50 Arizona restaurants you must try

Above: Mariposa's dining room (Photo courtesy of Mariposa) Lifestyle | 28 Oct |

It’s been a pleasure to see Arizona restaurants find homes on lists that rank the nation’s best dining establishments.

And it’s been great to see some of Arizona most acclaimed chefs — Lisa Dahl, Scott Conant, Silvana Salcido Esparza, Matt Carter — get the national recognition they deserve after we’ve watched them Phoenix reinvent our food scene and create fresh twists on Southwestern and American staples.

But the best thing is that we get to eat at the Arizona restaurants that are grabbing the headlines and delighting foodies throughout the Grand Canyon state. With the holidays approaching, what better time to sample some of the deliciousness being served at Arizona restaurants? So here are 50 Arizona restaurants you must try (listed in alphabetical order).

Barrio Cafe

Acclaimed Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza serves authentic southern Mexican meals, prepped with a subtle French twist at times.

Binkley’s Restaurant

This chic restaurant showcases inventive New American meals made with carefully sourced ingredients.

Café Monarch

This family-owned and operated restaurant offers a menu that is altered weekly and features local, organic, sustainable and premium ingredients and was named one of the 100 Best Restaurants for Wine Lovers in America.

Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine

This restaurant, which honors the legacy of the American West, won a 2018 Foodist Award for being “Uniquely Arizona.”

Citizen Public House

Known for its Amaro Meatloaf, don’t miss The Original Chopped Salad, which is so good, it has its own Facebook page.

Dahl & DiLuca Ristorante Italiano

The dining room has an element of mystique, a magical aura that will take your breath away upon entering.

Desert Rose Steakhouse

Capitalizing on the boom of backyard-style restaurants and bars, Desert Rose is housed in a hip renovated Glendale welding facility.

DK Dogs

DK Dogs specializes in Danish-style and other specialty hot dogs. DK’s signature dog, the “DK Dog,” consists of a hollowed-out baguette stuffed with an all-beef frank and a secret sauce.

Durant’s

The atmosphere of Durant’s screams throwback to the days of “Mad Men” at this iconic Central Phoenix surf ‘n’ turf restaurant, where the wear tuxedos and bartenders pour drinks like it’s still 1950.

El Chorro

This 1937 landmark offers upscale American fare, a bocce ball court, big patio and occasional live music.

elements

Not only is the food at elements fabulous and a reason alone to dine there, but the views of Paradise Valley through the floor to ceiling windows is what makes this a truly spectacular setting.

Elote

Chef Jeff Smedstad prepares food at this Sedona hotspot that is inspired by 15 years of visiting Mexican markets south of the border.

El Tacazo

More than 28 years old, this family-owned business’ pastor tacos are the best in town.

Franco’s Italian Caffe

This down-to-earth restaurant serves up elevated Italian pasta and main courses in a comfortable, yet elegant space.

Gertrude’s

Desert Botanical Garden’s relaxed bar and restaurant serves sustainable, refined American meals.

Hearth ’61

Putting together the ingredient-driven, seasonal menu at Hearth ’61 is renowned Chef Charles Wiley. He was named one of America’s “10 Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine Magazine for his innovative interpretation of Southwest cuisine.

House of Tricks

Cozy spot serving New American fare in a 1920s bungalow with a patio featuring a fire pit and bar.

J&G Steakhouse

J&G Steakhouse offers a sophisticated menu of steakhouse classics as interpreted by Michelin-starred chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

La Hacienda

Savor classic Mexican recipes in enticing new ways, featuring fresh, indigenous ingredients, lighter dishes and unexpected pairings of traditional foods. 

Lincoln, a JW Steakhouse

Everything about Lincoln is Instagram-worthy. From the Table Towers of oysters, shrimp, lobster and king crab on ice to the spectacular views of Camelback Mountain, you will be the envy of your social media followers with every pic you post.

LON’s at The Hermosa Inn

LON’s bold and contemporary techniques are complemented by age-old cooking methods and a garden-to-table philosophy. Don’t leave without trying the Himalayan Salt Seared Ahi .

Los Dos Molinos

Los Dos Molinos is an iconic, family-owned Phoenix restaurant that features festive decor and a kick of spice in its dishes. Don’t miss the adovada ribs.

Luci’s Healthy Marketplace

We go for the amazing sandwiches and leave with weird gag gifts 100 percent of the time.

Marcellino Ristorante

Many of Chef Marcellino Verzino’s offerings are grown on his personal farm in Arizona or in the herb garden outside the restaurant.

Mariposa

Chef Lisa Dahl’s Latin-inspired restaurant was designed to be the best Sedona dining experience. Mariposa combines dishes packed with robust flavors and views that could be the finest worldwide.

Mastro’s Steakhouse

Mastro’s is recognized for its combination of world-class service, highly acclaimed cuisine and elegant yet energetic atmosphere.

Mi Nidito

If it’s Bill Clinton’s favorite in Tucson, it’s ours, too. All the dishes are a must-try, but if you’re fortunate enough to be in close proximity when you’re sick, the “sopa cocido” is a miracle worker.

Mora Italian

Chef Scott Conant, a Food Network star and judge for the cooking competition TV show called “Chopped,” presents this stylish Italian osteria.

North Italia

North’s staff understands that there’s an art to the handcrafted experience, so its menu is handmade from scratch daily.

Pizzeria Bianco

Chef Chris Bianco started making artisanal pizzas in the back of a grocery store in the ‘80s. Now he’s earned the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southwest.

Quiessence at The Farm at South Mountain

Market-driven American cooking stars at this high-end, romantic destination set in a historic home.

Razz’s Restaurant

Chef Razz Kamnitzer is the charismatic soul of this hip restaurant who transports diners to the energetic experience of big-city dining.

Rusconi’s American Kitchen

This bustling local favorite serves wood-fired New American dishes in a chic, contemporary setting.

Rustler’s Rooste

Every cowboy loves a good steak, and this is the place to go to let out your inner cowpoke in a truly western atmosphere.

Salt Cellar

While it serves amazing seafood, it’s the funky atmosphere — the dining rooms, bar and kitchen are underground — that makes Salt Cellar a must-visit restaurant.

Sierra Bonita

Sierra Bonita puts new and inventive twists on a Southwestern menu to create a perfect blend of Mexican, Native American and cowboy cultures.

Sol Cocina

Though its tacos have been featured in “O” magazine, the margaritas are even harder to resist. Fun flavors such as blackberry ginger or pineapple serrano will make you wish you could try them all.

Sumo Maya

This hip hot spot does a delicious job deconstructing traditional Mexican and Japanese dishes and re-imagining them to make them their own.

T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort

Executive Chef Todd Allison’s standout dishes honor the regions of Northern Italy, Greece, Spain and Provence.

Talavera at Four Seasons

Talavera introduces a modern take on the classic steakhouse, with unique steak and seafood pairings.

The Collins Small Batch Kitchen

Fourth-generation restaurateur Christopher Collins shows off his family roots and Arizona heritage with delicious dishes that must be experienced to be appreciated.

The Larder + the Delta

When you walk in, you feel like you’re a part of the south at this restaurant, which won a 2018 Foodist Award for Innovative Restaurant Concept.

The Mission

In a sophisticated yet casual setting, chef Matt Carter and Brian Raab mix tradition and ingenuity in their signature dishes and hand-pressed cocktails.

The Stockyards

In 1947, The Stockyards, Arizona’s original steakhouse, opened its doors for the first time with a menu focused solely on its historical past: beef.

Tomaso’s Italian Cuisine

For more than 40 years, Tomaso’s has been a destination restaurant in the Central Camelback Corridor in Phoenix.

Vincent on Camelback

The Croque Monsieur and Couq au Vin is the best on the planet. But the never-ending plates of croissants and a bottle of Prosecco for lunch will send you straight to heaven. A-hem, so we’ve heard.

Virtu

The menu is constantly changing, with an emphasis on creative cuisine and easy-to-share dishes that harken to Chef Gio Osso’s Italian roots.

Vivace Restaurant

Rated No. 1 by Zagat Survey for food in Tucson, this Foothills restaurant has a Tuscan decor and provides Northern Italian fare with an impeccable wine list.

Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen

The fusion of traditional and contemporary methods elevates Weft & Warp from what could have been just another boring resort restaurant and turns it into a unique dining destination that will delight even the most discerning foodie.

Windsor

Windsor is a neighborhood bar and restaurant that serves global comfort food and retro cocktails in one of the hippest, romantic restaurants in Central Phoenix.

And one more bonus treasure to discover …

Ada’s Fish Fry

A hidden gem in the West Valley, the batter on Ada’s Fish Fry’s signature haddock is light and perfect. Don’t miss the Hugh Puppies and calamari.

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