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Moving to Glendale, AZ What's to eat?

We like just about everything, but Asian (Thai) and Mexican are particular favorites.

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  1. We're still exploring this area (we moved to the NW Valley 6 months ago) but for Thai we like Chanpen. My husband orders the usual suspects (pad thai, satay, pineapple fried rice, etc), which they do very well, but I especially enjoy the classic Thai dishes like their som tum, nua kem, or woon sen. Where they really shine too is the specials so be sure to check the handwritten dishes on the board when you come in. Friendly service, no dumbing-down of spices (when I request very very spicy, it is), and they always bring the usual Thai condiments in glass containers (ground dried chilis, fresh sliced chilis in vinegar, fish sauce, etc.) without being asked.

    Have only been a couple of times but for Cantonese/Hong Kong style, we like Hope Kee, which is located in a great Asian superstore called Lee Lee's Oriental Market one town over in Peoria. Favorites include the Chinese Roast Crispy Chicken, Fried Shrimp with Seasoned Salt & Jalapeno, and daily vegetable specials like the sauteed pea tendrils with garlic (dou miao).

    Haven't been to many Mexican places in the area, so haven't picked a favorite, but we do like the casual Roberto's (nearby but in Phoenix, located in a gas station, order at counter), especially the carnitas tacos.

    Other favorites in N Glendale are a wine bistro called Jug 'n Barrel, and an Italian restaurant called Tutti Santi.

    Chanpen Thai
    13828 N 51st Ave, Glendale, AZ 85306

    Jug 'n Barrel
    18555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308

    Tutti Santi
    19420 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308

    Roberto's Mexican
    675 W Union Hills Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85027

    Hope Kee
    7575 W Cactus Road, Peoria, AZ 85381

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rubee

      I've been to Chanpen and Tutti Santi, and would return to both.

      Roberto's can be seen on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives episode: "Like Mama Made" which is airing over the next 3 weeks.

      I haven't been to Mi Cocina Mi Pais for a while (long drive), but, this Ecuadorean hole-in-the-wall serves my favorite tamales.

      Mi Comida Restaurante Latino
      4221 W Bell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85053

      1. re: Rubee

        FYI - Chanpen was recently sold. I believe the new restaurant is called Bangkok Grill.

        1. re: andyeats

          I hadn't heard about that. Tara and I used to love Chanpen, but the food seemed to go downhill over the past year or so and the service was never very friendly, and at times downright hostile.

          Pho Avina is a favorite of mine for Vietnamese food. If you like Thai, give them a try. Their banh mi sandwiches are my favorites for lunch.

          Pho Avina
          4920 W Thunderbird Rd, Glendale, AZ 85306

        2. re: Rubee

          Picked up some take-out at Roberto's this weekend - a carnitas taco and taco al pastor, carne asada torta, and chile relleno and refrito burritos. Everything was great as usual, but my favorite is still their carnitas tacos

          Torta and tacos:

        3. Al Forno.....It's located on Glendale ave, in the down town area. Right across the street from the park. The BEST pizza this side of Bianco's. Try the Italian Stallion, it's loaded with cured meats and perfectly cooked in the wood burning oven. It's not mexican or Thai, but it is the best thing in Glendale by far.

          1. We enjoy Lito's for Mexican at 47th ave and Dunlap. I little hole in the wall place
            that has the best green chile in town.

            1. Ok, so its not a foodie destination, but Bar Louie, in Westgate, is a great bar for food and watching football, etc. It also serves a full menu late, until 2pm. Ask for Mark, he's the owner/manager and will take good care of you.

              2 Replies
              1. re: danieli10


                Can't speak to whether it'd be a foodie hit, but it sounds like it should strike a chord with chowhounds. I assume it's late menu is until 2am, though, not pm.

              2. There are about half a dozen Indian restaurants now around the Bell-Greenway area, but our favorite is still Tandoori Village at 43rd and Bell. The service can be less than stellar, but the food is always very good. We especially like the kormas.

                Mixteca is our standard for quick and reasonably authentic Mexican food. It's a fast food setting, but more upscale than your standard Todosbertos, and more "real" than you would expect for this stretch of Bell where you will find a representative of every chain in existence. It's at 6731 W Bell Road.

                We have tried every Thai restaurant within 20 miles, and have never found anything that we really like (spoiled by our prior life in LA). However, there is one on the south side of Bell around 27th Ave. (neither of us can think of the name) that we sometimes visit, and find that we like some dishes including a tom kha kai-like soup that is called something else (but includes coconut milk, mushrooms, chicken and lemongrass) and a salad with mint, chilis and beef. The curries we've tried are too heavy and sweet for my taste, and I believe there was a gloppy noodle dish once. I give them points for having Thai iced coffee, though, which many local Thai restaurants don't serve.

                Actually there is a Thai restaurant we haven't tried yet, recommended on the board awhile back -- I don't have the name of that one either, but it's on Bell at 16th St., I think? We tried to go there last Friday evening but it was closed for the holiday weekend. A couple doors down we saw a sign for a restaurant that served Taos-style food, but that was closed too. We are thinking of going back this evening with the hope that one of them will be open.

                I agree with the recommendation for Hope Kee in the Lee Lee Market. It's the best Chinese to hit this part of the valley. If you want to drive further, we like Great Wall at 35th Ave. and Camelback.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kittyfood

                  Update with some names: Touch of Thai is the one I was referring to around 27th Ave and Bell -- actually the address is 16816 North 35th Avenue, which is 35th and Bell. The other one on 16th St. and Bell is Krua Thai, which we tried last weekend. Not bad, but we didn't find it worth the extra drive. The Taos-style place at 16th and Bell is only open until 5:00 or so, so we will have to check that one out at lunch on a Saturday.

                2. If you love Thai, there is only one place in the entire Valley that fits the bill - The Wild Thaiger just south of Thomas Rd on Central Ave in downtown Phoenix. It's a bit of a drive but well worth it. It's probably the best Thai I've ever had - anywhere.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rsms

                    If looking for Thai food in the west valley, the place I always go to is Sala Thai in Goodyear which is just south of I-10 on Van Buren. Very consistent, reasonably priced, and delicious thai food. We went to Satara Thai in Peoria last night and were very disappoiinted. This place has been open for a while (I believe close to a year) but they still haven't pulled things together. They are trying to be an upscale restaurant, with waterfalls built into the wall, a major focus on wine, and a separate wine bar, but the service was terrible. We asked a member of the staff where the bathrooms were, he looked at me blankly and said "I don't think we have a bathroom." What full service restaurant / bar doesn't have a bathroom?? We found it on our own right around the corner. They brought us out water but never took a drink order. I flagged someone down to get some iced tea, whcih sat empty for a while until I again had to flag someone for a refill. I drained that one after 10 minutes to counter the spice of our curry, and that sat empty the rest of the night. We asked for spices on the side so we could add extra heat, which of course did not show up with the meal. The restaurant was relatively empty and had several waitsaff, yet nobody came over to check on us through the meal until the end when the manager came to see how we enjoyed things. On to the food - we had some Thai staples - chicken satay, mussamun curry, and pad thai. 4 pcs of plump satay were good, and they had a very good, rich peanut sauce. Their cucumber salad was also tasty. The mussamun curry was delicious and was a decent sized portion, spiced to the level that we had originally requested. The pad thai was very dense and kind of sticky, and the noodles appeared to be slightly overcooked, so the actual noodle portion of the dish was just OK. However, they use jumbo shrimp which was very good and the shrimp tasted fresh. You may say, a few server gaffes yet tasty food, so why wouldn't I go back? The prices were ridiculously high. As mentioned, they are trying to be an upscale restaurant so they feel they can charge a hefty premium. My iced tea was $2.50, the chicken satay appetizer was $8, the mussamun was $13 (and only came with a small ball of white rice - we clearly needed another and they charged an additional $1.50 for another ball...), and the pad thai was $15!! I have never spent that much for pad thai before, so if they want to get those prices, the food AND the service better be perfect! If I ever am in need of west valley thai, I will stick to Sala!

                    Satara Thai Cuisine
                    8350 W Paradise Ln, Peoria, AZ 85382

                  2. Just updating and adding some new Glendale favorites to this list.

                    I've heard Roberto's Mexican in Glendale is still there, but under new ownership. The original Roberto's family have opened in Anthem, though we haven't been there yet.

                    The bad news: Jug n' Barrel closed. The good news: On our one visit, I REALLY liked the new Spanish place that took its place - Sabor. Family-owned and they brought a chef in from Galicia, Spain. We were told the original menu was even larger and filled with lots of authentic tapas, but the chef is finding it hard to get specialty ingredients. However, what we ordered that night was all delicious, with my favorites being Tigres Rabioso (stuffed mussels), boquerones (white anchovies in vinegar and olive oil), Almejas al Sabor (clams in the shell in a garlicky parsley sauce) and Alitas al Sabor, juicy flavorful chicken wings served over patatas bravas/homemade potato chips with a choice of sauces (my favorite was the garlic aioli/Spanish alioli sauce). We also visited on a Tuesday night where they were featuring buy one tapa, get one half-off. We sat at the bar and had great service. Another bonus was they have one of my FAVORITE cocktails (which I always order at Prado) - the spicy Amante Picante with tequila, cucumber, lime and a splash of Green Tabasco. Nice warm atmosphere too. They also serve three types of paella - seafood, meat, and veg - and sometimes have special shows with flamenco dancers. We'll be back soon, and I'm thrilled to have such a good Spanish spot close by.

                    Finally, taking AZhotdish's advice in an older thread on where to get good tamales, we tried La Purisima Bakery. We love this place! Not only were the tamales delicious - moist yet fluffy masa, filled with lots of shredded meat, and nicely spicy - they were $14 for a dozen. We picked up a dozen each of the red and green (they only do these two) for Christmas and they were a huge hit. The green is spicier than the red. It's cash-only, paid in full at time of ordering, so you have to order in person. We put our order in, went to the Glendale Ranch Market to pick up a few things, and they were ready when we got back about 40 minutes later. Not only are the tamales great, but we've been back three times since then for their pan dulce/bakery items and fresh, hot tortillas ($2.50 a dozen). The place is always packed with a winding line toward the counter, but very organized and fast-moving. Not sure if English is spoken, but everyone is very friendly. There's a second location in Phoenix; this original spot has been open for 20+ years.

                    Also wanted to add another favorite of ours that we found after I originally posted - Arrowhead Grill. It's a chef-owned steakhouse with seafood. One of our favorites that we've been to quite a few times and have brought many friends and family. My favorite is the Delmonico, and the buttery Louisiana shrimp. Nice Happy Hour too. Hmmm.it's been a while, think we're due for a visit next week.

                    Mexican pastries and a tamal from La Purisima Bakery:

                    La Purisima Bakery
                    4533 W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301-2808

                    Arrowhead Grill
                    8280 West Union Hills Road, Glendale, AZ 85308

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rubee

                      Just added Sabor and Roberto's (Anthem) contact information:

                      Roberto's Mexican Food
                      39510 N. Daisy Mountain Drive, Suite 170, Anthem, AZ 85086

                      18555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308

                    2. Try Bitzee Mama's in downtown Glendale--across the street, just east of the library. Old fashioned diner feel, that serves Mexican food. I've only been there for breakfast, so that's all I can vouch for.

                      Also, my parents have always loved Thai food and so we would frequent a place called Erawan on Greenway and 59th Ave. on the NE corner. This place is so small, and so homey. They definitely treat you like you are dining in their own home. The food is great--and I also loved to see them serve the seafood soup in a burner right at your table. The chicken satay is wonderful. Haven't been there in years--hope it's still open. It would definitely be one to look into!

                      Also, La Fama (also downtown on the North side of Glendale Ave. b/w 51st and 59th) is a Mexican Bakery with lots of pastries. They also serve burros (including cabeza!). The place is old and run down, but you're definitely gettin' authentic there. This is where I get my unprepared masa each year to make my tamales. Oh, and you can buy there tortillas too, so good.

                      I know it's not Thai, but Ah-So is a fun place for Japanese Teppanyaki. Great service too. There are two locations in Glendale. Original is on Bell and 63rd?, and the other is on Bell (just south) and 75th.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: flautachica

                        Thanks for the recs. I always feel like downtown Glendale probably has so many good Mexican places hidden away; one of these days we'll have to explore a little more.

                        We plan on checking out Bitzee Mama's and La Fama next week, thanks!

                        Should add one more new-ish Mexican spot in Glendale that we've tried and liked, but only one visit so far. It's El Conquistador, which moved from Phoenix to W. Bell in Glendale a few months ago. We actually found it on opening day, so hopefully the margaritas have improved. But we loved the carne de res con chile rojo and friendly owner. Closed Mondays. Menudo on weekends.

                        Bitzee Mama's Restaurants
                        7023 N 58th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301

                        El Conquistador
                        5350 W Bell Rd, Glendale, AZ 85308

                        1. re: Rubee

                          We love Maharaja Palace, the Indian restaurant on Bell Road. It has a very good lunch buffet, and the chicken tikka masala is the best in the valley.

                          Just had a nice non-chain fondue meal at the brand-new Le Chalet on Bell Road last night.

                        2. re: flautachica

                          We ate at the Ah-So on Bell not long ago and definitely won't return. The service was sluggish and careless, the sushi was falling apart, and the food was served on thick plastic school cafeteria-style plates. We have not been to the other location.

                          1. re: kittyfood

                            My favorite sushi spots in Glendale are Tokyo Lobby near 59th Ave and Bell and Sakana near 59th Ave and Beardsley. If you like nigiri or sashimi more than fancy rolls, I particularly recommend the large cuts of high quality fish they serve at Sakana. Yum!