Where to eat, drink and stay in Phoenix

In Phoenix, half the thrill of going out is uncovering new hidden treasures and discovering the endless excellent restaurants and food options. Arizona’s capital boasts a little of everything: from Michelin-starred restaurants to hidden bars, every strip mall has a locally owned (amazing) restaurant, if not entire outdoor compounds.

As a true foodie, hence, during our trip to Phoenix, I had so much fun eating myself throughout the city, trying all the different restaurants, food trucks, rooftop bars, and breweries. And considering that we only had a little over 48 hours in Phoenix, I tried a lot––but there is even more that I, unfortunately, missed this time, which is why I have to come back asap.

Meanwhile, I am going to share my absolute favorites restaurants, bars, and coffee shops–and those places that I am already looking forward to visiting next time.

Food Trucks in Phoenix

Best Restaurants in Phoenix

Food Trucks, Compounds & Courtyards

I was surprised to find not only one but four food compounds in Downtown Phoenix that would gather food trucks, hip shacks and sometimes concept stores in one dedicated area. Some would even play (live music), offer fun activities, or host entire events (flew markets, night outs, and others!) so that you could spend a weekend only on those. Three of the following areas happened to be in our neighborhood, which enabled us to go there multiple times during the weekend we spent in Phoenix – and if it was just for a glass of wine in front of a French truck. With that density of great food and courts, however, I am almost convinced there got to be more in Phoenix.

  • The Churchill – Located in the heart of Roosevelt Row, Downtown Phoenix’s Artist’s District, this locally-focused community gathering space is home to a collection of local businesses, including restaurants, bars, one wine shop, and three retail shops. The space also organizes weekly events, such as the Saturday Flew Market or the First Friday of the Month night out, that we could enjoy.

  • Pemberton PHX – This entertainment venue at the historical Sarah H. Pemberton house in downtown Phoenix offers everything from craft beers to yoga.

  • PALABRA – An artsy space with a hairdresser, an art gallery, a coffee shop (Futuro Coffee), and a Mexican brunch place (Pasado) under one roof.

  • Ocotillo – The Restaurant & Bar occupies a nearly one-acre corner lot in central Phoenix at the corner of Third Street and Flower with a fantastic indoor/outdoor concept that I haven’t seen anywhere before. Outdoors are several restaurant spaces, including the chef’s garden, the mesquite terrace, the beer garden, and Lucy’s lawn. In the restaurant with the same name, you’ll find great food and some live music, and the Sidecar Social Club is supposed to be one of the city’s best cocktail bars (as per Google Rating of 4.8 Stars!).


Restaurant Progress – Hand’s down one of the best experiences I have ever had in a restaurant. So much so that it actually inspired me to publish a blog post about the best and most surprising restaurants in the world. Hang on!

Scottise – A modern French bistro restaurant in Phoenix inhabiting the historic Knipe House, built in 1901 in Downtown Phoenix. that taps into Restaurant Progress’s TJ Culp’s

Valentine – I didn’t dine at Valentine, but I spent a couple of hours in their hidden bar. The place was buzzing, and the food looked great, and I will certainly come back to eat here next time!

The Gladly | Restaurant & Whiskey Bar – A restaurant that combines great food and whiskey can’t ever be wrong, for me anyway. The Gladly is the follow-up concept by the critically acclaimed Citizen Public House owners and boldly pairs extraordinarily flavorful new-American cuisine with an extensive beverage program featuring craft cocktails, 285+ whiskey, and table-side ice balls. Should I say more?

The Henry – Part of a chain, The Henry is a modern American eatery with a unique twist on comfort food. From simple to delicate, The Henry menu has something tempting for every palate. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it this time, but we will check it out once we’re back or in their other locations, such as Dallas or LA.

Restaurant Progress – One of the best dinner experiences I ever had in the US.

CIBO Pizzeria – An urban pizzeria (wood-fired Neapolitan) is situated in a restored 1913 bungalow, making it the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner.

Wren & Wolf – From Espresso in the morning to Martinis at night, I don’t know whether the Wren & Wolf is rather a restaurant or a craft cocktail bar, but in any way, the Wren & Wolf is surely a hotspot in downtown Phoenix, offering a distinct experience.

The Arrogant Butcher – The name speaks for itself, as this place claims to be an iconic Phoenix landmark that captures the classic downtown vibe. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try it, but their extensive drink menu and the juicy steaks sound delicious enough, and the interior is so appealing I need to come back.

the larder and the delta – A farm-to-table restaurant awarded as the best in Arizona by Travel & Leisure Magazine. As part of a movement in a modern space, the larder and the delta make the best of Arizonan ingredients with an imaginative, changing menu.


To be fair, despite being a foodie, we had no proper breakfast. We simply didn’t feel like we had enough time to spend the entire morning in one place, especially since we ate all day anyway. Instead, we were hunting for cool coffee spots that offered pastries or breakfast burritos too. That way, we could check out two cafés instead of spending too much time in one busy restaurant. However, next time, I would opt for one relaxed breakfast morning, considering how much Phoenix has to offer. Here’s what made it to the top of my list:

Breakfast Bitch – The breakfast place in our hotel appeared to be more like a party than an actual restaurant. We asked twice for a table but despite being our “house restaurant”, we’ve been told the waiting time would be around four hours. Hence, we, unfortunately, couldn’t try it ourselves, but I am convinced this place is popular and buzzing.

Matt’s Big Breakfast – Pancakes, Waffles, Bacon, Eggs, Sauce – this breakfast screams American.

Hash Kitchen Arcadia

Coffee & Pastries

Here are a few places that serve great coffee and pastries if you are not a breakfast person and prefer to eat on the go. As you know, I drink a lot of coffee, so I have tried at least 50% of those myself. The others are on my list!

Bespoke Bars in Phoenix

  • Sidecar Social Club – The bar located in the Ocotillo compound was designed so uniquely, that I wish I had captured their amazing indoor/outdoor concept better. I liked the concept, the outdoor-bar-counter-yet-diner-interior-design tucked away in an open bar, and last but not least, the food they serve that comes from Ocotillo Restaurant. I was not too impressed with their cocktails, though, but this might just be me. If it were 2018, I would probably rave about their cocktails. But for someone who spends a lot of time tasting alcoholic beverages, I wasn’t too impressed.

  • Bar 1912 – Located in the back of the Valentine restaurant, it took us a while to find the hidden spot. Once we entered their plain door, though, we felt ourselves in another time and place. Dark, a fireplace, velvety furniture, and pampas grass – and probably the best Martini cocktail I ever tasted that set the foundation for my martini love.

  • From The Rooftop – Our hotel rooftop and apparently voted #1 rooftop bar in Phoenix – well, not sure how many there are actually? The view is certainly not as impressive as some bars in New York or Singapore might be, but the vibe is pretty chill (they have a pool, too), and the drinks are alright and certainly fit the purpose! I would hang out here on a sun-breezy afternoon and enjoy some bubbles or White Chocolate Martini.

  • Lacuna Kava Bar Phoenix – No way I couldn’t mention this bar, although we, unfortunately, couldn’t make it this time around. We tried Kava (a Polynesian shrub piper methysticum plant used to promote psychological and physiological relaxation in the Pacific Islands) in Fiji though, so I found it super funny that Phoenix, out of all cities in the US we have visited so far, has Arizona’s 1st and #1 rated best Kava Bar – need to check this out next time!

  • Killer Whale Sex Club – This bar was recommended to us by a lovely lady on a Saturday flew market, and I wish we could have made it. Their cocktails are supposed to have provocative names with unique flavors – I need to check this out next time!

  • The Theodore – A beer and wine bar with locals and students hanging out here until the late hours and bartenders trying their best to find you the right bev to sip on.

  • Restaurant Progress / Scottise – Not exactly bars, but their drinks were hands down bomb dot com!

  • HighballI need to check this out next time!

Concept Stores & SHOPPING


Hotels to stay at

Regarding accommodation, I can definitely recommend staying in Midtown, near the Art District, or–potentially– Uptown. That’s why today I am only sharing three Boutique Hotels in Phoenix that I can truly recommend based on their location, their appealing concept, and their F&B options.

FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel – This was my first choice when we booked our stay in Austin, but I think it was booked out when we finally planned our trip. This hotel was first aesthetically pleasing and designed with chic industrial decor featuring locally sourced handcrafted fixtures. Their location is great as it is right in Mid-Town, and their MATCH Market & Bar, which–as the name suggests– is a cool concept offering a bar and market with lovely staff, was just a cherry on the top.

Rise Uptown Hotel – Located in the fine neighborhood of Uptown, this hotel features lovingly-designed rooms, a poolside bar, a rooftop cocktail lounge, a pop stand, and a hometown coffee shop, so you don’t need to ever leave the location.


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