Best of the Valley Dining Scene

Editorial StaffJuly 7, 2021
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Postino B-Side. Photo courtesy Upward Projects
Postino B-Side. Photo courtesy Upward Projects

Best Spot to Have a Gathering
Postino B-Side

Located behind Postino Arcadia, Postino B-Side provides an intimate gathering spot for a baby shower, birthday celebration or business meeting. Build a custom menu of light bites or full plate options that include bruschetta boards, panini, salads or snacks. Throw in a bar package and you’ve got yourself a party. 3939 E. Campbell Ave., Phoenix, 602-297-3287, postinowinecafe.com

Best Rapid Relocation
Tratto

Mid-pandemic, owner Chris Bianco left one of the Valley’s most enviable restaurant spaces at Town & Country, packing chef Cassie Shortino and co. off to the former Roland’s Market building, a high-ceilinged brick beauty built before World War II. Candles are everywhere. Tables are widely spaced. It’s dim. All is homey and pleasantly rustic, and meals pass in a pocket out of time. 1505 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, 602-296-7761, trattophx.com

Best Under-the-Radar Street Food Market
Roosevelt 16 Market

On its better nights, this promotion-shy market is a dinner gem. It consists of just a few vendors in an outdoor area appended to the Los Altos Ranch Market on 16th Street. The cast rotates. The Hungry Homie peals Neapolitan-ish pizza, The Elote Man dusts Doritos on corn cobs, Heartbreak Creamery scoops ice cream into cones and life feels good. 1650 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 480-332-7089, instagram.com/roosevelt16market/?hl=en

Best Culinary Chameleon
Bryan Suarez

Suarez is an Arcadia Meat Market butcher. He is a pasta artisan, shaping rigatoni and caramelle. He is a former cook at Restaurant Progress and current Bones FC night market participant. For sure, this protean presence on our dining scene is one of the young, under-the-radar names in food to remember now and in the coming years. Instagram: @bshnuez

Best Food Collaboration
AZWomeninFood

What started as a conversation forum for women in the culinary industry has blossomed into an economic network – with tasty food, to boot. AZWomeninFood is the Grand Canyon State’s alliance of women chefs and restaurateurs spawned by the national organization Let’s Talk Womxn, which emerged from the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program amid the pandemic. What it means for Valley diners: tasting menus and collaborative dinner series led by Charleen Badman, Danielle Leoni, Helen Yung and more. azwomeninfood.com

Chef Bryan Suarez. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Chef Bryan Suarez. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Best Spirits Collaboration
Mark Tarbell x Blue Clover Distillery

You can’t drive far in this state without spotting a lemon-tree-dotted yard or a roadside orange grove. So it makes sense that restaurateur/wine aficionado Mark Tarbell and Blue Clover Distillery owner Weston Holm were inspired by the tastiest of Arizona’s Five Cs to make their limited-edition lemon-orange vodka. Holm distills the spirit himself and infuses it with organic Arizona citrus. Available exclusively at The Wine Store. 3205 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-955-7730, tarbellswinestore.com

Best Restaurant App 
Flower Child

If you’re devoted to Flower Child’s healthy ethos, you’ve probably already downloaded the restaurant’s easy-to-use app. Seamlessly order your favorite dishes for pick up or delivery while earning rewards for free appetizers, salads and bowls. Getting rewarded for nutritious eating? We’re all in. Four Valley locations, iamaflowerchild.com

Most Anticipated Rooftop Bar
Lovecraft

Conjuring outdoor oases from nothing is what Rebecca Golden does best. Years ago, the former owner of 32 Shea created an impossibly lush restaurant patio out of literal blacktop. Now, as current owner of Lovecraft, she’s at it again. The taproom’s rooftop bar lifts you above the street noise of Cactus Road and boasts impressive vistas of the Phoenix Mountains. 3128 E. Cactus Rd., Phoenix, 602-237-5046, lovecraftphx.com

Best Reimagined Space
Roses by the Stairs Brewing

There once was a place with a wall of wigs. A spot where you could transform yourself into an adult-size Chucky doll or buy a gear-adorned hat for a steampunk party. Even though Easley’s Costume Shop ended its 70-plus-year run, we’re happy to welcome the new kid moving in: Roses by the Stairs. The brewery is slated to open production facilities, taproom and patio in the 4,200-square-foot space this fall. Toast a session sour to that time you rented a full-on Garfield costume. 509 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 415-527-8206, rosesbythestairsbrewing.com

Hottest Reservation in Town
UnderTow

When this tiki-themed bar moved from its underground location at Sip to Century Grand, it got bigger (eh, slightly) and added seating (like, three more stools). So maybe it’s the small size that makes things book up fast, but more likely it’s the bar’s esteemed drink menu, which got a revamp, and its upgraded immersive experience, which now places you in the bow of a ship, with crashing waves and lightning strikes. Book two weeks out for a 90-minute reservation. 3626 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, undertowphx.com

Photo by Casey Robinson/UnderTow
Photo by Casey Robinson/UnderTow

Best New Buzzworthy Business
Pemberton PHX

If you love the eating, drinking and shopping elements of annual festivals like M3F, you’ll love the year-round adult playground that is Pemberton PHX, located both inside and on the outskirts of the historical Sarah H. Pemberton house in Downtown Phoenix. You’ll find a dozen art installations, food trucks and Airstream trailers slinging creative cocktails and vintage threads, as well as FilmBar’s new outdoor cinema, a fitness lawn and other festive flourishes around every corner.
Always lively, always local. 1121 N. Second St., Phoenix, pembertonphx.com

Best Rooftop Bar
Outrider Rooftop Lounge

Everything at this sky-high bar and restaurant at the Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town is beautiful and done with intention, from the modern lighting fixtures that illuminate the bar to the colorful cocktails adorned with flowers and dehydrated fruit – and, of course, the stunning views of Camelback Mountain. Outrider is committed to local, seasonal ingredients, so you’ll find Valley brew in the beer cheese and beans from local farms in the hummus. It’s also dedicated to using superfoods and herbs in all of its cocktails, so don’t be surprised by the goji berries, carrot juice or rosemary and thyme packed into your glass. To your health! 7142 E. First St., Scottsdale,
480-590-3864, outriderrooftop.com

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