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looking for something yummy in Phoenix

c
cathokim Jan 27, 2009 07:58 PM

Heading to Phoenix for a work conference in mid March and need to set up a few dinners for my colleagues. Most dinners will be for 8-10 people, but one will require a private room for 50.

Location: downtown Phoenix or along the N-S strip of the light rail.
Price range: $35 and under, tip and service charges included
Atmosphere: business casual, intimate for small crowds
Food: can be any type, but prefer something unique--no chains!

Does anyone have any suggestions?

  1. silverbear Jan 27, 2009 08:54 PM

    Every place below should meet your criteria. I'm assuming the $35 per head does not include alcohol.

    Downtown:

    District -- restaurant at new Sheraton; emphasis on updated American classics with local ingredients; much better than standard hotel restaurants; could probably accommodate your group of 50

    Pizzeria Bianco -- normally a long, long wait, but with a group of 8-10 you could reserve a table and enjoy one of Phoenix's most renown restaurants

    Sens -- Asian tapas; has small private room good for group of 8-10

    Sam's Cafe -- Southwestern lite (in other words not overly spicey) @ Arizona Center

    1130 -- American food by same people behind Sam's Cafe

    Kincaid's -- Phoenix outpost of a small steak-and-seafood chain; might be slightly above your target price range

    Midtown and Uptown (grouped by rail station):

    Central / Roosevelt:

    Portland's -- modern American

    Central/McDowell:

    Cheuvront -- wine bar will full food menu

    Central/Encanto

    Switch -- casual updated American; lots of sandwiches, salads, etc. in semi-trendy atmosphere

    Durant's -- classic Phoenix steakhouse; probably higher than your price range, but might be worth an exception

    Central / Thomas

    Wild Thaiger -- Thai; a little different than standard Thai strip mall places

    Central / Osborn

    China Chili -- mostly Cantonese; some good off-menu specials; big round tables suitable for groups; 1/4 mile east of rail line on 3rd St.

    Alexi's Grill -- Italian and updated Continental

    Central / Indian School

    Fez -- Sandwiches, burgers, flat bread pizzas with a slight North African influence. Semi-trendy atmosphere

    Central / Camelback

    Maizie's Cafe -- nice neighborhood place with modern American food

    Aiello's -- Italian (mostly southern); nice atmosphere

    -----
    Durant's
    2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Wild Thaiger
    2631 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Pizzeria Bianco
    623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    China Chili
    302 E Flower St, Phoenix, AZ 85012

    Switch
    2603 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Sam's Cafe
    455 N 3rd St Ste 114, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Bar
    1326 N. Central, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Fez
    3815 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012

    Portland's Restaurant & Wine Bar
    105 W Portland St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

    1130 the Restaurant
    455 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Aiello's
    5202 North Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012

    Alexis Grill
    3550 N Central Ave # 120, Phoenix, AZ

    District: American Kitchen and Wine Bar
    320 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Sens
    705 N 1st Street 120, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    Maizies Cafe and Bistro
    4750 N Central Ave #B1, Phoenix, AZ

    6 Replies
    1. re: silverbear
      c
      cathokim Jan 27, 2009 09:11 PM

      silverbear, YOU ARE AMAZING! I've looked into all of these places (although it took me a couple hours or so to research them all) except for Aiello's, plus several more.

      I like Alexi's, 1130, Switch, Sam's Cafe (all for the big group), Coronado Cafe, Fuego, Ticoz, Fez, Wild Thaiger, Fate 905, District, Portland, and Cheuvront.

      Do you have any favorites from the ones you listed? In particular, have you had good experiences with Alexi's, 1130, Switch, and Fuego?

      Thanks again for being so helpful!!!!

      1. re: cathokim
        silverbear Jan 27, 2009 09:21 PM

        Alexi's -- Good in past, but have not visited very recently

        1130 -- Was there about 2 weeks ago; Generally good, but a few missteps (e.g. a cheesy bread that didn't really go with the food)

        Switch -- I like the food; I'm not sure how well it would work for a big group; call ahead to be sure

        Fuego -- no experience and it's 1.5 miles from nearest rail station

        My favorites right now would be District, Sens, Durant's, Cheuvront, Maizie's -- but I didn't list any place I don't like at least somewhat.

        1. re: silverbear
          c
          cathokim Jan 27, 2009 09:25 PM

          My impression of Sens was that it was appetizer, not entree fare...would it be filling enough for a sit-down dinner?

          1. re: cathokim
            silverbear Jan 27, 2009 09:32 PM

            Yes, but only with you order at least 2 items per person. It would not be good if your group includes hearty appetites. It's definitely more of a grazing place.

            Also, I just noticed you mentioned Ticoz and Coronado Cafe. Those are both more than half a mile from light rail. I'd keep it between the 7s (street and avenue) to ensure walkability from rail stations along Central.

            1. re: silverbear
              c
              cathokim Jan 27, 2009 10:34 PM

              Thanks for the heads up. I think we'll be able to catch a free ride from our hotel shuttle. What's the atmosphere like at Maize's? I get the sense it's super casual and more family-friendly?

              1. re: cathokim
                silverbear Jan 27, 2009 11:45 PM

                Not much more so than most places mentioned. Yes, I've brought my two-year old to Maizie's, but it doesn't pander to kids with crayons on the table, etc. It's casual in the sense of being a sort of informal neighborhood place, but you're unlikely to feel out of place with an all-adult group. Hope that helps.

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