Phoenix is a foodie oasis. Where to start? You can eat really well at the area golf courses--try Talavera at Troon North for splurge-worthy Arizona ranch-raised meats; Phil's Grill at Grayhawk with Phil Mickelson memorabilia at every turn and consistently good American fare; or La Hacienda at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess next to TPC Stadium, which offers a great tequila bar and upscale fresh Mex-- but you'd be crazy not to dig in to the diverse range of good eats that abound, from Mexican street food to farm-to-table al fresco dining.
Start your journey is Scottsdale's Old Town, where pizza and beer have been elevated to an art form. Everyone's buzzing about Craft 64, which offers a changing roster of 36 Arizona-crafted beers on tap and fantastic wood-fired pizza made by a chef trained at the much-praised Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, still a local favorite (pictured above). The Brat Haus, about two blocks from Old Town's main tourist drag, has an excellent selection of microbrews, homemade pretzels and tasty brats served in a laidback biergarten atmosphere. The Yard in downtown Phoenix keeps craft beers in kegs and offers cornhole, Ping-Pong and interesting food like shrimp-and-pork-belly ramen. In Mesa, the Illinois-based restaurant Two Brothers Taphouse and Brewery just opened and is serving its first Arizona craft beer along with great tacos, nachos and burgers.
For cocktail-in-hand sunset views of the city, head to El Chorro, a landmark restaurant butting up to Camelback Mountain. It boasts bocce ball courts, a big patio and occasional live music. Oenophiles may favor FnB, in the heart of Scottsdale, for its impressive wine list—including many from Arizona vineyards (who knew?)—and its seasonal menus, which featuring local ingredients. The adjacent market sells Arizona-produced wines, olives and other goodies. Dinner at Don & Charlie's could take a few hours--and that's just to get in. Wait it out. The steak is top-notch at this baseball shrine, the sports memorabilia mesmerizing, and you never know who might walk in the door-- it's a major hangout for MLB players in town for spring training.
Be sure to put a Sonoran hot dog on your must-try list. These mesquite bacon-wrapped dogs topped with pinto beans, tomatoes, onions and a mayo spread have gained cult status in the Valley. You can find these haute hot dogs everywhere from street stands to high-end restaurants. The Red Hot Grill at Chase Field has a good version if you're in town for a Diamondbacks game. Foodies like the rendition at El Guero Canelo, a Tucson import in the West Valley. The "Best of Phoenix" Nogales Hot Dogs offers them in a parking lot pop-up only open at night (1945 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix). To enjoy one in air-conditioned comfort, RnR in Old Town Scottsdale has a respectable version.