Postino (3939 E. Campbell Ave., 602/852-3939, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun., $5–12) has been a mainstay on the Phoenix  dining scene since its first location opened on Campbell Avenue in the Arcadia neighborhood back in 2001. Serving delicious and affordable sandwiches, salads, and mix-and-match bruschettas, Postino—housed in a historic building that once served as a post office, hence the name—provides a lovely ambience with floor-to-ceiling windows and alfresco dining on the patio. A wide selection of wine and beer complements a casual-yet-notable menu.
A second location, known as Postino Central (5144 N. Central Ave., 602/274-5144), opened in Phoenix’s historic Medlock district in 2009.
Friends and families alike flock to La Grande Orange Pizzeria (4410 N. 40th St., 602/840-7777, 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $7–14) for pizzas that locals argue are among the best in the city. This neighborhood delight is one of a trio of restaurant concepts that make the corner of Campbell Avenue and 40th Street a madhouse on Saturdays and Sundays and a must-visit for any traveling foodie. If you want to try a little of everything, come with a group and order multiple pizzas. Just make sure to get the Padre, with savory prosciutto, fresh ricotta, fig, and arugula. After dinner, stop by the grocery for gifts ranging from wine to pet products and potted plants.
Part of the local restaurant empire that includes La Grande Orange and Postino, Chelsea’s Kitchen (5040 N. 40th St., 602/957-2555, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., $12–27) starts with a great patio and builds from there. The sleek interior manages to be both lively and private, especially in the tall leather booths, but the canal-side outdoor space is the showstopper. Gorgeous views of the sunset and the city below make it easy to linger over a pitcher of Chelsea’s signature white sangria (made with pinot grigio) or a plateful of swordfish tacos. Or go for the wood-fired rotisserie chicken with house-made spatzle or the ahi tuna burger. Whatever you choose, Chelsea’s delivers in a very stylish package.
If you knew the wonders of sweet-potato fries before all of your friends, Delux (3146 E. Camelback Rd., 602/522-2288, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily, $7–13) is the burger joint for you. This hip spot dishes up fancified versions of burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches that are actually worth the price. Try the Delux burger topped with blue and gruyère cheese, organic arugula, carmelized onion, and applewood bacon on a locally made demi-baguette for a red-meat treat. Don’t forget the side of fries, either. They’re served in a miniature shopping cart and come in regular and sweet potato varieties. The restaurant looks like it could double as a nightclub, and thankfully it keeps nightclub hours, too. It’s open until 2 a.m. in a town where late-night dining options are all too rare.
A recent addition to Biltmore Fashion Park, True Food Kitchen (2502 E. Camelback Rd. Ste. 135, 602/774-3488, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $10–21) is an innovative collaboration between holistic-health guru Dr. Andrew Weil and Arizona’s uber-restaurateur Sam Fox. The fresh, flavorful menu—which promises “globally inspired cuisine that nourishes body, mind, and spirit”—incorporates many health-conscious, eco-friendly movements that have transformed the way many people eat. Chefs use healthy fats like olive oil, prepare wheat-free pasta with brown and white rice, and serve Alaskan black cod, which has more Omega-3s than salmon. Much of the organic, seasonal produce is locally grown, and the chicken and turkey are certified hormone- and antibiotic-free. And not to worry—with dishes like goat cheese ravioli and steak tacos topped with avocado and tomatillo salsa, meals are as tasty as they are nutritious.
In the heart of north-central Phoenix , the Rokerij (6335 N. 16th St., 602/287-8900, 11 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Fri., 4 p.m.–midnight Sat.–Sun., $12–32) has quickly become a staple for fine food. Before dinner, go downstairs to the basement bar; it’s a perfect sanctuary on a hot summer day. In the winter, a fireplace transforms the room into a cozy cocktail den. Bottles of wine are half price Sunday through Tuesday. Making a decision at dinner will be the hardest part of the night. The rotisserie pork green chile enchiladas—amazing. Grilled beef tenderloin smothered with Dungeness crab and jalapeño hollandaise—even better.