Returning to Phoenix/Tempe/Tucson after many years....
I will be traveling back to Arizona next week after being away for many years. I grew up in Scottsdale/Mesa area, but everything has changed dramatically. We will be in Tempe, Tucson and then Phoenix for about 3-4 nights each. Would love restaurant suggestions in each place for b/l/d. We're traveling with a teenager who enjoys good food plus we are coming from New York, so are used to interesting, adventurous dining. Would like to know of great dinner places, but also local finds that are not too costly since we will be eating out a lot of meals. Same for breakfast and lunch: would prefer good places where the locals go.
We will have a car.
I'm looking forward to some warm weather. Is anything still in bloom (cactus wise) or too late? Thanks!
Please be reminded that responses to the poster should be regarding the chow. Recommendations for scenic tours or other travel advice are considered off topic for our boards.
In Central Phoenix, we enjoy breakfast at the Good Egg at Park Central, a good lunch at Bill Johnson's Big Apple on Indian School and 33th Ave, and dinner at Thai Rama on Camelback and 11th Ave. All reasonably priced and local friendly. Although I doubt you'll find much of a wait at any of these places, you can ejoy the warm temps and the blooms.
Well, for an inexpensive, chowish lunch in Tucson, you could try Pat's Chili Dog's. They're a real Tucson original, and their chili dogs are top notch, in a cheap, tasty sort of way. The fries are hot, greasy, and copious, congealing as they cool into an inedible blob recognizeable by most long-time Tucsonans.
We were off the beaten path last night and ate at a place in ahwatukee (still can't spell that), the place is called Venice, reasonable italian food. It is at elliot and 48th street or something. The swordfish was really good.
Cibo in Central Phoenix usually doesn't have a long wait, and excellent ambience. For a real experience with chiles, try Los Dos Molinos in South Phoenix. Both are reasonably priced. Zen 32 has great sushi and a nice patio.
I'm adding a link to a thread with a lot of recommendations for downtown Tempe (and a few outlying areas). Most of them would make a good inexpensive lunch or dinner; a few (Caffe Boa, House of Tricks, John Henry I think, and probably a couple more) aren't inexpensive by local standards, but good when you feel like a mid-range meal. (I haven't figured out how links work, so you'll probably have to cut and paste this: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504034).
For something else interesting and fun (and even less expensive!), you could search for discussions on tacos, burros, and tortas to find little places that serve things like lengua and barbacoa; a lot of these are in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson. People at many of these won't speak much English, but being from NY you can probably handle that just fine.