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Aug 22, 2007 02:08 PM

Fast, high-quality food in Phoenix

I'm looking for a gem in Phoenix. Is there anything fast, clean, cheap and delicious that can be recommended? Or maybe some where that's just impressive to see? Chains as well as Mom and Pops are welcome.

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  1. Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix has the best pizza I've ever tasted, along with great salads and good wine. It is fast (assuming you get there before the line forms), clean, cheap (although not cheap compared to Pizza Hut pizzas), and delicious. It is a gem.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Dallas Alice

      Chris Bianco is one of the proponents of the Slow Food movement. His restaurants aren't fast; that's one reason why he gave up serving lunch at the pizzeria several years ago.

      1. re: misohungrychewlow

        actually chris and chrysa kaufman from rancho pinot started slow food phoenix...

        but that doesn't have anything to do with whether or not it will take awhile to eat your food ;) the name 'slow food' came as a reaction to the attempt to put a mcdonalds at the roman steppes. carlo petrini, the founder, said 'we don't need more fast food, we need more slow food', and thus the name was born.

        1. re: winedubar

          I don't think miso is claiming that Bianco founded the local convivium -- just that he's been affiliated with the movement, a claim which a quick Web search along the lines of "chris bianco" "slow food" confirms.

          I agree that there can be slow-foodish places that serve quickly, though. Essence Bakery Cafe (in the old Sabuddy site in Tempe) is one of them. Essence's food is quite good, although it may not satisfy the OP's criterion of cheap. Personally, I find it overpriced, but those willing to pay a premium for local and organic might not feel the same way.

          Essence Bakery Cafe
          825 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

          1. re: silverbear

            i think its pretty well known that he's involved/co-founder of the convivium.if memory serves he puts our logo - the snail - on his menu. don't quote me tho - i always get the wiseguy and spiedini so i don't usually look at the menu. im such a creature of habit :D

            my intention was just to explain what slow food meant. there's a common misconception that slow food means food cooked slowly or food that has to be eaten slowly, or leisurely paced meals.

            i was simply hoping to explain that the whole slow food movement is a reaction to the proliferation of fast food at the expense of local food traditions and culture.

            sorry for the thread hijack!!!!

            1. re: winedubar

              This is true -- regardless, watch them make sandwiches at Pane Bianco or pizzas at the pizzeria. The work is always done at a deliberate pace, no matter how many people may be waiting. The people in front work the same way. If you're the only one there, you will get your sandwich in about 5-8 minutes. If there are a few people in line, or if you hit the rush, you will be waiting. You will never see anyone hop or sprint or burst about in a Bianco establishment.

              1. re: misohungrychewlow

                Good point. Pane Bianco is a fast option at off-peak times, but the wait to be called back to the counter to pick up an order can be noticeable during the lunch rush.

                1. re: silverbear

                  I've always gone to PB just a few minutes before 11, wait outside Lux and am back in my car by 11:05 with my lunch.

      2. re: Dallas Alice

        While Pizzeria Bianco definitely does not meet the OP's criteria, Pane Bianco, the owner's sandwich shop, probably does -- except perhaps the criterion of cheap. Nevertheless, I do find Pane Bianco's somewhat high prices are offset by portions generous enough for sharing.

        Pane Bianco
        4404 N Central Ave Ste A, Phoenix, AZ 85012

      3. for me 'clean, fast and cheap' is usually cherry blossom noodle cafe...ALMOST healthy ;)

        for 10 bucks you can get some sushi and a salad and miso. their iced green tea is good too

        or switch. just don't go at lunch because there's a line out the door. dinner or weekends? not so much

        1. My faves in my usual territory of Central Phoenix and Tempe:

          Yasda Bento -- quick, tasty Japanese food Downtown on Adams Street.

          Suenos New Mexican Cafe -- New Mexican and Mexican specialties on Washington Street just east of Downtown

          Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli -- The name says it all. On 16th St. b/w Osborn and Thomas

          Focaccia Fiorentina -- Sandwiches and pastas Downtown on Central between Adams and Monroe

          Calabria Italian Grocery & Deli -- Sandwiches and pasta dishes on Roosevelt at the north end of Downtown Phoenix.

          In Season Deli -- In the courtyard shops on the 400 block of Mill Avenue in Downtown Tempe

          Med Fresh Grill -- Turkish and Meditteranean food, also on the 400 block of Mill Avenue

          Based on my experiences, all meet your criteria of fast, clean, cheap, and delicious. Pizzeria Bianco (mentioned above) is certainly clean, delicious, and reasonably priced, but it's hardly fast, no matter how early one arrives.

          Calabria Italian Grocery & Deli
          1001 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

          In Season Deli
          414 S Mill Ave Ste 111, Tempe, AZ 85281

          Yasda Bento
          18 W Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

          Suenos New Mexican Cafe
          1010 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

          Middle Eastern Bakery & Deli
          3052 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

          Focaccia Fiorentina
          112 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

          Med Fresh
          414 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

          1. D'oh! How could I forget these gems:

            Fry Bread House -- Better than at the State Fair and available year-round. On the bendy part of 7th Ave just above Indian School in Midtown.

            Ranch Market Food Court -- Mexican treats inside the big supermarket at 16th St. and Roosevelt

            La Tolteca -- All sorts of Mexican treats on Van Buren east of Downtown

            Carolina's -- Great burrtios in South Phoenix near the airport rental car center. It doesn't look clean, but it gets regular gold and silver awards.

            Super L Ranch Market -- Good Chinese, especially Taiwanese, eats at the food court inside this supermarket on 44th St.

            Knock Kneed Lobster -- Fish and chips; unbelievably good hush puppies at 32nd St. & Washington on north side of Airport

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

            Carolina's Mexican Food Restaurant
            1202 E Mohave St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

            La Tolteca
            1205 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

            Super L Ranch Market
            668 N 44th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

            Knock Kneed Lobster
            3202 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

            Fry Bread House
            4140 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

            1. Great lists. I will also add That's A Wrap on 7th street. Who can go wrong with a wrap with a fun name like "Prince of Thai’s" or "Tipper And Alba-Gore Tuna".


              That's A Wrap
              800 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006