Are you one of those people who won’t even consider taking a trip somewhere that offers only mediocre food and beverage choices? We know your type. You dig in, making long lists (spreadsheets even!) detailing local bars and restaurants you can’t wait to try. You read reviews, you make maps, and you plan your every move around happy hours and reservation times.
Well, Arizona gets you.
We’re the kind of place where you can get a James Beard Award-winning hot dog and the best sake this side of Tokyo all in the same afternoon. With a 4000-year-old food culture, Arizona’s culinary scene is a tapestry of Mexican, Native American, and European food traditions. Discover an unbeatable F&B destination.
It was voted Best U.S. Cocktail Bar in 2023. Need we say more? Century Grand is home to the immersive, show-stopping Platform 18, UnderTow, and Grey Hen Rx, stylized respectively as a Pullman train car, the hull of a ship, and a New Orleans apothecary. These 90-minute bar experiences lean into stories to immerse guests, but the team’s bartending prowess has also consistently turned heads locally and beyond.
Bitter & Twisted
Ironically, this elevated cocktail parlour is located in downtown Phoenix’s storied Luhrs Building, which once served as the headquarters for Arizona Prohibition. Today, this stylish and sophisticated drinking establishment is known for inventive cocktails and delectable bar snacks. Over the years, Bitter & Twisted has firmly cemented its position as the premier destination for those seeking a chic and refined drinking adventure, boasting a globally acclaimed, award-winning cocktail selection and earning consistent recognition as having the “World’s Best Cocktail Menu.”
In the Route 66 town of Holbrook, one man is making the best sake produced outside of Japan. Yokohama native Atsuo Sakurai is the only First-Grade Sake Brewer in the United States. And Arizona Sake is the only Gold Medal winner in the 2018 Sake Competition in Tokyo for sake made outside of Japan. Impressive credentials, no? You can enjoy Arizona Sake in restaurants and bars all over Arizona.
Batch Whiskey & Donuts
You had us at “Whiskey & Donuts.” Batch, renowned as one of the finest Bourbon Bars in America, has gained its reputation for two standout features: a remarkable whiskey collection (the largest in Arizona, featuring over 1,000 unique bottles) and irresistible, indulgent rings of fried dough. Nestled in the heart of downtown Tucson, Batch boasts a basement cocktail lounge and an exclusive boutique whiskey shop, all housed in a historic building on Congress Street. Come for the sips, stay for the sweets!
Well, now that we have a few beverages in us, let’s talk food—and not just any food…authentically Arizona food. Out here, variety is as plentiful as sunshine and cactus. From Southwestern flavors like prickly pear and buffalo, to comfort food like homemade fry bread and farm-fresh date shakes, no foodie goes home unsatisfied.
El Guero Canelo
Remember that James Beard Award-winning hot dog we mentioned earlier? El Guero Canelo is where you get it. When chef/owner Daniel Contreras won the award in 2018, The James Beard Foundation called him, “the leading hotdoguero” and heaped praise upon his version of the bacon-wrapped Sonoran Dog. (They even went as far as to call Tucson “the American epicenter” of the Sonoran Dog which originated in Hermosillo, Sonora.) Though there are now three locations, the original stand is a destination restaurant, outfitted with picnic tables and serviced by a walk-up order window. Fans converge for bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed into stubby bolillos, smothered with beans, onion, mustard, jalapeño sauce, and a squiggle of mayonnaise.
Fry Bread House
In 1992, Tohono O’odham native Cecilia Miller opened her tiny, two-room Fry Bread restaurant in a Phoenix strip mall simply because she was tired of having no public restaurant for Native American people to gather and eat as they would at home. Twenty years later, she won a James Beard Award. Today, people flock to the Fry Bread House for unforgettable dishes like Red Chili Beef, tamales, posole, hand-stretched flour tortillas (chumuth), and sweet fry bread.
If you think a Vegan restaurant can’t win a James Beard Award, chef Wendy Garcia has already proved you wrong. In the span of about a decade, the standout chef and restaurateur went from selling tamales at local farmers markets to taking home the top prize in gastronomy. Says chef Wendy, “What’s a better meal than nopalitos harvested from the backyard and fresh chiles from a local farmers market for a salsa, or a good soup made of local tepary beans? I just love getting local ingredients and creating a meal that will make someone’s day, physically and mentally.” Her innovative menu—as well as her passion for food and community—is renowned in Tucson. And for traveling foodies, Tumerico is a must-try.
Arizona offers total indulgence with a Southwestern flair. When you’re ready for the culinary experience of a lifetime, learn more at FoodiesAZ.com.