The Tuck Shop (2245 N. 12th St., 602/354-2980, 5–10 p.m. Tues.–Sat., $9–18) is still one of Phoenix ’s best-kept secrets. It seems like only in-the-know foodies frequent this Desert Modernist remodel of a 1950s-era building in the Coronado neighborhood. Architect/owner D.J. Fernandes serves up “neighborhood comfort food” in a casually chic setting, and the menu’s tapas-inspired small plates are quite simply phenomenal. Bring some friends and order up a medley of dishes, like the Spanish patatas bravas with aioli, mac and cheese with crispy prosciutto and lobster, or the soon-to-be-legendary fried chicken with cheddar waffles and braised greens. The handcrafted cocktails are just as thoughtful. Try the gin and house-made tonic, garnished with a ribbon of shaved cucumber.
Durant’s (2611 N. Central Ave., 602/264-5967, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri., 5–11 p.m. Sat., 5–10 p.m. Sun., $20–40) is a classic in every sense of the word. From its ever-so-dry martinis to its deep-red decor, the pink-stuccoed steakhouse is a bona fide local landmark that has changed little since then-newlyweds Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio dined there in 1954. Enter like locals through the kitchen in the back, and take a peek at the thick steaks and oysters Rockefeller before heading into the dining room. Don’t be surprised if you bump into the governor—it is a favorite haunt of Arizona politicos.
Next door, Phoenix  urbanites flock to Switch (2603 N. Central Ave., 602/264-2295, 11 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–midnight Sat.–Sun., $8–15), a breakfast joint turned trendy lounge. The blue-on-blue mod decor and hip music provide a background for burgers, salads, pitas, and innovative sandwiches. Switch caters to a younger crowd, though it’s packed at lunch with downtown workers of all ages. The restaurant prides itself on its house-made sangria, crepes, and flaky baked galettes. You can sit at the community bar, on the patio, or in the lounge-like dining room.
A former flower shop, My Florist Café & Bar (534 W. McDowell Rd., 602/254-0333, 7 a.m.–midnight daily, $9–14) offers quiet mornings over coffee, late-night drinks, and a tasty selection of salads and sandwiches in between. Its stylish, modern dining room and the memorable piano serenades of Nicole Pesce have made My Florist a popular spot to unwind with a cheese plate and glass of wine. Try the turkey and brie sandwich or the asparagus salad with caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and a lemon-thyme dressing.
A refurbished bungalow now serves as the home of the Lisa G Cafe Wine Bar (2337 N. 7th St., 602/253-9201, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 5–10 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 5–midnight Fri.–Sat., $9–12). It’s a fitting choice for chef/owner Lisa Giungo, who has spent a lifetime cooking for family and friends—not mention some of the best restaurants in town—and her adorable family photos only add to homey atmosphere. Rustic sandwiches and fresh salads make the small, stylish café a terrific lunchtime spot, though it’s always a popular destination for a casual evening meal. Regulars swear by Lisa’s Bowl of Balls, a family recipe of beef, pork, and veal, while vegetarians swoon for the eggplant, zucchini, blue cheese, and pine nut empanadas.