Arizona

Restaurants in Arizona

No doubt, restaurants in Arizona offer plenty of good places to eat quality Southwestern and Mexican-influenced cuisine—whether that means cowboy-friendly steaks or grilled cactus that fills tacos, top salads, or is eaten as an appetizer. One not-so-gourmet—but beloved—Arizona restaurant staple is the Sonoran hot dog, where the frank is wrapped in bacon then topped with beans, onions, salsa, and peppers. But especially in the cities such as Sedona, Scottsdale and Tucson, you’ll also find a pretty international selection, and some of the best restaurants in Arizona. The Steak Out Restaurant and Saloon’s frontier-inspired design and weathered-wood exterior brings the Old West to life in this Tucson restaurant. Great mesquite-grilled steaks, ribs, chicken, and fish, washed down with margaritas to the twang of country music.
Not many people come to the desert for great pizza, but Pizzeria Blanco’s brick oven in Phoenix regularly makes the lists of the best gourmet pizza in the U.S. Be prepared to wait in line. Helmed by French-trained chef Vincent Guerithault, Vincent on Camelback is a longtime favorite in the Phoenix area is an excellent choice for classically informed Mexican fare, such as the rich, spicy duck tamales with Anaheim chile and raisins, or grilled wild boar loin in a habanero sauce. René at Tlaquepaque has French-meets-cowboy-cuisine in Sedona’s toney shopping plaza and is known for its rack of lamb, escargot and antelope carpaccio.

A nostalgic assemblage of neon, 50s tunes, and American comfort food.

Candlelit Mediterranean

From the menus on vintage metal clipboards to the cash register—which says, “You’re Pretty”—attention to detail is paramount at this sweet breakfast and lunch spot that opened in 2007.

The in-park option serves up freshly baked pizzas, including a “Southern Arizona” version with roasted green chiles, fresh tomatoes, and onion.

Formerly Yavapai Restaurant

Go for the down-home comfort food, like giant portions of meatloaf and garlic fries followed by the obscenely large Sundae Supreme.

At the multilevel Estate House you can go formal in the champagne-and-caviar bar, or head to the more casual lounge upstairs for small plates and live jazz.

Kai

At Kai in Phoenix’s Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, the focus is on Native American cuisine. Meaning “seed” in the Pima language, Kai builds its menu on the fruits of the Gila River Indian agriculture supplied by local tribal communities.

The nouveau (but unpretentious) American cuisine is some of the best in town; try the roasted quail with pine nuts, prosciutto, vegetable brunoise, and a tangy apple-cider relish.

The chefs at Olive & Ivy blend the flavors of the Mediterranean with contemporary California cuisine to offer fresh, updated versions of slow-cooked classics like bacon wrapped pork tenderloin.

The restaurant serves terrific omelettes and charbroiled burgers; it’s also the de facto canteen for the adjacent “World’s Smallest Museum” (exhibiting a hodgepodge of curios, from an 1850s frying pan to a 1984 Compaq computer).

Take heed: the motto for this Phoenix standard is “Some like it hot.” From the green and red salsas served with homemade tortilla chips to every dish on the menu marked with a warning star, you may well work up a sweat here.

Founded in 2002, Phoenix's Barrio Cafe offers a taste of Mexico in both atmosphere and flavor. The menu is focused on southern Mexico cuisine, with a number of co-founder Silvana Salcido Esparza's own creations available.