Restaurant Guide–Phoenix

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  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Chandler

China Magic Noodle House–2015 N. Dobson Rd. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Next door to Lee’s Market. Shaved noodles, steamed dumplings. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Cyclo Vietnamese–1919 W. Chandler Blvd. (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Vermicelli, Hong Kong chow fun are good (Gil rates restaurant 25).  From Yelp reviews the dishes served seem good but not terribly exotic. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Green Corner–1065 W. Queen Creek Rd. (Middle Eastern) Open daily except Sun evening.  Reviews are consistent about the delicious food, although the items served are pretty standard for Middle Eastern food. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Phoenix Palace–2075 N. Dobson Rd. (Chinese) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Yelp reviewers say this is the best dim sum in Phoenix (but is not up to Cal. standards). The regular menu is good–has a Chinese menu with traditional Cantonese dishes. Many say this is better than C-Fu (which is not as good as it used to be). Has xiao long bao. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Swaddee Thai–5055 W. Ray Rd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Authentic. Red curry, green curry, eggplant are good. Some noodle and stir fried dishes do not get as good reviews, and overall it seems that Mint Thai might be better. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Note: Lee Lee Supermarket at 2025 N. Dodson Rd. has a selection of Asian and other ethnic items that rivals the stores on the west coast.

Gilbert

New Mexican Grill–3107 S. Lindsay Rd. (New Mexican) Closed Sun.  New Mexican food that is the “real deal” according to reviewers. Food is served with Indian fry bread (probably the most popular item with customers). Opens at 7am (8 on Sun). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Glendale

A Touch of European–7146 N. 57th Dr. (Polish) Lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat.  Polish sampler platter gives you a taste of several items. Reviews are very good (I think the owner cooks everything). (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Little Saigon–7016 N. 57th Ave. (Vietnamese) Open daily except Sun evening.  Taking a look at the reviews and the extensive menu, this may be the place to come for Vietnamese food in Arizona (although I realize there are a number of very good choices in the Phoenix area). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Szechuan Cuisine–5158 W. Olive Ave. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Authentic Sichuanese cuisine if you order from the “white menu” (with the authentic food). Reviews are very good for the restaurant. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Guadalupe

Loreto’s–9206 Avenida del Yaqui (Mexican) Open Daily.  This can probably be described as a neighborhood restaurant that is so popular people come from all over Phoenix to eat here. This is a long list of favorites here including burritos (carne asada with green chile is good), chile relleno, carne adobada, and rolled tacos with tomatillo sauce. Prices are ridiculously low for the quality of food you get. (Outdoor seating, delivery, takeout 6-21-21)

Litchfield Park

Old Pueblo Cafe–102 N. Old Litchfield Rd. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Sonoran–said to be one of the best in Phoenix. (I think the Sonoran food in Phoenix is pretty Americanized, but supposedly this restaurant is better than many others). (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Mesa

All Pierogi Kitchen–1245 W. Baseline Rd. (Polish) Closed Mon & Tue.  Pierogi is the specialty and possibly the only item served (but there is a large variety of fillings, etc.). It also appears that the owner makes all of them by hand, thus you do not get the frozen ones as is the case with many Polish restaurants. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Asian Cafe Express–1911 W. Main St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  Some recommend it as the best authentic Cantonese style restaurant in the Phoenix area, and the overwhelming consensus is that it has great Chinese food. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

La Tiendita–456 W. Main St. (Colombian) Open daily 11 am to 7 pm (6 pm on Sun).  Good reviews, and you can get a sampler plate to try various items. (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Mekong Palace–66 S. Dobson Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Has dim sum, and authentic Cantonese food available from the menu (most say the dim sum is not the best in Phoenix but the menu items are very good). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Phoenix

Abyssinia Rest–842 E. Indian School Rd. (Ethiopian) Closed Mon.  Everything is cooked by the owner and reviewers are very complimentary of the food. Has a large vegetarian menu, and some of the food is quite spicy. Platters are available to sample many items, but it feeds about 4-6 people. (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Atoyac–1830 W. Glendale Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun-Mon. Oaxacan style. Has mole. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

AZ Kabob House–7000 E. Mayo Blvd. (Persian) Open Daily.  Large menu of Persian dishes. Reviewers say the kabobs are cooked perfectly. Has ghormeh sabzi on the menu. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Barrio Cafe–2814 N. 16th St. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  A very popular restaurant for authentic Mexican street food and food as it would be served south of the border. Enchiladas suizas, cochinita pibil, mole, and chiles en nogada, are some of the popular dishes. This, along with Los Sombreros, are said to be the most authentic Mexican restaurants in Phoenix (but Los Sombreros is said to be more upscale). Barrio Cafe definitely has my idea of upscale food, but perhaps the prices are better here than at Los Sombreros (but prices are not published on the Internet). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Carolina’s–2126 E. Cactus Rd. (Mexican) Closed Sun.  Sonoran–one of the most popular. In addition to the main dishes, the beans and tortillas are particularly good. Open for breakfast–burritos are popular. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Chennai Chettinaad Palace–2814 W. Bell Rd. (Indian) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 pm to 5:30 pm).  Extensive menu of south Indian food including dosa, biryani, and many items I have not seen on other restaurants’ menus. (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Cocina Madrigal–4044 S. 16th St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican restaurant with a Oaxacan born chef has made a big impression on the reviewers. Wild mushroom enchiladas are very popular. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Cornish Pasty–7 W. Monroe St. (British) Open daily (open to midnight or later every day).  Specializes in pasties, and some reviewers say it “takes them back to England” and is real UK food in the freshness, texture, flavor, etc. Some of the pasties have Indian food inside (such as vindaloo). (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

El Caprichoso Hotdogs–2826 N. 35th Ave. (Hot Dogs) Open 6:30 pm to late night (closed Mon).  Said to have the best Sonoran hot dogs in Phoenix, and maybe in Arizona. One thing that looks good is that you can eat indoors (many places are takeout only). (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Fry Bread House–4545 N. 7th Ave. (Southwest) Closed Sun (closes 7 pm weekdays).  The owner serves food from her Tohono O’odham Nation roots including Indian tacos that are said to be some of the best. She has received a James Beard award for her menu based largely on fry bread and red chile. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Glai Baan–2333 E. Osborn Rd. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch; closed Sun & Mon.  Thai street food that is a little different from the food found in most Thai restaurants. Dumplings are very popular. Reviews for food are very good but some say it gets so busy the restaurant gets overwhelmed and waiting time can be too long (especially at dinner). (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Great Wall–3446 W. Camelback Rd. (Chinese) Open Daily. Authentic Chinese & dim sum (dim sum on weekends only). Authentic Cantonese dishes are listed on a separate menu (reviewers say they are very good). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Khyber Halal Rest–4030 N. 24th St. (Afghani) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun).  Its specialty is Afghani cuisine but also has Pakistani and Indian food (reviews are good for all of them). (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Los Altos Ranch Market–5802 W. Thomas Rd. (Mexican) Open daily 6 am to 10 pm.  Los Altos is a grocery store with a food court inside. If you want authentic Mexican street food and are willing to sit at indoor picnic tables in order to get some of the cheapest prices in town, this is a popular spot. Many people get a Mexican Coke for a drink. Some items (such as carnitas) are only available on certain days. The bakery in the grocery store is very popular, and there are sometimes vendors selling tamales in the parking lot. (Store is open 9-6-21)

Los Dos Molinos–1044 E. Camelback Rd. (New Mexican) Closed Sun & Mon.  New Mexican cuisine that many people recommend. It has the spiciness that Arizona Mexican cuisine lacks, and it would be worth coming here if you can’t go to New Mexico. Enchiladas and green chile stew are recommended by reviewers. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Pizzeria Bianco–623 E. Adams St. (Pizza) Closed Mon & Tue.  Nationally recognized as being one of the best in the U.S. (crust is especially good). Margherita is good. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Reathrey Sekong–1312 E. Indian School Rd. (Cambodian) Open 2 pm to 8:30 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  A dedicated Cambodian restaurant (not a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant that serves a few Cambodian dishes).  Reviews are very good. (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Samarkand–7823 N. 19th Ave. (Uzbek) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Fri evening; closed Sat & Sun).  Good reviews for the food. Some say it is not always open during posted hours, though. Food looks very interesting because it seems to be a combination of Middle Eastern and Russian cuisine. (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Takamatsu–4214 W. Dunlap Ave. (Korean) Open Daily.  Good reviews, and apparently is very authentic. Korean BBQ, dumpling soup, kim chee hot pot. Generous with the side dishes. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Scottsdale

Chompie’s–9301 E. Shea Blvd. (Deli) Open daily 6 am to 9 pm.  New York style deli with a huge menu, and according to reviewers has very good food. Makes their own bagels and desserts. Has locations in Chandler, Glendale, Phoenix, and Tempe. (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Los Sombreros–2534 N. Scottsdale Rd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican–very good reviews. Recipes are from San Miguel de Allende. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Tempe

Cafe Lalibela–849 W. University Dr. (Ethiopian) Open Daily.  Meat & vegetarian items, but reviewers particularly like the vegetarian dishes. (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Chanpen Thai–2700 W. Baseline Rd. (Thai) Open Daily.  A Thai restaurant that reviewers are passionate about (so it must be very good). Most people recommend the curries (it is thick like they say it should be). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Delhi Palace–933 E. University Dr. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  This is part of the chain (and maybe the flagship restaurant) that used to have a restaurant in El Paso, and which I found to be very good quality. Menu is limited compared to what I now know about Indian food, but I thought Delhi Palace had a very good flavor. (Dining room is open 10-1-21)

Little Miss BBQ–4301 E. University Dr. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 4 pm (Wed-Sat only).  Central Texas style barbecue. You have to stand in line to order, but some say if you arrive early there is less of a wait (they open at 11:00 am). Everything seems to be good here, but if you want world class BBQ people say the fatty brisket is the one to get (but they sometimes run out).  (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Nandini–1845 E. Broadway Rd. (Indian) Open Daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  The flavor makes this the favorite Indian restaurant in the Phoenix metro for many. It is more expensive than other Indian restaurants-reviewers say you pay for the quality you get. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

Smile Lao Thai–2107 S. Rural Rd. (Thai) Open Daily.  I’m always looking for good Lao restaurants, as this one seems to be. However, I would be in a dilemma because reviewers say the Thai food is equally authentic and among the best in Phoenix. Pad ped and pad prik khing are among the recommended dishes for Thai food. Mii kathii seems to be the restaurant’s signature dish (this is a Lao soup). (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Udupi Cafe–1636 N. Scottsdale Rd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  All vegetarian cuisine. Has a lunch buffet (which lacks some of the items available on the dinner menu). Specializes in South Indian food (such as dosa). Thali is available (I loved the thali served at the Udupi Cafe in Seattle). This is the budget alternative if other Indian restaurants are too expensive. (Dining room is open 7-10-20)

Viet Shack–7510 S. Priest Dr. (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 7:30 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Does not serve pho, but is said to have some of the freshest flavors for bun (vermicelli bowls) and banh mi. (Dining room is open 9-6-21)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Chowhound (Anything Good for Lunch and Dinner in PHX-Scottsdale?)

City-Data (Phoenix ethnic eats)

Eater Guide to the Southwest 2019

Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

Google Maps

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Phoenix)

Zomato (Phoenix)

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