The 10 best restaurants near Phoenix Convention Center – The Arizona Republic

Phoenix is a great place to grab a slice of pizza while dressed like Dr. Strange if you’re in town for Fan Fusion. Or even if you’re not.
No matter what takes you downtown, there are tons of buzzy, new restaurants within a 10 or 15 minute walking radius of the Phoenix Convention Center that are well worth checking out.
From fantasy worthy spicy chicken sandwiches to Cambodian cocktails to an animal themed cocktail bar with an entire menu section dedicated to bread, here are some fun spots to try right now in the downtown area.
Monroe’s is a great option for a fast-casual lunch. Shortly before the pandemic started, I set out to try all of the major Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches in the state. And Monroe’s was top of my list for flavor. These sandwiches have a tangy sauce with a complexity I couldn’t find anywhere else. And that’s not surprising, since the small menu of chicken sandwiches are the work of local legend Larry White of LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles. The man knows his stuff, from the batter down to the fresh and crispy pickles.
Details: 45 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix. 602-872-7100,
Why I love Monroe’s:When I lived in Tucson, these restaurants were worth the drive
This downtown location of a popular Tempe pub is a wood-paneled, three story temple of pasties. The restaurant offers more than 40 different varieties of the British baked hand pie, from traditional Shepherd’s pie to vegan tikka masala, Greek chicken and New Mexican adovada. Come hungry, because they are pretty filling. Even moreso when paired with a pint, which I highly recommend.
Details: 7 W. Monroe St., Phoenix. 602-374-8500,
Via Della has pierced my heart with its unstoppable flavor combinations. The cheesy white pie is downright perfection. Every bite has a sweet tinge of caramelized onions that melt right into the greasy mozzarella. Dusted with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for some extra oomph, the toppings are fairly simple and restrained, down to the sesame seed-studded crust. The shop also does a mean grandma square, and its iconic Phoenix Pie with spicy soppressata and homemade hot honey is a marvel.
Pro tip: Get your slice here, then head to Ziggy’s Magic Pizza Shop across the street. Bypass the pizza counter and go straight through the walk-in cooler to access a hidden pinball arcade bar.
Details: 222 N. Fifth Ave., Phoenix. 602-341-6327,
Peek inside:Ziggy’s Pizza and Stardust pinball lounge in downtown Phoenix
Taco Boy’s has all the trappings of a true Sonoran taqueria: a mesquite grill, banda music playing from the speakers and a bunch of dudes chopping hunks of meat behind a long counter. They make their carne asada soft and juicy rather than smoky and charred and they recommend stuffing your burro with beans and some melted cheese. But it wasn’t until my fourth visit that I discovered the sleeper hit — the cabeza burrito. Now I will order nothing but this luscious, fatty ranchland delicacy, made with head meat that’s steamed slow and low until it’s fall-off-the-skull tender.
Details: Taco Boy’s, 620 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. 602-675-3962,
The ultimate list:Here are the 5 best burritos in Phoenix ranked from great to iconic
Chris Bianco is the best pizza maker in the business and his small restaurant in historic Heritage Square is simply charming. Sit on the patio and enjoy perfect, bubbly woodfired pizzas made with the best olives oils, local Sonoran White flour and his proprietary tomato products. The Sonny Boy is my favorite, topped with smatters of thick-sliced soppressata and an effortlessly charred, whisper-thin crackle of salty tomato savoriness. There’s a reason this restaurant has garnered a James Beard Award and several nominations, including a finalist nod this year. It’s simply wonderful.
Details: 623 E. Adams St., Phoenix. 602-258-8300,
Arizona’s James Beard finalists:What to order at each restaurant
This downtown restaurant and cocktail bar looks like a cross between a hunter’s game room and a page from the “Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.” Most people probably are drawn in by the wild animal decor, but the food menu is equally ambitious with plates like a bone-in Berkshire pork schnitzel tomahawk and wild boar ragu with Sonoran pasta taglierini. But the cocktails are the highlight of the show with savory drinks like the Shishito Out of Luck made with blanco Tequila and shishito peppers.
Details: 2 N. Central Ave., Suite 101, Phoenix. 602-562-3510,
Downtown drinking destination:A guide to Rough Rider underground cocktail haunt
The second location of a beloved Italian restaurant, Pa’La is all about thoughtfully sourced seafood, both cooked and served raw in sashimi-like crudos. Shrimp, boquerones and obscure fish like seabream dominate the daily menu. Chef Claudio Urciuoli is also particular about his pizza. The dough is cold fermented for 48 hours before getting fired up in the impressive Neapolitan wood-burning oven perched at the back of the restaurant. His crust is masterful, with an uneven barrage of bubbles and burn marks, layered with a thick bed of melted cheese.
Details: 132 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-368-3052,
What to order at Pa’La:It’s finally open. Here’s what to expect
Kaizen is the sushi spot to see and be seen in downtown Phoenix. With its open floor plan on the bottom level of The Lawrence Building, a vintage warehouse office space, this restaurant exudes urban sophistication. Expect seafood with pan-Latin flourishes like Peruvian octopus tiraditos, tomato ceviche and scallop aguachile with a yuzu chile sauce. The hybrids are fun, but I really fell for the straightforward sushi rolls and nigiri, which were high quality and expertly prepared.
Details: 515 E. Grant St., Suite 100, Phoenix, 602-432-0752,
This bumping food truck park is located on the grounds of a 100-year-old mansion called The Sarah H. Pemberton House, which features a labyrinth of paths and greenery. Vendors switch up regularly, and offerings have included everything from French pastries and wine at Moiselle to New York-style Italian pasta from Saint Pasta. In addition to the ever-changing array of international cuisines, The Pemberton is also a fun spot to shop for vintage clothing, grab a tiki drink or sip a local craft beer.
Details: 1121 N. Second St., Phoenix.
A preview of the Pemberton:What’s new and coming soon to the downtown food park
Tucked in a little alleyway and lit by hanging paper lanterns, this new cocktail bar looks like a Southeast Asian hideaway. The speakers blare funky Cambodian pop music and the walls are decked out with vintage movie posters. It shares a building with Phoenix’s buzziest new regional Thai restaurant Lom Wong, which is conveniently located next door, but the cocktails here are so good, you can make a night out of it just munching on spicy, lime leaf bar nuts and drinks. If you only try one, make it the Devil’s Deal, which is made with Thai chile-infused mezcal, lemongrass and a yumberry syrup.
Details: 218 E. Portland St., Phoenix.
The story behind Khla: Asian cocktails aren’t a trend. They’re personal
Reach reporter Andi Berlin at Follow her on Facebook @andiberlin,  Instagram @andiberlin or Twitter @andiberlin.
Subscribe to today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *