Windsor is trendy, cozy and friendly all in one. No live entertainment: The buzz is from lively conversation. Stop by after dinner and linger over such numerically named cocktails as the No. 17 with cucumber vodka, green tea syrup, fresh cucumber and mint. Dial No. 76 for a concoction of Sauza Blanco Tequila, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur and house blood orange sour. This one's not for the kiddies: No. 22, with lemonade, raspberry and blueberry vodkas and fresh blackberry. Want more? There's no shortage of cordials, aperitifs, wines and beers on tap and draft (try the local Four Peaks Kiltlifter Scottish Ale). Come by for brunch, Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., and enjoy the Bloody Mary bar with add-your-own ingredients such as olives, onions, peppers and shots of Worcestershire sauce. If appetites flare, chow down on deviled egg dip with potato chips, picnic kebabs (skewers of chicken, shrimp, pork and veggies) and succulent pork ribs. For lounging al fresco, check out the patio.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: With a lively atmosphere and an approachable menu, Windsor is the kind of stylish restaurant that will appeal to both adults and kids.
Patricia's expert tip: Windsor is located next door to a popular artisanal ice cream shop, Churn. It's a popular stop for a post-meal dessert.
Ocotillo is a bonafide food and drink compound in central Phoenix, with a sprawling, ambitious menu of New American eats. Here, "New American" means everything from big plates of gorgeously burnished roasted chicken, enormous falafel burgers, or perhaps a small plate of roasted cauliflower that's almost as appetizing and richly flavored as a slab of steak. For dinner, the menu offers a selection of vegetable and meat small plates, house-made pasta dishes, and entrees. For lunch, feast on big, fresh gourmet salads, sandwiches, roasted chicken dishes, pasta, or put together your dream meal with various small plates. The restaurant is also home to an outdoor beer garden, a swanky indoor bar, an extensive wine list, an on-site gourmet coffee bar ("O-To-Go"), and a popular weekend brunch.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Ocotillo's spacious outdoor patio and courtyard offer plenty of space for families.
Patricia's expert tip: With a spacious outdoor patio, including a small lawn that's very kid-friendly, Ocotillo offers a welcoming space for families.
Beckett's Table is the brainchild of Chef Justin Beckett, who wanted to create a restaurant that celebrates the values of farm-to-table cuisine in a friendly, communal setting. The interior at Beckett's Table is industrial chic, with concrete floors, exposed block walls, subway tile, and leather-capped stools and cushioned chairs. The two patios have ceiling fans, misters, heaters, and a fireplace that can accommodate 70 guests. But the real star of the show here is the food, which features a menu rich with seasonal vegetables and the highest quality meats. The atmosphere is both sophisticated yet not stuffy, which makes it appropriate for families.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Beckett's Table offers farm-to-table dining in an unstuffy, family-friendly dining room.
Patricia's expert tip: Every Sunday evening, Beckett's Table offers half-price bottles of Arizona wine.
Rustler's Rooste is Phoenix's down-home gem, a destination cowboy steakhouse serving up thick and juicy steaks, ribs, chicken and the freshest seafood around. Appetizers are rather unique at this popular restaurant (rattlesnake, anyone?), but it's all part of the fun. One of the more popular dining options at Rustler's Rooste is Cowboy Stuff, a family-style dinner that includes barbecue chicken, shrimp, beans, baked potatoes, swordfish, pork ribs, sirloin steak strips, corn-on-the-cob, fresh raw vegetables, and rolls with a side of butter and honey. it's a good idea to come hungry! The restaurant also offers stunning views of the Valley.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Rustler's Rooste offers a fun, cowboy-themed family dinner with all the trimmings.
Patricia's expert tip: Take home a souvenir from the General Store, open nightly from 5:00-10:00 PM.
Comedor Guadalajara, situated on a quiet stretch of Central Avenue, has been catering to South Phoenix Mexican food-lovers for more than 40 years. The Sonoran-style menu is straightforward but consistently delicious. Tamales, burros, flautas, and chiles rellenos all make an appearance here, but the specialty at Comedor Guadalajara are their parrilladas--large, sizzling platters of grilled meats and seafood served with vegetables and special garnishing. This is a popular place to grab lunch, but it's also a family-friendly restaurant with a large and lively dining room. The kid's menu features small burritos, chicken nuggets, and even small portions of Menudo on the weekend.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Comedor Guadalajara is a lively south Phoenix Mexican restaurant with some of the best Mexican food in the Valley. Kids will love the children's menu.
Patricia's expert tip: Guaranteed takeout in 20 minutes makes this a great spot for a fast, delicious lunch.
A local institution, Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffle's popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, prompting an expansion into all corners of the city. But the original location on Central Avenue is still the best, offering a taste lesson in authentic, down-home Southern cooking. The star of the menu is the eponymous chicken & waffles menu, but there are plenty of flavor highlights at this popular neighborhood eatery. The rotisserie chicken, fried catfish, and shrimp mac and cheese are all mouth-wateringly good. There's even a veggie platter available for non-meat eaters, served with a slice of fresh cornbread.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Lo-Lo's menu of classic comfort food will please family members of all ages.
Patricia's expert tip: Kids will love the all-day breakfast options, which include Oreo pancakes.
Mexico City-style tortas have landed in Phoenix, and you'll find them at Los Reyes de la Torta, a casual eatery featuring some of the best Mexican-style sandwiches in town. These award-winning sandwiches feature a variety of quality meats and cheeses, served on a perfectly toasted and buttery bolillo roll. For the truly adventurous--and hungry-- King Carlos V is a monumental torta and a challenge to even the most voracious eaters. Even if grilled, stuffed-to-the-gills sandwiches are not your thing, be sure to pay a visit to the juice bar. You'll find a huge selection of traditional, fresh-squeezed fruit juices that are refreshingly good.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: The casual kid-friendly atmosphere at this popular Mexican torta restaurant is ideal for a laid-back and delicious family meal.
Patricia's expert tip: Kids will appreciate the wide selection of freshly made agua fresca drinks.
Occupying a canal-side brick building, this decidedly popular, neighborhood-casual restaurant is part of a local dynasty. The enterprise appeals to upscale families and maintains a solid menu that capitalizes on premium ingredients. Organic chicken is a specialty, and mouthwatering Dixie pan-fried chicken and roasted chicken with spaetzle showcase it beautifully. Other attractions include tuna tartare with guacamole, Chelsea's short ribs, and the Howie burger, with gruyere and caramelized onions. Ask for a table on the patio for the best vantage point. Families will love the inventive kid's menu at Chelsea's. It features original creations like the house PB&J sushi rolls.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Chelsea's Kitchen is a hip neighborhood bistro that also happens to be family-friendly. The kid's menu is fun and inventive, too.
Patricia's expert tip: Do your kids love PB&J? Then they will love the fun PB&J sushi rolls at Chelsea's.
Looking for a family-friendly coffee shop and cafe in Phoenix? You've found it at The Teapot, a charming and kid-friendly destination that is designed to appeal to both parents and kids. Located in the historic Roosevelt neighborhood near downtown Phoenix, The Teapot is situated in a historic house that has been lovingly restored. Kids can enjoy the company of other kids (and a nice supply of toys) in the well-maintained yard, while parents can relax with some gourmet coffee, pastries, quiche and other treats. The Teapot regularly hosts special, seasonally-inspired events. The Teapot charges a $2 "play ticket" for kids all children aged 1 - 8.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: The Teapot is a kid-friendly cafe near downtown Phoenix that's designed to appeal to kids and their parents.
Patricia's expert tip: Please note that The Teapot charges a $2 per child "play ticket" that is added to food and beverage check totals, which is used to maintain the grounds.
Pizza and Wurlitzer tunes? Why, yes. Organ Stop Pizza is a Mesa original. The family-friendly pizza parlor features pizza, of course, but also free nightly concerts, courtesy of a small staff of talented organists. For adults, there is wine and beer, plus a salad bar if you're watching your calories. For kids, there is pizza and an old-fashioned ice cream counter, plus a small arcade. For everybody, there is the mighty house Wurlitzer, a magnificent instrument that features more than 6,000 pipes. To request a tune, simply write your request on a scrap of paper (paper is provided by the stage) and drop it in the organist's box. If you're lucky, you will probably hear your song request before the night is over.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Organ Stop Pizza is one of the most unique family-friendly restaurants in Arizona, and maybe even the country.
Patricia's expert tip: Please note: this is a cash-only restaurant. There is an ATM in the lobby.