10 Best Restaurants Near Phoenix's Talking Stick Arena (formerly US Airways Center)

By Patricia Escarcega, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson Local Expert

Talking Stick Arena (formerly the US Airways Center) is one of the most popular venues in downtown Phoenix. Whether you go to catch a Phoenix Suns basketball game or enjoy a concert, chances are you'll probably want to grab a meal before or after your downtown outing. 

If you're looking for a lively place within easy walking distance to the center, head to the The Arrogant Butcher. This casually upscale restaurant and bar is a popular downtown lunch and dinner destination. For dinner, you can snack on light charcuterie with a glass of wine or craft beer, or delve into the entree menu, an eclectic selection that includes gourmet seafood, steak and pasta. 

Another spot within easy walking distance of Talking Stick Arena is Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at the Hotel Palomar. The popular bar has a large selection of bourbon, gin and scotch, and a long menu of hand-crafted cocktails. The southern-inflected menu offers small plates, veggie plates and entrees featuring hand-made pasta, seafood, and braised meats.

If you head north to Roosevelt Row, you'll bump into many good options, including casual spots like The Dressing Room and Cibo, which are both good options if you're looking for a more intimate meal.

 

10. Grand Avenue Pizza Company
Photo courtesy of Grand Avenue Pizza Company

The Grand Avenue Pizza Company offers gourmet specialty pizza, calzones and sides in the Grand Avenue arts district in downtown Phoenix. The small, counter service pizzeria dishes out pies and slices until 4 am every morning, making it one of the most consistently good places to score late night pizza in Phoenix. Specialty pies include the Animal, a meat-centric pie with spicy sausage and smoked bacon and a creamy white sauce. For vegetarians, the Greek-style Zorba comes loaded with kalamata olives, spinach, roasted red bell peppers, fresh garlic, basil, red onion, mozzarella and feta. The pizzeria frequently offers daily specials, as well.

9. The Dressing Room
Photo courtesy of The Dressing Room

The Living Room is a relatively new addition to downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row food scene, but don't be fooled by its limited square footage. This "micro-restaurant" features a small but satisfying menu that's described as "food from streets, beaches, carts, and trucks." This translates to casual and creative globally inspired fare that includes burgers, tacos, and salads. The house RoRo Burger, a saucy, well-cooked burger squeezed into an English muffin, is deliciously dressed in a sweet-spicy Russian sauce. The Peruvian ceviche salad, meanwhile, is texture-rich and delicious. Don't leave without trying the restaurant's signature dessert, a churro ice cream sandwich featuring vanilla ice cream cemented between two freshly fried churros.

8. The Arrogant Butcher

The Arrogant Butcher is a good place to rub elbows with the downtown business crowd. Located conveniently in the CityScape complex, the restaurant is part upscale eatery and part social hour coterie. You'll find great steaks, seafood, draft beer, wine and hand-crafted cocktails dished out in a lively downtown atmosphere. There are also plenty of delicious appetizers to snack on, including zucchini fritters, artichoke hummus and a basket of soft, chewy house pretzels served with a provolone fondue. There's also a tasty selection of cheeses and charcuterie. For lunch or dinner, you'll find plenty of seafood options, along with steak and pasta.

7. Welcome Diner
Photo courtesy of Welcome Diner

What this tiny traditional diner lacks in square footage, it more than makes up in style and heart. The vintage diner ambiance and modern American menu of comfort food classics has made Welcome Diner a downtown favorite. The food menu includes burgers, buttermilk biscuit sandwiches, and side dishes. The menu also features a supper menu that includes a market salad, New Orleans-style red beans and rice, and vegan po-boys. The drink menu includes Mexican Coca Cola, rotating draft beers, and a small selection of cocktails and wine. Side orders include unique dishes like smoked spring union slaw and poutine, fries with cheddar and gravy.

6. Pizzeria Bianco

Chris Bianco's celebrated pizza evokes memories of Naples. A wood-fired brick oven and a passion for quality make Bianco's traditional Neapolitan pizza crust a work of art. Each and every one of the masterpieces served is made from scratch with the finest ingredients. The only drawback? You may have to wait for a great pizza, because the place is no secret. Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more. Recommended pies include the rosa, which features red onion, parmigiano reggiano, rosemary and Arizona pistachios. Of course, the margherita is always a winner, featuring homemade tomato sauce, basil and a generous helping of freshly made mozzarella.

5. Nobuo at Teeter House
Photo courtesy of Nobuo at Teeter House

This Asian-style teahouse was an immediate sensation at its debut back in 2010, famous for the artistic sensibilities of local superstar chef Nobuo Fukuda. The chef-artist is a critical darling for his iconoclastic take on traditional Japanese cuisine. By day, nosh on the elegant small plates and light, impeccably constructed salads, sandwiches and bowls. In the evening, the dinner menu is divided between appetizers, cold dishes and warm dishes, all featuring seasonal ingredients, fresh fish and always-unexpected pairings. The real star of the show at Nobuo is the omakase (chef's choice) menu, extravagant, reservations-only multicourse affairs that take place on the weekends.

4. Harumi Sushi
Photo courtesy of Harumi Sushi

Harumi Sushi is a downtown sushi spot for fresh sushi. Lunch here can be quite hectic - you might want to call in your order ahead of time if you're set on eating at Harumi - but dinner time tends to mellow out a bit. In any case, most dishes and rolls here are worth the wait. You'll find an assortment of popular sushi rolls, along with nigiri and sashimi options. There are also a handful of fun, specialty rolls, like the "Sex in the City" roll, made with spicy tuna and crab salad. A house favorite is the H3 roll, which is made with spicy tuna, spicy salmon and spicy yellowtail. Most rolls feature heirloom Forbidden rice, an ancient grain that adds color and is known for its curative properties.

3. Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
Photo courtesy of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails is a chic downtown Phoenix restaurant and bar specializing in Prohibition-era cocktails and creative, shareable plates. The bar has one of downtown's largest selection of scotches, bourbons and gins. Craft beer lovers will also love the selection here. Cocktails are made using fresh juices, fruit purees and locally grown herbs. The kitchen menu features gourmet munchies, specialty salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and a small selection of entrees, made with a southern inflection and fine dining flair. For dinner, the menu offers small plates, veggies and a small selection of entrees, which includes hand-made pastas and braised pork.

2. Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana - Downtown Phoenix
Photo courtesy of Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana

You would think that finding authentic Neapolitan-style pizza would be a challenge in the Arizona desert. If traveling to southern Italy in search of great pizza isn't feasible right now, you can satiate your appetite for great pizza with a visit to Pomo Pizzeria Napoletana. The pizzeria features thin-crust pizzas made according to the ancient pizza-making traditions of Napoli, in an oven imported from Italy. The expansive menu runs the gamut from the classic margherita to savory specialties like the quattro stagioni (four seasons), which is loaded with sausage, mushrooms and salami. The menu also features antipasti, pasta dishes, and salads.

1. Cibo
Photo courtesy of Cibo

This Central Phoenix urban pizzeria is situated in a restored 1913 bungalow, making it the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, authentic stained glass windows and a working fireplace means that you'll have much to admire while you nosh on your salad, antipasti, made-from-scratch pasta or artisanal pizza. Each pizza is made-to-order and hand-tossed by Chef Guido Saccone, native of Sicily, and then topped with a delicious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Don't miss the fresh pasta menu, which kicks in every day at 5 p.m. Also not to be missed: one of the restaurant's signature dessert crepes.