HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice
TELL US

What is the single best restaurant in Phoenix?

w
Wet Towel Apr 9, 2010 11:01 AM

I realize thats an awfully broad question but I'll be in from NYC for one night only on Monday and would be grateful for any tips.

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Dmnkly Apr 9, 2010 02:11 PM

    I realize it's rude to answer a question with a question, but I think your answer will go a long way towards helping you get a response you're happy with.

    What do you consider the "single best" restaurant in new York?

    1. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Apr 9, 2010 03:03 PM

      There are a number of restaurants that come up in the Absolute Best discussion. I would say that right now, the top five for One Night In Phoenix are Kai, Binkley's, Pizzeria Bianco, Noca, and FnB. Many people would tack Posh on that list as well. Barrio Cafe has some of the best Mexican food in the state.

      And every single one is closed on Mondays.

      -----
      Pizzeria Bianco
      623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

      Binkley's
      6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      Noca
      3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

      FnB
      7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

      3 Replies
      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
        Firenza00 Apr 9, 2010 05:14 PM

        I was going to suggest Binkley's, Kai, and noca. I haven't been to Binkley's or Kai, but friends who have loved it. They along with FnB are on my list to visit.

        -----
        Binkley's
        6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

        FnB
        7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
          themis Apr 9, 2010 05:40 PM

          I would otherwise agree with JK, but my meal at Quiessence last night has me edging it in at the same level as noca and FnB. The fried mortadella with fig agro dolce is something we should all be lucky enough to experience, and the duck they served -- lean and beefy yet meltingly soft -- is something I will recall fondly for a long time.

          Also closed on Mondays. Too bad for you!

          -----
          Binkley's
          6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

          Quiessence
          6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

          FnB
          7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          1. re: themis
            JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Apr 9, 2010 05:42 PM

            Oh I always forget about Quiessence! It is quite the place, and arguably one of the most beautiful settings in town.

            -----
            Quiessence
            6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

        2. j
          jess harter Apr 9, 2010 06:51 PM

          I'd put Cork in my Top 5 list. It's also closed Mondays.

          -----
          Cork
          4991 S Alma School Rd Ste 1, Chandler, AZ 85248

          1. Bill Hunt Apr 9, 2010 08:27 PM

            There are some really good restaurants in the PHX Metro Area, and some that have recently passed from the scene.

            Without more specifications, I would have to vote for NOCA @ 32nd & Camelback Rd, in Phoenix. It is an up-scale "neighborhood" restaurant, with great food, done well. The wine list is smallish, but well-chosen and pairing well with the fare. The service, while relaxed, is great. The ambiance is a tad loud, as there are reflective surfaces, but if one is not going for intimate conversation, or business discussion, it is not a bad thing - I just like quiet dining experiences, but am considered an "old fogey."

            There are more good upscale restaurants, but for the food, one cannot do better - pressed linen tablecloths or not.

            Kai, at which I have yet to dine, gets great reviews here, and is unique.

            Binkley's is excellent, but a bit "off-the-beaten-path." Worth the drive, or the limo (same for Kai), but if I had only one, it would be NOCA.

            I think I have 3-4, in-depth reviews on this board, and I grade hard.

            Enjoy,

            Hunt

            -----
            Binkley's
            6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

            32nd Cafe
            2822 N 32nd St Ste 1, Phoenix, AZ 85008

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bill Hunt
              Bill Hunt Apr 20, 2010 07:28 PM

              Do not know why the 32nd Cafe keeps showing up. It seems that if I mention NOCA and list them on 32nd & Camelback, that restaurant gets attached. Must be some sort of "deal," as they have showed up, instead of NOCA, on a dozen of my posts, and I have never been there?

              Hunt

              -----
              Noca
              3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

            2. johnseberg Apr 10, 2010 07:59 AM

              Wet,

              It seems to me that you are going to have to settle for a restaurant that doesn't suck. How about if you let us know where you are staying, and maybe you can get some recs for something close that is open Mondays.

              1. k
                kmarg Apr 10, 2010 09:22 AM

                If you're in the mood for Italian, Marcellino is the best in town and in the running for best overall as well. North Central Phoenix. Worth a visit, if you want local flavor La Hacienda at the Fairmount. in North Scottsdale.

                -----
                Marcellino Ristorante
                7114 E. Stetson Dr. 85251, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                La Hacienda
                7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

                1 Reply
                1. re: kmarg
                  exit2lef Apr 11, 2010 06:48 AM

                  I agree that Marcellino is superb. Keep in mind that it is moving to the Southbridge development in Scottsdale in a few weeks.

                2. d
                  duck833 Apr 10, 2010 09:52 AM

                  Best Steak Frite in the Valley or darn near anywhere "Zinc Bistro" at Kierland commons, get an outside table and enjoy the hot cars driving by :)

                  1. a
                    AnonymousWaitress Apr 10, 2010 01:42 PM

                    Something I would consider if I were you is maybe getting local fare due to our "best restaurants" all being closed on Mondays. Some local mexican or southwestern fare that is casual and cheap. There's plenty of threads on CH that discuss these types of foods to take a look at. You can still have a great meal in Phoenix without going to a fine dining restaurant.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: AnonymousWaitress
                      sharonmj Apr 11, 2010 09:39 PM

                      I was wondering if you (or anyone for that matter) have a recommendation for a great food spot (emphisis on local cuisine) that is open late (past 10 PM) on a Friday night? Better than a burger joint please, but excellent Mexican or Southwest food would suffice.

                      1. re: sharonmj
                        ipsedixit Apr 11, 2010 09:50 PM

                        Fez (midnight)
                        Gallo Blanco (11 p.m.)
                        Postino (midnight)

                        1. re: sharonmj
                          drewb123 Apr 13, 2010 07:04 PM

                          I haven't tried yet but great reviews Petite Maison...They also do Thu-Sat I STAFF meal starts at 10 and it's usually 10 bucks and under from frogs legs, shrimp dishes whtever the chef of the day prepares..pretty cool concept.

                          Check out Metro Brasseire also. Great food and should serve past 10

                          -----
                          Metro Brasserie
                          7114 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                          Petite Maison
                          7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                          1. re: drewb123
                            JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Apr 13, 2010 10:34 PM

                            I've been to Petite Maison a few times now and find that while very delicious, their staff meal pales in comparison to FnB. I tend to forget Metro is there, but it is very much worth a trip.

                            -----
                            Petite Maison
                            7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                            FnB
                            7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                              ccl1111 Apr 14, 2010 12:23 AM

                              IMO Petite Maison has been slipping a bit. For a staff meal, gotta be FnB. Word is that Posh is going to start doing staff meals too (on Thursdays). Love that FnB & Posh are playing nice. I'm super psyched as I love Posh & and all 3 of those are a stone's throw from the house.

                              For the OP, definitely can't go wrong with FnB. Casual but it just flat out rocks. Charlene Badman is an amazing chef and Pavle & his folks are wonderful. Gotta be the best value mentioned. That & Pizzeria Bianco.

                              Since he has one night, might want something more splurgey though. While I love FnB to death, Binkley's is a pretty awesome AZ experience too. Have heard some say they liked it better than The French Laundry (at a fraction of the price).

                              If geography becomes a factor, Noca & Quiessence are absolutely stellar as well.

                              Kind of sounds like the OP might be flying solo. If so, FnB, Posh & Noca all have counters around their open kitchens which I love too.

                              -----
                              Pizzeria Bianco
                              623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                              Binkley's
                              6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                              Quiessence
                              6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

                              Noca
                              3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                              Posh
                              7167 East Rancho Vista Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                              Petite Maison
                              7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                              FnB
                              7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                              1. re: ccl1111
                                c
                                crsin Apr 14, 2010 01:05 AM

                                "IMO Petite Maison has been slipping a bit"

                                Care to elaborate?

                                Also, a major issue here is that many of the places listed aren't open the one day the OP will be here--Monday.

                                -----
                                Petite Maison
                                7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                1. re: crsin
                                  drewb123 Apr 14, 2010 11:22 AM

                                  I was refeering to sharon's post...But Metro is open Mon and would be a great place.

                                  1. re: crsin
                                    ccl1111 Apr 20, 2010 01:08 AM

                                    The food we've gotten at the last few visits we've has been very different from our initial experiences. I was over the moon with the onion soup the first few times I had it. Then the last 3 times back it seem flavorless in comparison. I mentioned it to the server who replied that he had heard similar comments and questioned who was making it. With how much of an impression it made on me on earlier visits, I ordered it the next two times hoping that it was just an aberration but got the same. The last time in, the steak tartare was underseasoned and the moules were less than fresh.

                                    While I definitely wouldn't say any of the experiences were bad, they just didn't live up to the expectations my first few visits set. Maybe I was unreasonable? Initially, Petite Maison flew to the top of my favorites list, a bonus being how close we live to it. I wish I was but I'm just not compelled to return as I was early on.

                                  2. re: ccl1111
                                    azhotdish Apr 14, 2010 03:21 AM

                                    I will let ccl1111's assess what he means by "Petite Maison has been slipping a bit", but I would also echo similar sentiments by saying that while their highs are still high, they are wildly inconsistent. I've had some real clunker dishes such as the bouillabaisse (stocked with inconsistently cooked seafood), scallop app and the coq au vin no longer on the menu, while I still love their escargot, the pork roti is excellent, and I enjoy their lunch menu.

                                    Can we be intellectually honest for a moment? While I love having them pretty close to the house and have enjoyed their staff meals on several occasions, the OP is coming from NYC, where PM would probably fall somewhere in the middle-tier in terms of French bistros.

                                    Just my $.02. Since most of the other restaurants are closed on a Monday, I still wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

                                    1. re: ccl1111
                                      ipsedixit Apr 14, 2010 08:00 AM

                                      Binkley's is a fine, fine restaurant. But it is no French Laundry -- even a "lite" version of FL.

                                      -----
                                      Binkley's
                                      6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                      1. re: ccl1111
                                        Dmnkly Apr 14, 2010 08:48 AM

                                        "Binkley's is a pretty awesome AZ experience too. Have heard some say they liked it better than The French Laundry (at a fraction of the price)."

                                        I cannot express the degree to which this was not my experience.

                                        Let's not get carried away, here.

                                        1. re: Dmnkly
                                          ccl1111 Apr 20, 2010 01:19 AM

                                          Interesting on Binkley's. While I have not been to The French Laundry, I have heard that comment more than once. It wasn't from anyone on these boards though so I can add a grain of salt to it. I can't wait until the time I have my own TFL experience to draw on.

                                          I will say that our experiences at Binkley's though have been wonderful.

                                          Having been born and raised here, I've always been on the hunt for great Phoenix food. While I was aware of a good deal of it, Binkley's and my Chowhound find that same night after our first meal there are two of the things that banished my despair toward Phoenix as strip mall, chain hell.

                                          Moving back after living in DC, Orange County and Hawaii, I had started to get depressed until Chowhound helped me find so many of our great local spots.

                                          -----
                                          Binkley's
                                          6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                          1. re: Dmnkly
                                            Bill Hunt Apr 20, 2010 07:32 PM

                                            Binkley's is very good. I would not quite put it in the FL category, but it is good. For me, I wish that it was not so far away, as we usually only get there, when we have board meetings at The Boulders, or similar.

                                            For regular dining, we will take a towncar, or maybe use some charity silent auction limo coupon. Just too far for us to enjoy the wines, and then drive back, even to N. Phoenix.

                                            Hunt

                                            -----
                                            Binkley's
                                            6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                    2. re: sharonmj
                                      drewb123 Apr 13, 2010 07:05 PM

                                      Hi Sharon- I posted my comment to you below..

                                      -----
                                      Metro Brasserie
                                      7114 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                      Petite Maison
                                      7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                  3. ipsedixit Apr 11, 2010 02:07 PM

                                    There are too many great restaurants and too many opinions to really make a definitive statement of the "single best restaurant in Phoenix".

                                    Places like Binkley's, Pizzeria Bianco, Noca, Kai, Posh and many others are all fine choices and would offer a great dining experience, and you couldn't go wrong with any of them

                                    But, if I were to take an out of town guest to a single dinner in Phoenix it would be at Kai.

                                    Why? Because of all the places mentioned only Kai offers not only a fabulous dining experience (in terms of both food and service), but is the only one that provides a culinary experience that is unique to Phoenix/Arizona.

                                    While I cannot be certain, I doubt there are many high-end, 5 star restaurants in the country offering up haute Native American cuisines.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      Bill Hunt Apr 11, 2010 06:07 PM

                                      Good point. Kai, seems to offer a unique dining experience, and that is not to diss any other great restaurant in the PHX Metro Area. Once, similar could be said for the old Arizona Room at the Wigwam Resort - unique.

                                      Good call,

                                      Hunt

                                      -----
                                      Wigwam Resort
                                      300 E Wigwam Blvd, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340

                                    2. mdietrich Apr 12, 2010 07:34 AM

                                      Best Restaurant in Phoenix is NOCA....,,great food and service.

                                      1. m
                                        Mattoclock Apr 21, 2010 10:16 PM

                                        Plus one for NOCA.

                                        I'm surprised so many people love FnB.

                                        I thought the presentation of the food was sloppy. I really didn't like the Denny's style plates. Some of the food was tasty but not many dishes we tried were wow in taste or appearance.

                                        -----
                                        FnB
                                        7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Mattoclock
                                          Dmnkly Apr 21, 2010 10:29 PM

                                          "I'm surprised so many people love FnB. I thought the presentation of the food was sloppy."

                                          This is a problem?

                                          Hence, the fallacy of trying to name a singular "best" restaurant. The only way to do so is to define what's good and what's bad in very, very narrow terms, making no allowance for great places of varying styles.

                                          Some people subscribe to the theory that there IS one magical formula -- a single set of criteria - that can be applied to every restaurant out there. I mostly find that approach sad.

                                          -----
                                          FnB
                                          7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                          1. re: Mattoclock
                                            JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Apr 22, 2010 03:59 AM

                                            Just curious, what did you have? The only thing I've ever had is their various late-night weekend offerings. Well that and the butterscotch pudding... mmmm butterscotch pudding.

                                            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                              azhotdish Apr 22, 2010 09:49 AM

                                              I was going to ask the same thing - I've probably visited 10-15 times (combo of dinner and late night) and have had only two dishes that didn't particularly do it for me, both of which were pasta dishes - a butternut squash ravioli w/horseradish (off the menu) and another pasta I don't remember the details of (also off the menu). The plating is pedestrian if you compare it to fine dining spots around town, but it's not a fine dining spot. And the bluenose bass dish is quite beautifully presented, if you ask me.

                                              1. re: azhotdish
                                                ejs1492 Apr 22, 2010 10:37 AM

                                                That bluenose bass is one of the best fish dishes I have ever had. I don't care what it looked like. It tasted divine.

                                            2. re: Mattoclock
                                              c
                                              crsin Apr 22, 2010 01:49 PM

                                              I consider the plating to be more rustic and "homey", not sloppy. The presentation, IMO, is more appropriate for the style of the food itself than would be a more manipulated, contrived and stylized look.

                                              1. re: crsin
                                                l
                                                lballinger Apr 22, 2010 09:06 PM

                                                I have been to Binkley's three times. The flavors are very good, but if you are hungry plan on eating a lot of bread. Oh, and bring your wallet. What is better? Lon's, T.Cook's, Noca, Rancho Pinot.

                                                -----
                                                Binkley's
                                                6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                                Noca
                                                3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                                                1. re: lballinger
                                                  drewb123 Apr 23, 2010 09:30 AM

                                                  iballinger- What do you order at Binkley's? I find with all the amuses I am stuffed when I leave. Yes it is pricey but you get what you pay for. It is a fine dining resturant and it is the BEST. I would not say the resturants you mentioned above are better IMHO.

                                                  -----
                                                  Binkley's
                                                  6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                                  1. re: drewb123
                                                    ccl1111 Apr 28, 2010 12:16 AM

                                                    Yeah, with drew on this. Every time we leave Binkley's we've pretty much eaten ourselves sick. Typically do the tasting menus and with the amuses, we always overeat.

                                                    -----
                                                    Binkley's
                                                    6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                              2. re: Mattoclock
                                                ccl1111 Apr 28, 2010 12:19 AM

                                                Different strokes, I guess.

                                                I've been to FnB a number of times and I've never had a bad dish. While the plating isn't like Binkley's I've never thought it to be sloppy in the least. I crave FnB daily and it seems each visit puts a new dish in my head to obsess over - right now it's the lamb t-bones.

                                                -----
                                                Binkley's
                                                6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

                                                FnB
                                                7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                              3. The Chowhound Team Apr 23, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                Some discussion of whether it's even appropriate to talk about the 'Best' restaurant in a given city has been split to our Site Talk board. You can follow it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703452

                                                1. s
                                                  synergy Apr 24, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                  As a fellow NY'er who has been to Phoenix many, many times (and loves it), I respectfully say, with only 1 night and looking for an exceptional meal, don't go to Pizzeria Bianco. NY has such great pizza that while Pizzeria Bianco is good, it's not going to wow you being used to such great pizza at home.

                                                  When we go to to Phoenix we focus on scratching our mexican food itch...as in NY, the mexican food is...ok. In Phoenix, it's great, from the dives to the more upscale mex places.

                                                  -----
                                                  Pizzeria Bianco
                                                  623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                                                  1. drewb123 Apr 24, 2010 11:23 AM

                                                    Hi Wet Towel-

                                                    JUst curious where you ended up eating?

                                                    1. b
                                                      Babyducks Apr 25, 2010 09:53 AM

                                                      New in the area, but had a fantastic meal at Sierra Bonita Grill on 7th St. I highly recommend it.

                                                      1. j
                                                        Jonjog May 10, 2010 03:10 PM

                                                        Check out Deseo in the Westin.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Jonjog
                                                          almansa Jun 1, 2010 03:20 PM

                                                          I'll be at Deseo this Sunday. I'm visiting from Boston. I love the menu, but the consulting chef concept sometimes scares me.

                                                        2. b
                                                          blair_houghton May 10, 2010 04:52 PM

                                                          Now there's a quantum-mechanical question if there ever was one.

                                                          There are large variances in what the kitchen and dining staff are like on a given night, in what an individual's tastes are like on a given night, and in tastes between individuals, even sitting at the same table, and even in what "best" means. You're taking a hundred-variable formula where any of the terms can be weighted in any way and has a variance that may encompass orders of magnitude, then asking what's the sum, and saying that - that "bestness" - is the sole determinant.

                                                          And aside from that classical statistical stuff, you get the foodie uncertainty principle, and its inexorable effect: The moment you identify the best, all the followers go there and it stops being the best. Fame * Bestness < Constant.

                                                          That said, I'm digging on FnB recently. Don't tell anyone.

                                                          -----
                                                          FnB
                                                          7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                                          1. d
                                                            DRP Jun 1, 2010 05:39 PM

                                                            Depends on what you are looking for.

                                                            Zinc Bistro is a great French Bistro: excellent food, lively and reasonably priced.

                                                            Olive and Ivy has good food, some dishes are very good (veal ravioli), very lively with the 30's - 40's crowd, great drinks, nice outdoor area.

                                                            Mission has very good food (I don't like typical Mexican food: burritos, tamales, etc.); this restaurant is Latin oriented, the dishes are unique - a little pricey

                                                            T Cooks (at The Royal Palms Resort) is awesome. A little old fashioned (stuffy crowd) but the food is great.

                                                            FnB has great comfort food but a little too small and "homey" for me.

                                                            Hope that helps

                                                            -----
                                                            FnB
                                                            7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                                            1. a
                                                              applethai Jun 4, 2010 09:09 PM

                                                              Pepe's Taco Villa chile relleno plate. Yummy beans.

                                                              -----
                                                              Pepe's Taco Villa
                                                              2108 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015

                                                              Show Hidden Posts