There's no better way to immerse yourself in a culture than by indulging in the local cuisine. In Phoenix, dining isn't just about filling your stomach; it's an experience that reflects the rich tapestry of cultures that call this desert oasis home. From family-owned taquerias serving up authentic Mexican street food to trendy restaurants with eclectic Southwestern fare, the city offers a myriad of flavors and culinary traditions waiting to be savored. Uncover the hidden gems and beloved haunts cherished by Phoenix locals, inviting you to eat like a true Phoenician and discover the soul of the city through its delectable dishes and cherished food traditions. 

Duck & Decanter

The Nooner 

Duck and Decanter is a city staple: the Phoenix sandwich of all sandwiches. The Duck, as it's known colloquially, has been serving Phoenix since 1976. You can order an iconic “nooner” (sandwich) from their signature menu, like the house favorite, The Duckling, or make your own. The Duckling features smoked duck breast, roasted turkey breast, cream cheese and a cranberry-walnut relish sandwiched in-between two fluffy slices of cranberry walnut country bread. Bring a full appetite!  


Crescent Ballroom 

Bean and Cheese Burrito 

Bean and cheese burritos are a classic. If you think there’s not much one can do to elevate this burrito, you’re wrong. Just try the Bean & Cheese at Crescent. Refried beans, melted cheese, and a flour tortilla—it’s perfect bliss. Add on an additional protein and you’re set to trek around downtown Phoenix or catch a show at Crescent Ballroom. Crescent’s fare has become an unofficial to-go order for many of the touring artists at downtown Phoenix venues, such as Kendrick Lamar, who loves the Bean & Cheese from Crescent.  



Red Chili Burrito

Carolina’s Mexican Food, a beloved family-owned business in Phoenix, has been serving their signature tacos, burritos, and handmade flour tortillas in the Valley since 1968. Their original South Phoenix location is always packed to the brim, with people lining up to order their red chile burrito. Don’t forget to order a bag of their fresh tortilla chips, with a side of red sauce.  


Lux Central


Lux is the ultimate vibe in central Phoenix. With a loungey ambiance, it’s an ultra-comfortable spot to WFH, meet up with a friend for coffee, or to go grab a quick coffee and a bite to eat. Their coffee counter features a rich offering of delicious and decadent pastries—you’ll struggle to pick just one; take a few!. At night, LUX turns into an eclectic bar, where you can order beer, wine, or specialty cocktails. 


Lupita’s Hot Dogs

Sonoran Hot Dog

You can’t come to Phoenix without trying one of our most famous street food dishes: Sonoran Hot Dogs.  Arizona is blessed to be neighbors with Sonora; thanks to our Southern neighbor, you have access to some of the best Sonoran Mexican food in the country, right here in Phoenix.  

Try Lupita’s hot dogs, for a bacon-wrapped doggo with sauteed onions, beans, tomato, mayo, and cotija cheese. The hot dogs are always encased in a warm, toasted bolillo bun. And you can always add whatever additional toppings you want from the bar.  


Sweet Republic Ice Cream

Pecan Turtle Sundae 

Sweet Republic has been hailed as Phoenix’s best ice cream shop by the Phoenix New Times. With three locations in the Valley, they offer a distinct menu with unique flavors you can find only at Sweet Republic. And the best part? Sweet Republic’s artisan ice cream doesn’t use preservatives, sweeteners, or additives. The shop sources their milk and cream from independent Arizona dairy farms.  

Don’t leave without trying their popular Pecan Turtle Sundae or their Campfire S’More Sundae.  


Postino WineCafe

Bruschetta Board

Set in comfortable, rustic and immaculately restored buildings, Postino is Phoenix’s version of a neighborhood wine cafe. The bruschetta board at Postino is one of its most popular offerings for good reason. You can pick four bruschetta board options from a list of 12 different choices. And, yes, they have gluten-free options. The brie, apple and fig spread are a must, as is the smoked salmon and pesto. The rest is up to you! 


Huarachis Taqueria 

Sonoran Tacos (Tripas, Cabeza, Carne Asada, Lengua, Chicharron)

Huarachis is the brainchild of Rene Andrade, the James Beard nominated chef behind Bacanora (another Valley favorite).  Located in downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row area, you’ll know you’re at Huarachis when you see the pink neon-lit sign. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks her ruby red heels and she knows she’s home, but in Phoenix, you know you’ve found the hottest taco spot when you see that lit up sign, inviting you to eat some of the best Sonoran tacos this city has to offer. Like Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.”  


Fry Bread House  

Fry Bread (in all forms) 

Fry Bread with cheese, fry bread with beans, fry bread with powdered sugar; who knew there were so many tasty combinations? Fry Bread House did. Popular in Arizona, Fry Bread is a traditional, indigenous deep-fried bread that is light, fluffy, and crispy. The Tohono O’odham family-run spot been slinging Fry Bread in Phoenix since 1992. In 2012, the Fry Bread House was recognized with a James Beard Award as an “American Classic.” 

The Native Taco is our favorite, but it’s hard to choose one favorite from all their offerings. On a cold day, you’ll want to sit down and have a plate of posole with a warm, freshly made piece of fry bread.  


Tacos Chiwas and Cocina Chiwas 

Taco Chiwas

For co-owners Armando Hernandez and Nadia Holguin, it all started with Tacos Chiwas. The local family-owned street-style taqueria draws inspiration from the Northern Mexico city of Chihuahua, with recipes passed down through generations. The “Taco Chiwas,” featuring beef, ham, jalapeño, Anaheim chiles, and asadero cheese, is a must. But you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose! All their tacos are served in handmade corn tortillas. 

Drawing on the success of Tacos Chiwas, Hernandez and Holguin opened Cocina Chiwas in 2023 to rave reviews, from USA Today to a James Beard Award nomination. Whereas Tacos Chiwas is a drive-thru and counter-service spot, Cocina Chiwas is a sit-down restaurant where you can have a nice dinner with friends or a date night.  


Bad Jimmy’s 

Smash burger

Bad Jimmy’s graduated from a popular night life pop-up spot to a popular brick and mortar location in downtown Phoenix. They have the smashiest of smash burgers you’ll find in town. Who’s “Bad Jimmy” you ask? Well, you might want to ask James Piazza, the owner and former Pizzeria Bianco and Valentine chef. Trained in some of Phoenix’s best kitchens, James uses grass-fed beef and brisket in his burgers, along with a “special sauce” you must go and try.  


Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles 

Chicken and Waffles

Soul food made from scratch. Need we say anything else? OK, we will. Come for the fried chicken and waffles, stay for everything else. Plus, if you’re the all-day breakfast type, Lo-Lo's has all-day breakfast. You’ll know you’re in Phoenix because this soul food spot has a chorizo and eggs plate for breakfast.  


Glai Baan  

Kao Soi Curry

Glai Baan’s cuisine focuses on the Isan (northeast region) of Thailand. The award-winning restaurant specializes in Thai street-style food and snacks that you would commonly find while visiting the country. Glai Baan was recently dubbed one of the “Best Places to Eat” in the U.S. by USA Today on their “Restaurants of the Year 2024” list. Glai. Baan was also a 2023 James Beard semifinalist.  

P.S. Because of it’s popularity, Glai Baan stays pretty packed; we recommend booking a reservation in advance. Although Glai Baan stays full, the interior space feels cozy and familiar. It’s a place you’ll want to keep coming back to, just like us locals. 



Churro Waffle

You’ll find Valentine inside a mid-century modern furniture store called Modern Manor. Donald Hawk, the chef behind the eclectic southwestern food spot’s unique creations, is inspired by the desert and uses local ingredients like huitlacoche, chiltepin, and chayote in his dishes. It’s no surprise he was nominated for a James Beard award for his work at Valentine. His elote pasta is a must, along with the bison tartar tostada.