Any hidden gems in SE valley for a regular night out?
I live in South Chandler and am looking for some good, affordable restaurants to add to our "regular night out" rotation. I feel like I may have exhausted most of the restaurants around here? I am looking for something within a 20 minute drive from Chandler.
Here's a list of some of the restaurants in our "regular" rotation-
Mint Thai Cafe
Star of India
Saigon Pho and Sun Chinese Dining next door
C-Fu Gourmet for dim sum and China King too
We do the usual Pita Jungle, Wildflower, Jason's Deli, etc. too, but am looking for something different...No Cyclo or Chino Bandido please...
It's sort of a challenge - can anyone suggest a restaurant I haven't tried yet??? Hee hee.... We're open to all different kinds of food - I haven't really found an American/Italian place I like yet...
An interesting place, if you like wine is Vine Expressions. The service wasn't amazing, but not bad either. Not much of a menu however the spicy artichoke dip cup was tasty. The wine list was decent and live music set a relaxing mood on a Friday evening. It's SW of the Warner/Gilbert intersection.
If you're familiar with Filipino food...Barrio Fiesta on Elliot & Alma School is a nice place to eat when you can't get home-cooked meals. Keep in mind that Filipino food is not for the healthy conscious!
Five of us ate the following "family-style": Chicharron Bulaklak w/vinegar to dip (crispy pork appetizer, 7.95), Pinakbet na Baboy at Hipon (Pork, Shrimp, and Bagoong or shrimp paste with okra, yellow squash, long beans, Ampalaya or bitter melon, , 9.95) , Crispy Pata w/vinegar-soy dipping sauce (selected pig's knuckles seasoned & deep fried to crispy golden brown, large order 13.95) , Kare-Kare (Chunk beef, oxtail, tripe, eggplant, long beans in a light peanut gravy & Bagoong, regular order 11.00) , white rice (1.50), adobo rice (rice fried in a adobo sauce/soy based, 4.25) and Kalamansi Juice (a citrusy lemon taste, 2.95).
I was raised eating americanized Kare-kare, meaning mom used jarred peanut butter to flavor the gravy. The authentic way of making kare-kare, calls for pounding peanuts by hand, which makes for a thinner, milder consistency. I did not think I would like it, but I actually like it too. My favorites for the day were the Pinakbet, Adobo Rice, and Kalamansi Juice, which was very refreshing when pared with fried foods, and the combination of sweet, salty, & bitter flavors going on. Its not the asian food palate americans are used to.
There was so much to choose from on the menu, so I plan on going back to try their sizziling Sisig appetizer, Sinigang na Hipon, Bicol Express, Laing Sa Gata, and Paksiw na Lechon which are among my favorite filipino dishes. And also the Mango juice, Guyabano juice, Halo-halo, Palitaw, & Leche Flan.
Hmmm, sometimes reviewers are obligated professionally to try the "specialty" or many, many items, but if they were able to choose exactly what they personally wanted, could have navigated a great meal. So...I'll take the review with a grain of salt. :)
I must get over there and try it for myself. It would be SOOO good to have a place to get a good glass of wine and a steak or great appetizer at the bar in this area of town.
"Grainbelt", as I call it is awesome. It's not typical for many bartenders to introduce themselves and really make you feel welcome. My first time in, the bartender was friendly, the second time as well, and so on. I haven't had anything from the menu that I didn't love especially the "Hello Ribeye". Check it out if you haven't, make a reservation for the dining room though, or dine at the bar but get there early on a weekend for a spot.
Happy to hear about good decor and good food. At this point, I don't mind paying a bit more not to have the drive to some far away places for good food of this type.
How was the wine list? I still find it hard to go somewhere for a good appetizer and a glass of wine on a weeknight within 20 miles of my house (Gilbert).
Grainbelt is terrific...albiet a bit on the pricey side. Everything is a la carte.
We had the Shrimp Coctktail appetizer, the Rib eye w/ the lobster bernaise sauce...and the filet. All were cooked to perfection.
We shared a creme brulee for dessert...it was more like a bread pudding...but fabulous!
Service was spotty, decor is beautiful, menu has many choices from Steaks, Chops, Seafood.....
What about Romeo's Euro Cafe? It is in Gilbert on Power Road maybe? I'm not sure, but they have good food and a huge menu. They used to be in a huge place in Mesa, next to some ski shop, but they downsized a bit. They have some amazing desserts too. Service is kind of hit or miss.
If you venture out to Power and Williams Field, there's a small Italian place called Baci. YUM! Hard to get in on Friday and Saturday night, but pretty good food.
Cyclo is a fave as well.
Out by me, on Gilbert just south of Warner is a wonderful Mediterranean place called Phoenicia. THE BEST chicken shwarma with THE BEST garlic sauce. Get the shwarma plate with saffron rice and hummus. TO DIE FOR! I eat there all the time.
Try Tina's Ethiopian on Arizona Ave, just north of Chandler Blvd. I love Ethiopian food.
Bistro 1940 at Alma School and Germann has fabulous, chef-driven cuisine, with a classy but unpretentious atmosphere. And reasonable. I also love almost anything in downtown Chandler, but I think only El Zocalo Mexican Grille and 98 South are open regularly for dinner. (I had a bad experience on my last La Stalla visit, but prior to that, I also liked that one in downtown.) Keegan's has a Chandler location, too -- I have only been to the Ahwatukee location, but it's decent, especially specials. Pesto's Pasta at Dobson and Ray has a nice little wine bar, but it's often impossible to get a seat. If you're near the 202 and can get to Ahwatukee easily, try Bell'Italia Pizzeria or Mary Ann & Richie's, both on Chandler Boulevard. Cute family-run places with good, old-fashioned Italian at good prices. Va Bene is excellent, too, but a bit more pricey at dinner (happy hour is a deal, though it's a bit smoky in the bar).
I live in Gilbert. Some of our regular haunts:
La Stalla (downtown Chandler) - nice Italian
Flancer's (downtown Gilbert) - Wonderful sandwiches on great homemade bread; very good pizza as well.
Uncle Bear's Bar and Grill - One of the best burgers in town, IMO. And the beer is always ice cold.
Golden Gate - Probably our favorite Chinese place.
Naples Ristorante - Nice upscale Italian.
I'd also add Wong's Chinese at Baseline & McClintock, Miele's (Italian) at Guadalupe & McClintock and Classic Italian Pizza on Baseline & Lakeshore. Miele's does good pizza but they have other dishes as well. Classic is primarily pizza, calzones and salads but they're done in a wood fire oven and are all excellent.
Some possibilities I can think of include the following:
Efes Turkish Cuisine -- McClintock and Guadalupe, Tempe
Priya (southern Indian) -- McClintock and Warner, Tempe
Dooby's (Israeli) -- Dobson and Guadalupe, Mesa
I've had many good meals at the first two; I haven't gotten to Dooby's yet, but the reviews on this board have been favorable. I had lunch yesterday with some friends who live in your part of town. They've also discovered Dooby's and are very pleased with it.
Had dinner at Dooby's tonight and would definitely recommend it. The pita's and schug are alone almost worth it.
Pasand -- Mclintock and Baseline
Little India (grocery that serves chaat dishes) -- same location as above
Mielle's Pizza -- McClintock and Guadalupe
Down Under Wines at Chandler Fashion Mall -- wine bar in back with some interesting appetizers (Kobe beef hotdog)
Grazie in Scottsdale
Los Dos Molinos in Mesa
Siam Orchid, just down the road from Mint Thai -- I think their food is fresher
Here's my recommendations for Italian:
Gilbert Pizza - owner is from Sicily via New York. Good pizza as well as Italian food.
Just south of Gilbert/Warner.
Baci - owner is from Calabria. Very good Italian. Small place, packed on weekends. Huge portions - but good food.
corner of Williams Field/Power
Tutti Santi - another very good place. Near Dobson/Guadalupe
Vincitorio's - Another Italian owned place. Owner is from Bari. Homemade pasta.
SE corner of McClintock and Elliot
Papa Razzini's - owner from Sicily. Small neighborhood place. Good food.
If you want to travel just a bit farther, I would highly recommend Cafe Roma. Awesome food. Another Italian owned place.
NE corner of Recker/Mckellips.
I will second the recommendation for Baci as far as good, reasonable priced Italian food. In the "chain" mexican food category, when we don't fee like driving to Los Dos, Los Sombreros, Richardsons or Barrio, we hit Nandos at Val Vista and Baseline. Ask for the Cazadores and Contrieau Marg! Another place we really like, that has amazing good food is Fibber Magees, the Irish pub at Dobson and Elliot! I wouldn't necessarily put it in your regular rotation, but if you want a little higher end meal, consider trying out Dual at Ray and Power. Pretty inventive contemporary American cuisine.
Instead of Sun Chinese, you might consider Yao Chinese, at teh intersection of Gilbert Rd & Williams Field. There's a Fry's there. The most southern spot in this Z shaped strip mall, and a bit hard to find, but stay on Gilbert Rd. The lo-mein, which they call Chow mein, is a real stand out. We really like this place for standard, good, Chinese food.
I'm still a big fan of La Stalla in downtown Chandler. I think the pizza is better than Patsy Grimaldi's.
Istanbul Cafe on apache Road is missing from your list. As is Esposito's for a burrito.
We're at Ray and Dobson
Our regular rotation includes many that you mentioned as well as:
Cyclo(but i'm with you on No Chino Bandido please!)
and I must sheepishly admit to partaking in the $1.99 breakfast at IKEA from time to time! LOL