The Best Restaurants and Bars to Try in Metro Phoenix This Summer

When temperatures start to hold above 100 degrees and the air stays warm and wispy long after sunset, we know summer has officially arrived in the Valley.

While some dread our hottest season, there is absolutely no need.

Let’s welcome the heat waves with a raspado in one hand and a cold horchata infusion in the other. It’s ice cream and pool seating and dining in an over-air-conditioned restaurant! It’s also the perfect time to get out and explore the far north, where higher elevation means cooler temperatures.

So get out your to-do lists and start checking in, because the best part of every season really comes down to what we eat. This is your ultimate guide to summer dining in metro Phoenix and beyond.

— Felicia Campbell, Food, Dining & Nightlife Editor of The Arizona Republic

Desert dwellers know that the quickest way to cool down is with an ice cold drink or frozen treat. It is also the most delicious.

The ultimate frozen treat: Loaded with fresh fruit and stacked with peanuts and spicy tamarind candy, the Mexican snow cone, or raspado, has always been made with whimsy and creativity with seemingly endless options to customize your order with ice creams, flavored syrups, fruits, candies and more. top snacks like tortilla chip tostilocos smothered in pickled fruit chamoy sauce. The staggering amount of choice can be exciting, but also overwhelming. Here’s our guide to some of the best raspado shops in the valley and the delicious treats you should order from each one.

A taste of the islands: Desmond Martin and his crew operate Happy Honu Shave Ice, where you will find one of the most iconic Hawaiian beach snacks: shaved ice. The food trailer offers over 30 flavors including lychee, dreamicle, guava, and pineapple habañero. Here’s how this Glendale shop cooks up the treat just like it does on the islands.

The best boba in town: What really sets Aloha Tea apart from most other boba shops in metro Phoenix is ​​that they make many of the toppings, including the chewy and slightly sweetened fresh boba pearls. The house specialty is Aloha Milk Tea, which has a near-perfect black tea to milk ratio, is made with non-dairy milk, and is nearly impossible to dilute. It’s one of the store’s many must-have drinks, according to our boba expert.

I scream, you scream: Nothing beats heat like an ice cream cone. In towns around the valley, ice cream innovators are churning out unique flavors in the form of Thai ice cream rolls, vegan cones, and ice cream concoctions ranging from classic to completely custom with wild flavors like lavender. with honey and Fat Elvis, made with peanut butter, honey-glazed banana and, of course, bacon at these go-to ice cream parlors in Metro Phoenix.

Is there anything cooler than sipping cocktails by the pool? Our favorite watering holes are simply fabulous places to spend an afternoon enjoying great cocktails, snacks and games until the sun goes down.

Splish Splash: Here in the valley, we have a great selection of places by the water where you can enjoy a stellar cocktail and take a dip. There are tropical-themed resort bars, rooftop pool bars, and even classic mid-century pool bars where you can sip and swim. Here are six of our favorite cocktail bars for lounging poolside with a drink in hand.

To go back in time: You might not expect to find a top bartender pouring drinks in a bungalow on a tree-lined residential street downtown, and that’s exactly what makes the Garden Bar so special. Grab a creative and refreshing drink, like Kilroy Was Here – Irish whiskey, sherry, black tea, lemon and mint shaken and served on a single block of ice stamped with the name of the family that called space home in the years 1940. Next, head to one of the many parlors in the historic house-turned-bar.

Enter and play: You can spend an entire afternoon playing arcade games and sipping inventive cocktails at West Valley’s brand new arcade bar. Take an Old Fashioned Freakshow, made with bourbon, elderflower liqueur, peach puree and lemon juice with a splash of orange and a cherry garnish. Then play a Skee-Ball tournament or try your hand at a virtual motorcycle race at the Carousel Arcade Bar in the Westgate Entertainment District.

Delete: Châm Pang Lanes is one of the most playful new additions to downtown Phoenix. The bling-out spot shares a rooftop with an agave-fueled cocktail bar called Ghost Donkey. While waiting for a lane, sip some mezcal, but once you start playing, there’s really only one right way to order at the champagne-themed bowling alley.

Take the tour: Phoenix has been named one of the best cocktail cities in the country and these drink temples prove it. From an underground bar with a presidential theme to rooftop bars with lots of misters, summer is the perfect time to hit up the best new bars and breweries in town.

A good meal can transport and some of the hottest new spots in town do just that, whether it’s in tropical palm fantasy land or at a family barbecue in Sonora. Eating out to as many people as possible is an admirable summer project.

Score a reservation at the trendiest restaurant in town: Bacanora has been named one of the best restaurants in the country by Esquire, it’s a Best New Restaurant finalist at the James Beard Awards, and it received a solid five stars from food critic Andi Berlin. Although you might want to forgo sidewalk seating for one of the tables in the tiny dining room, it’s worth booking as far in advance as you need in order to try Sonora’s innovative cuisine. coming out of the huge mesquite grill. Accompanied by a photo of the Bacanora namesake, a meal there will have you sweating in a good way.

Stay light: Sometimes all you want in the middle of summer is a salad. A new eco-friendly fine-dining restaurant in Scottsdale offers gourmet versions of healthy meals ranging from charred cabbage steaks to raw vegan lasagna, which are actually way tastier than they look. Here’s what to order at the hip, health-conscious restaurant.

Organize a brunch under the palm trees: Palma is downtown Phoenix’s answer to a day club with an Instagram-friendly tropical aesthetic, playful cocktails, and a party energy that gets the weekend started nice and early. Here’s what to expect at the new brunch destination.

Win a free kid’s meal: For those with kids, the biggest challenge of summer is not only keeping the family cool, but also keeping the kids happy. Luckily, there are tons of fun summer activities for kids around the Valley and while restaurants don’t have family-friendly bliss on the menu, these places in Metro Phoenix can at least offer your child a free meal. .

Be the first: Metro Phoenix welcomes dozens of new restaurants every month, and summer is the perfect time to start checking out the slew of new lobster roll shops, ramen noodle houses, and birria outposts.

Dine like a food critic: Have you been to Andi Berlin’s favorite new restaurants in the last year? If not, it’s time to grab a smashburger and make a reservation to try Arizona’s most innovative tasting menu.

A 5 star experience: I had the craziest dinner of my life at this historic mansion

If you can’t beat the heat, then get out of town and head to one of Arizona’s many amazing areas where higher mountains mean cooler weather. A destination-worthy meal is the icing on the cake.

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Try this award-winning valley chef’s vibrant new restaurant in Flagstaff: Chef Rochelle Daniel is a 2022 James Beard Semi-Finalist and one of the biggest up-and-coming names in Phoenix dining. She recently left the top spot in Matt Carter’s Fat Ox to open Atria in downtown Flagstaff. Grilled meats and seafood are the highlight of its New American cuisine that emphasizes Arizona flavors like blue corn and mesquite. The restaurant also serves a bone marrow dish that is so delicious our food critic called it “one of the seven natural wonders of the food world.”

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Find the Secret Chai Oasis in Sedona: Tucked away in a second-floor boutique on Sedona’s main thoroughfare is a teahouse run by a Pakistani activist and her husband. The menu started with just two dishes: traditional tea made from boiled milk and sulaimani chai, an aromatic water-based tea from Balochistan infused with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and a pinch of black tea. And while the drinks are reason enough to visit, the elaborate decorations and beautiful outdoor terrace will make you want to linger over the traditional chai cafe.

Order the pasta in this haunted hillside town: Taking the winding road to the hillside hamlet of Jerome is an essential Arizona road trip. But until recently, the best thing to eat when arriving was a haunted burger. Hungry travelers can now opt for a more elegant option at Clinkscale where our food critic sampled some perfect pasta plates.

Arizona’s Best Outdoor Restaurants: Restaurants with great views, cool breeze, good food

Taste vegan wine, beer and cheese in the Verde Valley: Winemakers aren’t the only ones shaking things up in the state’s new growing region. About 100 miles north of Phoenix and 60 miles south of Flagstaff, Verde Valley artisan food producers, like vegan cheesemaker Virgin Cheese, and craft brewers, like Belfry, have moved into downtown areas. historic old mining towns, such as Cottonwood and Clarkdale. . Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, the thriving food and drink scene is reason enough to make the trip.

Let the burritos guide you on the ultimate Arizona foodie road trip: Arizona is a burrito wonderland with styles from California, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as Chihuahua, Baja, and most importantly, Sonora. Our food critic has painstakingly curated a list of 25 extraordinary burritos, some made with Navajo tortillas homemade on tribal lands outside of Flagstaff, others filled with smoky carne asada and wrapped in crispy shells of seared bacon. Tucson. She assures you that each one is worth the trip and challenges you in the form of a question: “if you never drove five hours for a burrito, did you really live?” Navigating your way through his ultimate Arizona burrito bucket list is a summer-worthy adventure.

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