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Jul 4, 2007 04:12 PM

Dinner in Phoenix, AZ? (Sushi to Steaks?)

I'm heading to the Phoenix area for a business trip in Sept. and would love suggestions are where to eat for the best:



-and more Italian to Mexican.

Thanks in advance,


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  1. High end sushi and fabulous - Sea Saw, Stetson Rd., Scottsdale. Neighborhood and outsanding - family-run Hana on 7th Ave and Missouri, Phoenix
    Local flavor - and darn good steaks - Durant's, Central Ave., Phoenix
    Italian? hahahahha. Maybe Leccabaffi, Scottsdale. (Someone is sure to suggest Bianco's for pizza for you. Go ahead. Eat pizza on the company dime. You got no good pizza joints in your town?)
    Mexican? Wide selection. Barrio Cafe, 16th, Phoenix. One visitor I've taken there swore it was like "eating in Mexico City." Tradiciones, white-linen restaurant at Phoenix Ranch Market, 16th/Roosevelt. Regional fare and wonderful. Los Sombreros, on Scotsdale Rd., and despite a change in the kitchen, still mostly reliable and mostly excellent. At the other end of the scale, Nopalitos, on 24th St., Phoenix, and in Guadalupe, San Carlos Bay, Mexican seafood. Have fun. By the way - it's still summer here in September.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Alice Letseat

        Barrio Cafe is a must. Can be a wait but worth every second and every penny.

      2. Marcellino's for Italian for sure. The food is outstanding. All homemade patas.

        1301 E Northern Ave
        Phoenix, AZ 85020
        (602) 216-0004


        1. Can you narrow down the part of town where you'll be? Phoenix is over 500 square miles in size, so some specificity will allow for better recommendations.

          9 Replies
          1. re: silverbear

            I'll be staying at the Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, this tells the area:


            Actually, I would love to hear about all great spots for suggestions, various styles of food for a nice dinner away from Cali.



            1. re: Hypnotic23

              Thanks. You chose well. (I'm just slightly biased because that's my neighborhood.)

              I'd definitely go to Marcellino. I share arizonagirl's enthusiasm for it, and it's less than a mile from your hotel.

              Other choices nearby:

              Sierra Bonita Grill (Southwestern) -- 7th St. just south of Glendale Ave
              El Bravo (Arizona / Sonoran style Mexican) -- 7th St. just south of Dunlap

              Also, 16th St from your hotel down to Buckeye Road is dappled with all sorts of good restaurants, although they're scattered along an 8-mile stretch all the way to the airport. Some have been mentioned above, including Barrio Cafe and Tradiciones.

              1. re: silverbear

                Thank you Silverbear, do you agree for a good steak, Durant's?

                1. re: Hypnotic23

                  I'm not much a of a steak eater, but I love Durant's for the gracious service and retro-chic charm. I usually get the crab cakes when I go.

                  1. re: Hypnotic23

                    Hi Hypnotic,

                    I just moved away from Phx. I lived 1 block from thw Squaw Peak, so you're in my old stomping grounds. Don't miss Richardson's at 16th Street and Bethany Home Rd for New Mexican cuisine. It's the best! I'll be in town next week and I'm planning on 3 or 4 meals there. A great option for lunch or dinner, or brunch if your stay includes a Saturday or Sunday. The carne adovado is the best thing on the menu and a steal for $11 or so.

                    Durant's is a Phoenix institution. Red flocked wall paper, deep red booths, stiff drinks and a diverse crowd. We have Ruth Chris, Morton's, etc, but they're the same in every city. Do youself a favor and head to Durant's. But make like a local and enter through the kitchen door in the back.

                    The resto in the resort leaves alot to be desired, so steer clear. You have plenty of great options within a mile or so. Including:
                    Phoenix City Grille -- local, meatloaf to pot roast to carnitas and BBQ ribs.
                    TexAS -- chicken fried steak Texas style
                    Marcellino mentioned above
                    Oh..another fun place, the Ranch Market at 16th Street and Roosevelt. Yes, it's a grocery store, but the food court is like nothing you've seen. The food is fabulous and cheap! It's like taking a trip to Mexico without needing your passport!

                    Enjoy your trip!

                    1. re: geg5150

                      I totally agree with Gail. I ask for a small box to set aside half of my Carne Adovada at Richardson's. I could eat it all, but, it's really too much. I think this is the best place to get eggs + whatever. Dick's hideaway (part of Richardson's) 6008 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ, opens at 8:00am and serves breakfast everyday. Either is a great place to sit at the bar and eat solo.

                      One clarification: Tradiciones is part of Ranch Market.

                    2. re: Hypnotic23


                      Definitely try Durant's. It is a Phoenix institution and has a lot of 1940/50s upscale charm. The steaks are excellent and the martinis have closed more than a few high-priced business deals in the City of Phoenix. It really is a very Phoenix experience.

                      2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                      El Bravo
                      8338 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85020

                      Sea Saw
                      7133 E Stetson Dr Ste 1, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                      Hana Japanese Eatery
                      5524 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

                      Barrio Cafe
                      2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

                      Phoenix Ranch Market III
                      1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

                      Marcellino Ristorante
                      7114 E. Stetson Dr. 85251, Old Town Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                      Sierra Bonita Grill
                      6933 North 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85014

                      Texaz Grill
                      6003 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                      Phoenix City Grille
                      5816 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                      Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico
                      1582 E. Bethany Home Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016

                      Taj Mahal
                      1849 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ 85281

                      1. re: Seth Chadwick

                        Durant's makes killer mojitos too if you're a martini-sissy like me. : )

                        1. re: ccl1111

                          Are we going to have to get together for drinks some time? Wouldn't that be a hoot, renting a limousine with the express purpose of finding the absolute best martini (or mojito) in town...

              2. My favorite sushi in town is at Sushi Ken in the Ahwatukee area. It's a very Japanese experience all around; the atmosphere is simple and clean, the service friendly and humble (in a good way; I've had the arm of one of my chairs fall off with a loud clatter and I didn't feel the least bit embarrassed), and the sushi absolutely terrific.

                If you want to kill two birds with one stone, go to Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe. It's a combination Japanese and Italian restaurant, and works very well indeed. The service can be a bit spotty (they have a tendency to understaff and get slammed out of their minds), but the food is very much worth it. As the restaurant is Japanese in origin, some of the Italian dishes are prepared with distinct Japanese influence; the Bolognese is served with soba noodles, the chicken parmigiana is made with katsu, and so on. Their desserts are universally outstanding; the selection does change, so take a look in the display case and good luck choosing just one! I'm not sure I would go here for an actual business trip (the atmosphere is pretty casual) but it is certainly a worthwhile side trip.

                For steak, I certainly echo Durant's, it's a Phoenix classic. If you want more of a modern steakhouse vibe, you'll be better off going to Mastro's. It is loud, but I think that's almost expected in such a restaurant. If you go, be sure to get the gorgonzola mac & cheese.

                For Mexican, definitely either the Phoenix Ranch Market on 16th and Roosevelt, its adjoining full service restaurant Tradiciones, or Barrio Cafe. Barrio is the most upscale, Tradiciones is fairly casual (best thing on the menu is the Parrilada de Carne Asada, a huge platter of grilled meats to share) but still nice (and hands down the most jaw-dropping gorgeous atmosphere I've seen in a long time, they REALLY outdid themselves) and has the only fruit margaritas in town worth drinking (the fruit is fresh, it comes from the grocery next door). The Ranch Market itself is like taking a day trip to Mexico without the four hour drive; there are food stands dotted around the perimeter of the building, and all of the food is utterly delicious.

                2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

                Mastro's Steak House
                8852 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

                18 Replies
                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  I am also traveling to the Scottsdale area next week (staying at the Sanctuary) so appreciate these recs. Has anyone tried "Sol y Sombra" in Scottsdale? It made the Conde Nast hot list for new places...supposedly good tapas/drinks......???

                  1. re: jcr05

                    You're staying at Sanctuary? Their restaurant, Elements, is absolutely terrific. I ate there when I stayed there a couple of months ago and was utterly thrilled with everything. Enjoy your stay there!

                    Full Disclosure: I do work for the company that owns Sanctuary, but at a different hotel.

                    1. re: jcr05

                      I haven't actually been to Sol Y Sombra, but I went to a cooking class that their chef Aaron May taught at Kitchen Classics in Phoenix, and the food was amazing! I would definitely recommend you try it! Also, Guerrero's is a great hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant on 32nd St just south of Thomas. They are a small, family owned place, and they are so nice! Every time I go they treat me like royalty! If you're into the "hole-in-the-wall" type places, there's a great Sushi place called Mishima on the NW corner of 56th and Thomas. It's next to Domino's. Don't let the location fool you - it's fantastic and really reasonably priced. I go there at least once a week for lunch, and usually twice a month for dinner. Everything I've had has been exceptional. In Scottsdale, Los Sombreros Mexican Restaurant is very good too! Have fun - there is SO MUCH good food in the Phoenix area - we really are spoiled!

                      1. re: jcr05

                        sol y sombra is fantastic - great food, smart wine list of all spanish wines, great decor, open late. its a winner

                        the sommelier is the convivium co-leader of slow food phoenix. fyi ;)

                        1. re: winedubar

                          Love Sol y Sombra....going next week for a girls nite out......
                          The Sangria and Rioja's Rock!

                      2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                        I love Sushi Ken. They may have the best lunch special in town, as far as bang for the buck. I wish I lived closer.

                        Sushi Ken
                        4206 E Chandler Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85048

                        1. re: johnseberg

                          So happy 2 hear marcellino's as a request for people to go 2. It truly is a fab meal. I would maybe pass on sushi it's not anything 2 write home about out here.

                          I enjoy Mastro's for steak
                          another italian place is christos or pasta briono on sun and mon it's half off the menu if u sit at the bar, they have great meatballs and spaghetti

                          mexican- los sombreros is great and fresh.

                          1. re: drewb123

                            One more request for this area, any good CHINESE?

                            Thanks in advance,


                            1. re: Hypnotic23

                              Absolutely. Super Dragon at 12th St. and Northern Ave -- just across the street from Marcellino and about a mile from your hotel -- is an excellent Chinese restaurant. It's not the most authentic or adventurous in the whole metro area, but it's a solid neighborhood restaurant with consistently excellent food and service. If you go, keep in mind that there are some off-menu items, so if you crave something that you don't see on the menu, don't hesitate to ask for it.

                              Super Dragon Restaurant
                              1212 E Northern Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020

                              1. re: silverbear

                                You guys & gals have been so great in giving me my weeks menu that I have one last day to throw out, how about good BBQ, ribs, you name it?

                                Thanks in advance,


                                1. re: Hypnotic23

                                  golden buddah at he chinese culturl center is the best, very NY style chinese. 44th and mcdowell.

                                  1. re: drewb123

                                    44th and McDowell is at least half a mile away from Golden Buddha.

                                    Golden Buddha
                                    668 N 44th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

                                  2. re: Hypnotic23

                                    Where are you from, Stuart? BBQ is not Phoenix's strongest point. If you're from a place with good/great BBQ, you'll be disappointed here. I'm from the south and when I lived in Phoenix, I just stopped looking. Although, I hear the best bet may be Joe's BBQ in Gilbert, but that's a haul from Central Phoenix -- maybe 45 minutes? Hope you'll get some other recs.

                                    1. re: geg5150

                                      How about Los Dos Molinos for good, spicy Mexican?

                                      1. re: markabauman

                                        Thank you, I'm from Los Angeles so I'll skip Barbecue and we have great Thai spots here too so I'll skip that.

                                        For my trip to AZ for 4 dinners I'm going with:

                                        Sea Saw


                                        Barrio Cafe



                                        Cheers everyone,


                                        1. re: Hypnotic23

                                          Good call all around. Can't miss. I do think Cowboy Ciao would be good too...but tough choices have to be made. :)

                                          Enjoy Phoenix!

                                          1. re: HomeCookKirsten

                                            Of these 3 which would you suggest for a good Veal or Chicken Parmesian, tasty fried Calamari and more?

                                            -Leccabaffi, Scottsdale.

                                            -Pasta Briono

                                            -christos italian



                                            1. re: drewb123

                                              I would hit Un Bacio before Brioni....since Brioni is under new ownership these isn't as consistant as it used to be. My last two experience were less than stellar.
                                              Brian and some of the staff are now @ Un Bacio along w/ many of their signature entrees...

                                              Lecabbafi is also under new ownership...haven't been since Giovanni sold it.......

                                              Christo's is classic old school italian....always consistent and good.

                                              Marcellinos is terrific as mentioned above......

                                              La Locanda in Scottsdale makes great Lobster Risotto and sqid ink pasta......

                                              Un Bacio Ristoranti
                                              7704 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258

                                              Christos Ristorante
                                              6327 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014

                                              La Locanda Ristorante Italiano
                                              10201 N Scottsdale Rd Ste 1, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

                        2. We just passed through Phoenix yesterday. Had two meals: lunch at Sushi Ken (per multiple recommendations from this site) and dinner at Tarbells (recommended by a friend). Sushi Ken was a phenomenal value (no-holds barred sushi for two and the bill was under $40, quality not up to top NYC (and probably LA) standards, but for the SW, it was superb) but a minor challenge to find (the address refers to E. Chandler Blvd in Phoenix, not E. Chandler in Chandler (suburban Phoenix), which are both the same street, with W. Chandler (Chandler) lying in between, if that makes any sense...) Tarbell's was also superb, reminiscent of the better dining experiences we had when living in Manhattan. Tarbell's claims to use locally grown ingredients whenever possible--can't vouch for that, but the food was excellent. My wife has threatened divorce if I can't replicate the chicken & fennel sausage... Food and prices were, in my inexpert but well-travelled opinion, 2-3 star. Service was 0.5-1 star--good but not great, no real complaints. BTW, service at Sushi Ken was a bit slow, but they were swamped with customers--I consider this a positive for a sushi restaurant...