Walking Distance from Westin Phoenix Downtown
This has been touched on a few times on this board, but I am looking for some updates on downtown restaurants.
Since I am thinking about staying at the Westin, I am looking for a wide variety of restaurants to try that I can reach on foot (during more moderate weather). I am open to suggestions for anything from happy hours apps to a splurge restaurant. I am open pretty much any cuisine and like to try restaurants that are doing innovative things with food or use unique ingredients. I also enjoy Italian food and was looking at Cibo as an option.
I was also looking at a hotel in the Litchfield Park area that has other advantages, but main reason for choosing the Westin would be the central location and proximity to restaurants. As that is the case, I want to be sure that it is worthwhile to choose the Westin based on proximity to restaurants alone since some of the restaurants I am looking at aren't nearby to either hotel (Kai, FnB, and a couple of others) in any case. Is it worthwhile? Would another area be better that downtown based on restaurant proximity alone?
Also, since I have never been to Phoenix before, if there are any restaurants that might be safer to take a cab back from if it is late, that would be appreciated (sorry for being such a tourist).
Regarding safety - downtown Phoenix isn't the questionable place it was 10 years ago when I first moved into the area. There is a university, light rail system, and many new restaurants, businesses, and civic spaces. The area has been cleaned up quite a bit and is fairly well lit at night now.
Here's my quick rundown of downtown spots that are walking distance from the Westin -
Phoenix Public Market Café - one of my new favorite places. Simple honest food. Nothing real fancy, but they do a great job with everything.
Hanny's - Located in a repurposed department store. Cocktails are very good. Food is okay. I like the bar plate (prosciutto, olives, cheese, pistachios, etc), the prosciutto wrapped shrimp, and the cauliflower. I don't care for their pizzas - the crust is too thin and saltine cracker like for my tastes. It's a happening scene in Fri and Sat nights but pretty quiet the rest of the week.
Pizzeria Bianco - they started lunch service a while back so the waits have been alleviated. I've gone in early afternoon a number of times with no wait.
Cibo - really excellent food and they started doing their pizzas at lunch. I believe that they still do their pasta specials on Tuesday. The service can be spotty sometimes. That being said, I still like it more than Bianco's.
Province and District - hotel restaurants at the Westin and Sheraton (respectively). Decent hotel restaurants, but nothing especially remarkable. Of the two, I like District just a little bit better.
Mrs White's - soul food. Fried catfish, smothered fried chicken, pork chops, etc. If they have the oxtails on special, they're excellent.
Bonjour Vietnamese - Vietnamese café at the San Carlos hotel. I haven't been here before, but meals at their sister restaurants are pretty consistent, although not completely authentic.
Kincaid's - steak and seafood chain. The have a really great happy hour specials on food. Lunch is perfectly acceptable and prices are reasonable. Have never been here for dinner service.
Jobot - coffee shop with fantastic crepes and excellent iced toddy. If the weather's cooperating, they have a nice patio. Two doors down is Melt - an ice cream shop with some unique offerings.
Blue Hound - great restaurant located at the Palomar hotel. Innovative menu and great bar/cocktails. They only offer a limited bar menu in the afternoons (which is pretty weak), so if you go there, be sure to do so during dinner hours.
Rum Bar (Breadfruit) - The food at Breadfruit seems like it went downhill a while back and I haven't eaten there in probably a year or two. Their Rum Bar's drinks are the highlight here.
Angels Trumpet House - one of the better selections of beer in the area. The food is good, but not great. If you find yourself having a beer here and get hungry, walk a block over to the Public Market Café.
Pomo Pizzeria - Neopolitan style pizza. I have been out of town for a few months so I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but many friends have come back with positive reports.
If you're willing to jump on the light rail (which stops right outside your hotel), there are some good options just a couple miles north. Let me know and I'll add them in another post.
Kai is always a winner and definitely worth the drive.
Pomo Pizzeria is a transplant from its previous Scottsdale location at the Borgata, which is being torn down to build condos. We ate there last Saturday evening and the pizzas were still very good. The restaurant boasts the VPN, a designation granted to pizzerias that meet strict requirements that respect the tradition of the art of Neapolitan pizza making. The pizza oven was shipped from Italy. We ate at the bar and chatted with the chef, who gave us small glasses of divine crema de limoncello that he had made. We will definitely return.