In Phoenix area this weekend. What's to eat?
Prefer ethnic and inexpensive to moderately priced. Also prefer ethnic over standard fare. Are there any good Korean or Vietnamese restaurants in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area or reasonably nearby? Where's the best Mexican? Thanks in advance.
My favorite basic Mexican restaurant is El Zocalo, in downtown Chandler (just south of Chandler Blvd. on the west side of Arizona Ave. in a historic strip of shops). It has a charming dining room and beautiful patio with heaters. Family-owned; all homemade from their late mom's recipes. Shrimp tacos are great, and anything with the shredded "machaca" beef is delicious.
For trendier, more upscale Mexican, trek to Barrio Cafe on 16th St. just south of Thomas (it's within your 40-mile radius; probably 20 miles or so depending on where you're staying). Unbelievable carnitas and fish tacos, plus higher-end seafood dishes. Careful: the margaritas will knock you out.
For Vietnamese, I like Saigon Pho on Alma School Road at Knox in Chandler. No atmosphere, but lots of Vietnamese eat there. If you do try Cyclo, you can BYOB.
If you like Middle Eastern, Dooby's Grill Cafe in Mesa (near the Chandler border) is wonderful, and I think they still have belly dancers on Saturdays. It's BYOB as well. I also recommend Spices in Chandler for Mediterranean. Love the labni, a cream cheese dip with mint and spices, as well as their chicken, hummus and soup.
(I am having trouble with the links, so if someone else can add those, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!)
Along with the recommendations above here are some of our favorite Chandler area eats:
La Stalla in downtown Chandler(near El Zocalo mentioned above) for rustic Italian. We particularly like the wood fired pizzas.
Tutti Santi in Mesa(Dobson/Guadalupe) for Italian....I love the Linguinin and clams here
Gyro Express at Dobson/Chandler...very informal counter service but makes great gyros...perfect for a quick cheap lunch
Sushi Eye - Elliot around Kyrene for Sushi
Yuphas - Elliot and Hardy for Thai
Si Senor (Arizona around Galveston or Knox) - New Mexican (you can find better New Mexican at Carlsbad Tavern and Richardson's if you're willing to travel but if you want to stay around town the green chile here isn't bad).
I don't live in that area of town, but one of the Mexican restaurants I've been dying to try (and have heard many great things about) is Tia Rosa's on Mckellips - http://www.ranchodetiarosa.com/. Los Dos Molinos at 8646 S. Central Ave. doesn't fall into your typical "Mexican" fare, but it is amazing (and amazingly spicy) as evidenced by the typical hour+ wait. Have a margarita while you're waiting and you'll forget you've been there for an hour.
re: Beaver Street
Chandler is a good choice for ethnic as there's a fairly brisk collection of Asian places along Dobson and Alma School from Chandler up through Mesa. Dragonfly, Anise, C-Fu Gourmet, Lee's Sandwiches (absurdly cheap), Cyclo are all in that general area. Other good choices include Dooby's, Los Dos Molinos (New Mexican), Pita Jungle. Slightly further afield are Efe's (Turkish), Pasand (Indian), Ted's (hot dogs), all in Tempe, San Diego Bay (really good Mex seafood) in Guadalupe. There's more I know, but that's off the top of my head.
One hidden favorite for us is Down Under Wines in the ring of Chandler Fashion Mall. They have interesting small plates of things like Australian/Asian fusion -- alligator potstickers, meat pie, grilled kangaroo salad, kobe beef hot dogs, plus wines that you can buy there and open or by the glass. Tastings on Friday/Saturday are $20 for tastings and a small plate.
Good Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants are abundant in the Phoenix Metro Area. Korean restaurants are less plentiful, but there are still some good choices. Since the area is huge, can you please specify the following:
-- General area where you'll be staying
-- Tranportation you'll have access to
-- How far you are willing to drive