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Restaurant or take out suggestions for vacationers to PHX.

merric28 Jan 10, 2007 06:00 PM

Hi. I will visit PHX this spring. Can anyone offer suggestions for places to find the absolute best food. It can be American, Italian, Mexican...whatever. I am big on savory dishes, no dull flavors, don't like greasy, and can not digest most milk-products (with the exception of cheese and butter). I often favor grilled meats and fresh vegetables, starches (pasta, rice, baked potatos and fries), barbeque, southern-style desserts (i.e., cobblers)and dark chocolate, and pastries.


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  1. m
    mulvaneyp RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 06:42 PM

    First stop off the plane for me is either Rito's at 13th and Garfield PHX.or Pollo Supremo on West University and Ash in Tempe. My other goal is to have pizza with CHris Bianco sometime during my stay- it is worth the wait

    1. m
      merric28 RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 07:24 PM

      Thanks! What is good to eat at Rito's.


      1. m
        MarianLibrarian RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 07:32 PM

        I have been visiting Phoenix/Tempe area for over 7 years. The best meal I have ever had was at El Barrio, which is, unfortunately actually in the barrio. It is in Phoenix. You have to make reservations.

        5 Replies
        1. re: MarianLibrarian
          Seth Chadwick RE: MarianLibrarian Jan 10, 2007 07:54 PM

          Do you mean Barrio Cafe at 16th Street south of Thomas Road?

          1. re: Seth Chadwick
            JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: Seth Chadwick Jan 10, 2007 08:47 PM

            I'm 99 percent sure it is Barrio Cafe. I just searched for "El Barrio" on Google and nothing came up. I live less than half a mile from there, and trust me Marian, you don't have to feel unfortunate about the area. There's all kinds of amazing food very close by, and the neighborhood itself is vibrant. It sure isn't North Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, but it's hardly the worst part of town.

            Merric, to respond to your post below, things to get there include the guacamole prepared tableside, the cohcinita pibil, and the churros with goats' milk cajeta.

            1. re: Seth Chadwick
              j3rdbase RE: Seth Chadwick Jan 10, 2007 08:56 PM

              It is, indeed, Barrio Cafe. The area is not bad, at all, and there is ample parking within a block. They do not, however, take reservations and there can be quite a wait during prime dinner times. That said, the food is terrific. We've particularly enjoyed the mole and the cochinita pibil, but we've liked everything we've ever tried there. They also have a terrific wine list that includes many Mexican wines and a nice, informative section about the wines.

              1. re: Seth Chadwick
                MarianLibrarian RE: Seth Chadwick Jan 11, 2007 03:13 PM

                Sorry, yes, I meant the Barrio Cafe. It was a couple of years ago. The area seemed a little seedy at night, but I'm sure it's "vibrant" during the day.

              2. re: MarianLibrarian
                barry RE: MarianLibrarian Jan 10, 2007 11:34 PM

                You may be referring to El Bravo on 7th St near Northern. Great Mexican food. They have an outpost in Terminal 4 D at the airport, but it's not quite as good.


              3. m
                merric28 RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 07:53 PM

                What would you suggest to try at El Barrio?

                Merric 28

                1. Grey RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 08:34 PM

                  To help narrow things down a bit more, where exactly in the Phoenix area will you be staying? Will you have a car? Also, what environment/atmosphere do you generally prefer? How much are you looking to spend per person?

                  Just curious.

                  1. m
                    merric28 RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 08:52 PM


                    I should be staying at the Hyatt in downtown Phoenix. As far as environment, nothing really fancy. I kind of like a more casual (bar and grill) or cafe environment. As long as the place is clean and neat. As far as price, I can go for $8-$20 per person. Thanks for everyone's comments.

                    1. m
                      merric28 RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 08:58 PM

                      How does one get from downtown PHX to the Barrio Cafe?


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: merric28
                        j3rdbase RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 09:05 PM

                        It's about a 10 minute drive from your hotel. It's just NE from where you are staying.

                        1. re: merric28
                          johnseberg RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 09:07 PM

                          Are you implying that you will not have a car?

                          The address, and other information is on their website: http://barriocafe.com

                          I also recommend. Lots of good items on the menu, and lots of previous writings on CH to help in your research. No rice and beans.

                          I would rather get my fish tacos at the Pro's Ranch Market on 16th and Roosevelt. Entirely different experience, but, great.

                        2. s
                          Sacto_Damkier RE: merric28 Jan 10, 2007 09:17 PM

                          As a part-time visitor to Phoenix I can recommend these places:

                          - Barrio Cafe (gourmet Mexican http://www.barriocafe.com/
                          )- Tradiciones at Phoenix Ranch Market [Roosevelt St] (traditional Mexican with excellent grilled meats http://www.prosranch.com/locations.aspx
                          )- Roaring Fork (Southwestern http://www.roaringfork.com/Scottsdale...
                          )- El Chorro Lodge (Classic Arizona Steakhouse http://elchorrolodge.com/
                          )- Fry Bread House (Native American Food no website)

                          Those are five restaurants that I have never found duplicates of anywhere and are unique to Arizona. All will provide an excellent meal.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sacto_Damkier
                            Booger RE: Sacto_Damkier Jan 11, 2007 01:49 PM

                            As a part time visitor, you sure hit the nail on the head. Very good recommendations (IMHO).

                          2. v
                            VictorLouis RE: merric28 Jan 11, 2007 06:26 PM

                            Unfortunately, I have little experience with downtown eats. That said, I have ordered from Rito's a time or two. The green-chile' pork (carnitas) is THEE shiz-nit if you make it there.

                            1. m
                              mulvaneyp RE: merric28 Jan 12, 2007 08:10 PM

                              Green CHili BUrro and grape soda at Rito's. We used to buy pints of green there and go over to Carolina's on Mojave to get tortillas, best in the city. Ritos doesn't sell their chili in bulk anymore though.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mulvaneyp
                                JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: mulvaneyp Jan 13, 2007 09:13 AM

                                I haven't heard of Rito's, where is it?

                                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                  johnseberg RE: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jan 13, 2007 02:58 PM

                                  According to Google: 907 N 14th St, Phoenix, AZ. The second post in this thread says 13th and Garfield (very similar address).

                                  From what I'm reading, there is no indoor seating, limited outdoor seating, and a 15 minute wait during the lunch rush. Looks like a good place to get take-out.

                              2. geg5150 RE: merric28 Jan 13, 2007 04:21 PM

                                Not certain, but I think it's a house with limited signage and when the food's gone, they close. In the same 'hood at the Ranch Market. I've heard the burros are the best in town. I think they may only be open for lunch.

                                Can anyone confirm the above?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: geg5150
                                  johnseberg RE: geg5150 Jan 13, 2007 05:33 PM

                                  I just drove by at about 10:15am (Sat), and I did not see a sign. I did see the picnic tables, though.

                                2. twodogs RE: merric28 Jan 13, 2007 06:07 PM

                                  Rito's is at 14th. st. and Garfield,I don't remember ever seeing a sign out front,there might be one,I just can't remember it.You just look for the picnic tables and a line going in the door.I think Carolina's is as good if not better though.
                                  Also Ranch Market is in that neighborhood and wouldn't be quite as hard to find.

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