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Mar 31, 2008 09:35 PM

PHX midtown on a Sunday night?

I'm a Tucsonan who gets up to Phoenix now and then, and I usually end up eating somewhere in Scottsdale. This time I'm staying further west, and I'm having a difficult time finding anything west of Central that isn't either a chain, hole-in-the wall Mexican (I can get that in Tucson any time), or CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. Where does someone who wants interesting food go on a Sunday night if he's staying between downtown and where Convivo used to be (not that it matters in this instance, because I seem to recall they were closed on Sundays as well)? Quality ingredients, inventive menu, not too concerned about the price. We like a bunch of stuff in the East Valley: Methode, Sea Saw, Leccabaffi, Zinc Bistro, Deseo, Tapino. Good wine list it a plus, too. Do we have to drag ourselves to Scottsdale to get something lovely to eat? Thanks, Phoenicians.

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  1. "Lovely" is a highly subjective term. I don't know what is lovely to you, but these are some of my Midtown or near-Midtown favorites. I believe all are open on Sundays.

    Aiello's -- Italian
    Fez -- loungey atmosphere; slight Middle Eastern influence but not as much as the name would suggest
    Durant's -- classic steakhouse
    Switch -- same owners as Fez; menu is basic but well prepared
    Ticoz -- also same owners as Fez; modern southwestern
    Sierra Bonita Grill -- southwestern in North Central Phoenix

    3 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      SB is a very reliable hound with good tastes, so I would heed his recommendations ... Personally (based on one visit) I thought Fez was dreadful and would not send anyone there to eat, although the reports on the burgers are favorable. Of SB's other suggestions, I've only been to Sierra Bonita and Durant's and I endorse both of them ... Phoenix City Grille and Richardson's are among the usual suspects near midtown that are open Sundays ... then there are Tarbell's and Chef Vincent on Camelback, not too far from the Central corridor.

      1. re: misohungrychewlow

        Fez seems to draw mixed reactions. Based on its loungy-ness, I've been prepared to be skeptical, but every time I've gone I've been pleasantly surprised. I will say that Switch, Fez, and Ticoz are not really culinary innovators in the sense of Methode, Sea Saw, etc. They tend more to pick up on trends, tweak them a little, and make them accessible to a broader population.

        If you're looking for chef-driven culinary innovation, I think you'll have to dine at least as far east as 16th St. Along Central, restaurants tend to cater to daytime crowds of office workers and night crowds from nearby residents. Restaurants in the heart of Midtown, with the exception of Durant's, are not typically of the type that draws from a wide radius for destination dining.

      2. re: silverbear

        Sierra Bonita is "lovely" We haven't been to Sierra Bonita in a few months (out busy trying other CH recs) and it was time to go back.

        We were seated at a nice table on their outdoor patio. Our server, was gracious, prompt and thurough. She was a great server.

        I ordered a glass of wine, which arrived perhaps 30 seconds after I ordered it! SO stuck with Iced Tea, which also arrived promptly.

        We ordered the mini quesadilla's appetizer. It was delicous, not too rich. The dish consisted of 8" flour tortillas filled with spinach, two different types of cheese and black beans. All the ingredients worked well together and were in the perfect porportions. On the side were two small crocks of salsas, both yummy. There was a large portion of corn, hominy, black bean salad as well. It was seasoned with lime, onion and cilantro...very very tasty.

        Our entrees were the green chile cheeseburger for SO and I ordered, per the servers rec, the pasta with chicken and poblano cream sauce. SO's hambuger was excellent he said. He also ordered the Posole and loved it. I tried it was delish. It was full of pork and hominy and seasoned well. The broth was light and very flavorful. It was served with a crock of cabbage and lime to include with the soup, SO stuck to the basic and didn't use it. He also had a side salad with the poblano ranch dressing, said it was very good. His hamburger he polished off in no time. He said it was delicious and well priced. It led us to a discussion of Corbins and how their burgers are very overpriced, but that is a whole other topic.
        My pasta was sooooo good. I am glad I took the rec of the server. It well seasoned, not too rich and oh so good. It was full of grilled chicken, had some pine nuts thrown in and various kinds of chili strips on top. Very, very good. The portion was huge and I ended up taking about half home, SO was very happy about this! LOL
        Our water glasses were never empty nor was the iced tea. I was offered another glass wine within minutes of my glass being empty. The service was flawlesss and I have to say she had a very busy patio to take care of.

        Sierra Bonita is not to be missed. Oh and they do take reservations.

        1. i'd have to second barrio cafe and richardsons and add :

          lola - great tapas
          lisa g's - adorable restored house, great wine list, good food
          padre's - modern mexican - excellent!!
          sophie's bistro - good, french, sit outside!!
          coup des tartes - adorable!!! french, byob
          cibo - great pizza, love the anti-pasta with balsamic onions

          thats a good start at least ;)

          i do like switch for lunch in a fast and decent sandwich kind of way..but personally? ive never had a good meal at ticoz or fez.

          14 Replies
          1. re: winedubar

            Unfortunately, the only places you mention that open on Sunday are in the FezTicozSwitch empire.

            I couldn't in good conscience send anyone to Ticoz. While I was merely underwhelmed by Fe(h)z on my only visit, I have been outright annoyed by Ticoz. After three instances of bad to so-so food, weak drinks, and/or irritating service, I'm done with them.

            1. re: hohokam

              really? ugh that sucks.

              go to richardsons - love them. never been disappointed, and they are open every day. if they are packed, try their spot in back - dick's hideaway. same food, smaller, its a hidden little gem.

              and i soooo agree with you, i can't for the life of me figure out why ticoz is still open, its just bad. i don't get fez either but i have friend that loves their burgers. go figure ;)

              1. re: winedubar

                Oops. I missed Richardson's in your list.

                Yeah. Don't get me started on Ticoz. Hijole.

                1. re: winedubar

                  Richardson's Carne Adovada is outstanding. A huge pile of red chile pork goodness.

                  Fez/Ticoz. Flash over substance. I prefer it the other way.

                  I love Hana Sushi at 7th Ave and Missouri and it's bare concrete walls. Awesome sushi, especially the unagi.

                  1. re: Firenza00

                    I strongly second Hana. We ate there for the first time a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed everything we ordered (none of which was sushi, BTW). The tab for the two of us (not counting the wine we brought) was right at $40, and we ended up with enough leftovers for a light lunch the next day. In short, Hana is one of the best food values in the city.

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

                    1. re: hohokam

                      We've had some non-sushi items (g/f not a sushi zealot like me) and have really enjoyed them. Given my druthers, though, I dive head first into the fish cooler. :)

                      1. re: Firenza00

                        Yeah, neither of us is a major sushi fan. My SO is totally turned off by raw fish, and while I do appreciate high quality sushi, I don't feel like I usually enjoy it enough to justify the expense.

                        Maybe one day I'll sneak over there for a little lunchtime sushi just so I can see what I am missing.

                    2. re: Firenza00

                      The carne adovada at Richardson's is the best dish I ate in Phoenix during a recent stay. If you love 'cue, you have to try this dish. The smokey-spicy waft of the pork redirects your senses when you when you walk thru the door. Served with amazingly creamy beans and (during a Sunday brunch) a side of delicate home fried potatoes.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Missed that one too. Looks like I missed that whole line, in fact. ;-)

                      1. re: hohokam

                        Still looking- my wife isn't much for the spicy and we're going with a vegetarian friend, which I'm assuming rules out Richardson's/Dick's Hideaway and possibly Barrio Cafe. Is Cheuvront worth a visit?

                        1. re: feastdoug

                          it's decent - ive never been blown away, but ive never been disappointed either. they have good wine tastings there, and a mini-fromagerie.

                          1. re: feastdoug

                            Vegetarian or vegan? Barrio has mushroom enchiladas which would possibly suit your veg. friend (as long as they're ok w/ dairy and like mushrooms). And the things I've had at Barrio were flavorful but not necessarily spicy. So I don't think you need to rule it out.

                            I like Cheuvront, tho' I've only been there once at dinnertime (and then shared appetizery stuff with others, but the gnocchi was pretty tasty as was whichever pizza we tried). Their pumpkin bread pudding is lovely! And I'm a big fan of the pork sandwich on their lunch menu. Yum.

                            1. re: feastdoug

                              you know.. not really midtown... but for what you guys are talking about.... needing that variety, I might suggest heading east to Le Grande Orange... lots of items to choose from, but more importantly, variety since I'm fairly sure their various restaurants are open Sunday. Forewarning: parking is a bitch.

                              As another suggestion.. Super Dragon on 12th and Northern is truly great chinese, so you can get non spicy and veggie food...

                    2. You might also want to try Zest Spirted Dining at 16th Street just north of Indian School. Their eggplant cheesecake appetizer is excellent and they make the salad tabelside, which is a nice touch. They are open Sundays.