By the time we get to Phoenix, we'll be hungry
March 27, 2012 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm coming to Phoenix next week with the family. We have all our activities planned, but where should we eat? I want to avoid national chains at all costs. We're staying in Mesa, but we'll have a car.
posted by donpardo to Travel & Transportation around Phoenix, AZ (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about regional chains? You can't not eat at In 'n' Out.

posted by Ideefixe at 8:21 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

What are the parameters? Food preferences, budget, etc? Are you in town for baseball spring training?

In any case, definitely go to Chino Bandido.

This thread has some good recommendations (though some are dated--for example, Richardson's moved due to a fire). Here's another thread with restaurant recommendations, among other things.
posted by mullacc at 8:27 AM on March 27, 2012

Visit SanTan Brewery in Chandler if you're up for a drive. Delicious food and really great beer!
posted by anonnymoose at 8:32 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Organ Stop Pizza is in Mesa. I don't remember the food being particularly good, but eating there was an interesting experience (overrun with tourists, though, and may not be your scene--depends on what your family likes, I guess).
posted by BlooPen at 8:42 AM on March 27, 2012

Have you browsed Urbanspoon?
posted by jon1270 at 8:44 AM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: I am going to one spring training game (Brewers/Cubs). As to budget, on a scale of $ to $$$$$, think $ to $$$, though I'm willing to go to $$$$ for an evening meal with the lovely and talented Mrs. Pardo. I relish a great hole in the wall joint.

We're probably driving up to to the Grand Canyon one day.

As to taste, Wife and I will eat just about anything. The kids are kids. Daughter has willingly eaten escargot. The Boy is pickier and would, if given the choice, always eat a bacon cheese burger. They like burritos and tacos. They don't like heat.
posted by donpardo at 8:46 AM on March 27, 2012

Response by poster: The quality of the food is paramount. Crappy, mediocre food in an interesting restaurant is no good. Local cuisine is a draw.
posted by donpardo at 8:47 AM on March 27, 2012

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe has awesome soul food. And Pizzeria Bianco is the place you take your picky New York pizza friends when they're complaining about a lack of good pizza. (It's not New York style pizza, it's just delicious.)
posted by Weeping_angel at 8:48 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to drive for breakfast, (sorry all my recommendations are for downtown Phoenix) Matt's BIG Breakfast is totally worth it. There will probably be a line out the door. Still worth it.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:12 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I quite enjoyed Harlow's Cafe when I stayed in Tempe, which is inbetween Mesa and Phoenix.
posted by fx3000 at 9:24 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok, one more and then I'll stop. Cornish Pasty Company is in Tempe and is also delicious.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:27 AM on March 27, 2012

Ooh yes, definitely try Cornish Pasty Company!
posted by anonnymoose at 9:44 AM on March 27, 2012

Nthing Cornish Pasty Company and Harlow's Cafe. Both excellent choices. Despite working in Mesa, I otherwise avoid the city as much as possible, so don't have any recommendations in Mesa itself.
posted by BryanPayne at 10:21 AM on March 27, 2012

Actually I always forget there is a Cornish Pasty in Mesa. I've never been to it, but I'm sure it's just as good as the one in Tempe. Disclaimer: I am friends with the owner, but would still love the food if I wasn't.
posted by BryanPayne at 10:22 AM on March 27, 2012

The Parlor
Kitchen 56
Panne Bianco (sister location to Pizzeria Bianco ...without the wait)
Delux for burgers
Daily Dose and Over Easy for breakfast.

None of these are in Mesa; they are in Phoenix. I've never had a meal worth recommending in Mesa.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 10:22 AM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mmmmmm . . . Rosa's
posted by Sassyfras at 10:22 AM on March 27, 2012

I'll just put in a quick plug for the regional chain The Pita Jungle. Large portions of healthy, tasty food at reasonable prices.
posted by mosk at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you like hot. LOS DOS MOLINOS!

Honey Bears for BBQ.

Chicago Hamburger Company.
posted by Che boludo! at 12:56 PM on March 27, 2012

Flaming Kabob is quite good, if you like Middle Eastern food.
posted by kingfishers catch fire at 12:59 PM on March 27, 2012

The Old Town Tortilla Factory in old town Scottsdale is really good. They claim to be "southwestern with a Mexican twist" and I think they make their own tortillas.
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:46 PM on March 27, 2012

Tia Rosa's in Mesa is very good, family friendly, has a lovely atmosphere and they have a taqueria next to the restaurant which is more casual but excellent. Here are some reviews and menu on Urban Spoon.

I was at Parlor yesterday and was impressed by how many families eat there without making the atmosphere any less romantic. It's one of my favorite places in Phoenix.

Also, Wildflower Bread Company has locations all over (they're a local chain, but they really have a great thing going) and they're wonderful for a quicker meal. They use higher end ingredients (free range chicken, Alaskan salmon, some organic) and I've never been disappointed. They make me happy to live in Phoenix, even after moving from my previous foodie town of Seattle.

Have a wonderful time!
posted by thesocietyfor at 6:22 PM on March 27, 2012

I haven't eaten there myself, but my sister tells me that Tia Rosa's is divine, especially their tamales. Since you'll already be in Mesa, you may want to get out to The Orange Patch. We're at the tail end of our citrus season, but that means that tangelos and tangerines are REALLY GOOD right now. It's in a beautiful setting too.
posted by TungstenChef at 6:55 PM on March 27, 2012

I've enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Bertha's Cafe in Phoenix.
posted by vespertine at 9:04 PM on March 27, 2012

Bertha's has INCREDIBLE breakfast sandwiches.
Pizzeria Bianco has far too long a wait, even though it's delicious.
Skip san tan brewery and go straight to 4 peaks.
Lo Lo's is the best guilty pleasure that isn't illegal. Mmm sweet tea.
Pita Jungle is delicious.
AZ 88's chicken sandwich is making me salivate right now.
Cornish Pasty is fun, although their portions got way smaller a few years back.
and one that people tend to forget: Iron Chef winner Tarbell's. Entrees are like $20-$30 per plate, but they're worth it.
posted by Chris4d at 8:27 AM on March 28, 2012

Some comments:

1. Cornish Pasty in Mesa is just as good as Tempe (I go there a lot when in town, it's walking distance from my childhood home)
2. Since they shifted to being open for lunch, Pizzeria Bianco is a lot more accessible if you go off-peak (like "early dinner"). I was able to get a table for six with zero waiting at 4:30 a few months ago.
3. Matt's Big Breakfast is a fun breakfast joint, and worth the drive from Mesa, IMHO.
4. Burgers: Delux is really good. So is a Tijuana Torpedo from Chuck Box in Tempe.
5. In Mesa, I rather enjoy going to Ranch Market for good Mexican food at their food court.
posted by kaszeta at 6:52 AM on March 30, 2012

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