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The dining in Phoenix ranges from top South-Western cuisine to fun downtown bars

Vincent on Camelback has some of the finest food in the city
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The dining choice in Phoenix appeals to all tastes, whether you want to spend a lot or a little, and whether you want to sample contemporary international cooking, spicy south-western flavors, or have a fun night out at a local bar or wine bar.

 

Durant's is one place to go to get an authentic Phoenix experience. It's a steakhouse that has been open since 1950, looking rather unappealing from the outside - and where you should enter through the back door into the noisy kitchen, as the locals do. It's the kind of noisy place which over the years has welcomed politicians and criminals, and some who were both, alongside visiting celebrities enjoying its great steaks and fine wines.

 

You'll find Durant's a few blocks north of the Heard Museum, while right downtown is Hanny's. This was built in 1947 as a department store, though Hanny's today is a modern reincarnation of the original. Like Durant's, though, it's a city institution and a genuine taste of Phoenix. You can enjoy a martini, a manhattan, a beer, or a glass of wine at the bar, or dine from the Italian menu at one of the restaurant tables. Pizzas, sandwiches, salads, or a Tuscan steak are the main options.

 

A block from Hanny's downtown is a spicier menu of south-western foods and drinks. Try a pomegranate margarita to accompany the Mexican dishes on the main menu. Starters include green chile cornbread, while mains include such classic dishes as chile relleno, tacos, empanadas, and quesadillas. If you like the taste of Fuego (the name is Spanish for 'fire'), then there are three other branches around the city.

 

Chelsea's Kitchen describes itself as a roadhouse, and its location by a canal might lead you to think it's a regular American-style restaurant. In fact it has a very sophisticated and contemporary interior, spacious and filled with light, and the menu promises that all the ingredients are fresh and not frozen. It has quite an eclectic menu, although focussing on the cooking and produce of the region. Mouth-watering Mexican dishes such as chicken mole or carnitas sit alongside grilled salmon or grilled swordfish, and you can also try a prickly pear margarita, or wines mainly from California and Oregon.

 

About a minute's drive from Chelsea's Kitchen is another of Phoenix's star restaurants: Vincent on Camelback. Chef Vincent Guerithault was trained in classical French cuisine, but when he came to Phoenix he loved the tasty local flavors and unusual ingredients he could use. He opened his restaurant in 1986, and for over 25 years it has remained one of the city's top spots. The cooking is international but with an Arizona touch in main courses such as wild boar loin with parsnip purée and habañero sauce.

 

Naturally the restaurants in the luxury resorts compete with each other, but few would argue that T. Cook's at the Royal Palms Resort is one of the best. It's the place to go for style and romance, and if you want Mediterranean food rather than Mexican. There are American touches like the Maine lobster or the black truffle grits, alongside beef tenderloin and 21-day dry-aged ribeye steak, and a meal here is definitely one of the best you'll find in Phoenix.

 

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