We ate. Then we drove. Then we ate some more. On and on, until we felt qualified to hand you this hand-picked platter of the Grand Canyon State's finest culinary outposts, from Winslow to Sonoita and many points between.
Valley food fanatics do not nosh on foie gras-stuffed quail alone. Nor do they exclusively dine in the prime culinary corridors of Scottsdale and Phoenix. We tried to keep these facts in mind while compiling our list of Arizona's 50 best – or, if you prefer, most essential – restaurants.
Our editors and food writers were instructed to consider not only their fine-dining fantasy spots, but also the comfort-food classics and down-home ethnic eateries that help define Arizona's culinary scene – not just in the Valley, but all over our vast state, staggering their lists to include lonesome gems in remote parts of Northern and Southern Arizona. You'll find the cumulative product of their expertise here: 50 restaurants you should try, no matter how far the drive. And just to make sure we've covered every base, we asked Valley food experts to rank their favorites, too, in a range of styles and categories. Let the noshing begin.