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budget restaurants in Scottsdale and near Sky Harbor

Hi all,

I need recommendations for tasty, affordable (<$10 lunch, <$15 dinner) restaurants. We'll need one lunch somewhere between Sky Harbor and the Azteca Wedding Plaza (1010 E Washington St.). The rest of the time we will be based in Scottsdale at the Holiday Inn Express (3131 N. Scottsdale Rd). I will be shopping for my wedding dress, so we will be going to David's Bridal and some smaller boutiques in the area. I am not familiar with Phoenix, so general directions to your recommended restaurants would be fabulous!

We can probably convince my mom to have one night of Mexican food, and perhaps a Thai or Vietnamese meal. Other than that Italian, German, regular American, etc. are probably more her style. She also loves dessert, so a favorite bakery/patisserie/coffee shop would be great!

Thanks!

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  1. Just west of Sky Harbor, at 12th St & Mohave (maybe take the 17 bypass and exit on 7th St/Central, take a right a block north on Mohave and drive through a tough neighborhood to 12th) is Carolina's, which can net you some seriously yummy Mexican food for $5/per. Awesome tortillas. Take the $5 you saved and put it towards dinner at Los Sombreros in Scottsdale -- just south of Thomas on Scottsdale Road -- if you've never had authentic Mexican. Fresh ingredients, depth of flavor rather than heat; least split a top-shelf margarita, or get guacamole and a couple of appetizers, if not an entree.

    There are four or five David's Bridals in the Valley, so I don't know which one you're aiming for. If you wind up at the one in Ahwatukee/Chandler -- Ray & I-10, southwest corner -- then follow Ray east past the 10 to a mile past the 101, on the south side, to visit Cyclo. Gourmet has written it up as some of the best Vietnamese in the country, and the food is very inexpensive, and it's BYO to boot. The only place in town that rated higher is Mary Elaine's at the Phonecian, where dinner will cost you at least ten times as much.

    1 Reply
    1. For Mexican for lunch, don't miss the Phoenix Ranch Market. You'll think you've taken a trip to Mexico without your passport. You can easily eat lunch for $5-7 or less. It can be a little intimidating, but no fears, everyone speaks English (assuming that your first language) and most signs are in English too. It's not to be missed. It's on the SE corner of Roosvelt and 16th Street, just south of the I-10.

      Azteca is basically downtown Phoenix. You can try Mrs. White's Golden Rule for soul food. Located at 808 E Jefferenson, NE corner of Jefferson and 8th Street.

      You'll be close to Old Town Scottsdale, which can get pricey, but there are less expensive alternatives.

      I just wrote a review about Grazie pizzeria in Old Town. (see reviews from earlier today) Pizzas will easily serve two for about $10 each and salad at about $6. If you drink water, you can have dinner for $20ish. And it's really great pizza!

      Have fun and drink plenty of water!!

      1. Mrs White's Golden Rule for soul food. It's one block south of Azteca on Jefferson. You can actually get to it from one of the side streets because the parking is in the back anyway.

        You can also do Phoenix Ranch Market on 16th and Roosevelt, which is just a few blocks to the north and east from Azteca. The ladies at Azteca will know where it's at.

        If you are in the area around 4:30p, try Pizzeria Bianco on 7th St just north of Jefferson in Heritage Square. They open at 5:00, but it's best to get there before opening to avoid the crowd.
        There's also a new restaurant across the way from PB, Circa 1900.

        Happy Hunting!! Azteca isn't the fanciest shop around but they have tons of dresses. It's been in business since the dinosaurs for a reason.

        :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamamia

          FYI - Pizzeria Bianco is closed until the day after Labor Day.

        2. For Thai and where you are, I'd say Malee's on Main - http://maleesthaibistro.com.

          I'm thinking you will be going to the Scottsdale Fashion Square for shopping/wedding dress shopping too? At least in that general area... If your mom's not that adventurous, they have some decent chains - P.F. Changs, Z Tejas Grill, Kona Grill, etc...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Baxterita

            Malee's is good but don't expect a "budget" place, it's mid-range.

            1. re: Pincho

              I'm not a fan of Malee's. It's not really authentic Thai, it's more fusiony. For great Thai, try Swadee at 90th Street and Via Linda in Scottsdale or Thai Lahna at 38th Street and Indian School in Phoenix.

              1. re: geg5150

                Never claimed it was authentic Thai. I've traveled twice to Thailand and am aware of what that means.

          2. Thanks, these are great suggestions. Keep 'em coming. We are going to the David's Bridal in Paradise Valley. The chains sound like the right type of food, but I would love to avoid chains if possible. Any locally-operated restaurants in the Scottsdale Fashion Square area that would fit our budget?