Dining Guide | Come Together: 8 Phoenix Family-Style Restaurants
It’s that time of year again; when all of our friends and family from the other side of the Mississippi start traveling to Arizona to take advantage of our gentle weather. If you need a break from cooking or are just wanting to get out of the house for a while, there are plenty of restaurants that can deliver a warm, familiar feeling that comes from sharing and passing dishes. Restaurants that feature shared plates or family-style dishes create a more social way of dining that is perfect for reconnecting and remembering all those great stories and memories that you can relive over a meal, with no dishes or clean up after.
Come Together: 8 Phoenix Family-Style Restaurants
Joe’s Midnight Run is all about fun, sheer creative fun. It all starts with the décor with is smooth, sleek and a little sexy. The menu exudes a fun, hip vibe with constant reminders of the creators love for music, with nods here and there to their favorite artists via street art scattered throughout the menu. Joe’s has a varied “Shorties” (shared plates) menu that features items like Sweetbreads, Cantina Poutine, Blistered Shishitos, Curried Cauliflower and much more. The diversity of offerings ensures that there is something for everyone, add in a few of Joe’s specialty cocktails and you’re well on your way to sharing as many memories together are you are dishes!
6101 N. 7th St.| Phoenix | 480.459.4467 | $$
For almost 5 years, Khyber Halal has been providing Uptown with a fusion of cuisines from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. This eclectic blend results in a unique dining experience and while the dining room isn’t luxurious, the food will make you forget your surroundings. The Afghani specialties really stand out and the portions are massive which make them perfect for sharing. The Kalbi Pulao is the perfect introductory dish, made up of a foot-long beef kabob perched atop Afghani rice with raisins and shredded carrots. Khyber Halal’s Vegetarian Tikka Masala is a flavorful and robust dish that will surprise and delight the whole family, no matter how hardcore of a carnivore they might be.
4030 N. 24th St. | Phoenix | 602.954.5290 | $
Ocotillo Restaurant invites you into their expansive restaurant that combines the outdoors and all of the beauty of our desert landscapes with an interior industrial feel. This is the perfect spot to highlight the beauty of our state and gentle Fall weather by dining on their patio. This area boasts a chef’s garden so you can finally convince your family that we can actually grow amazing produce here. The shared plates menu features are the star of the show and offer a variety of refined, yet relatable dishes like Roasted Whole Chicken Wings, Chilled Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho and crisp and clean Halibut Ceviche. The relaxed communal feel of Ocotillo’s patio feels like dining in your own backyard, but without all the work of cooking and dishes after.
3243 N. 3rd St. | Phoenix | 602.687.9080 | $$
The rustic interior of Okra exudes a relaxed and laid-back ambiance. You can dress yourself up or come as you are after a long day of entertaining out of town guests. This centrally located hot spot features a variety of Southern-inspired dishes, some coming from Chef Cullen Campbell’s own secret family recipes. Your guests will revel in the sheer volume of shared dining options. Pass around some Fried Chicken Skins or Grilled Oysters. Perhaps the Grilled Okra is more your speed or the Fried Dilly Beans (complete with comeback sauce.) The extensive list of offerings will conjure up the finest down-home memories and bring a ghost of a tear to any true Southerner’s heart.
5813 N. 7th St. | Phoenix | 602.296.4147 | $$
The Clever Koi is one of those places that is constantly evolving their menu while always providing consistent service and hospitality. Clever Koi often has a specific dining theme but lacks that gimmicky feel that some places have. There is an array of dishes on their small plates menu, which creates a beautiful introduction to their Asian-fusion cuisine focus. There is no need to bicker over which dishes to order, simply opt for all of them and then let the passing around the table begin. Calamari Fries and Hokkaido Street Corn are very popular at Clever Koi and really highlight their Asian flavors while delivering familiar tastes at the same time.
4236 N. Central Ave. | Phoenix | 602.222.3474 | $$
After years of success with Pizzeria Bianco, James Bears Award-winning Chef Chris Bianco is now receiving a lot of buzz and acknowledgment for his newest restaurant, Tratto. The restaurant features all the charm of a familiar family dining room and the Italian local ingredient driven menu provides a matched comfort and familiarity. The concise menu and ample sized dishes allow for ordering a few things and sharing amongst your table. Dishes like the Slow Cooked Beef Brisket and Masala Braised Pork Shank are prepared simply but convey rich and complex flavors that will be hard to share with anyone, but it’s probably the right thing to do.
4743 N. 20th St. | Phoenix | 602.296.7761 | $$
This intimate space is perfect for smaller dining parties, but will certainly wow your out of town guests. Tuck Shop is located in the quaint Coronado historic neighborhood which adds an extra level of charm to your experience. The beautifully designed dishes begin with conscientious sourcing of ingredients which are prepared in a number of creative ways to enhance their fundamental properties resulting in extraordinary depth of flavor and harmony. Tuck Shop’s Cheese Curds more than likely won’t make it half-way around the table if you have Midwestern guests while West coast guests will be clamoring for the fresh and intense flavors of the Tuna Tartare and Vegetable Ceviche. Luckily, you can always order more!
2245 N. 12th St. | Phoenix | 602.354.2980 | $$
There is no question that Italian food is the great common ground cuisine when it comes to pleasing the palates of a diverse group of people. Tutti Santi has been delivering elevated traditional Italian dishes for over 20 years in the Valley. Chef Nina, known for her unmatched sauces and unique flavor stylings, has created a space and menu that’s combines a neighborhood feel with a beloved fine dining menu. Traditionalists will appreciate the simple yet full-bodied flavors of the Spaghetti Bolognese and Veal Parmigiana, all made with homemade pasta. If you are looking for more complex dishes you’ll love Tutti’s Penne Della Casa and Agnello Dorato with fettuccine. The staff and service here are so attentive you’re sure to visit time and time again, even after your guests are headed back home.
7575 N. 16th St. | Phoenix | 602.216.0336 | $$
This article, written by Taryn Jeffries, originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Uptown Magazine.
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© Taryn Jeffries 2016