Restaurants in Arizona: A Culinary Journey Through the Grand Canyon State
The Grand Canyon State offers an exciting and diverse culinary scene, with everything from traditional Southwestern flavors to international cuisine. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the top eateries in Arizona, highlighting their signature dishes and unique experiences. So grab your appetite and let’s get started!
1. The Mission – Old Town Scottsdale
Location: 3815 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Known for its vibrant atmosphere, The Mission is a must-visit spot in Old Town Scottsdale. This stylish restaurant offers a unique fusion of Latin and Southwestern cuisine, with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. Their menu features mouth-watering dishes like duck carnitas, roasted pork shoulder, and chipotle-glazed ribs. Don’t forget to try their famous tableside guacamole and pair your meal with one of their handcrafted cocktails.
2. Café Poca Cosa – Tucson
Location: 110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701
If you’re looking for a truly memorable dining experience, Café Poca Cosa is the place to go. Located in downtown Tucson, this Mexican-inspired restaurant is led by the talented Chef Suzana Davila. The menu changes twice daily and features a selection of creative dishes that showcase the rich flavors of Mexico. Be sure to try the ‘Plato Poca Cosa,’ which allows you to sample three of the chef’s daily specials, served with a side of beans, rice, and tortillas.
3. Elote Café – Sedona
Location: 771 AZ-179, Sedona, AZ 86336
Named after the popular Mexican street food (grilled corn), Elote Café offers a stunning view of the red rocks of Sedona along with a delicious menu. Chef Jeff Smedstad serves up an impressive selection of Southwestern and Mexican dishes, all made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. The eponymous elote appetizer is a must-try, as are the smoked pork cheeks and the fire-roasted lamb.
4. Pizzeria Bianco – Phoenix
Location: 623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Widely regarded as one of the best pizzerias in the United States, Pizzeria Bianco is an absolute must-visit for pizza lovers. Chef Chris Bianco crafts artisanal, wood-fired pizzas that feature a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The menu includes classic options like the Margherita and Marinara, as well as unique creations like the Wiseguy, which features house-made fennel sausage, smoked mozzarella, and caramelized onions.
5. The Tamale Store – Phoenix
Location: 13046 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85022
If you’re looking for authentic, homemade tamales, look no further than The Tamale Store. This family-owned gem offers a variety of delicious tamales, including beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian options. All tamales are handmade using natural ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations. Be sure to also try their salsa and guacamole!
6. Barrio Café – Phoenix
Location: 2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Barrio Café is a beloved institution in Phoenix, offering an upscale take on Mexican cuisine. Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has created a menu that showcases the diverse flavors of Mexico, with dishes like cochinita pibil, chiles en nogada, and the famous guacamole with pomegranate seeds. Don’t miss their extensive tequila and mezcal selection, as well as the colorful and eclectic murals that adorn the walls.
7. Tacos Chiwas – Multiple Locations
Location: 1923 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006 (and other locations)
For a casual dining experience that doesn’t skimp on flavor, Tacos Chiwas is the place to be. With multiple locations throughout the state, this popular taqueria serves up authentic Chihuahuan-style tacos and gorditas. The signature Chiwas taco, filled with beef, ham, jalapeño, and cheese, is a fan favorite. Don’t forget to add a side of their delicious refried beans and a refreshing horchata to complete your meal.
8. Gertrude’s – Phoenix
Location: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Nestled within the Desert Botanical Garden, Gertrude’s offers a unique dining experience surrounded by Arizona’s natural beauty. The restaurant focuses on farm-to-table cuisine, using fresh, local ingredients to create dishes that reflect the flavors of the Southwest. Menu highlights include the mesquite-grilled quail, prickly pear-glazed salmon, and blue corn pancakes. Make sure to plan a visit to the garden before or after your meal!
9. The Turquoise Room – Winslow
Location: 305 E 2nd St, Winslow, AZ 86047
Located inside the historic La Posada Hotel, The Turquoise Room is a culinary gem that offers a fine dining experience in the heart of Winslow. Chef John Sharpe’s menu highlights regional ingredients and Native American influences, with dishes like the signature Churro Lamb Posole and the Juniper-Sage Elk Medallions. The elegant atmosphere and attentive service make for a memorable meal.
10. Welcome Diner – Tucson
Location: 902 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85719
For a laid-back, retro dining experience, head to Welcome Diner in Tucson. This charming, 50s-style eatery serves up Southern-inspired comfort food like fried chicken biscuits, mac and cheese, and the famous Big Jim burger. The casual atmosphere and friendly service make it the perfect spot for a relaxed meal with friends or family.
Arizona’s culinary scene is as diverse and exciting as the state itself. With a wide range of options, from upscale dining to street food, you’re sure to find something that will delight your taste buds. Enjoy exploring the delicious offerings at these fantastic restaurants, and don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path to discover even more hidden gems.