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Apr 9, 2008 02:25 PM

Your opinion on these Phoenix restaurants?

We will be in Phoenix, downtown Convention Center area, next Wed through Sun. Will need places within walking distance for all meals, though most breakfasts we'll all probably eat at hotel, or from our own stash to save $$. While some meals will be small groups, others will be large groups. A few of our group are vegetarian or vegan, many are looking for healthy options, but several just want a really good meal. I've tried to narrow down the list based on what's in the neighborhood, and would really appreciate any opinions on the following list. I got a couple of recommendations a few months back, but I need to include more options.....Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Sams/Canyon Cafe

Cafe Roma

Focaccia Fiorentina

China Inn

Marstons (in the Wyndham hotel)

Teeter House

Coach and Willies

Sonoma Casual

101 Bistro

Beyond Juice (for a quick lunch?)

I have already included Paradise Bakery and Pizza Bianco based on the previous post.

Also...any really great place right near the convention center/Hyatt for good coffee?

Thanks so much!

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  1. I'd say these are acceptable for a quick, casual meal, but none are places you'd make a special trip for. I've tried most of these except Marston's. As general rule, I skip hotel restaurants. For the vegetarians / vegans, 101 Bistro is probably the best choice. It has a Mediterranean-influenced menu with many meatless options.

    Another nearby restaurant not to be missed is Thai Elephant, which is right next door to 101 Bistro on Adams Street.

    If you are willing to walk half a mile to the north, options in the Roosevelt Row / Evans - Churchill areas include Fate, Carly's, the Nile Cafe, Tacos de Jaurez, Portland's, the Roosevelt, and Calabrian Italian Grocery & Deli.

    As for coffee, I think the best option is the Royal Coffee Bar. It's tucked out of the way behind the courthouses and jails, but is still walkable from the convention center. To the north near Portland's (mentioned above), there's Fair Trade Cafe. Not quite as funky as either Royal or Fari Trade, but closer to the Convention Center, there is the Daily Grind.

    1. Just a note -- I've had the experience of going to some of the restaurants right around the arena & ballpark (eg. Coach & Willie's) looking for dinner, to find that they're only open for dinner on game nights. You might want to call before you go.

      1 Reply
      1. I think Teeter House is fine, kind of quaint in a kitschy sort of way.

        101 Bistro and Sonoma Casual are both inedible in my opinion.

        You're better off at Stoudamires, or even the Hard Rock, than at Coach and Willies.

        Avoid China Inn at all costs.

        I would also consider Mrs. White's (just east of 7th St. on Jefferson) for some fried chicken and biscuits and gravy.

        Also, in the same neck of the woods as Mrs. White's is Los Dos Molinos on Washington. Pretty good Mexican.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I have to disagree about Coach & Willies.

          I had a filet mignon pizza there after a game last year and it was really good. The crust was crispy but still had a nice chew to it and the toppings went together great. The filet was perfect and extremely tender for being on top of something that was baked.

          I really enjoyed it and will head back again.

          1. re: azbirdiemaker

            You do realize that they place the steak strips onto the pizza AFTER the pizza is done baking, right?

            1. re: azbirdiemaker

              I thought the pizza was horrid. The crust tasted of water. The sauce was banal and the cheese was melted to the point where if we picked up a slice, everything fell off.

              Things must vary depending on who made the dough and who cooked the pizza.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              My wife and I had dinner at Bistro 101 tonight before attending the theater. It was about as far from inedible as imaginable. I had a bowl of gazpacho that was one of the best I've ever had. Not only were the customary vegetables present, but there were roasted pinenuts that added crunch and flavor. We shared a vegetarian mezes platter with excellent baba ghanoush, hummus, tabouleh, spanakopita, and falafel. For dessert, we shared a piece of baklava. The only complaint we had was with the tomato basil soup. My wife found it too thick and tangy and said it was one step short of marinara sauce. That was actually good news for me since I could eat marinara sauce like soup, so we traded dishes and polished off almost everything. In light of tonight's dinner, I continue to recommend Bistro 101, especially for a group that contains vegetarians.

              Also, I was very pleased to see that Thai Elephant next door was full to capacity and turning away customers tonight. It's rare and refreshing to see full restaurants south of Van Buren after dark.

            3. Focaccia Fiorentina is only open on weekdays for lunch, I believe. It's a little pasta place with a very small menu, but I ate there regularly when I worked downtown. Loved it.

              Paradise Bakery is a chain sandwich shop. Decent. Love the Turkey Cranberry sandwich and the fire roasted tomato soup.

              1. Unless I am mistaken, Cafe Roma might be a bit of a walk for your group.
                The Cafe Roma that I know of is in Mesa, not downtown. About 30 miles
                to walk. Might wait for cooler weather for that walk :)

                2 Replies
                1. re: StuCazzo

                  There's a Cafe Roma right in downtown Phoenix (next to a Quiznos). Not sure if it's related to the Mesa one, however.

                  1. re: StuCazzo

                    There are actually two Cafe Romas downtown. One is on Central Ave between Adams and Monroe. I think that's the one that ipsedixit is referring to. The other is just a few blocks away in the Arizona Center. I'm not sure if they're under common ownership.