Ethnic in Gilbert, AZ
We're moving to Gilbert, AZ. I was getting depressed after visiting and seeing a desolate looking place loaded with tons of chain restaurants and shops. Does anyone know if there are any good Thai, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, or local only restaurants. Also, are there any places to go besides shopping besides the obvious hiking. Man, getting really depressed.
There seem to be lots of "...berto" type places in Phoenix, but I haven't seen a single one in Gilbert.
I hope the city tries to get more local spots. Please help.
Well, within Gilbert itself is the schizophrenic Lily Bowl Chinese Bistro which serves Americanized Chinese food, but also may be the only authentic Chinese dumpling restaurant in the Phoenix area. More significantly if you hop over the western border into Chandler you'll be in the heart of the primary Asian food axis in the Phoenix area. The local Asian community is centered around the Lee Lee Supermarket at Dobson and Warner, and there are numerous authentic Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in the general vicinity throughout Chandler, as well as Mesa and Tempe. These would include Tao Garden, Phoenix Palace, C Fu and China King in Chandler; Best Hong Kong and Asian Express cafe in Mesa and Hong Kong Diner, Wong's Place and China Max in Tempe.
Gilbert itself is chain restaurant suburbia. The further you get towards Queen Creek, the worse it gets. For Mexican, there's one that's been there for at least two decades called Lulu's Taco Shop, on Gilbert Road south of Guadalupe. I haven't been there for years, but it didn't change a bit over the several years I did eat there, I'd imagine not much has changed since. Just up the street is Siam Orchid for your Thai fix, in an unassuming strip mall on the NE corner of Gilbert and Guadalupe. The Hawaiian BBQ joint a few doors down is pretty good, but I don't remember what it's called.
There is a Middle Eastern place on the NE corner of Gilbert and Baseline called Flaming Kabob Cuisine; I was duly impressed, even if it is rather unsettling to eat Middle Eastern in what used to be a 5 & Diner. On the same corner, there is an Indian restaurant (called Khan?) on the other side of the strip mall. By the LONG history of that space, the food is probably going to be terrific, but they'll close up in a year because nobody can see it back behind the bank and Trader Joe's. I keep hoping someone will make that space work, it's been so many different things through the years.
50 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234
Lulu's Taco Shop
610 N Gilbert Rd Ste 302, Gilbert, AZ 85234
2252 E Baseline Rd, Mesa, AZ 85204
Strip malls, ubiquitous in the SE valley, hide and house many ethnic gems. The uglier the signage, the more likely you are to find some good eats.
I made a list here:
Also, Tempe is not so far away and home to tons of mom-n-pop holes in the wall.
Unfortunately, fine dining is a different story.
Don't be depressed, the Phx suburbs are a giant scavenger hunt. Anyone can have fun in say, NY, or San Francisco, but it takes someone really cool to have fun here. You'll like downtown Phx, and closer to home downtown Chandler has things to do, and good eats.
re: Alice Letseat
Gilbert has several good indies. Flancer's is fantastic for creative sandwiches; chef Jeff Flancer is a culinary school grad.
Romeo's Euro Cafe has excellent pasta and a zillion other great dishes on his lengthy menu, and the ambience is cozy and hip.
The Farmhouse serves up hearty breakfasts. Country Cottage recently moved to Gilbert; it's mostly soups-salads-sandwiches, all nicely done (outstanding sweets, too). Mint Thai has been there forever and has good curries.
Joe's BBQ is a longtime local fave, and Joe's Farm Grill out at Agritopia quickly established itself as a "worth the trip" joint for foodies Valleywide. The locavore owner of those two places, Joe Johnston, is re-opening Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert on Oct. 14 as a gourmet grab-and-go/grocery/cafe along the lines of Phoenix's perennially popular La Grande Orange, complete with wood-fired pizza oven and wine/beer.
Gilbert Pizza is another personal favorite, run by a lovable family of former New Yorkers (the calzone is one of the best in town). Nearby, Streamer's is excellent, particularly if you have kids -- it's set up as an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, but they have wonderful burgers and sandwiches, too.
Have I convinced you yet that it's not the culinary wasteland you thought it was? As the other poster notes, neighboring Chandler is also well-regarded for its long list of indies and ethnics. Don't worry; you won't go hungry!