10 Best Restaurants in Downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row Neighborhood

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

Roosevelt Row, or RoRo if you prefer, is perhaps downtown Phoenix's most popular neighborhood. You'll find historic houses, art studios, freshly erected condo high rises, and an ever-growing food and drink scene. If there's one constant here, it's change.

The area is home to neighborhood staples like Carly's Bistro, an unassuming restaurant and bar with a simple yet well-executed menu of sandwiches, salads and bar nibbles. 

Looking for a fine craft beer to enjoy with lunch or dinner? Make a pit stop at Mother Brunch Brewing, a local microbrewery with a menu of creative pub fare. 

For a date night, or just some of the most revered wood-fired pizzas in the city, stop by Cibo, a charming Italian restaurant, pizzeria and neighborhood staple that's located in a historic house near Roosevelt Row. 

For "unabashedly inauthentic" – and very delicious – noodle bowls, head to SoSoba, a fun and casual noodle shop on Roosevelt Row. 

Also fun, and quite delicious, is the casual, globally-inspired menu at The Dressing Room, a small but lively restaurant that serves up delicious burgers, tacos, and beachy street grub from around the world. 

 

 

 

 

10. Pita Jungle
Photo courtesy of Pita Jungle

This local chain is a favorite with local foodies and health enthusiasts. The large, eclectic menu features wraps, salads, burgers, wood fired pizzas, and several delectable sides. Try the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus for starters, or dive right into the wraps menu, which features hot and cold selections, including Mediterranean Roasted Chicken, Broiled Chicken Pita, Gyros, Falafels, and even a Philly Steak Pita. Seasonal specials include the Wood-Fired Fresh Salmon, Wood-Fired Chicken, Mahi Mahi with Pita Chips, Chicken Del Sol, and Chicken Tikka Masala. With understated yet sophisticated ambiance, Pita Jungle is perfect for a casual lunch, business, or even date night.

9. Mother Brunch Brewing
Photo courtesy of Mother Brunch Brewing

Mother Brunch Brewery is Roosevelt Row's resident microbrewery and gastropub, serving creative fare and craft beer. It's a win-win combination that elevates familiar ingredients into unexpected pairing. The small plates menu features stand-outs like house cured salmon, mussels steamed in house-made beer, vegetable pate, and even crispy pork rinds that are fried to order and tossed in a secret spice mix. The entree side of the menu features gourmet burgers and house specialties like the Roosevelt Reuben (made with a house cured duck pastrami), Phoenix French dip and a vegetarian hot pot made with fresh seasonal veggies. Of course, while you're here you may want to sample the beer and wine menu. The tap list features a number of locally crafted beers, along with Mother Brunch creations like Cherry Popper, a chocolate brown porter finished with sweet cherries.

8. Short Leash Hot Dogs
Photo courtesy of Short Leash Hot Dogs

Once a humble downtown Phoenix food truck, Short Leash Hot Dogs is now one of downtown Phoenix's most-loved local eateries. The restaurant specializes in gourmet hot dogs - but these are not your typical ballpark hot dogs. They come wrapped in toasty, pillowy naan bread and topped with an assortment of unique, fresh ingredients. For example, there's the currywurst, a knockwurst sausage slow-cooked in a tomato and onion curry broth and then topped with crunchy onions. The results are playful and delicious. New hot dog specials grace the menu regularly. Don't miss the "Rollover" menu, featuring a mix of gourmet donuts.

7. Matt's Big Breakfast

If you don't know where Matt's Big Breakfast is, no problem. Simply look for the long trail of chatting, slightly restless men and women lined up outside the small cafe on First Street. This is Matt's Big Breakfast, one of the city's most popular breakfast destinations, especially on the weekends. Try the Hog and Chick, two eggs with your choice of thick-cut bacon, country sausage, or off-the-bone ham. Lunch, featuring a short menu of sandwich classics such as The Classic Reuben and BLT, is served starting at 11 am. The breakfast menu might not be the biggest in town, but the kitchen's use of farm-fresh ingredients makes this one of the tastiest.

6. 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.

5. 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.

4. SoSoBa Phoenix
Photo courtesy of SoSoba

SoSoba, which is playfully described as an "unabashedly inauthentic" noodle shop, is known for its fun, twisty ramen, soba, and udon bowls. Try the Mic Drop, a signature bowls layered with glistening pork belly, carnitas, and ham fries. It's served in an 18-hour tonkotsu pork broth. To start with, try the sweet chile tofu starter, featuring slinky, pleasantly crisp tofu cubes tossed in a lovely sweet chile sauce. And even if you've never been fond of cauliflower, you may just fall in love with the General Tso Tso cauliflower at SoSoba. SoSoba also offers a strong cocktail menu and late-night eats.

3. Carly's Bistro
Photo courtesy of Carly's Bistro

This small, cozy bistro means serious business when it comes to good food. The kitchen at Carly's Bistro may be small, but the menu impresses with its dedication to locally-sourced ingredients and freshly made panini sandwiches, wraps, sandwiches, soups and salads. The appetizer menu at Carly's is excellent. Start with the brie cheese wedge, or the cheese and fruit plate. From the panini menu, the Cuban, made with thinly sliced ham, turkey, & swiss with grainy mustard and pickles on ciabatta, is always a good choice. Carly's also has a large wine and craft beer menu, and a popular brunch on the weekends.

2. 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.

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. The new stuzzichini, or happy hour menu, is now available Mondays to Fridays from 3pm to 6pm, the perfect opportunity to sample different parts of the menu.