Phoenix is at the nexus of one of the fastest-growing counties in America. As the city has changed, the restaurant scene has evolved too, driven largely by homegrown restaurants expanding to new locations and treating diners to new concepts.
Once a land of citrus and steaks, the metro area has become an engaging home to a diverse range of cuisines. In the sprawling desert city and its surrounding towns, notable recent openings have landed all over the gastronomic map. Most notably, Phoenix has seen the rise of Valentine, a restaurant using Arizona ingredients in novel ways, and the rebooting of the Southwest’s most acclaimed Italian restaurant, Tratto.
As it continues to grow, morph, and expand, metro Phoenix constantly surprises diners with new places to eat and drink. Here are the restaurants to get excited about as the pandemic, fingers crossed, really starts to wane in 2021.
A number of Phoenix area restaurants have resumed in-person service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area as well as vaccine distribution, please visit the Maricopa County COVID-19 tracker. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. In March 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report that provided statistically significant evidence that dining on-premises at restaurants and bars was followed by a rise in COVID-19 infections and deaths. People who are fully vaccinated should consult the CDC’s interim guidance on restaurant dining and other forms of social gatherings.