Over the past few years Phoenix has reinvented itself as a cultural and foodie center. Museums and galleries have sprung up everywhere. The number of incomers is growing. Phoenix has been revitalized and there are many dining choices to choose from in and around downtown Phoenix. Along with typical southwestern fare, Phoenix has Mexican, Italian, Japanese, southern BBQ, steakhouses and more.
The Gladly opened in 2013 as an offshoot to the popular Citizen Public House. Chef Bernie Kantack serves American Cuisine in a spacious comfortable atmosphere. Located in the Camelback Corridor of the Biltmore neighborhood, the Gladly is known for its Whiskey Bar. It features more that 250 innovative whiskey and cocktail drinks. The lunch and dinner menu is inspired by Chef Kantack’s international travels. The Gladly features a raw bar, mouth watering appetizers and salads including an amazing cobb salad. Entrees include everything from Duck Meatloaf, Filet Mignon, Tuna Poke and Pan Seared Scallops. The menu includes specialty burgers, chicken sandwiches and fish tacos.
Phoenix City Grille
Phoenix City Grille is a comfortable friendly old style tavern located in the Madison neighborhood in north central Phoenix. The bar invites patrons to unite. The patio is great for brunch, lunch or dinner. The dining area features Arizona artwork including historical depictions. Executive Chef Micah Wyzlic created a delicious menu includes contemporary and southwestern fare. There are a variety of choices from small plates, soups and salads, vegetable plates, burgers and sandwiches and entrees, and a great dessert menu. Popular entrees include Phoenix Cheese Steak and 16th Street Beef Pot Roast.
Experiencing Binkley’s is like no other dining experience. Chef Kevin Binkley and his wife Amy have created an event. Guests of the midtown Phoenix restaurant are treated to about 22 carefully orchestrated courses. Each seating accommodates 24 guests and lasts about 3 and a half hours. The cost: $180 with an opportunity for extras such as sommelier and chef pairings. Guests can spend sometime in the kitchen. Binkley sold 2 restaurants to focus on this unique experience in the quaint and homey cottage. Guests begin their journey on the patio with cocktails and bites before walking through the garden and enjoying further cocktails and bites in the cozy bar. Finally, guests enter the open airy dining room with full view of the kitchen to partake in the remaining courses. Binkley’s is a dining experience but also a dream for Chef Kevin. The restaurant opened in late 2016 and is a success.
Roland’s Café Market Bar
Chef Chris Bianco has honed his craft and reputation with Pizzeria Bianco, Tratto, and Pane Bianco. Last spring he combined his skills with Taco Chiwas’ Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez. The result is the popular Roland’s Cafe and Market Bar which features Mexican Italian dishes with unique touches and a focus on local ingredients. Housed in the a former Chinese market in the heart of Phoenix, the Roland Market Building is 100 years old. The interior is bright and big with tin ceiling tiles and patterned tiling throughout. Artwork created by Bianco’s father Leonard creates a friendly, festive space. Roland’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a full bar and a coffee and pastry bar. The breakfast menu includes choices like Niman Ranch pork chops and eggs and a roasted pepper sandwich. Lunch features a variety of tacos, quesadilas and sandwiches. Dinner options include entomatades, wood fired tostada with chicken tinga and much more.
Osteria is one of the latest Italian restaurants to enter the Phoenix scene. Jeff and Alec-Lauren Golzio both have family from Northern Italy and wanted to create a restaurant to pay homage to their ancestors and bring delicious seasonal food created with local and organic ingredients. They created a warm comfortable restaurant with the scent of the wood fired oven permeating. Osteria has a beautiful patio where lavender and olive trees attract hummingbirds. Chef Tony Snyder creates a rustic Northern Italian menu featuring hand crafted pasta, wood fired pizza, grilled meats and fresh seafood and vegetables. Osterio is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is reasonably priced.
Phoenix’s latest restaurant that opened this spring, Bri, specializes in small and shared plates. Located on North 7th Street, the restaurant is housed in an old rice paper building. The building was gutted and strung with lights. It features a room spanning bar and an intimate communal atmosphere. Chef Vince Mellody has created a place and a menu where people can bond over food and conversation. An open view into the kitchen offers the sight of duck slow roasting over the wood fired oven. The slow cooked duck is served roasted, as a 1/2 bird platter or with hot chile sauce. There are a variety of plates. Many are Asian inspired and all are innovative.
Taco Chelo opened in the Roosevelt Art District of last Spring. Chef Aaron Chamberlin combined forces with Chef Suny Santana to create a simple regional Mexican menu in a space that is festive and exciting. Artist Gennaro Garcia created colorful paintings and murals. The bar stands out as do the industrial rafters, lighting, brick accents and tiles. Taco Chelo seats 68 including a wraparound patio. Taco Chelo is named for Chef Suny’s mother who taught her son to cook when he grew up on the family farm in Monterrey, Mexico. Taco Chelo features a simple seasonal farm driven menu with just 5 choices of tacos, 4 starters, 2 salads and 1 dessert.
Leo Nakano trained under his father Hirofumi Nakano who owned Scottsdale’s Hiro Sushi. The younger Nakano trained for years honing his skills creating traditional and creative sushi and other Japanese dishes. Sushi Nakano is unassumingly located in Phoenix’s Ahwatukee Strip Mall, but inside is a traditional Tokyo Sushi Bar. The intimate interior is filled with blond wood and earth tones. There is a surprisingly large tuna skeleton hung behind the sushi bar. The menu is extensive with a variety of creative sushi choices. The focus of Leo Nakano is on extremely fresh fish prepared in creative ways. Other menu items include Sakana bar snacks, homemade miso soup, hot noodle dishes and bento boxes.
Traps Haus BBQ
Pitmaster Phil Johnson, “Phil the Grill”, opened Phoenix’s first BBQ restaurant in March 2018. Bronx native Johnson came to Phoenix in 2008 and worked in construction. He honed his BBQ skills at backyard parties and opened a Food Truck. Trap Haus BBQ is a traditional smokehouse restaurant with an urban twist. The atmosphere is casual and family friendly. The menu includes ribs smoked over pecan wood with Johnson’s signature sauce OMG BBQ. Also on the menu are BBQ platters, sandwiches, bowls and sides. Specialties include brisquet and pork dishes including empenades, The Philly Crack Wings, and The Mac Roll.
The Arrogant Butcher
Centrally located on E. Jefferson, The Arrogant Butcher is a great steakhouse to dine at. It has all the amenities of a typical steakhouse with a dark wood bar, plush banquettes, low lighting, retro photos and vintage posters. The menu features hearty cuts of beef, fresh seafood, new American bites, artisan charcuterie and a raw bar. The 7500 square foot space is often busy with diners enjoying upscale comfort food or enjoying drinks at the bar before a sporting event or the theater.