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Aug 6, 2009 06:35 AM

Dining options from PHX hotel

We are coming in from the East Coast on Tues 9/22. Flight is due in at 6pm local time. Staying one night at Radisson (East Univ Dr) and heading to GCNP the next morning.

Hoping we'll be able to grab a cab and head someplace for a quick dinner as I'm sure we'll be tired and wanting a good night's sleep for the next day. Any suggestions that might be close by and not require an expensive cab ride? We don't miind $10-15 one way but don't need to travel all around the city just to get to dinner.

I'm sure we could grab something at the hotel but prefer to avoid that if we can.

Mexican, burgers, pizza, all would be acceptable. Not fast food though.

Appreciate the help.

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  1. I work near that Radisson. It's in a dining dead zone with virtually nothing within walking distance except a Waffle House.

    The best bet is probably to head into Tempe, a nearby suburb. The options improve once you get to Priest Drive. On the NE corner of Priest & University, there's the Cornish Pasty Company, a unique place serving pasties (pocket sandwiches favored by Welsh miners) and a nice selection of draft beer.

    Further down University Dr at Mill Avenue, there's Caffe Boa for Italian-influenced fare, La Bocca for pizza, & Restaurant Mexico for interior Mexican cuisine.

    It's unlikely that cabs will be waiting at your hotel, so have staff call for one. If you end up on Mill Avenue, you can probably find a cab at a stand along that street. If you are at Priest Dr, you'll need to call for your return cab. There's also the 30 bus, which runs along University with a brief detour at 52nd St.

    Caffe Boa
    398 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281

    Restaurant Mexico
    423 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

    Cornish Pasty Co
    960 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

    La Bocca Pizzeria
    699 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

    2 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      I agree on both counts 1) Dead Zone, 2) Head to Tempe. Cornish Pasty is actually at University and Hardy. My office is moving to that neighborhood, soon, and I am dreading it!

      1. re: johnseberg

        D'oh. That's right. Hardy is where the good stuff begins. Priest is still mostly fast food land. Thanks for clarifying.

    2. I think you have two fundamental problems. First, choice of hotel. It's just not a very good hotel and - as others have alluded to - it's not a good location. Second, planning on using a cab. Not sure if you have any options but at that time of the year you can still get a very good hotel in a good location at prices comparable to what I'd guess you are paying at the Radisson. Renting a car will cost you less than two cab rides to any of the places others have mentioned.

      About the same distance as Tempe but to the west is downtown Phoenix with lots of interesting dining options. Search this board for Pastabar, Sens, Kincaids, Carolinas, Etc.

      Do not, under any circumstances, have dinner at your hotel.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Poerz

        thanks for the info. we pricelined the hotel and we are picking up the car the next morning so really have to live with it for one night I guess. maybe we'd be better off eating in the airport! LOL
        we'll figure it out .. appreciate the tips.

        1. re: mbw1024

          Just did a quick check on what the taxi fare would be from your hotel to the corner of University & Mill in Tempe. The initial flag drop costs $2.50, the fare would be $12.53 and adding a $2.50 tip adds up to $17.25. You could end up paying more for cab fare than the meal at some of these places.

          1. re: Poerz

            Maybe Radisson has a courtesy van?

            1. re: johnseberg

              I know they have an airport shuttle but not sure it would take us elsewhere. Is there perhaps a grocery store closer where we could just get some basics and maybe water and something for the road in the AM?

              1. re: mbw1024

                Another transportation option would be the 30 bus that runs along University past your hotel and on into downtown Tempe ($7 total for two adult fare round trips). But this will only work if you can be sure you'll be done eating by 9:00 or so, as the last bus that goes as far west as your hotel leaves downtown Tempe at 9:15.


                1. re: mbw1024

                  No grocery stores nearby. The neighborhood is made up of office parks, light industrial, and warehouses. It dies at 6 PM.

            2. re: mbw1024

              What airline are you flying in on? If it's USAir or Southwest you're in terminal 4. Outside of security your options are fast food, Chili's, and not much else.

              1. re: Poerz

                flying USAir.
                I guess we will see how we feel when we get in. if there's any delays we may not want to venture out. who knows!
                I appreciate all the suggestions.
                We will be back in Scottsdale area for a week after GCNP so these suggestions will come in handy regardless.

                1. re: mbw1024

                  There are options other than Chilis in the main hall of Terminal 4.

                  Flo's - airport version of a local Chinese chain. Met a friend having a layover there last week and it was quite servicable, although not up to the same level as the stand alone restaurants.

                  Paradise Bakery - chain baked goods as well as soups & sandwiches. Not a bad option

                  Oaxaca - Mexican. I've not eaten here so can't comment.

                  Cold Stone Creamery - national chain of ice cream with mix-ins, based in AZ.

                  Of course, the gate areas also have food options, here's a specific link to Terminal 4:

                  Good luck!!

                  1. re: MesaChow

                    On the rare occasions when I've decided to eat outside of the "sterile area" (i.e., before the security checkpoint) on my monthly commute to the Bay Area, Oaxaca has been my usual stop. When I've eaten there I've always had the green chile burro--an item that's hard to come by in Berkeley. Not stellar, but certainly passable.

                    My tendency to favor Oaxaca over Paradise stems partially from the fact that line and the wait at the former are usually much shorter; though, I think Paradise is also a decent option. It's no Pane Bianco, but it's not bad for airport food and definitely better than the fast food outlets that predominate in the gate areas.

                    1. re: MesaChow

                      I didn't list these because they are fast food, order at the counter. Chili's is the only sit down restaurant. Flo's I think is ok. I've never been a fan of Oaxaca but then I am spoiled by the great authentic Mexican places in Phoenix. Paradise Bakery is a decent option but again, it's fast food without table service. Other than In N Out is it ok to recommend fast food on Chowhounds? A rhetorical question.

                    2. re: mbw1024

                      Please tell us you're staying in a more useful part of town for your week-after. Then we can get serious about making suggestions!

                      1. re: emmaAmethyst

                        staying at Westin Kierland Villas after the GCNP.

                        1. re: mbw1024

                          Hotel and restaurant wise, that is about as different from the Radisson as you can get. Deseo, within the Westin, is an excellent latin restaurant from Doublas Rodriguez. A short walk across the street and you are in Kierland Commons shopping area that is loaded with restaurant choices. Most unfrortunately are chains but still vastly superior to your other location. Try Zinc Bistro. The chains include Morton's (running a good hamburger deal at the bar), P.F. Changs, Greenhouse, Tommy Bahamas, North and Mastro's incredibly high priced seafood place. Some are more chainy than others. You are within a short drive of a number of interesting places:
                          Sol y Sombra
                          In N Out (which is a must for fast food hamburgers)
                          Humble Pie (pizza)

                          Even Mosaic up in North Scottsdale is within your cruising range. We've found that to be a very underated restaurant.

                          Others will add many more. If the Radisson is in a culinary wasteland (it is) then you have just found Mecca.

                          1. re: Poerz

                            Listing North and Greenhouse as "chains" is not completely accurate and a definite misrepresentation. I would recommend both, especially Greenhouse. I second Zinc Bistro as a solid rec. Love Deseo.

              2. A few more suggestions for the downtown Tempe area, which is full of quick, informal places mostly priced for students (a plus after the cab ride):
                Lalibela, Ethiopian, also at University & Hardy
                House of Tricks, American, off Mill (somewhat more upscale but not too slow)
                Med Fresh Grill or Phoenicia, both Middle Eastern, both on/near Mill
                The Chuckbox, old-school charcoal grilled burgers, near Mill
                Plus more votes for Restaurant Mexico (very quick and tasty), Cornish Pasty (not as fast, but not really slow either), and Caffe Boa (although I haven't been there in a while).

                You could also stop somewhere in Phoenix on the way from the airport to your hotel, if your luggage isn't too much of a pain.

                House of Tricks
                114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

                Lalibela Cafe Ethiopian
                849 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

                Med Fresh
                414 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

                Chuck Box
                202 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

                Phoenicia Cafe
                616 S Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281


                  After a long flight, I would consider eating at the airport and then catching the shuttle back to the hotel. The Tucson airport has great food, as does Hartsfield in Atlanta.

                  1. I just realized your first night will be during Arizona Restaurant Week, 9/19-9/26. Go to for a list of restaurants offering three course dinners for $29. You've still got a distance problem but some of the best restaurants are participating.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Poerz

                      wow, that's great to know. I plan to check out that link. Thanks!

                      I hope it is understood that the Radisson is just a place to rest for one night as we didn't feel like getting right on the road to GCNP. Don't let it be a reflection of our tastes :)
                      We have a reservation at T Cook's for Anniversary. Any comments on that?

                      1. re: mbw1024

                        we arrive at the Westin on the 25th so I just made a resv. for deseo for that night. thanks again!

                        1. re: mbw1024

                          Excellent. Maybe try Bourbon Steak on the 26th. It's fairly close to where you are staying at blew us away last year even before we got to the menu items; Each diner gets a complimentary presentation (and presentation is the word) of french fries (cooked in duck fat) along with three different sauces. I'm guessing this restaurant has an average cover in the $80-100 range so dinner for two at $58 is a huge bargain and the food is outstanding. Also close by is Capital Grill. We dined there last year and were very impressed even though it's a chain.

                          I'm not sure we're going to cut you any slack on the Radisson. Using Priceline is ok but agreeing to stay in restaurant desolation is not. At least you are making up for it.

                          1. re: Poerz

                            tough crowd! Bourbon Steak resv. made.