- A. J. Samuels
A focus on modern American cuisine, seasonal and sustainable produce and stylish ambience abound in Phoenix, a location quickly becoming a South-western culture and foodie destination in its own right. Dine against a backdrop of dramatic panoramic views atop North Mountain, embrace the farm-to-table ethos at a rustic farm or enjoy a handcrafted cocktail in a sleek, urban gastro-lounge. These are 10 of our favorite restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona.
Different Pointe of View
Different Pointe of View resides atop Phoenix’s North Mountain offering panoramic views of the city below and surrounding desert valley in the distance. Executive chef Anthony DeMuro serves up a creative contemporary American menu characterised by distinct Mediterranean influences and locally sourced ingredients. The eclectic fare includes such dishes as Hamachi crudo served with blood orange, toasted pine nuts and crisp garlic chips and seared Ellensburg lamb loin with caramelised onion rosti, sautéed kale and celery root puree. If you still have room, try one of pastry chef Lara Coleman’s creations like the Tahitian vanilla bean crème brulee.
A truly authentic farm-to-table dining experience, Quiessence is located on The Farm at South Mountain, a ten-acre working farm just a short drive from downtown Phoenix. Overseen by mother and son duo Pat and Dustin Christofolo, who double as co-owner and executive chef, Quiessence prides itself on creating classic dishes with a contemporary twist based on sustainable produce grown on the premises and other local farms. The rustic yet modern menu includes handcrafted pappardelle pasta in a pork ragu with sweet potato, braised greens and farmer’s cheese and mixed grill Arizona lamb served with baby artichokes, asparagus and green garlic. The carefully selected wine list features international and American wines, along with a number of local Arizona varieties including a Pillsbury vineyard chardonnay and Sand Reckoner’s Malvasia.
Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Rusconi’s American Kitchen offers hearty regional American fare built around seasonal produce. Chef Michael Rusconi, who was educated at highly regarded New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and has received accolades including Mobil Four Star Awards, directs a menu full of recognisable American classics with contemporary influences, such as white truffle scented mac-n-cheese, made with white truffle cream and San Joaquin Gold cheese, and succulent buffalo sirloin steak served with a butternut squash and goats cheese bread pudding, carrots and cranberry gastrique with optional foie gras. The welcoming restaurant features an open kitchen with wood burning grill and is decked in a stylish oak and steel theme with a large central skylight canopy providing an airy, open space feel.
Nobuo at Teeter House
Nobuo at Teeter House is the brainchild of Tokyo-born chef Nobuo Fukada, who has lived and worked in Arizona for the past 30 years. He established a reputation for delicious Asian fusion cuisine featuring Japanese classics with a modern American spin. The function of the restaurant is twofold, by day Nobuo acts as a traditional Asian-style teahouse serving smaller plates alongside a range of aromatic and exotic teas, while by night it is transformed into an izakaya, a sort of Japanese tapas bar that is perfectly complemented by authentic décor details including dark woods and Eastern-style artworks. Seafood fans will love the many tantalising dishes available, options include big-eye tuna tataki with a roast beet puree and yellow tail ceviche with myouga, sesame seeds and shredded taro.
Nobuo at Teeter House, 622 East Adams Street, Phoenix, AZ, USA, +1 602 254 0600
Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails
Contemporary gastro-lounge the Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails is located within CityScape, Phoenix’s downtown entertainment hub. The Blue Hound was established in 2012 to provide the city’s residents with a seasonally informed restaurant. With handcrafted cocktails and artisan wines and beers in a smart, urban environment, Chef Stephen Jones cooks up a treat with tempting ‘munchies’ such as charred pork belly sliders with kimchi and peanuts, and devilled eggs from Arizona’s Hickman’s Farm served with brioche, smoked ham and Dijon. Wash down an entrée of crunchy fried bobwhite quail on a bed of foie gras cornbread with sausage and red bean gravy with a carefully selected wine from Blue Hound’s in-house sommelier followed by a delicious dessert of roasted apple fritters served with a hot toddy fluff and rosemary caramel.
Contemporary Italian restaurant Crudo gets its name from the Italian word for ‘raw’ and, appropriately, serves raw sashimi-style dishes comprised of classic Italian ingredients alongside a range of cooked dishes for those who like their food a little more well-done. Inside the restaurant, high ceilings create an airy space while exposed brick, modern concrete floors and plush furnishings give Crudo a stylish yet minimalist feel. Chef Cullen Campbell cooks up a range of dishes including raw ahi tuna flavoured with grilled lemon, parsley, pickled green garlic and black pepper; squid ink risotto with chillies, tuna and tomato and pork belly with polenta in a tomato sauce. Complement your meal with a refreshing cocktail made by Crudo’s resident mixologist Micah Olson.
Crudo, 3603 East Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ, USA, +1 602 358 8666
Since the former girl’s school, originally built in 1934, was converted to a restaurant and lodge in 1937, El Chorro has become something of a legend in Phoenix , in its early days Hollywood icons such as John Wayne and Clark Gable were known to dine there and the restaurant’s free sticky buns are a local tradition. El Chorro’s location at the base of the Camelback and Mummy Mountains provides diners with dramatic views of the surrounding terrain with a patio area for open-air dining. The restaurant design, which underwent a faithful restoration in 2009, oozes old world charm. The menu features classic fare with South-western flavours, with much produce sourced from El Chorro’s very own garden. Try the pan-roasted giant shrimp with banana chipotle polenta and crispy sweet potatoes or Rocky Mountain rack of lamb served with Brussels sprouts, white bean puree and blackberry jalapeno demi.
Christopher’s is an intimate restaurant that manages to be upmarket and stylish, yet at the same time relaxed and comfortable. Soft lighting is suspended from exposed ceilings, while black and orange furnishings lend a splash of colour against glass panels and walls that provide views of the restaurant’s open kitchen. Award-winning chef Christopher Gross, who has worked in renowned restaurants including Thierry’s in London and Chez Albert in Paris, has created a menu of contemporary American cuisine mixed with classic French bistro fare. Start your meal with the typically Gallic escargot en croute in a garlic herb butter or Alsatian onion tart with frisee and bacon, before mixing it up with an all American-inspired 8-ounce burger with mixed pommes frites.
Christopher’s, Suite 102, 2502 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ, USA, +1 602 522 2344
Set within the grounds of the Desert Botanical Garden, Gertrude’s is the namesake of the garden’s founder and trailblazing environmentalist Gertrude Divine Webster. The restaurant was established in 2013 and bases its modern American menu around produce sourced from Arizona and the surrounding Southwest, with some fresh herbs and vegetables grown on the restaurant property. Newly appointed executive chef Matt Taylor brings a wealth of experience to Gertrude’s, having worked in some of Phoenix’s top restaurants, and offers a creative twist to familiar South-western dishes such as the Sonoran Dog, a bacon-wrapped beef hot dog with avocado, tepary beans and cotija cheese, and tacos stuffed with grilled mahi mahi, jicama slaw and jalapeno glaze. A number of Arizona-brewed beers are also on draft, with varieties from Phoenix’s Sun Up Brewing Co’s and College Street Wheat Brewhouse in upstate Lake Havasu City.
Gertrude’s, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ, USA, +1 480 719 8600
The Compass Arizona Grill
What better way to take in Phoenix than at The Compass Arizona Grill, the city’s only revolving rooftop restaurant. The restaurant, which is situated on the 24th floor of the Hyatt Regency hotel and has been in operation for over 30 years, features window-side tables providing stunning 360 degree views of Phoenix and the valley beyond. The adventurous menu boasts South-western, European and Asian influences with mouth-watering starters like confit pork belly tacos and crispy duck served with pistachio crackers, gherkins and blackberry jam, as well as innovative entrees including chipotle braised pork shank or spaghetti squash. Guests rave about the restaurant’s dessert menu – indulge in a slice of layered cheesecake with hazelnut granola and cranberry jam or the toffee crème brulee served with blackberry bark, vanilla bean and whipped cream.