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!
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.
You should pick an evening and head over to downtown Scottsdale also. Great shopping at Fashion Square and lots of good eats. You will love Olive and Ivy by the Canal, I enjoy Fine's Cellar by myself, just sit at the bar and enjoy a great BTG wine and dinner.
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
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