14 Good Spots to Eat in the East Valley

Editorial StaffAugust 29, 2023
Share This

The Halal Guys. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
The Halal Guys. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

The Halal Guys   
Middle Eastern
1015 S. Rural Rd., Tempe
480-275-7502, thehalalguys.com

Decorated in red and yellow – the latter color an homage to the Muslim cabbies who were early customers – The Halal Guys has morphed from Manhattan food cart to multi-national fast food chain. Regulars love chicken, gyros and falafel platters with plenty of the eatery’s signature white sauce, a spin on toum, a garlicky Middle Eastern sauce. Check online for other 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 restaurant 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. $-$$

Café Lalibela  
849 W. University Dr., Tempe
480-829-1939, cafelalibela.com

Eating with your hands is not only acceptable but expected here, 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). $-$$

The Dhaba
1872 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe

This nicely decorated haven serves Punjabi cuisine – hearty, full-flavored and including both vegetarian dishes and halal meat options of chicken, lamb, goat and fish. $-$$

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. The grilled trout is sensational, as are the pollo asado and the ceviche, 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 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. $-$$

Old Town Taste
1845 E. Broadway Rd., Tempe
480-702-7101, oldtowntaste.com

If you’re looking for a regional Chinese restaurant to roust you out of your General Tso comfort zone, this Tempe offering is well-suited to the task. The restaurant has dual specialties: brothy, offal-centric Shandong cuisine and spicy, garlicky, pungent Sichuan cooking. Also special: tasty cold appetizers like chopped green beans with pickled vegetables and cumin-kissed fried lamb. $$

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. $$$-$$$$

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. Multiple locations. $

The Stone Tofu House 
1870 W. Main St., Mesa
480-361-0523, thestonetofuaz.com

Owners Don Kim and Cookie Sohn slip house-made tofu into bubbling soups and enormous, cooked-at-the-table hot pots, also frying fat rectangular cakes of it in sesame oil until they turn crisp. It’s heady but healthy, too, as are fresh-tasting versions of classics such as savory mung bean pancakes, kalbi, bulgogi and bibimbap. $-$$

About this guide

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
$$$$=$26 and over