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Downtown/Central Phoenix - Cheap Eats?

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Any recommendations for central/downtown area for dinner for reasonably priced yet yummy food? Looking for any hidden gems that we might not know about - when we want to go out but not spend an arm and a leg.

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  1. Lots of choices. A few of my favorites:

    -- Tradiciones / Ranch Market (Mexican) -- 16th St. and Roosevelt
    -- Lola Tapas (Spanish) -- Camelback just east of 7th St.
    -- Fate (pan-Asian) -- 4th St. just south of Roosevelt
    -- The Roosevelt (pub / tavern ) -- 3rd st. just south of Roosevelt
    -- Sam's Cafe (Southwestern) -- Arizona Center

    3 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      Just wanted to say thanks for the recommendation for Tradiciones. We tried it this weekend and loved it. Would have never known it was there. Thanks again!

      1. re: sunshineinaz

        We were there Saturday night with our dinner club, perhaps we crossed paths sunshineinaz! I love the Camerones Rancheros! mmmm!

        1. re: sunshineinaz

          Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reporting back.

      2. If you have time to do lunch, Welcome Diner at Roosevelt and 9th Street has great burgers and hot dogs.

        1. -Pino's Al Centro (Pizza/Italian) - 1st Ave/Thomas
          Great slices at lunch, nice neighborhood crowd at dinner, good special of the day, decent priced wine by the glass.
          Closes at 8pm, only open M-F.
          -Lenny's Burgers - Central/Thomas
          Good greasy/diner burgers
          -Fry Bread House - 7th Ave/N. of Indian School
          fry bread, red/green chile
          Closed on Sunday. Don't go if you're in a hurry - they make each fry bread as they're ordered

          7 Replies
          1. re: mamamia

            Thanks for all the great recommendations. I am new to this site and it is so fun to see all of these posts since we love trying new places. We love Fate and Lola's Tapas. Am excited to try Tradiciones, Roosevelt, Fry Bread House and Welcome Diner since we haven't been. Thanks again!

            1. re: sunshineinaz

              I would also throw in China Chili (Chinese; 3rd St/ Flower), Fattoush (Mediterranean; 19th Ave/ Campbell -ish), and Da Vang (Vietnamese; 19th Ave/ Campbell -ish). The last two might seem a little divey, but the food is well worth what they may lack in atmosphere.

              1. re: sunshineinaz

                Cheap and yummy, hidden gems, and nobody's brought up Carolina's yet? 12th St & Mohave. They close at 7, though, best to get it as carry-out. My advice is to pick a burro and order it foot-long and smothered in their brown sauce, and see if you're not tempted to lick the plate, for under $6. Before long you'll include a dozen tortillas and an extra cup of brown sauce with your order like we all wind up doing.

                1. re: themis

                  I was almost concerned that no one said Carolina's until your post. LOL

                  BTW, what is the brown sauce? Not sure I have tried it.

                  1. re: Kari

                    It's their enchilada sauce. It's more of a reddish-brown and has a more savory flavor than most -- long-simmered, maybe.

              2. re: mamamia

                Is Lenny's Burgers still at Central and Thomas? I went to the Lenny's Burger website and they show only one location in north west Phoenix....

                1. re: Lolaclaire

                  I am aware of at least one Lenny's that has become Benny's (on W Bell Rd in Sun City). It seems like I've seen other Benny's, also, perhaps 19th Ave and Greenway? I've never been to any of them.

              3. My bf and I just went to the Arizona Center for a movie. We were a little early and found a little restaurant called Cafe Roma. I typically go to the one in Tempe since it is close to work. Anyway, the menu looked really similar. They serve pizza by the slice. I had Combo 1 which was a slice of pizza, side salad, and drink for 5.95. Bf had the meatball parmesian sub, side salad, and drink. The total bill was around 15 and we made it to the movie on time. My pizza was pretty good. The meatball sub was amazing...I'm drooling thinking about it. The bread was crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. The meat was moist and had the right amount of marinara and cheese. It was not greasy at all and tasted homemade. Really good dough for both the pizza and sub. I asked the owner if this Cafe Roma was the same as the one in Tempe next to Rositas and she said that it was the same family.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sundevilgirl

                  Yes, the meatball sub is quite good there, and the red-sauced pasta options lood good the day I was there. There's a similar place in the Collier Center (B of A) building, ground level, called Brothers Pizza Express or something like that (not to be confused with 4 Brothers on 1st. Ave.). Borthers Express also is a small local chain featuring pizza, subs and other Italian lunch-type fare. Their meatball wedge/grinder/sub was also mighty tasty.

                  1. re: misohungrychewlow

                    A little south of downtown is Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles. Go on the weekends for the green beans.