10 Best Things to Eat and Drink While Visiting Metro Phoenix

Categories: Top Lists

Pizzeria Bianco -Marinara pizza.jpg
Nikki Buchanan
The Marinara Pizza from Pizzeria Bianco
So Phoenix may not quite be a culinary destination, like New York or Chicago, but that doesn't mean we don't have plenty to offer the wandering food lover. In fact, there's so much to eat and drink in this town, we'd argue that there's simply no way you could get to it all without simply putting down roots here and deciding to stay.

But we do want you to make the most of your time here in the Valley of the Sun, so to ensure you have the most fulfilling dining and drinking experience while you're here, don't miss these essential dishes, drinks, restaurants, and chefs while you're visiting Phoenix.

See also: Chris Bianco Back in the Kitchen (and Loving It) at Pizzeria Bianco and Pane Bianco

Eat Chris Bianco's Pizza

Back in the day, the only way to get a bite of Chris Bianco's world-famous pizza was to wait up to four hours sometimes at Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix. Thanks to the fact that the restaurant now serves lunch and that there's a second location in Central Phoenix, at Town and Country Shopping Center, you shouldn't have to wait nearly that long. At the original Pizzeria Bianco location, you can have your choice of six signature pies (we like the Wiseguy and the Biancoverde) as well as a few small plates and salads. But at the second location, you also can order sandwiches, pasta, and (during dinner) dishes like braised lamb and chicken. If you're there, be sure to save room for dessert, which are made by Francesco Bianco -- that's Chris' mom. There's also Pane Bianco, the sandwich shop where you can catch Chris' brother, Marco, baking the bread used at all the Bianco restaurants.

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Alex Rodriguez
Enchiladas suizas at Barrio Cafe.
Dine at Barrio Cafe

See also: 2014 James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced: Six Arizona Candidates Make the List

Since 2002, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has been serving some of the best modern Mexican cuisine in the country at this cozy Central Phoenix restaurant. The food at Barrio Cafe blends the traditional flavors of southern Mexico with Esparza's own creative flair. She's known in particular for her cochinita de pibil, a dish of tender pork marinated in achiote and orange, then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked overnight. The chiles en nogada is another of the chef's signature dishes -- a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with chicken and topped with an almond cream sauce. But whatever you order, don't skip the guacamole. It's made tableside and features diced tomato, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds -- which might sound like an overly complicated take on an otherwise simple dish, but in this case, more is more. While you're in the neighborhood, be sure to take in the Calle 16 mural project, Esparza's program to turn the neighborhood around the restaurant into a center of pride and culture for Mexicans living in Arizona.

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Katie Johnson
Chef Kevin Binkley
Experience Kevin Binkley's Cuisine

See also: Best Molecular Gastronomist Phoenix 2012 - Kevin Binkley at Binkley's Restaurant

Kevin Binkley is about as big a name as you'll find in the Phoenix food scene. The chef has been a semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest award by the James Beard Award foundation each of the past three years (unfortunately, he hasn't won yet) and is credited with making "molecular gastronomy" a familiar phrase for Phoenix food lovers. You can head up to Cave Creek to dine at his original namesake restaurant, Binkley's Restaurant, where the chef serves exceptional four-, five-, and six-course tasting menus on par with the food at Thomas Keller's French Laundry, where Binkley once worked. But for a more casual dining experience that won't break the bank, Binkley has a collection of other dining establishments to choose from. There's Cafe Bink in Cave Creek, an accessible eatery serving French-inspired fare, and the sister restaurants Bink's Midtown and Bink's Scottsdale, where you'll find a veggie-heavy menu of bistro fare.

Location Info

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Trattoria Bianco

4743 N. 20th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Pane Bianco

4404 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Barrio Cafe

2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Los Dos Molinos

260 S. Alma School Road, Mesa, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The Four Peaks Tasting Room on Wilson

2401 S. Wilson St., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

Cafe Bink

36889 N. Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Binkley's Restaurant

6920 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Bink's Midtown

2320 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Four Peaks Brewing Company

15745 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Nogales Hot Dog

1945 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

El Exquisito Hot Dog

, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

FnB Restaurant

7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Crudo

3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Citizen R+D

7111 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Music

Sweet Republic

9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
48 comments
Kevin R Manire
Kevin R Manire

That pizza is so unappealing. So sparse and lame looking. Can't be that good..........Where's the beef?

Amber Lynn
Amber Lynn

Mark ! Great ideas for next week. ;)

Rickey Lynn Gans
Rickey Lynn Gans

I can't believe that you are still promoting Bianco's as the best pizza. I've had much better in many places across the U.S. It's a good pizza, but far from the best.

Tyler Franks
Tyler Franks

4 peaks is the best. Btw I'll miss weisenbock...it was so good.

Ashley Lawsuns
Ashley Lawsuns

Liz Finney-here's your guide for next weekend!!!

Jessica Elliott
Jessica Elliott

Always on my list when I come home from Denver. 3 weeks...

Hr Hamada
Hr Hamada

love them all, with the exception of los dos. highly overrated, plus I do not like eating in a mortuary

Kody Ray
Kody Ray

Yeah, I just see more and more bottle shops shipping. Most of it out of California though. Wasn't sure what Arizona laws allowed. The Beer Temple here in Chicago has started shipping too.

Mike Vaughn
Mike Vaughn

Moved from Tempe to Chicago myself not too long ago. It's true the mexican food isn't the same. For craft beer try Revolution or Three Floyds. That will get you by until your next AZ visit.

Tom Adikes
Tom Adikes

You should probably add the Cornish Pasty to this list.

Kody Ray
Kody Ray

I like that they start off with "So Phoenix may not quite be a culinary destination, like New York or Chicago". Since moving from Tempe to Chicago, certain dishes are some of what I miss most about the valley. You can't find most of the Mexican dishes that you take for granted there. BTW, I'm down to my last few 4P brews. Any bottle shops you are aware of that ship your beers?

Tom Hokans
Tom Hokans

Too bad Maizie's didn't make the list.

Tom Jetland
Tom Jetland

With over 1500 restaurants in town, the same cast of characters always get the press. They are good for sure but it's like a broken record. How about some good neighborhood or ethnic places with no PR agent and with solid food, talented staff and quality experiences?

Bill Schatz
Bill Schatz

I usually take visitors to the dirtiest, greasiest, somebertos I can find an introduce them to the epic carne asada burrito w/extra hot sauce

Sharon B. Salomon
Sharon B. Salomon

Don't know you, Jim Armstrong, but Lo Lo's may not be your choice but it is the choice of many others. Although I agree that the chicken at Tuck is good, it's not the same "kind" of chicken. They are not comparable. That's like comparing one religion to another! Each has its appeal. My preference is for Lo Lo's for many reasons not the least of which is that they offer me wings and that's my favorite part. Tuck does not. Also I do not like Tuck's waffles because I don't eat cheese.

Arianna Lorraine
Arianna Lorraine

Fuck this state no one wants to come to this racist discriminating state

lily1sonny2
lily1sonny2

may i add..best middle eastern..yaha bebe's tempe!!

Jim Armstrong
Jim Armstrong

Lo Lo's is overrated. Tuck Shop has the best chicken and waffles.

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

Some of you act as if gay Couples walk around carrying big giant gay signs that flash and sparkle and say "hey! Were gay!" B

Kate Crowley
Kate Crowley

The Farm at South Mountain in addition ;)

Susan Martin
Susan Martin

Seems like the same restaurants every other publication pushes and not all of them are that great. Yawn.

John Gunn
John Gunn

If they are smart they will.

Judy Reagan Ruston
Judy Reagan Ruston

Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles, Santan Brewery, Zinc Bistro, Culinary Dropout

Sharon B. Salomon
Sharon B. Salomon

Missing Hana Japanese Eatery and Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles

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