Lifestyle, Travel

My Favorite Places in Phoenix/Scottsdale: Restaurant Edition

I like to eat. I like to drink. And since Arizona has been my home for over 10 years, I’ve had my fair share of meals and experiences out. I’m bringing you 15 of my favorite places to eat and drink in Phoenix and Scottsdale, whether you’re an out-of-town visitor or a local trying to pinpoint a new fave. Enjoy!

1. Best brunch

O.H.S.O. Brewery [link] – multiple locations

Grab your pup and your crew. The pooch-friendly patio, nice decor, and outdoor ambiance make O.H.S.O. a great place to nurse your Sunday morning hangover. Bonus: brunch meals taste great, are priced fairly, and include a beer or mimosa. Plus, pick up a free housemade doggie cracker! 

2. Best burgers

Rehab Burger Therapy [link] – multiple locations

Get your taste buds ready for a treat. Their unique burger combinations may sound weird on the page, but are tried and true — the PBJ & Bacon Burger is truly a culinary delight. The only problems you’ll have here are deciding what to order and finding room in your stomach.

3. Best nachos

Diego Pops [link] – old town Scottsdale

If you can’t tell, I like unique foods and unique experiences… and Diego Pops is just that. This retro-decorated Mexican-influenced joint cures my craving for brussels sprouts nachos (I assure you, it’s a craving you never knew you had). Happy hour is a great deal!

4. Best sushi experience

Sushi Station [link] – North Phoenix

I don’t know about you, but I like to see my food before I order it. This novelty sushi spot solves for that — various sushi rolls parade around you on the revolving belt, allowing you to grab what looks good, and get charged by the plate. Order off the menu if you’d prefer.

5. Best wine experience

Sorso Wine Room [link] – North Scottsdale

Another see-before-you-buy experience, comin’ right up! Select any number of wines via the “vending wall”, choose your desired volume — just a taste, or a whole glass? — swipe your card and fill ‘er up. The ambiance is date-night, and it’s a great opportunity to try new wines and expand your palate. Tapas and food also sold.

6. Best seafood

Salt Cellar Restaurant [link] – south Scottsdale

If you really want to impress a girl (me included), take her to the Salt Cellar. Fit for a special occasion, descend underground to the white tableclothed-dining room — stop in the bar for incredible happy hour deals — and get excited for the fresher-than-fresh seafood. Best Alaskan King Crab OF MY LIFE. Happy hour is 4-7 pm and reverse happy hour is 10 pm-12 am.

7. Best vegetarian/vegan

Green New American [link] – multiple locations

When I was a vegetarian and trying to suit the carnivorous tastes of a former boyfriend, this was my spot. The meat substitute meals were so good, you’d worry they were the real thing. Think plant-based versions of all your favorite meat-based comfort/game-day foods. Gluten-free available too.

8. Best bruschetta

Postino [link] – multiple locations

Stuff on bread. Simple, but Postino does it oh so right. My favorite is the ricotta, dates & pistachio, with the burrata, bacon, arugula, & tomato a close second. It’s got a chill vibe, great for both girls’ nights and dates. Go on Monday or Tuesday night after 8 p.m. for the “Bottle and a Board” deal — you get a board of bruschetta and a bottle of wine for just $25. It’s enough to share (but only if you reaaaaally want to).

9. Best healthy

Flower Child [link] – multiple locations

This semi-fast, healthy food chain is awesome for a post-workout meal or a pre-event energy infusion. The formula: choose your meal (salad, wrap, bowl, or entree) and your protein. I love the kale salad with salmon and the glow bowl. Decently-priced for the quality.

10. Best business lunch

Hillstone Restaurant [link] – Phoenix Biltmore area

In the same family as Houston’s, Hillstone’s more-interesting menu is a cut above your typical steakhouse/business spot. Vendors, take notice — take your clients here and you’ll make a great impression (that’s how I got introduced to it!). The Thai steak & noodle salad is delish. Dress up from casual.

11. Best coffee

Fair Trade Cafe [link] – downtown Phoenix

This house-converted-coffee-shop in historic downtown Phoenix is the coziest place to grab your morning coffee. Try the boss barista’s special: the jefita, made with soy milk, agave and cinnamon. Not overly sweet, but more interesting than a regular latte.

12. Best local brewery

State 48 Brewery [link] – multiple locations

IPAs are sooooo 2014… I’m a big fan of the the Van Buren Blonde Belgian Ale. Tastes great and packs a punch at a not-too-shabby 7% ABV. They also make a pretty decent Tripel, and the atmosphere is lively.

13. Best German

Edelweiss Biergarten [link] – north Phoenix

Blame it on my European heritage, but sometimes you want a tall glass of German beer and a big plate of currywurst (if you haven’t ever tried it, stop what you’re doing and go NOW). The outdoor biergarten is dog-friendly and often there’s (kitschy) entertainment. Prost!

14. Best indoor-outdoor bar

Culinary Dropout at the Yard [link] – multiple locations

Because who wouldn’t want to play bags (AKA cornhole) between rounds?

15. Best speakeasy

Kazimierz Wine Bar [link] – old town Scottsdale

Good luck finding the entrance (hint: it’s a big wooden door) — but once you’re inside, you’ll feel old-worldly. There’s entertainment most nights; on Sundays, there’s live band karaoke. Bring your checkbook, cuz you’ll want all. The. Drinks.

If you like this list, you might like: Things to Do and Places to Go in Arizona… My Faves

What are your favorite eating and watering holes in the Phoenix metro area? What do I need to check out? Leave me a comment below!

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