Paleo diet the old caveman try.)
Like all (admittedly rare) vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Phoenix, their offerings mimic, in a meatless fashion, the most popular foods that herbivores have to live without, like hamburgers, wings and Po’boy sandwiches. Of course, their burgers taste like vegetarian burgers, but they’re excellent because they don’t try to taste like meat. The house tofu is clearly prepared with a lot of love and skill, and I honestly couldn’t taste the difference in the meatball Po’boy – which says a lot, considering my great love of meat-meatball subs.
Phoenicians have spoken! These are 5 top restaurants in Phoenix, as rated by online users. What may other gems be hiding out there? You can sit back and wait for the critics to let you know, or you can get on the Internet, check out what the folks are eating, and let democracy decide your dining destination. Let the wisdom of the crowds decide…and happy eating!