PHOENIX City Guide to Restaurants in North Phoenix

Editorial StaffNovember 4, 2022
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Head north of Northern Avenue for an eclectic array of eating and drinking establishments.

Balkan Bakery
Eastern European
1107 E. Bell Rd.
Call ahead to place your order at this petite bakery – specialties like burek (flaky coils of phyllo stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach) and cevapi (caseless grilled sausages akin to kofta) sell out quickly. Peruse shelves of Balkan groceries on your way in to pick up your order. $-$$

Cafe Balkan
Eastern European
21043 N. Cave Creek Rd.
Don’t let your possibly shaky understanding of the Balkan Peninsula keep you away from this immaculate café. You’ll get delicious lessons in the region’s diversity – and familiar presentations – right there on the spot. Cases in point: Lepinja is a lighter, fluffier version of pita and sarma is simply stuffed cabbage (in this instance, stuffed with ground beef and rice). $$

Suvlaki at Cafe Balkan. Photo by Angelina Aragon
Suvlaki at Cafe Balkan. Photo by Angelina Aragon

Cafe Chenar
1601 E. Bell Rd.
This café specializes in the ecectic cuisine of the Bukharian Jews, whose singular Central Asian fusion cuisine includes plov (an excellent spin on pilaf) and markovcha, a tangle of spicy, garlicky carrot strings, strewn with green onion and cilantro. $-$$

1202 E. Mohave St.
By 11 a.m., this bare-bones stalwart is knee-deep in customers, lined up for homey, straightforward tacos, tamales, burritos and enchiladas. The smart ones take home a few packages of Carolina’s huge and amazing tortillas, made fresh daily. $

Eden’s Grill Inn
Middle Eastern
13843 N. Tatum Blvd.
Housed in a strip mall, this small Middle Eastern restaurant is far prettier than you’d imagine, and the made-from-scratch food is wonderful. Try dolmeh, baba ghannouj, excellent kebabs, catfish and the best baklava in town. $-$$

Humble Bistro
5415 E. High St.
What would Humble Pie be like without the pie? Well, here’s your answer, in the guise of a casual pan-Italian bistro in the High Street area. Boldly chart new territory by ordering the charcuterie-style Bistroboard. $$$

Krua Thai
1510 E. Bell Rd.
Expect familiar Thai faves and a few rare regional dishes at this tiny café. The curry noodles and spicy fried rice are tops. Spicy is truly hot here, so be mindful when ordering. $

Lovecraft Ale House
3128 E. Cactus Rd.
Two things to love here: excellent New Mexico-style cuisine, and an outstanding craft beer program 24 handles strong. $-$$

The Mexicano
Modern mexican
4801 E. Cactus Rd.
From Valley restaurateur Joey Maggiore (The Sicilian Butcher) comes this irresistably high-energy dining playground with fun, sophisticated takes on molcajete and other Mexican faves. $$-$$$

Ocean Prime
5455 E. High St.
Start with inventive appetizers like white truffle caviar deviled eggs before moving on to superlative surf-and-turf selections, like Chilean sea bass in Champagne truffle sauce. $$$$

The Oink Cafe
4326 E. Cactus Rd.
Cute and comfy, homegrown and pork-centric, this breakfast/lunch eatery serves some fine swine. The pocket patio makes a great place to enjoy a cappuccino and hearty breakfast. Curious about the various bacon flavors? Order a tasting flight. Then get down to business with an Oink Benedict, biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros, a breakfast burger or an exemplary chicken fried steak. $-$$

Patio 54 Fusion Kitchen
5415 E. High St.
This sleek newcomer sports two patios and an American menu that caroms between Asian and Southwestern influences. Tender sweet soy brew kalbi ribs are the best of the lot. $$

Press Roastery
Coffee Shop
10443 N. 32nd St.
Have a sip at the roaster’s spacious flagship shop south of Shea Boulevard. The Valley’s most potent brew. $

Rusconi’s American Kitchen
10637 N. Tatum Blvd.
It’s not uncommon for chef Michael Rusconi to launch into tableside explanations of gastronomic technique at his Paradise Valley neighborhood gastropub. Try the curried rack of lamb and luscious Durham Ranch buffalo sirloin. $$

The Sicilian Butcher
15530 N. Tatum Blvd.
Specializing in Sicilian street eats, this restaurant has an appealing menu of filling and sometimes snacky dishes such as arancini, bruschetta and meatballs. $$

Sizzle Korean BBQ
21001 N. Tatum Blvd.
Meat is the raison d’être at this elite Korean you-cook-it barbecue restaurant, popular for its smart culinary flourishes. Traditional galbi and bulgogi are grand, and you’ll be tempted by mouthwatering selections such as beef tongue, pork jowl and prime ribeye. $$$

12615 N. Tatum Blvd.
One of the longest-running Japanese restaurants in the Valley. The sushi bar is always jammed, but it’s pretty easy to nab a table for cooked specialties. $$-$$$