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Greater Phoenix Dining: Where To Eat?


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Thanks for this thread. Great ideas for the future and it got me into Barrio over Xmas which was far away the best SW food I ate in what turned into a small orgy of the stuff (bringing along Diana Kennedy's "From My Mexican Kitchen" meant that hardly a meal went unscathed thanks to all the great fresh ingredients at Food City).

But I can't wait to get back to Barrio and try more of what they got. Poblano chicken and all their soups were revelations of what SW food can be (and what it fails to be at some places - notably the ersatz El Charro tourist trap in Tucson that survives courtesy of some misguided USA Today endorsement). Barrio has a website at http://www.barriocafe.com/pages/1/index.htm

I also went skiing at Sunrise (yes, Virginia, there is snow in Arizona - and probably a lot more this week than two weeks ago) and this really cute ski bunny told me that Tee Pee on Indian School Road is the real "hole in the wall" deal. Was I just smitten by her smile or is she credible? Anybody know if this should really be added to the list?

"Food is an essential part of a balanced diet."

Fran Lebowitz

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I checked out Tee Pee on azcentral and no review. There's a review on Phoenix New Times: here. Any place that has good green corn tamales is worth trying in my book.

However, I did see a new review on azcentral of a hole-in-the-wall Mex place called "Dick's Hideaway" that looks pretty damn good: here. Anyone try this one?

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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  • 3 weeks later...
I checked out Tee Pee on azcentral and no review.  There's a review on Phoenix New Times:  here.  Any place that has good green corn tamales is worth trying in my book.

Tee Pee has been around forever - I remember it being a popular place back in the early 80s, when I first moved here. And I think it'd been around "forever" even then.

I never cared for it. They are (or were) well known for their souffle-style chile rellenos, but <shrug> they never did anything for me.

Our new "neighborhood Mex" is Cantina Laredo, at Scottsdale Road and Bell (in that huge shopping center with Lowe's and Trader Joe's). It's upscale, which is always a little scary for ethnic food... but they do a great job. For example, tableside-made guacamole seems a bit pretentious (oh dear, have I found myself at Garcia's -- all presentation, no substance?) but it's the best guac I've ever had in a restaurant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are staying at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in a few weeks for Spring Training. Can't wait to go back to Barrio!

Are both Roaring Fork and Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale? They sound great.

We ate at Tarbell's last time too and loved it. Tried to go to Barmouch but it wasn't open that day. Anyone been to either lately?

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The dining highlight of our recent trip to the area turned out to be Lon's at the Hermosa. So many restaurants in Scottsdale are in strip malls or office plazas. Lon's has real charm and atmosphere. But it was the food and service that made me happy. I had a starter of antelope with blue corncake following by a plate they call "Cowboy Q"--it included a filet of Kobe beef, a barbecued country pork rib, a delicious deviled lamb chop, and flavorful, interesting Portugeuese sausage.

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We are staying at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in a few weeks for Spring Training. Can't wait to go back to Barrio!

Are both Roaring Fork and Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale? They sound great.

We ate at Tarbell's last time too and loved it. Tried to go to Barmouch but it wasn't open that day. Anyone been to either lately?

Yes, Roaring Fork is just north of Scottsdale Fashion Square, and Cowboy Ciao is in Old Town Scottsdale. Enjoy! They're both big eats.

Right around the corner from Cowboy Ciao is a wine bar called Kazimierz. There's no sign on the door, but if you ask, someone will show you the entrance. It gets taken over by the young-and-scantily-clad crowd after 10 PM, but before then is a lovely wine bar with an outstanding wine selection. It's a nice place to go right before dinner at Cowboy Ciao.

Next door to Cowboy Ciao is Sea Saw, which is very amazing Japanese - check out the menu on your way.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Thanks!!

Now it looks like we will only have dinner one night as we have a commitment the other. But there is always time for drinks after dinner! Any other recommendations on good places to go after dinner that are relatively close to the Resort?

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I love love love barrio . . . .Yes, the put pomegranate seeds in their guac!

The pomegranate seeds are a great touch, giving it interesting contrast in taste, crunch and color. Quite unexpected and much better than I woulod have thought.

I am in town for a conference and I had a delicious dinner at Barrio Cafe in Phoenix last night. I was part of a party of three--we had to wait about 25 minutes for a table at about 7pm on a Thursday night, but it was well worth it.

The $5 house margaritas at Barrio are the perfect blend of sweet and tart, served straight up on the rocks. The guacamole as described above is very unique, comprised of chunks of avocado, pomegranate seeds, and more. It is made table side and comes with really tasty tortilla chips as well. I was very happy with the slow-roasted pork (Cochinita Pibil, slow roasted for 12 hours, served with achiote rejo, sour orange and salsa Yucatan, $17). I also had a small taste of the mole served with the enchiladas---very yummy, coffee & chocolate flavors, and spicy!

Liam

Eat it, eat it

If it's gettin' cold, reheat it

Have a big dinner, have a light snack

If you don't like it, you can't send it back

Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

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Thanks!!

Now it looks like we will only have dinner one night as we have a commitment the other. But there is always time for drinks after dinner! Any other recommendations on good places to go after dinner that are relatively close to the Resort?

There's another wine bar on Campbell that's a lot of fun called Il Postino. It's in the old Arcadia post office, and when the weather is right they open the big old post office doors so you can enjoy the day.

If you get stuck skipping the Roaring Fork for dinner, they do have a happy hour M-F that starts at 4 PM, and you can sample the huckleberry margaritas (delightful) and a good selection of appetizers that will give you a nice feel for the restaurant without actually dining there. I actually prefer the happy hour, it is *very* reasonably priced.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks again for the info. Our hotel was right by Roaring Fork but we were never able to stop in.

Friday after a baseball game in Peoria we had burgers (grill them yourself) at Montasory Too bar.

dinner on Friday night at Barrio- it's still a great place. love the margarita's and the guac. And it's unbelivable how inexpensive it is!

Saturday we had lunch in old town Scottsdale at Arcadia Farms. It was pretty good, a bit expensive and a little 'girly' for the guys. Sandwiches were great as were the desserts.

Saturday night we had dinner with friends who picked the Ocean Club (is that right?). Very much a 'boys club'. Big servings of very nicely done fish, sides that the table shares.

After dinner we had wine at the new Terroir. Cute little wine bar, great prices!

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Restaurants come and go with alarming velocity in Phoenix/Scottsdale. But one that remains and has long captured us for its consistent and understated approach to south western cuisine is Rancho Pinot Grill. It's located behind the AJ's supermarket at Scottsdale Road and Lincoln. Terrific wine list too.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Pizzeria Bianco isn't on the way to the airport, especially if you're coming from the Hyatt Regency, and you'll have to backtrack a ways.  Not to mention, Bianco is always busy, so call your order in, and have it ready for pickup. 

This pizza will not travel well at all, make sure you're eating in the car to enjoy fully.

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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We are staying at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in a few weeks for Spring Training. Can't wait to go back to Barrio!

Are both Roaring Fork and Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale? They sound great.

We ate at Tarbell's last time too and loved it. Tried to go to Barmouch but it wasn't open that day. Anyone been to either lately?

Barmouche closed down last year, I believe.

All the talk of Barrio Cafe is making me hungry. I've only been once, but it was absolutely awesome. I wish it was closer to me. (I live in Mesa.)

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was in phoenix-area last week, and wanted to go to barrio's for dinner. unfortunately, i was unaware that for this particular evening, there were 13 people coming out for dinner. we got to barrio's around 6:30, and was told that it would be at least 1 1/2 hour for a table that big. the hostess was kind enough to actually call around to several restaurants in the area that could hold our party. . .eventually sent us to tomaso's, who treated us well, and put us up in a private room in the back.

nevertheless, i was totally looking forward for mexican.

a side note. . i was with my fiancee's family who are from chicago, and when the hostess found out that they were from chicago, she said "what am i doing send a family from chicago to an italian restaurant!?!"

all that this really means is that i'm gonna have to make another trip to phoenix.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was in Phoenix last weekend for a large corporate meeting with most meals included. We got away on Sunday for brunch. Our info said that Pizzeria Bianco was open on Sundays and that Los Dos Molinas would be closed. The reverse turned out to be true. With lucky timing we were able to eat at the latter (it is quite far south) and still make our flight back to Chicago. I had a special platter of roasted garlic pork (with red sauce) that had the texture of pulled pork from North Carolina. My husband had chiles rellenos (also a special) that I could tell were spicy when he started needing to blow his nose. The place is fun and funky; would be brunchers were waiting about 30 minutes for a table by the time we left c. 1:30.

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A favorite independant of mine is Cyclo, vietnamese has gotten good reviews. The service is fine for the type of establishment (small mom/pop) and very clean and Anglo Friendly. Yummy, Yummy! Justina is the owner/hostess running around in Juicy sweats or whatever (doesn't look like what you'd expect an owner to look like I guess) and very nice. Last time I was there they didn't have a liquor licence but you can BYOB and there is no corkage fee. It is located in Chandler on Chandler/Dobson (I think) next to Walgreens. I recommend the lemongrass chicken dish highly! Also the pancake thing with shrimp and fresh herbs is out of this world (messy!)

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It's been around for some time, I understand, but I finally got to Postino -- 3939 E Campbell (south of Camelback, for those peering at a Phoenix map). Wow, what a lovely place, especially for that hard-to-quantify "I want something, but not a big meal."

Postino, which is in the old Arcadia post office, is a wine bar with noshes. We had a great antipasto plate ($12, if I recall correctly), with olives, a cold bean salad, salami, goat cheese, bread, dried cranberries, nuts, and probably a few other things I don't remember. They also have a great-looking cheese board as well as bruchetta: you pick four choices (from a choice of eight or ten), for $10. Our dessert was a cross between a raspberry creme brulee with a chocolate cookie crust; maybe that sounds a little weird, but it was wonderful.

The service was friendly, too. One of my friends didn't like the wine that had been recommended, and they swapped it out for another one with no complaints.

This place is perfect for a summer evening, when you're hungry but don't want much, or when you want a spot to sit and talk with friends. My only complaint is that it isn't closer to my house!

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My parents live near Phoenix/Scottsdale and my wife and I visit fairly often. This year I swear I'm going to get some tasty Mexican food.

Great to get these recommendations! Will start making a list for this year's holiday trip.

My wife and I had a great meal at Rancho Pinot Grill in Scottsdale a few years back. Is that still open/any good?

Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 1 month later...

There will be a few of us in Scottsdale in few weeks at the world pastry forum and since there is limited time some evenings between classes and seminars, I'm wondering if anyone has any input on the restaurants at or near the JW Desert Ridge Marriot. Any faves? Anything to avoid?

Edited by duckduck (log)

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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There will be a few of us in Scottsdale in few weeks at the world pastry forum and since there is limited time some evenings between classes and seminars, I'm wondering if anyone has any input on the restaurants at or near the JW Desert Ridge Marriot.  Any faves? Anything to avoid?

First, you just GOTTA tell us about the world pastry forum. Can lurkers show up?

There are a few good options near the Desert Ridge Marriott. In the huge shopping center across the street -- you can walk -- is Malee's, a Thai restaurant so elegant that you'll be sure it can't be good. They have excellent panang, and if a good choice at dinner is the spicy crispy pla. (For some reason, at lunchtime it's merely good.)

In the same shopping center is the Grilled Experience. They're okay-to-good at most things, but they do an _outstanding_ job on BBQ ribs. The sauce has coffee in it, and something else that's irresistable.

Also, there's a fish restaurant that looks as though it might be part of a chain (it isn't); its menu items are good (I have a weakness for their tequila shrimp appetizer) but the chef's specials are nearly always the best choice. Not that most people would come to Phoenix for fish, but it's a nice, affordable, casual place. Also a good destination for a bunch of people who want to talk over a beer.

Should you wish to jump in a car, a little further afield are the Persian Room (on Scottsale Road, at Princess drive), which has lovely ambiance, wonderful kebabs, and *huge* portions. (The two of us split the appetizer plate and one kebab combo, and always bring leftovers home.) Just a little further south, in the huge shopping center at Scottsdale Road (where Bell Road turns into Frank Lloyd Wright), is Cantina Laredo, top-notch Mexican food that experiments a bit.

For a place more elegant -- where you can be sure the wine list will be worth discussing -- you might try Zinc Bistro at the Kierland shopping center. (It's just a little bit south on Scottsdale Road; you'll see the weird mosquelike building that's the local Cheesecake Factory. Zinc is in the middle of that little "village.") I've only been there once, and it was a little pricey, but I've sworn I'll go back. It's the kind of restaurant that makes ordering macaroni and cheese *homey* rather than boring.

Places to avoid: the Mexican restaurant at the Desert Ridge shopping center. It's not bad, but it's not good either. Loud place, blah food, and somehow it's always crowded. If you have someone in your party from outside the southwest, they'll be sure to vote for Mexican; this is NOT the place to take them.

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There will be a few of us in Scottsdale in few weeks at the world pastry forum and since there is limited time some evenings between classes and seminars, I'm wondering if anyone has any input on the restaurants at or near the JW Desert Ridge Marriot.  Any faves? Anything to avoid?

In my opinion - as a tourist - "at or near" is a non-existent concept in the sprawl of the greater Phoenix area. If we put one mile on the rental car last trip (in December) - must have been 300 miles over a long weekend. I strongly recommend getting a GPS in your rental car - makes everything easier.

As for restaurants - we dined at Malee's and Zinc last trip. Excellent Thai food at Malee's. Zinc was pretty good for lunch - but I'm not so sure I'd be thrilled with dinner (and the wait at dinner - it's very popular). Best restaurant we dined at was Binkley's up in Cave Creek (best new restaurant in the area last year). Worth a reasonable trip and getting the GPS that you'll need to find it :smile: . Robyn

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Okay, it's been 12 years since I've last been to Scottsdale, and I'll be there in July. This thread is helpful for suggestions. I've heared of Cowboy Ciao before, and plan to go. But my question is about two places I loved 12 years ago that I believe are still in business. Are they still good, or coasting on a reputation?

Vincent's on Camelback. Ate here twice. Have his cookbook.

RoxSand in the Biltmore Fashion Park.

Well?

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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