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Downtown PHX dinner recs?

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I grew up in the SE Valley (Tempe, Chandler, Mesa...) and I haven't made it to downtown for dinner very often.

Hubby and I going to downtown Phoenix at the end of the month to the Herberger. Are there any restaurants that are -

1)not too fancy/expensive
2)close enough to park for the Herberger to not have to park twice, yet don't have to be afraid to walk back at night?
3) Not too heavy?

I think My Florist Cafe (if even open for dinner?) and Cibo are out. I don't want pizza, Mexican, or too casual either, but I want to be able to sit through a play after a nice dinner :)

Any ideas?

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  1. I don't normally recommend chain restaurants, but I think the options downtown are so limited that I'll make an exception.

    Kincaid's is a solid choice for pre-event dinners. The food may not be innovative, but I can't recall ever having something I didn't like -- except perhaps the onion soup, which was too salty.

    Also, Kincaid's takes reservations, which is important when trying to make an 8:00 pm curtain.

    http://www.kincaids.com/index.php?coo...

    At a slightly lower price point, I've also had good pre-event dinners at Sam's Cafe in the Arizona Center:

    http://www.canyoncafe.com/Arizona.htm

    Both restaurants are near enough to the Herberger to allow you to park once in a nearby garage and then walk between the restaurant and the theater.

    I've also heard about a new independent restaurant called Circa 1900 in Heritage Square, but I haven't had a chance to visit it yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverbear

      Sam's Cafe has fabulous Nachos- they are amazing. And their chip basket is extraordinary, as they have these "chips" made from puff pastry that are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I have yet to return though, as their salsa is incrediably weak, which truly ofsets the entire meal.

    2. Circe 1900 is in the old Ruby Beet location and is on my "to try" list. Here is an azcentral review

      http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dining/a...

      1. I second Circa 1900. Fantastic place, same folks behind Coronado Cafe. Upscale American; though not fussy. Great atmosphere. Great wine list (the joy of half glasses, in particular).

        Since you only want to park your car once, you're definitely cutting off a lot of great restaurants in the general central Phoenix area--places that are still close enough to make sense (driving is unfortunately a necessity in regard to most places in this city).

        Coronado Cafe, Trente-Cinq 35, Durant's, etc., immediately come to mind. Even Zest, which is slightly farther north. All great places, worth every penny paid, and extra miles driven.

        For your situation as is, I would go to Circa 1900, hands down. To be safe, reservations are recommended--even on weeknights.

        1. Agree about Circa 1900. I've tried Kincaid's a few times in similar circumstances, and I've been disappointed every time. It's not bad, but really not that good. Just seems like it should be as good as the Capital Grille, and it isn't even close.
          Obviously, Pizzeria Bianco is right there, as well, but they don't take reservations, and there is sure to be a wait.

          Barry

          3 Replies
          1. re: barry

            Since this thread is about 2 years old, wondeing if anyone has anything new to add.

            Will be in PHX for one night in June, near the Orpheum Theatre.

            Old ASU alum, but I haven't been to PHX for over a decade and truth be told my diet in college consisted of well... beer and more beer.

            Any suggestions would be appreciated.

            Thank you!

            1. re: Ewilensky

              I would probably start here...
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/482968

              1. re: azhotdish

                Thanks. Pizza Bianco was my go-to choice since I've heard so much about it, but as luck would have it they'll be closed June 17-19 and I'm in town on the 18th...

                I'll check the thread out. Much appreciated.