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Jun 12, 2008 09:07 AM

Will be in PHX for 4 nights in July, where to eat?

I will be in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area for four nights in July, what are the must go to restaurants to hit? I love, love, love Mexican food as well as sushi and Italian but any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!

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  1. Probably as good os a place to start as any. Just toss out the words " Super Bowl " and replace with "Vacation".

    1. Binkleys- fine dining
      los dos molinos or los sombreros- Mexican
      pass on sushi but if have to- Hana great spot BYOB

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

      6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      Los Dos Molinos
      8646 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042

      6 Replies
      1. re: drewb123

        Per HANA employees to sig other and I: "We only get fresh fish once a week, on Fridays".

        This was our first and only visit when I had to ask questions regarding vendors/freshness (only place in AZ where I had to send food *back*).

        Maybe they corrected this, or maybe the gal (running the register) was simply misinformed, but we were not only ones sending food back sorry to say. It was a Thursday Lunch if memory serves.


        YES: Try anything with Green Chili @ LOS DOS :-)
        TRY: SEA SAW (SeaSaw.Net I believe) & do the Omakase Menu :-)
        TRY: Pizza from PIZZERIA BIANCO'S. He has a day job too making
        sandwiches at:PANE BIANCO'S.
        Hope it helps!

        1. re: DeansHouse

          We've been to Hana many, many times (to the point where if it's been a while, they all harass us and ask where the heck we've been) and I've never heard anything like that. The quality of the fish there is absolutely amazing and I'd be very surpised if that were true. I hope it's just a matter of whomever being misinformed. I'm not even a huge sushi fan and I've been blown away by the fish.

          1. re: tara17

            agreed, that is shocking... I've tried all the local sushi joints, and each has something they do really well (well, not all of them.. ) what Hana does better than absolutely any other place in town is sashimi. Fresh, fresh fish, dressed well, cut well, etc.

            I'm sorry that was your experience, but I daresay your waitress was misinformed.

            1. re: hzp

              If you had problems at Hana, the sushi chef would have been at your table in a heartbeat if you sent items back to find out what was wrong and how he could remedy it. I was eating once at the bar and he asked me how my meal was. I mentioned that one of the sashimi slices I had seemed almost frozen they were so cold, and he immediately handed me a plate with a different fish to make up for it.

              1. re: Firenza00

                i completely agree. ive been there several times and watched the fresh fish come in, and admired the giant whole fishes the chef makes quick work of breaking down.

                he's so fanatical about quality i can't imagine if there truly was an issue that he'd be sending out all kinds of things to make sure every guest was happy.

                i'll join in the chorus of shocked people and concur - i'd be hard pressed to see this happening.

                1. re: winedubar

                  I forgot about one incident. I noticed they had giant clam on the specials board and I asked about it. He told me he wouldn't serve it to me because it wasn't up to par and gave me something else instead.

      2. If you can handle the spice, you must try "Los Dos Molinos" in South Phoenix. Get there before 7:00 or you're sure to wait about 2 hours. The food is amazing and authentic. Definitely skip sushi in Phx.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ginael

          The new Los Dos Molinos location on Washington Street has the same menu as the south Phoenix location without the long wait -- and sushi in Phoenix is just fine. These miraculous inventions known as airplanes bring us desert dwellers fresh fish regularly.

          Los Dos Molinos
          1010 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

          1. re: silverbear

            Ha ha, Silverbear, re: airplanes, I've wanted to say that a dozen times. The OP appears to be from Minneapolis, which is not exactly a coastal city.

            On at least two occasions, I've visited a coastal city, got a recommendation of a good seafood restaurant, and both times thought seafood I'd had in Minneapolis was better. That was before I knew about

            I eat a lot of sushi at Sakana, just because it's so close to home, and the basic cuts of fish are good enough. The staff is damn friendly, too.

            If I want something better, I make the drive to Sushi Ken.

            As I *have* said a dozen times, Richardson's is my recommendation for anyone visiting Phoenix from outside the Southwest.

            Sushi Ken
            4206 E Chandler Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85048

            Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico
            1582 E. Bethany Home Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016

            1. re: silverbear

              Agreed that seafood can be flown in. I just don't think this city has particularly good sushi. Yet. Phx is definitely becoming a culinary haven, soon on par with SF and LA.

              1. re: ginael

                interesting, ginael. where have you been? there's some unbelievable sushi coming out of hana. followed closely imo by yasu's sushi bistro and tokyo lobby, and sushi eye, and sushi ken. i could keep going ;)

                seriously tho - where have you tried? perhaps we could steer you to some better options ;)

          2. I grew up in Phoenix, back when it had horses in what is now "downtown."

            You don't go to Phoenix to get sushi -- you go there for border Mexican. And the best border Mexican IMO is Carolina's, which my parents used to take us to since when it was a shack with a counter back in 1975.

            We were friends with the legendary Carolina herself. And whenever anyone in my family sees Carolina's son, Joe, or her D-I-L, they remember my family as being some of their original fans -- which make us the envy of everyone else in line.

            Now, Carolina's has two locations ( one is very close to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport) and people line-up to eat there. At lunch on weekdays the line in the south Phoenix location can have 50 people in it, but it's obviously worth the wait. And if you call ahead you can go straight to the pick-up line.

            Also, all my friends from college, who used to visit me in Arizona over the summers, and who I took there, became fans. Some planning special stop-overs in Phoenix to eat at Carolina's TO THIS DAY.

            The machaca burrito and the oaxaca special are my favorites. The machaca taco plate is just yummy too.

            The hot sauce is HOT sauce, not salsa, but I take back quarts of it when I come back to California. I put it on everything from pizza to steamed broccoli. I keep the hot sauce for months in the fridge, but I would suggest that others don't keep it that long.

            The new Carolina's, the one in north Phoenix, has salsa verde, which is also excellent.

            Whenever I go home (to Arizona) my first stop, even before visiting my parents, is Carolina's if it's open. My sister got her fancy wedding catered by them.

            Carolina's Mexican Food (both locations are closed on Sundays)


            Location near Sky Harbor Airport

            1202 E. Mohave
            Phoenix, AZ
            (602) 252-1503

            North Phoenix
            2126 E. Cactus Rd.
            Phoenix, AZ
            (602) 275-8231

            We also love El Norteno on Roosevelt and 7th Ave. Sadly, it's in a very dangerous neighborhood in my opinion, and is literally a tiny taco shack, although it does have an outdoor sit-down area. I can't vouch for the cleanliness.

            My mom loves the tamales, and I love the shredded beef taco plate, the hot sauce, and the machaca plate.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ValleyGal

              Phoenix is now too big and too diverse a city to be defined by any one type of food that people come here for. It's great that we have border Mexican, but we have excellent restaurants of many types, including sushi. We do a disservice to visitors when we try to confine them to one regional cuisine instead of showcasing the city's many strengths.

              As for the particulars, I like El Norteno. The immediate neighborhood is in transition, and I probably wouldn't walk there alone late at night, but I'd have no problem going there for lunch or dinner.

              Carolina's I find somewhat overrated. Sometimes it's great, but at other times the tortillas are rubbery.

              Carolina's Mexican North
              2126 E Cactus Rd Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85022

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

              El Norteno
              1002 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007

              1. re: ValleyGal

                I respectfully disagree of this assessment. Phoenix, like all growing cities, changes as it grows (it has to) and I think that Phoenix has a fine culinary scene with plenty of options including very good sushi. Phoenix does have excellent Mexican food (hello, El Nopalito) along with outstanding Native American food (I will put Kai up against plenty of upscale restaurants in L.A. or Chicago or most other cities any day of the week).

                A few suggestions across the board:

                Red Devil on McDowell Road - Inexpensive Italian with plenty of great pizzas.

                El Nopalito - Dirt cheap Mexican food in a dive location, but so what. $1.00 street tacos for the win!

                Nogales Hot Dogs - It's a cart on the Southwest corner of 20th Street and Indian School Road. Great bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Evenings only.

                Fry Bread House - Native American fry bread topped with red chile or honey and cinnamon or hominy stew. Fabulous.

                Delux - Best burger in Phoenix, IMO. Get the sweet potato fries.

                Black Forest Mill - Great German food with plentiful portions and lots of menu selections.

                Restaurant 28 - Killer BBQ on the west side of town.

                Sabuddy - Israeli food. Very inexpensive. Large portions.

                All in all, lots of variety in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

                Hope you enjoy your stay here.

                3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                6949 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                El Nopalito
                2831 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

                Black Forest Mill German Restaurant
                4900 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

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

                Nogales Hot Dogs
                1945 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                Restaurant 28
                5023 W Olive Ave, Glendale, AZ 85302

                Red Devil Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
                3102 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85008

                1. re: Seth Chadwick

                  I'll try the Fry Bread House in Phoenix next time I go home to Arizona -- thanks for that recommendation! I love fry bread.

                  I remember the fry bread we used to get up on the reservations, way back when. I remember being one of the few non-Hopis allowed to see the snake dance after decades, at Hotevilla on the Third Mesa.

                  The only thing that was available to eat at the snake dance ceremony was fry bread and it was SO good -- it's the gold standard for me for fry bread.

                  I'll let you all know what I think about the Fry Bread House.

              2. Try Roka Akor for sushi. It’s a fairly new Japanese restaurant on Scottsdale Rd and Indian Bend. I went there for the first time last Tuesday and was pretty impressed.

                The food was great (in addition to sushi they have tempura and a full menu of hot dishes) and the presentation was incredible, everything looked almost too pretty to eat!

                Dining there was quite an experience- each different type of dish apparently comes from a different kitchen (they said there are 3 kitchens but I only saw 2- one was an open grilling and prep station right in the middle of the restaurant) so your entrées come out at random times. We just ordered a bunch of different items and shared, it was really kind of fun that way.

                Drinks were good too, they feature a Japanese liquor called Shochu. I’ve never heard of it before but it was quite tasty. Sort of a mix between Sake and vodka and it comes in a variety of flavors- my favorite was the honey, it was sweeter than the other one I tried.