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. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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. Map

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 Sat). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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). Map (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). Map (Dining room is open 6-21-21)

Szechuan Cuisine–5158 W. Olive Ave. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Authentic Sichuanese cuisine if you order from the “white menu” (with the authentic food). Reviews are very good for the restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 11-12-21)

Guadalupe

Loreto’s–9206 Avenida del Yaqui (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  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. Map (Dining room is open 10-30-21)

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). Map (Dining room is open 10-30-21)

Mesa

All Pierogi Kitchen–1245 W. Baseline Rd. (Ukrainian) Closed Mon & Tue.  This is an authentic Ukrainian restaurant with food that is home cooked style. The pierogi are made by hand, and they are not frozen. Reviewers say eating here is like having an “Ukrainian mom” doing the cooking. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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). Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

Note: My friends who have visited their friends in Phoenix (who know all the Chinese restaurants) recommend Mekong Palace as the best restaurant (but they recommend the regular menu and not necessarily the dim sum). This is located in a mall with several Asian restaurants including Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Filipino. My friends recommend Tea Snow for boba.

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 aplarge vegetarian menu, and some of the food is quite spicy. Platters are available to sample many items, but it feeds about 4-6 people. Map (Dining room is open 10-30-21)

Atoyac–1830 W. Glendale Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun-Mon. Oaxacan style. Has mole. Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

AZ Kabob House–7000 E. Mayo Blvd. (Persian) Closed Mon.  Large menu of Persian dishes. Reviewers say the kabobs are cooked perfectly. Has ghormeh sabzi on the menu. Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

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). Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

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). Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

El Caprichoso Hotdogs–2826 N. 35th Ave. (Hot Dogs) Open 6 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). Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

FiGaMi Asian Fresh–3446 W. Camelback Rd. (Asian) Open Daily.  Main cuisine is ramen and other Japanese dishes, but also has Burmese tea salad, Burmese fish noodle soup, Indonesian style coconut soup, Malaysian style shrimp noodles, and other really interesting looking dishes (the Burmese tea salad is an appetizer, and any of these others can be ordered as a main dish). Map (Dining room is open 10-31-21)

Flaming Pig–1534 W. Camelback Rd. (Filipino) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say the food is authentic and that it is a good Filipino restaurant for “this part of town” (but it seems to be one of the best in the city). Has many street food items and fried food, but menu is large enough to cover just about everything. Map (Dining room is open 9-5-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 8-29-22)

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). Map (Dining room is open 12-27-21)

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). Map (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). Map (Dining room is open 9-29-21)

Little Miss BBQ–4301 E. University Dr. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 4 pm (Wed-Sat only).  Central Texas style barbecue (in fact Texas Monthly published an article stating that it was the real deal). 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 many people say the fatty brisket is the one to get (but they sometimes run out). Others say not to worry because other meats are excellent as well (but probably the lean brisket would be the next choice). Map  (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

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. Map (Store is open 1-5-22)

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. (Also in S. Phoenix and Mesa). Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Pa’La–2107 N. 24th St. (Seafood) Lunch Tue-Sat; Dinner Thu-Sat.  The specialties here are seafood and bread done European style (the owner came from Italy but has experience in France and Switzerland which also influences some of his dishes). Recommended by Gil Garduño of Gil’s Thrilling (and Filling) Blog who says it is high quality but less expensive than most restaurants with food of comparable quality. Serves tapas, sandwiches, and seafood plates. It is mostly seafood but has some Italian meats, as well as salads. Map (Dining room is open 8-28-22)

Pizzeria Bianco–623 E. Adams St. (Pizza) Open daily (in summer it is closed on Mon).  Nationally recognized as being one of the best in the U.S. (crust is especially good). Margherita is good. There are 3 other locations in Phoenix. Map (Dining room is open 10-31-21)

Pomo PIzzeria–705 N. 1st St. (Pizza) Open Daily.  VPN approved Neapolitan pizza. Gelato is also quite popular. According to the on line menu it is reasonably priced. Has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Biltmore. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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. Map (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. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

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. (Also in Tucson). Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Thai E-San–616 W. Indian School Rd. (Thai) Open Daily.  Food from northern Thailand (E-San) is some of my favorite and reviews of this restaurant state that the curry and other items are especially good. Map (Dining room is open 10-31-21)

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. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Los Sombreros–2534 N. Scottsdale Rd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican–very good reviews. Recipes are from San Miguel de Allende. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Tempe

Cafe Lalibela–849 W. University Dr. (Ethiopian) Open Daily.  Meat & vegetarian items, but reviewers particularly like the vegetarian dishes. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

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). Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Haji Baba–2131 E. Apache Blvd. (Middle Eastern) Open 9:30 am to 6 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  Middle Eastern grocery store that also serves meals in house. It is reasonably priced, and many say this is the best Middle Eastern food in town. Map (Dining room is open 8-28-22)

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. I think it is north Indian cuisine, but has many more menu choices than most other Indian restaurants. Has mango chutney to go with the food. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Smile Lao Thai–2107 S. Rural Rd. (Thai) Open Daily (closed Mon in the summer).  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). Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

Udupi Cafe–1636 N. Scottsdale Rd. (Indian) Dinner daily; Lunch Fri-Sun.  All vegetarian cuisine. Has a lunch buffet (which lacks some of the items available on the dinner menu but is only served Fri-Sun). 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. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)

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. Map (Dining room is open 1-5-22)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Fine Dining

My feedback from people who have been to Phoenix is that many fine dining restaurants are very good, but are not particularly worth the money. Some of the ones said to be worth the money are on my list (if they are not outrageously expensive). I want to point out one, though, that is “pricey” (I think this is the Phoenix term for you really can’t afford it). I leave it to others to determine if it is worth the money:

  • Kai Restaurant–5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler. It is fine dining that “incorporates the essence of the Pima and Maricopa tribes.” It is located at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, and the name of the restaurant is a Pima word for “seed.” The executive chef is Ryan Swanson who has been nominated for a James Beard Award. Diners say this is a “bucket list” experience.

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

The following are locally owned restaurants that are distinguished by their timeless appeal, and which serve quality food that represents the character of their communities:

  • Paradise Valley: El Chorro Lodge–5550 E. Lincoln Dr.
  • Phoenix: The Fry Bread House–1003 E. Indian School Rd. (now at 4545 N. 7th St.)

Note About “50 States, 50 Cuisines” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Sep. 14, 2020 explaining how they set out to go beyond a previous article that had identified the signature dish for each state, and to find food that goes beyond the classics and “to highlight a cuisine worth traveling to each state for, much of which you truly can’t get anywhere else.” For Arizona it was Navajo/Diné cuisine.

The article said that in greater Phoenix Navajo cuisine can be largely found at food trucks or pop-ups. Jaren Bates, “the state’s most innovative Navajo chef” was working on a restaurant (but I do not think it is open yet). The Diné Restaurant is open in Window Rock.


Sources:

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

Chowhound (former web site)

City-Data (Phoenix ethnic eats)

Condé Nast Traveler “50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State”

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)

VPN Americas (Arizona)

Yelp (Phoenix)

Zomato (Phoenix)

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