Where to Dine in the Valley in March & April 2023

Editorial StaffMarch 15, 2023
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The restaurants listed are noteworthy and randomly selected from our rotating master list. We suggest that you confirm information, and we solicit your help in correcting any errors in the guide. We also ask readers to send us complaints in writing when one of the listed restaurants fails to meet expectations. Please note that, unless otherwise indicated, the listed restaurants offer free parking and recommend reservations for peak hours and large groups. Price categories reflect average dinner entrée prices; drinks, tax and tip are extra.

  • $=under $10
  • $$=$11-$15
  • $$$=$16-$25
  • $$$$=$26 and over


Wine Bar
3939 E. Campbell Ave., Phoenix
602-852-3939, postinowinecafe.com
Housed in the old Arcadia post office, the aptly named Postino offers panini, salads, interesting wines, and great snacks. Don’t miss the bruschetta sampler. Check online for other locations. $$

Photo courtesy Shelby Moore
Photo courtesy Shelby Moore

New American
1534 E. Bethany Home Rd.
602-607-5240, aftermathphoenix.com
In a neighborhood bursting with neighborhood restaurants, Aftermath stands boldly out, offering a casual but sophisticated setting for wildly creative New American eats, including sexy vegetables (try the broccolini) and big, satisfying entrees such as harissa-glazed short rib with lentils. $$

3375 E. Shea Blvd.
602-996-4228, bootleggersaz.com
The Valley’s bougie barbecue flag-bearer boasts killer brisket and a bacon board. Smoked meats and moonshine are the stars of this modern, speakeasy-inspired temple of America’s signature cuisine. Chase Dr Pepper-braised short ribs with apple pie ‘shine à la mode and give thanks. Other location: Old Town Scottsdale (480-404-9984). $$

Casa Corazon
2637 N. 16th St.
602-334-1917, casacorazonrestaurant.com
With its vaulted ceilings, pretty tiled floors and frescos, this classy Mexican restaurant transcends its “barrio” neighborhood, offering Mexican classics as well as specialties of Southern Mexico. Everything drinkable – from margaritas to aguas frescas – is first-rate, as are the ceviche, guacamole, tacos al vapor, cochinita pibil and steak Mexicano. $-$$

Different Pointe of View
11111 N. Seventh St.
602-866-6350, tapatiohiltoncliffs.com
For dramatic views of sunsets and city lights, try this romantic mountaintop restaurant. Chef Anthony DeMuro brings his Mediterranean influences to a modern American menu inflected with the coastal cuisines of Spain, Italy and North Africa. $$$$

El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant & Bar
2605 N. Seventh St.
602-225-2925, elchullorestaurant.com
Chef Omar Velarde transforms tarchy staples such as corn and potatoes into tart drinks, munchable table snacks and appetizers such as papa rellena, a meat- and raisin-stuffed tuber that’s like a Coney Island knish on steroids. Main dishes of lomo saltado (beef strips in a tangy, soy-based gravy) and Peruvian fish and chips go down as easy as the educational tidbits provided with each meal. $$

6314 N. 12th St.
602-274-9700, feeneysaz.com
A cave-like but friendly neighborhood restaurant specializing in great steaks, good homemade soup and a dandy salad bar. One of the Valley’s great respectable dive bars. $$

Glai Baan
Thai street food
2333 E. Osborn Rd., Phoenix, 602-595-5881
Pornsupak “Cat” Bunnag escapes the Americanized Thai restaurant tropes with her spin on classic Thailand street food and specialties from her home province of Isan. Using locally sourced ingredients where possible, Glai Baan (loosely translated as “far from home”) offers a small menu of small plates meant to be shared. $$

Hana Japanese Eatery
5524 N. Seventh Ave.
602-973-1238, hanajapaneseeatery.com
Family-owned and family-friendly, this beloved sushi restaurant captures the hearts, minds and bellies of locals who appreciate the warmth of the staff, the freshness of the fish (much of it bought whole and cut in-house) and chef Lori Hashimoto’s inventive chalkboard menu. Expect bento, noodles, tempura, exotic vegetables and teppan-style meats and seafood. $-$$$

Ingo’s Tasty Food
4502 N. 40th St.
602-795-2884, ingostastyfood.com
This casual Arcadia eatery features a wrap-around patio with a front row seat to some of the best people-watching in Phoenix. Ingo’s mainstay is burgers, but the crispy chicken sandwich and fresh shattered potato chips are top-notch. $

Photo courtesy Beckett's Table
Photo courtesy Beckett's Table

Beckett’s Table
3717 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
602-954-1700, beckettstable.com
Chef Justin Beckett draws raves with his seasonal American cooking and classic comfort food. Don’t miss the signature fork-tender ribs, pork osso buco confit, cast-iron petite chicken and sweet pea agnolotti made with local goat cheese. Every Sunday, the restaurant offers half-off select bottles of Arizona wine. $$

Federal Pizza
5210 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
602-795-2520, federalpizzaphx.com
The food is good, the drinks are better and we dig the vibe of the redeveloped circa 1969 building designed by modernist architect Alfred Beadle. The porchetta sandwich is a knockout, with roasted pork loin and belly tucked into crusty bread, and pizzas hit the spot without draining the wallet. The also have a killer Nutella Tiramisu (pictured). $$

Photo courtesy Grace Stufkosky
Photo courtesy Grace Stufkosky

515 E. Grant St.
602-432-0752, kaizenphx.com
Chef Gustavo Muñoz brings a Latin vibe to this hip fusion sushi spot, where you can find ceviche, scallop aguachile and tiradito alongside florid sushi rolls made with striking ingredients and Japanese standards gone fancy. $$

Little Miss BBQ
4301 E. University Dr.
602-437-1177, littlemissbbq.com
Scott and Bekke Holmes’ tiny one-room restaurant regularly draws long lines of locals, their fingers figuratively crossed in hopes of deterring the “sold out” sign. Their secret is mouthwatering meats smoked over white oak for 12-14 hours and served by the pound, on a bun, or plated with two sides. $-$$

Mora Italian
Modern Italian
5651 N. Seventh St.,
602-795-9943, moraitalian.com
Celebrity chef Scott Conant puts the “it” in Italian at this buzzy spot, blending familiar dishes with lesser-known regional favorites. Come for the cocktails and modern-classic fusion pleasers like mushrooms boscaiola, mushroom sauce and creamy polenta. $$-$$$

Noble Eatery
4525 N. 24th St.
602-688-2424, nobleeatery.com
Local breadmaker Jason Raducha showcases organic legumes, artisanal meats, fresh local produce and mouthwatering loaves. Look for rotating daily sandwiches, salads and starters, including tart pink grapefruit with fennel, and bruschetta-like smorgas with seasonal ingredients like Blue Sky cherry tomatoes and milky mozzarella. $

Over Easy
4730 E. Indian School Rd.
602-468-3447, eatatovereasy.com
With its bright yellow interior and covered patio, Over Easy is one of the most likeable breakfast spots in town. Everything on the menu is great, but don’t miss the malted waffle, blueberry pancakes, chilaquiles, chicken and waffles, or banana-nut French toast. Check online for other locations. $

Pizzeria Bianco
623 E. Adams St.
602-258-8300, pizzeriabianco.com
This tiny, always-packed Valley icon offers the best wood-fired pizzas in town, crafted largely from house-made and local ingredients. $-$$

Quiessence at the Farm
6106 S. 32nd St.
602-276-0601, qatthefarm.com
It doesn’t get more charming – or romantic – than this legendary farmhouse restaurant, cozily set at the end of a lane on a sprawling 10-acre farm boasting flowers, lush lawns and an old pecan grove. $$$-$$$$

Renata’s Hearth
2400 E. Missouri Ave.
602-954-2507, renatashearth.com
The seasonal menu at this Latin-influenced eatery at the Arizona Biltmore zeroes in on seafood-focused small plates and shareable platters for the table – most of them rarified meat cuts, grilled or smoked. Even side dishes (say, charred street corn with lime and smoked goat cheese) have sex appeal. $$$

1025 N. Second St
602-254-6378, sottisephx.com
Sit on the deep porch and sip a carefully curated wine at this charming French bistro and wine bar, baby sis to TJ Culp’s equally charming Progress. The grazing menu runs to classic French – escargots, baked and melting Camembert, pâté and salmon rillettes, all of it outstanding. $$-$$$

Thai Rama
1221 W. Camelback Rd.
602-285-1123, thai-rama-az.com
Check out this low-key spot for an authentic and inexpensive meal. Satay, mee krob, thohd mahn, soups, stir fries, curries… it’s all here. Other locations: Chandler (480-855-8989), Tempe (480-967-6013). $-$$

Veggie Village
1255 E. Northern Ave.
602-944-1088, vegvillage888.com
This nouveau Asian eatery offers chicken, fish, ham, even mutton… mock-meat approximations of them, anyway, crafted from mushroom, eggplant, tofu or other vegetable proteins. The cream cheese wontons are superior to the crab puff variations served at most Chinese restaurants, while the mild, spicy-sweet General Tso’s “chicken” isn’t just good for vegetarian food – it’s good, period. Check website for other locations. $

Welcome Diner
929 E. Pierce St.
602-495-1111, welcomediner.net
This Garfield neighborhood diner, beloved for its Southern-inflected comfort food served late, puts hip, impressionistic spins on classics like the fried green tomato sandwich, gooey mac and cheese and an insanely good chorizo meatloaf. Save room for old-fashioned pie. $$


Photo courtesy Grace Stufkosky
Photo courtesy Grace Stufkosky

Fellow Osteria
Modern Italian
1455 N. Scottsdale Rd. (SkySong), Scottsdale
480-207-1864, fellowosteria.com
Brought to you by Nick Campisano and Josh James of Clever Koi and Across the Pond, this airy, light-filled osteria specializes in Americanized modern Italian cuisine, including pasta and pizza, but excels in a handful of random dishes such as a kale salad, a chicken Milanese sandwich and knock-your-calzini-off calamari fritti. $$-$$$

Ahnala Mesquite Room
10438 WeKoPa Way (We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort)
480-789-5505, wekopacasinoresort.com
Enjoy tasty spins on traditional Southwestern cuisine and contemporary American favorites. To wit: cactus quesadillas, street tacos and ancho-honey salmon. $$$-$$$$

Bourbon Steak
7575 E. Princess Dr. (Fairmont Scottsdale Princess)
480-513-6002, scottsdaleprincess.com/dining/bourbon-steak
Michelin-starred, James Beard Award-winning chef/restaurateur Michael Mina runs this upscale resort steakhouse. Expect buttery, succulent, lick-the-plate steaks, like the imported Grade A5 Japanese Wagyu. Mina’s signature lobster pot pie makes for a show-stopping and utterly decadent presentation. Reservations recommended. $$$$

Campo Italian Bistro and Bar
8260 N. Hayden Rd.
480-5897-9195, campoitalian.com
Every inch of space – beautifully backlit bar, intimate dining area and plant-filled patio – is packed with locals who’ve shown up for happy hour deals (margherita pizza and a bottle of wine, $25), limoncello margaritas and a satisfying menu of antipasti, pasta, pizza and a handful of high-end entrées. $$

Daily Dose Kitchen & Bar
4020 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-994-3673, dailydosegrill.com
Lunch and dinner sing, but it’s the decadent breakfasts you’ll crave at Matt and JenLyn Long’s popular hangout. Highlights include eggs Benedict; top sirloin and crimini omelet; and the Hangover breakfast sandwich. Other locations: Midtown Phoenix (602-274-0334), Tempe (480-590-6937). $-$$

El Chorro
5550 E. Lincoln Dr.
480-948-5170, elchorro.com
A Valley touchstone for generations, El Chorro offers a peerless patio and welcoming dining room. The core of the old menu remains, with an emphasis on such mid-20th-century favorites as shrimp cocktail, beef Stroganoff, trout almondine, wine-braised short ribs and delicious sticky buns. $$$$

Farm & Craft
4302 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-568-8980, ilovefarmandcraft.com
No matter your special diet – gluten-free, keto, Paleo, vegan – you’ll find something at this bright and bubbly eatery. Kombucha cocktails and grain bowls are a microcosm of its offerings. $-$$

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
4000 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-994-1100, grimaldispizzeria.com
This New York-style pizzeria serves terrific thin-crust pies, calzones, antipasto and New York cheesecake. Thanks to the colossal charcoal-fired ovens they’re baked in, the pizzas sport crisp, blistered crusts and a slightly charred flavor. Multiple locations. $-$$

Hush Public House
New American
14202 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-758-5172, hushpublichouse.com
Just close your eyes and point: Everything is delicious and comforting at this dim, narrow and noisy strip mall restaurant run by industry vets Dom Ruggiero and Charles Barber. The menu, which skews New American, features lots of shared plates, so come with a food-loving friend or three and order in quantity. Don’t miss the country pâté, chicken liver mousse, spaghetti alla chitarra, luscious Italian beef sandwich or New York strip – all excellent, all a bargain. $$-$$$

JOJO Coffeehouse
3712 N. Scottsdale Rd.,
480- 907-6100, jojocoffeehouse.com
Set right off Scottsdale Road in Old Town, this breezy and bright breakfast and lunch spot has a fun coffee flight – a selection of five sippable styles served on a handsome plank. From the food menu, try the goat-cheese-studded JOJO breakfast sandwich, the breakfast tacos and an assortment of pancakes. $-$$

Photo courtesy David Blakeman
Photo courtesy David Blakeman

4710 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale
480-690-6180, francinerestaurant.com
Brought to us by celebrity chef Laurent Halasz (Farmhouse, Fig & Olive), this light, airy spot, specializing in dishes from the South of France, is a beautiful place for beautiful people, and they show up in droves for grilled octopus, steak tartare, salade Niçoise, steak frites and duck à la Provençale. $$$

Kyoto Scottsdale
7170 E. Stetson Dr.,
480-990-9374, kyotoscottsdale.com
By 6 p.m. most nights, this sushi bar and teppanyaki restaurant is slammed with 20-somethings, who party their way through dinner before hitting the clubs. High turnover equals fresh fish. $$

Local Bistro
20581 N. Hayden Rd.
480-302-6050, localbistroaz.com
Seasonal, chef-driven Italian fare sparkles at this chic yet approachable eatery. Wood-fired pizzas, hand-made pastas, fresh seafood and premium steaks hold court with an extensive wine and cocktail menu. $$-$$$

Maple & Ash
7135 E. Camelback Rd.
480-400-8888, mapleandash.com
Scottsdale scenesters love this gorgeous steakhouse, a stylish Chicago transplant offering caviar, an oven-roasted seafood tower and tons (literally) of steak, including a 40-ounce porterhouse that will set you back $215. Bring a credit card with lots of room on it; this quintessential Scottsdale experience is expensive. $$$$

Nick’s Italian
13910 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.
480-314-9445, nicks-italian.com
This friendly north Scottsdale Italian spot serves more than 28 homemade pasta dishes and pizzas, as well as an extensive selection of chicken, veal and seafood. finish with the tiramisu or chocolate chip cannoli. Other locations: Pinnacle Peak (480-515-0096), Paradise Valley (602-953-1110). $$

Orange Sky
9800 E. Indian Bend Rd. (Talking Stick Resort)
480-850-8606, talkingstickresort.com/orange-sky.aspx
Located on the 15th floor of the resort, this restaurant offers 360-degree sunset views, along with a menu brimming with seafood, steaks and locally sourced produce. Highlights include a pork chop and belly with tepary bean salad, wild game and an award-winning wine list topping 300 bottles and 30 wines by the glass. $$-$$$

4949 E. Lincoln Dr. (Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia)
480-627-3004, omnihotels.com
The signature restaurant at the lavish Montelucia in Paradise Valley offers spins on Spanish classics like vegetarian paella, Rioja-braised short ribs and pollo al ladrillo. $$$$

Rehab Burger Therapy
7210 E. Second St.
480-621-5358, rehabburgertherapy.com
Check in for “therapy” at lunch or dinner amid the surfboards-and-palms decor and scarf down one of Rehab’s 11 burgers made with 100 percent USDA ground chuck beef or dive into one of Rehab’s generous salads, sandwiches or pasta dishes. $$

3720 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-361-1021, shin-bay.com
You’ll need an open mind and some serious cash to partake in Shinji Kurita’s spectacular omakase, a mind-blowing, multi-course roller coaster of virtuoso Japanese cuisine, manifested in at least two dozen mostly classical preparations of seafood and exotic vegetables. There is no menu – you have to trust the chef to serve you something delicious. And trust us: He will. $$$$

Toca Madera
Modern Mexican
4736 N. Goldwater Blvd.
480-478-0157, tocamadera.com
Located in Scottsdale Fashion Square’s luxury wing, this dazzling Modern Mexican eatery, a West Hollywood import, offers reinvented Mexican food, much of it organic, vegetarian or vegan. Plan to spend astronomical sums for fried calamari, sashimi Mexicano and American Wagyu cooked on a hot rock. $$$-$$$$

Uncle Sal’s
3370 N. Hayden Rd.
480-990-2533, unclesalsaz.com
This family-owned resto serves East Coast Italian food with flair, pairing dishes like veal marsala, zuppa de pesce and chicken parmigiana with an award-winning wine list and custom cocktails. $$

Virtù Honest Craft
3701 N. Marshall Way
480-946-3477, virtuscottsdale.com
Virtù offers an ever-evolving Mediterranean menu at the charming Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale. Head straight for the signature charred octopus and wash it down with one of the restaurant’s handcrafted cocktails. This popular but unpretentious eatery definitely lives up to the hype. $$-$$$

15640 N. Hayden Rd.
480-991-5180, wildflowerbread.com
This cheery café specializes in European hearth breads in a variety of sizes, shapes and flavors. The place is justifiably famous for its sandwiches, soups and baked goods as well. Multiple Valleywide locations. $-$$


Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

101 E. Baseline Rd., Tempe
480-839-8226, someburros.com
This family-owned local chain serves some of the finest Southwest-Mex favorites in the Valley, from the intensely cheesy pollo fundido to the borracho burro, redolent with smoky, earthy green chiles. We love a place that lets us “enchilada-ize” and deep-fry our burros for saucy custom chimis. Multiple locations. $

At My Place Cafe
3450 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler
480-838-1008, facebook.com/atmyplacecafeaz
As casual and welcoming as its name, this cute Filipino café draws loads of Asian cuisine lovers who show up for lechon kawali, adobo, beef caldereta, breakfast silogs (offered all day), pork sisig, lumpia, empanadas, buko pandan and more – basically, all the Filipino classics, deliciously prepared. $-$$

Ban Chan
2909 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa
This pleasant little Korean restaurant in Mesa features excellent dishes such as spicy pan-fried octopus and squid, Korean-style pork belly (sam-gyeopsal) and monkfish stew (agujjim), a favorite with the regulars. It’s a valuable addition to the Valley’s Korean dining scene. $-$$

Café Lalibela
849 W. University Dr., Tempe
480-829-1939, cafelalibela.com
Eating with your hands is not only acceptable but expected at this friendly Ethiopian restaurant, where injera (spongy tortilla-like bread) functions as silverware. Try the doro wat (chicken and hard-cooked egg in traditional berbere sauce) or the gomen (collard greens). $-$$

Dragon Flame Chinese Grill
Northern Chinese
909 E. Lemon St., Tempe
602-803-3800, dragonflame.us
Northern Chinese barbecue is the specialty at this parked food truck in Tempe, and much of the cuisine is pretty spicy. But owner Kun Mao tones it down with mild regional gems like shimeji mushrooms wrapped in bacon, splashed with barbecue sauce and slapped on the grill until the still-crisp mushrooms become slightly limp and the bacon sizzles. $-$$

El Sol Mexican Cafe & Bakery
760 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler
You’d never guess that inside this Mexican bakery is some of the best down-home Mexican food you’ll find anywhere. Made-on-the-premises tortillas are killer. $

Four Peaks Brewing Co.
1340 E. Eighth St., Tempe
480-303-9967, fourpeaks.com
Award-winning ales may be the draw for the college folks who keep this cavernous but friendly place humming, but the food is terrific, too. Great burgers, pizzas and wraps, and when you don’t feel like drinking per se, try the amazing beer shakes – milkshakes made with stouts and porters. $

Ghost Ranch
1006 E. Warner Rd., Tempe
480-474-4328, ghostranchaz.com
Sure, you could eat a juicy, outrageously good green chile burger at this elegant ode to Southwestern cuisine, but then you’d miss out on wonderful dishes that redefine the genre. If you’re willing to fork out the cash, the grilled trout is sensational, as are the pollo asado and the ceviche (technically an aguachile), one of the best in town. $$-$$$

The Hidden House
New American
159 W. Commonwealth Ave., Chandler
480-275-5525, hiddenhouseaz.com
Tucked away on a quiet street behind the bustle of Chandler’s historic square, this sweet New American gastropub is a stone-cold gem, offering crowd-pleasing food, a terrific patio, cool bar and great cocktails. If you don’t live in Chandler, you’ll wish you did. $$

Contemporary Native American
5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd.
(Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass), Chandler
602-225-0100, wildhorsepassresort.com
Explore contemporary, seasonal spins on indigenous regional cuisine at Arizona’s only AAA Four Diamond, Forbes Five Star dining destination. The impeccable service and remarkable desert vistas overlooking the Estrella Mountains only bolster this high-end resort restaurant’s natural charms. $$$$

La Tiendita
456 W. Main St., Mesa
480-898-5546, latienditacolombianrestaurant.com
Owner German Prado runs a Colombian grocery and restaurant featuring traditional dishes from the old country. He’ll insist you try small fried empanadas served with a thin cilantro and jalapeño sauce, and arepas – thick, griddled corn cakes filled with oozy, salty white cheese. And you should. $-$$

777 S. College Ave., Tempe
480-758-5322, nocawich.com
Eliot Wexler’s gourmet sandwich spinoff of his erstwhile Noca eatery features thoughtful and composed creations put together with exceptional ingredients. Try the patty melt – a deliciously messy and substantial creation centered around a well-seasoned Snake River Kobe beef patty surrounded by gooey gruyère, grilled onions, pickles and a thin, wine-enriched Bordelaise sauce between grilled marbled rye. It might be as gourmet as comfort food gets. $-$$

Original Cuisine
1853 W. Broadway Rd., Mesa
480-255-7810, originalcuisineaz.com
An offshoot of one of California’s most admired Chinese restaurants, this efficient eatery really brings the heat, specializing in the one-two punch of ma la — dried red chiles and tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. For more nuance, start with mapo tofu— silky cubes of tofu bathed in a gravy-like chile sauce.$-$$

The Peppermill
Steakhouse/Contemporary American
7660 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe,
480-590-6755, peppermillaz.com
Chef-owner Chad Bolar spent nine years working for culinary star Christopher Gross, and his classical chops are deliciously apparent at this unassuming strip-mall spot – part modern-day steakhouse, part gastropub – embraced by cuisine-starved South Tempeans. The pork belly, crunchy with “everything bagel” toppings, the loin-like meat beneath ribboned with buttery fat, is among the Valley’s best. $$$-$$$$

Rancho de Tia Rosa
891 N. Higley Rd., Gilbert
480-396-8787, ranchodetiarosa.com
A longtime favorite for quality Mexican cuisine in the East Valley, Tia Rosa offers familiar Sonoran standbys, as well as extra-regional specialties such as a toothsome, semi-sweet chicken mole and first-rate carnitas. Other location: Mesa (480-659-8787). $-$$

2051 W. Warner Rd, Chandler
480-899-7191, shimogamoaz.com
Traditionalists and iconoclasts will both be happy at this serenely elegant Japanese restaurant, which offers everything from saikyo-yaki and chirashi-zushi to seafood wonton wraps and portobello beef rolls. Don’t miss the monkfish pâté. $$-$$$

Tao Garden
2050 N. Alma School Rd., Chandler
480-857-4188, taogardendining.com
Seafood is the specialty at this friendly Hong Kong-style restaurant, so expect to find everything from oysters, crab and lobster to tilapia and catfish. The gigantic menu also features soups, noodles and hot pots, and everything is first-rate. $-$$$

Vincitorio’s Restaurant
1835 E. Elliot Rd., Tempe
480-820-2786, vincitoriosrestaurant.com
Stylishly decorated but cozy, Vincitorio’s is the quintessential neighborhood Italian restaurant, offering house-made pastas, tasty pizzas and old standbys such as chicken saltimbocca, done with real flair. Don’t skip starters or dessert. $-$$$

Zu Izakaya
2210 N. Scottsdale Rd., Tempe
480-625-4372, zuizakaya.com
Owned by Chef June Kang of Scottsdale’s Bei Sushi, Zu captures the spirit of a Japanese izakaya pub without its more traditional trappings. A massive menu of tempura, hot pots and grilled meats includes gyoza, chile-garlic edamame and tempura sweet potatoes, with fried cheese SPAM katsu sliders for more adventurous appetites. $-$$


PT Noodles 
1375 N. Litchfield Rd., Goodyear
There’s nothing fancy about this small, unadorned strip mall restaurant, but the food is delicious and the staff is fast, friendly and efficient. All the classics are here – pho, banh mi, egg rolls, spring rolls, rice vermicelli and rice dishes – executed well and at extremely reasonable prices. $

16092 N. Arrowhead Fountains Center Dr., Peoria, 623-878-8282, abuelos.com
Constructed to look like a Mexican hacienda, these Texas-based corporate restaurants offer hearty Mexican food with a decidedly Tex-Mex accent. Expect large portions and lots of spice. Save room for chocolate flan. Other location: Chandler (480-855-0960). $-$$

Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

Bangkok Thai Bar-B-Q
13828 N. 51st Ave., Glendale
602-993-2046, bangkokthaiglendale.com
Wimpy palates need not apply at this homey-looking West Valley operation, where the Thai food is authentic and plenty hot. Try the pad prik king, the larb, the curries and the excellent soups for proof. $-$$

Cucina Tagliani
17045 N. 59th Ave., Glendale
602-547-2782, cucinatagliani.com
Exposed brick, weathered doors and grape leaves give this popular West-sider a cozy Old-World feeling. Customers love the “Pick a Pasta,” first choosing a pasta, then a sauce, then ingredients such as eggplant or prosciutto to add.

Eric’s Family Barbecue
12345 W. Indian School Rd., Avondale
623-248-0148, ericsfamilybbq.com
The West Valley’s best new barbecue joint specializes in Central-Texas-style brisket, rubbed with little more than salt and pepper and smoked over mesquite, until it reaches a lovely ratio of carmelized bark to fatty flesh. Also pay heed to the pulled pork, pork ribs and uniformly delicious sides. $$

Flavors of Louisiana
13025 W. Rancho Santa Fe Blvd.,
Avondale, 623-935-2357, flavorsoflouisianacajun.com
Baton Rouge native Jennifer Landry Goff runs this little slice of the bayou like it’s her home kitchen, specializing in lovingly scratch-made Cajun and Creole specialties like jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp ètouffèe and boudin balls. You can’t go wrong with anything fried – Goff even has a gluten-free fry mix available, just ask – and the po’boys and muffulettas will transport you to NOLA. $-$$

Haus Murphy’s
5739 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale
623-939-2480, hausmurphys.com
Brett and Rose Hoffmann’s kitschy, cozy German restaurant is Teutonic through and through, and one of the Valley’s top three German eateries. The menu lists all the classics – bratwurst, sauerkraut, sauerbraten, a half-dozen schnitzels, strudel and dandy tortes. $$

Mochilero Kitchen
6791 W. Happy Valley Rd., Peoria
623-440-5588, mochilerokitchen.com
This colorful Latin chic restaurant is the brainchild of siblings Jorge Cota and Meliza Miranda, who had the dandy idea to bring regional Mexican cuisine to an underserved area of town. Even those farther afield should
visit to feast on Yucatán-inspired guacamole with crispy plantains, Michoacán’s succulent carnitas and Baja’s famed fish tacos, all in one place. Bring it all home to the Sonoran Desert with a prickly pear paloma. $$

4214 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix
623-842-0400, takamatsurestaurant.com
This restaurant sports a sushi bar, as well as tabletop, do-it-yourself grills for barbecue. The Korean food packs an unbelievable flavor punch. Try the kalbi dolsot bibimbap (marinated beef short ribs served with vegetables and white rice in a sizzling stone bowl), served with a spread of pickled vegetables for intrepid sampling. $$-$$$


Brisam’s Grill, Bar and Patio
4730 E. Lone Mountain Rd., Cave Creek
480-595-2202, brisams.com

Although the slew of mounted TVs say “sports bar,” this neighborhood restaurant caters to families, offering great burgers, peel-and-eat shrimp, fish tacos, loaded fries and pizza. $-$$

Modern American
36899 N. Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree
480-488-9796, restaurantconfluence.com
Kevin Binkley protégé Brandon Gauthier conjures up a winning New American bistro located in the old Café Bink space. Like a hybrid of Café Bink and Gauthier’s more high-end, experimental work at Binkley’s, the menu offers delicate and powerful dishes. $$-$$$$

English Rose Tea Room
201 Easy St., Carefree
480-488-4812, carefreetea.com

Floral fabrics, crystal chandeliers and bone china make this tea room a must-do for ladies who lunch and take afternoon tea. The menu features a variety of quiches, sandwiches, soups and salads. Reservations suggested. $$

Palo Verde
34631 N. Tom Darlington Dr. (The Boulders), Carefree, 480-488-9009, theboulders.com

Although this colorful Southwestern-accented dining room is primarily frequented by guests of the resort, it also makes a great place for an upscale breakfast or dinner for locals. $-$$

Tonto Bar & Grill
5736 E. Rancho Mañana Blvd., Cave Creek 480-488-0698, tontobarandgrill.com

Tonto Bar & Grill stands on the original site of the Rancho Mañana dude ranch, once the largest of its kind in Arizona. Enjoy fresh baked breads and house-made desserts. $$


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