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The Desert City with a Masterful Hidden Culinary Side

In Phoenix, the food scene is heating up—and now is the perfect time to visit

When it comes to cities with incredible natural scenery, few can compare to Phoenix. With mountainous desert preserves both in and around the city, you’re never far from an Instagram-worthy view. Though the stunning scenery is a big draw for this desert city, there’s another reason to visit: its rising culinary scene. From a three-and-a-half-hour dining experience from a James Beard Award-nominated chef to a classic Mexican spot, here’s a bite-size sampler of everything Phoenix has to offer.

 

When your dinner set up is perfect you just know #rolandsphx #margarita #carnitas

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Three isn't a crowd for the creative talents behind this all-day restaurant, founded by three renowned Phoenix restaurateurs: Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez of Tacos Chiwas and Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco fame. Located in the century-old Roland’s Market building, you can pop in as early as 7 a.m. to dine on regional cuisine inspired by the founding trio's cultural roots.

 

#DrinkBetter & Taste the rainbow ? takes you back to childhood! In an adult treat. ? @schultzdigital

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Housed appropriately in the former Arizona Prohibition Headquarters, this Downtown Phoenix bar and resto is nationally recognized for its award-winning cocktail program by owner and barman Ross Simon. Get ready to imbibe on fairy-tale-inspired drinks found in the 20-page “liquids" menu, but get there early. This spot fills up fast.

 

Vegan #moleamarillo #holasanta #chayote #vegan #vegano #barriocafegranreserva #mexicanvegan #barriocafe

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Locals flock to chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Café—and you might recognize that name from the bustling Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where the celebrated café has an outpost. But Barrio Café Gran Reserva offers a more intimate experience, from a thoughtful tasting menu right down to a two-seat bar overlooking the kitchen. They close for the summer after June 5, but get in line for the fall reopening.

 

Add a little TACO to your TUESDAY -- we're open from 11A to 10P today and if you join us for happy hour from 3-6P you can wash your tacos down with $15 buckets of beer and $5 house margaritas!

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One of the newest additions to Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row Arts District, this Mexican restaurant pays homage to chef Suny Santana’s roots (he named the restaurant after his mother's nickname). Local restauranteur Aaron Chamberlin (of Phoenix Public Market Café) is a partner at this spot that serves classics like carne asada tacos and guacamole.

 

In our eyes, pasta night is every night

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Owned by celebrity chef Scott Conant, this restaurant is proof that incredible Italian food can be found beyond the Northeast (or your home city’s Little Italy section). Go home-style Italian with polenta with porcini sugo, or sample boundary-pushing creations like black campanelle pasta with clams and Fresno chiles. You won’t find a single “Old World”-style mural here, either—the dining room has a tailored, modern aesthetic.

 

Five spice duck breast wrapped around a blackberry with blackberry gel, wrapped around shiso with yuzu kosho. #delicious #foodie #cheflife #binkleys #duck

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You’ll want to clear an entire evening for this beloved Phoenix upscale dining destination. You won’t just be enjoying a meal, but a potentially life-changing dining experience created by James Beard Award-nominated chef Kevin Binkley that’ll run three and a half hours.

 

3 events, 3 posts, #1 of 3 This Sunday, April 15th, join us for a deeply local brunch featuring three of our favorite makers, three rosés, five courses, a craft cocktail, and so many mountains. Co-hosted by Tracy Dempsey of @tdoriginals , Sacha Levine formerly of FnB and Ocotillo now on to an exciting new project, @inbetweensphx and finally Robbie Tutlewski formerly of Pizzeria Bianco and his just-announced D.C. based @littledonnas Claim seats to this limited event at the link in our bio!

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City rooftops have nothing on Cloth & Flame, a series of pop-up dinner parties held in some of Greater Phoenix’s most dramatic outdoor settings. From the desert to the wilderness, these events have become a hot reservation due to their rarity. They’re held only a few times a year in the Greater Phoenix area (they also host dinners in other parts of Arizona and the Southwest), though Cloth & Flame could always plan your next private event if you truly can’t wait.

 

We know it’s early.. but we know you’re already thinking about where to #tacotuesday .. and we have a special treat with this Shio Koji marinated baby nopales with buttermilk lime mustard greens, watermelon radish, apple mignonette, and toasted sesame Remember you get 2 tacos AND a pint for just $10 #ballinonabudget #bestbreweryfood #heliobasinbrewing #southofindianschool #phoenix #qualitycraftedinphx #craftbeer #brewery #azcuisine #foodie #slowdood #phxfoodie #nomnom

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Not satisfied with typical bar snacks, chef Tamara (Tammy) Stanger created a menu of contemporary Southwest cuisine that’s earned Helio Basin Brewing Co. top honors at the local Devour Culinary Classic. Of course, the beer is equally as well-crafted—try the Kohi Imperial Coffee Stout, an oddly refreshing stout made with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans.  

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