Solo Dining Recs for Phoenix
Coming to Phoenix next month for the first time, on a week-long conference out at the Black Canyon Conference Center, which I understand is near a mall called Metrocenter. I gather this is North Phoenix, but don't really know what that means, other than tripadvisor.com reviews reference a lot of Chili's, Outbacks, and Olive Gardens. Save me!
I prefer to dine away from the hotel in the evenings, but will be on my own this trip. I will have a car and am willing to drive 20 mins or so in any direction. I'm looking for casual, delicious dining recs where a single woman won't attract attention by dining alone.
After 8 years in Seattle, and coming from the Southwest (TX, NM, OK) I would love to re-visit my love of Mexican, New Mexican, excellent BBQ, and--maybe stretching it here--a really good chicken-fried steak. You can't get any of that bad-for-you stuff up here in the land of sushi and salmon (which is not to say it isn't delish!)
And if there's something I just should NOT miss, please mention!
Chinos! How could I forget Chino Bandido!? Mexican, Chinese & Jamaican all playing together. The spiciest stuff is the best. An institution among the tech geeks in the area, & oh-oh-oh so good. (Definitely not like anything you'll get anywhere else.)
15414 N 19th Ave Ste K, Phoenix, AZ 85023
So keeping in mind your 20 min parameter here are a few suggestions for close by:
Via de los Santos (link description below is wrong but address is correct)- located on Central Avenue just north of Dunlap. Old school Sonoran style Mexican. Extensive Tequila selection, be cautious drinking the house margs - they can pack a punch.
Phoenix City Grille - in the same area as Richardsons, SW corner of Bethany Home and 16th street. Good contiental menu, nice neighboorhood feeling bar.
Corbins Bar & Grille - also on Central this time south of Dunlap. I think this is a good neighborhood haunt that is close by and you'll feel comfortable sitting at the bar for a dink and dinner alone (important when traveling!).
Phoenix City Grille
5816 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Corbin's Bar & Grill
8729 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020
9120 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020
Yeah, Metrocenter isn't exactly the locus of fine dining in Phoenix.
You'll definitely want to check out Richardson's/Dick's -- you may end up there most evenings. (I like the Dick's Hideaway side a little better. Very friendly bar.) Sierra Bonita on 7th Street is also New Mexican style, chow-worthy & comfortable. (Good drinks, good apps.)
For sonoran mexican, without going too far & still a reasonably nice place, I'd send you to the Macayo's on Thunderbird & 19th Ave. It's a local chain-lette that's been around for decades. My faves there are the green corn tamales & the red chile con carne. If you're OK with a really bare-bones ambience (or want to do take-out), Carolina's at Cactus & Cave Creek Road is only a little farther.
(Note that Cactus & Thunderbird are just a little confusing east of the Metrocenter area. Cactus dead-ends, Thunderbird becomes Cactus, another Thunderbird starts up. It's just a litle weird -- check your map.)
Also along Thunderbird at 7th St is Basis. It's a nice upscale neighbourhood place.
And I totally agree that if you can, take an evening to cruise around Scottsdale, & hit some restaurants there. (You can do the dine at the bar model at any of these.) Cowboy Ciao is interesting fusion, if you're not all tired of "big" flavours, & Fine's Cellar & Digestif are all in that same area.
Sierra Bonita Grill
6933 North 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85014
7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Carolina's Mexican North
2126 E Cactus Rd Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85022
Basis New American Restaurant
410 E Thunderbird Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85022
Macayo's Mexican Kitchen Thunderbird
1909 W Thunderbird Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85023
Richardson's for New Mexican. You will feel very comfortable dining solo at the bar. I would put this tops on the list.
Along that same 51-corridor, Stacy's Smokehouse has very good pulled pork and ribs, catfish and (apparently) fried chicken. I'd stick w/the onion rings as a side. Very casual and cheap.
Overeasy's chicken fried steak probably isn't worth driving all that way, plus it's only open until 11:30a. Only been to Texaz a couple times and wasn't thrilled.