Phoenix and its metropolitan area, often dubbed the "Valley of the Sun," used to be an outpost for chain eateries and lackluster cafés. Gratefully, those days are long gone. For foodies planning a visit, this simple itinerary showcases intriguing Phoenix food, which now rivals the fresh, flavorful cuisine of any big city.
For breakfast, visit Zookz Sandwiches, a one-of-a-kind Phoenix eatery that specializes in a new kind of sandwich. Fresh dough is prepared in-house and then baked in a special cylindrical pan that was designed exclusively for Zookz.
The baked bread emerges from the oven ready to be sliced, stuffed with fresh fillings and then baked in a specially-engineered panini press. There is no other sandwich in the world quite like the Zookz, making this a unique treat for foodies.
All of the sandwiches on the Zookz breakfast menu are delicious, including the No. 44, which features two egg frittatas, bacon, ham, parmesan cheese, feta cheese, roasted red peppers and fresh basil. Those with a sweet tooth may also want to try the No. 55, a sandwich stuffed with peanut butter, Nutella, bananas and roasted almonds.
Unique breakfast sandwich creations are on the menu at Zookz Sandwiches in Phoenix — Photo courtesy of Zookz Sandwiches
One of the city's top foodie hot spots is Pane Bianco, an offshoot of Chef Chris Bianco's spectacularly successful Pizzeria Bianco. This intimate café is a popular lunch spot with the downtown crowd, who fills the tiny restaurant to capacity for the fresh bread (made in-house in the wood-fired oven) and delectable mozzarella (also made onsite).
Try the chicken salad sandwich, served with stone ground mustard, aioli and arugula. One of the freshest salads in town is here at Pane Bianco, featuring the restaurant's house-made mozzarella, local tomatoes and fresh basil.
For a pre-dinner feast, stop by during happy hour for gourmet bar bites like olives with Sicilian oregano, cheese and crackers or a grilled cheese with spicy fig jam and manchego.
Phoenix foodies gather at St. Francis, a neigborhood restaurant specializing in wood-fired, rustic cuisine — Photo courtesy of St. Francis
Complete your Phoenix foodie itinerary with a stop at St. Francis, a critical darling that specializes in "urban rustic" cuisine. The food here is simple, seasonal and beautifully presented. The restaurant's wood-fired aesthetic brings out the natural flavors of the fresh vegetables and high-quality meats.
Start with the baked goat cheese, served with herb pesto and tomato on fresh crostini. For your dinner entrée, the pork chop is irresistible, served with a creamy sweet corn polenta, chermoula peppers and whole grain mustard. For dessert, you won't want to miss the sticky toffee pudding.