Food You Shouldn’t Miss in the Valley of the Sun

Food You Shouldn’t Miss in the Valley of the Sun

Savanah McMahon
MD/MPH Candidate, 2019
University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

I’ll be the first to admit it. When I’m studying the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, the first thing I want to do after locking myself in the library all day – is to go find the juiciest burger in town. Oops. A little bit of indulgence every now and then is okay, right? Right?! My excuse is that I’m going into pathology and we all know that pathologists love food. There.

If you’re feeling like you want to indulge after a long week of studying for exams, here are my top five favorite restaurants in the Sonoran Desert. It was very tough to pick just five, which just goes to show how Phoenix is, in fact, a foodie’s paradise.

  1. Tampopo

This is a fairly new restaurant located in Tempe that specializes in ramen dishes. The best part about this place is that their noodles are made in-house! You can tell, too. Make sure you get there early, because seats are limited and there’s usually a line out the door.

My favorites: Yaki gyoza, Hirata buns, Tonkotsu ramen

  1. Fez

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Fez is my downtown Phoenix go-to. The service is wonderful and the food is delicious. It specializes in “American fare with Moroccan flair” and I think it captures this sentiment nicely. Also, the patio is doggo-friendly which is a plus.

My favorites: Bleu cheese balsamic burger,Garlic and rosemary fries
Website :

  1. Duck and Decanter

This place has been around for a long time (since 1972), and for good reason. It’s a specialty deli that imports most of their meats and cheeses. They also have a cute little shop where you can buy spices, teas, and kitchen amenities. And if you’re in the mood to study while you eat (which is my life most days), they have some comfortable places to do that upstairs.

My favorites: The Banger, The Hot One

  1. Christo’s Ristorante
    Photo from:

You can always tell a place is going to be a hit when the bread and butter exceed your expectations. What I can’t get over about this place is how the food is so top-notch and the prices are so affordable. If you’re in the mood for pasta (who doesn’t love a pile of carbs), check this restaurant out. It will not disappoint you.

My favorites: Tortellini Alla Papalina, Chicken Rollatini

  1. La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop

If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food in Phoenix, here is your spot. This is a family-owned restaurant with a Dia de los Muertos theme. Hands down the best tacos I’ve ever had. And they have a delightfully overwhelming salsa bar.

My favorites: Mayan Cochinita Pibil Taco, Sonoran Carne Asada Taco


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