One thing we love about the Phoenix Metropolitan area is the myriad of “downtowns” it boasts (like Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Scottsdale), but today, we’re here to help you navigate the big one: downtown Phoenix itself. Where exactly are the best downtown Phoenix restaurants?
Where to Find the Best Downtown Phoenix Restaurants
In such a sprawling metropolis, downtown Phoenix is like the center of the universe. Whether you’re heading downtown to see a show, go to a game, or just enjoy the city, our guide will help you seek out only the best downtown Phoenix restaurants.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Phoenix Restaurants
10. Ingo’s Tasty Food
Need a quick bite before heading to a Suns game? Stop by Ingo’s for counter-service burgers, sandwiches, and salads. We love the crispy chicken sammy—it features fried chicken, housemade pickles, and spicy aioli as well as freshly sliced apple, a brilliant addition to the classic chicken sandwich. You absolutely must pair it with a side of fresh, thick-cut potato chips that are served with a duo of mouthwatering sauces—a hot sauce made in-“house and a yogurt-based lebni sauce to cool the heat. You’ll want to dip each chip in both sauces to get the full effect of this perfect pairing.
9. Harumi Sushi
For an ideal date night spot, head to the quiet and friendly Harumi, one of our favorite downtown Phoenix restaurants and the best local spot for sushi! They fly in the fish daily, so you know quality is king here. Whether you prefer your sushi in the form of sashimi, nigiri, or a roll, order something with the bluefin tuna for fatty, fresh fish perfection. For a more unconventional roll, we love the clever combination of sweet and spicy on the crunch mango roll.
8. The Larder and the Delta
The Larder and the Delta is a newcomer quickly building its reputation among the more notable downtown Phoenix restaurants. It is a Southern-inspired restaurant that takes bold creative liberties with nontraditional renditions of the classics. The menu changes seasonally, but cauliflower is always on the menu and is a great place to start. With a light coating of locally made Cutino hot sauce and topped with melted smoked bleu cheese and pickled celery, it has all the flavors of a buffalo wing without the actual wing. As for an entree, order to your taste based on what’s seasonally available and trust that they know what they’re doing in the kitchen (because they do).
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7. The Arrogant Butcher
We don’t know if the butcher really is arrogant, but he sure knows what he’s doing. Take your cue from the name here and go for the meats. Start with the meatballs in spicy tomato sauce and ricotta cheese served with toasty garlic ciabatta bread, and enjoy mopping up every last bit of sauce with your bread. If you want something outside the carnivore section, the soft pretzels with cheesy fondue are also a winning starter. And trust us on this one, order the meatloaf for your main. While meatloaf is not usually the most exciting thing on a menu, it’s the most popular entree here for good reason! With its gooey brown sugar-tomato glaze, this meatloaf is tender, flavorful, and anything but boring.
$$$$ American (Traditional), Seafood, Cocktail Bars
2 E Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • 602-324-8502
6. Matt’s Big Breakfast
The name is pretty self-explanatory—for a big, absolutely delicious breakfast, head to Matt’s. Don’t expect frills or fuss here, Matt’s delights in simple, perfectly executed breakfast foods. Go for the fluffy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. Topped with a generous amount of butter, these are the ultimate comfort food. Craving something savory? You can’t go wrong with an order of their thick-cut, well-seasoned bacon, potatoes, and eggs.
$$$$ Breakfast & Brunch, Salad, American (Traditional)
825 N 1st St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 • 602-254-1074
Cibo stands out from other downtown Phoenix restaurants with a dining experience that feels nothing like downtown, or even the desert. Tucked into a quiet corner of the city, with a tree-filled, shady patio, it feels far away from the busyness of the city. Specializing in wood fire pizzas, Cibo boasts 20 pizza options along with other Italian favorites like charcuterie, bruschetta boards, and pasta. The wood-fired pizzas here are all delicious with a fluffy crust, great sauce, and high-quality toppings, so order to your liking, but an easy favorite is the Salsiccia with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and housemade Italian sausage.
Craving pizza, pasta, or gelato? Pomo offers all three of the Italian trifecta and does each extraordinarily well, making it one of our favorite downtown Phoenix restaurants. You can’t go wrong with the pizza (check out our review in our guide to the Best Pizza in Phoenix), but our favorite menu item happens to be the gramigna boscaiola pasta, with handmade noodles drowning in a rich and creamy sausage and mushroom sauce that will make you want to lick the bowl. Make sure you save room for dessert—you’ll definitely want some made-from-scratch gelato from sister company Luna Gelateria (featured here).
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3. Taco Chelo
Locals and tourists alike love Taco Chelo (also featured here as one of the best restaurants in all of Phoenix). This spot is stylish, trendy, and best of all serves incredible tacos. Even with the stylish vibes, the tacos here are authentic and delicious. From the refreshingly inexpensive chips and guac to the homemade tortillas to the flavorful salsa pairings that come with your tacos, Taco Chelo does things the right way. Grab a couple of tacos (our faves are the fish, the costra, and the carne asada) and wash it down with a refreshing agua fresca.
2. Pizzeria Bianco
For some of the best downtown dining, head to Pizzeria Bianco to try the work of a legend. Chris Bianco is nationally recognized for his classically perfect wood-fired pizzas. Pizzeria Bianco keeps things simple, with a small menu focused on crispy, thin-crust pizzas topped with fresh, made-in-house ingredients. They even make their own mozzarella! We love the classic Margherita and the Wise Guy topped with roasted onions and fennel sausage.
Located in the eccentric Grand Avenue district, Bacanora is the best downtown Phoenix restaurant. This small, hip joint packs a punch with its flavorful Mexican dishes. The elote (street corn) is non-negotiable—covered with two different cremas and a secret blend of spices, it’s some of the best we’ve ever had. Ask about the specials—the menu is as small as the restaurant, so the specials will double your options, and each one we’ve tried is well worth it (if there’s a ceviche in the rotation you’re going to want to order it). From the main menu, try the Carmelo, which features tender and flavorful carne asada. Make a perfect meal even better by following it with their out-of-this-world goat cheese flan topped with fresh raspberry sauce and an oatmeal cookie crumble.
1301 NW Grand Ave Unit 1, Phoenix, AZ 85007 • 602-612-4018
Central Phoenix, or CenPho, as the hipsters like to call it, is the nexus of the city's art and culture scene.
- Location. Choose a restaurant you can easily walk to from your place. ...
- Ambience. Sometimes, the restaurant may be beautiful, but the décor is not to your taste. ...
- Food and Wine Pairings. ...
- Good Value. ...
- Excellent Service. ...
- Good Hygiene. ...
- Tried and Tested Restaurants. ...
- 20 Eating Contest Records That Will Gross You Out.
Phoenix is being reborn as “a foodie oasis in the Arizona desert”. Sure, it takes a while to recalibrate sensibilities – the best restaurants can turn out to be in strip malls or gated communities, and “down the road” might mean a 30-minute drive. But the sense of a city on the cusp is palpable.
Besides Yelp, to find the best food in an area, Instagram is your best bet. Also, these accounts have real people running them, don't be afraid to reach out and ask their must-try spots–they will be happy to share recommendations with you.
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Their destination? The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley. (They also appeared to have honeymooned in the Maldives.) Singer Britney Spears has stayed at the Sanctuary multiple times, and actors Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn spent Thanksgiving weekend there in 2005 while they were dating.