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What are some Phoenix can't miss restaurants? Los Taquitos? Pizzeria Bianco?

t
teejaymoore Sep 27, 2009 09:34 PM

Heading to Phoenix for work and looking for a couple of good restaurant recommendations. Interested in casual, maybe Southwestern and likely more on the South end of town as that is where I'm working. Appreciate any thoughts, but two that I've seen recently:

Pizzeria Bianco - looks great, but can't do a super long wait with work schedule. If you go later in the evening (likely Tuesday or Wednesday) can you get in with less of a wait or are you just out of luck because everyone from earlier is waiting?

Los Taquitos - Saw it on Triple D. Food looked really good - especially that spicy chicken burrito. I saw mixed reviews but it seemed to be people that were put off that it didn't have a lot of atmosphere and was in a strip mall. None of these factors bug us if the food is good (I'm from Napa and have several favorite taco trucks in the area).

Other recommendations or thoughts on the above? Thanks!

  1. a
    asu2usc Sep 28, 2009 06:13 PM

    I can't speak to either of your two questions, but by "South" end of town, do you mean downtown?

    You should try Los Dos Molinos - there are two locations near the South part of Phoenix. I don't eat pork, but I've heard the adovada is excellent. I always get the taco and enchilada combo. Search the name on here and you should find more detailed reviews. :)

    1. p
      Poerz Sep 29, 2009 07:34 AM

      Los Taquitos is what it is; a family run little restaurant with very good food and not much atmosphere. I'm sure it's where it is because that's all that could be afforded. I'm a big fan of Over Easy, also on DDD, for many of the same reasons as Los Taquitos. I mean anyone who can give a former Taco Bell some character and produce great breakfasts deserves my business. Three other places you will see elsewhere on the board are Phoenix Ranch Market, Barrio Cafe and America's Taco Shop. Search them and you'll have lots of info. Barrio gets mixed reveiws but I have never experienced that. I think at least some of it is "operator error" like the individual who complained because the guac was lumpy. Suspect the only guac they had came from the super market.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Poerz
        t
        teejaymoore Sep 29, 2009 09:38 AM

        Thanks for the info. Think we'll try Los Taquitos as it's down the same direction where we are staying (Chandler). Agree that some people expect great atmosphere when it's a family run place but they can make great food but can't afford the ambience.

      2. bortukan Sep 29, 2009 10:05 AM

        I like Los Taquitos; to me, they're not really any better than any other good taco place of that type, but they're good, and it's a convenient location for me too. I like the tacos more than their other offerings. I've never been to Pizzeria Bianco, because of the wait-- as far as I can tell there's always a wait no matter how you try to avoid it.

        I don't know how long you're in town, but some other good casual, inexpensive places in that area of Chandler/SW Tempe include Kabab Palace (Afghan), Cafe Krishna (vegetarian Indian, mostly dosa), and Cyclo (Vietnamese). The first two have lunch buffets, but I think you can also order off the menu at lunch if you want to. In downtown Chandler, there's also El Zocalo (Southwestern/Mexican) and Guedo's Taco Shop (which I personally think is as good as Los Taquitos). There are a LOT of chain restaurants in Chandler, but some good independent places are hiding here too.

        -----
        Cyclo Vietnamese Cuisine
        1919 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85224

        El Zocalo Mexican Grill
        28 S San Marcos Pl, Chandler, AZ 85225

        Guedo's Taco Shop
        71 E Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85225

        Kabab Palace
        710 W Elliot Rd, Tempe, AZ

        Cafe Krishna
        4929 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

        1. azhotdish Sep 29, 2009 10:56 AM

          Going to have to agree with Poerz and bortukan regarding Los Taquitos - it is what it is, but I certainly don't think it stands above any others in terms of food. Tasty yes, and if it's close to where you're staying, it's a solid option. I think the ambiance comes from the attractive female ownership, and they're very nice.

          Another option (it's really not that far of a drive via the 202) is Gallo Blanco Cafe at the Clarendon Hotel, which is probably one of my favorite Mexican places in town right now. Really well-executed food (sans the fish taco, miracle whip FAIL), and there aren't many places where you can dine and head up the roof for a nice view of downtown.

          Enjoy your trip.

          -----
          Gallo Blanco Cafe
          401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013

          1. silverbear Sep 29, 2009 11:04 AM

            Regarding Pizzeria Bianco, later in the evening Tuesday or Wednesday would most likely mean less of a wait, but still a wait. Last time I went there on a Tuesday night, my wife and I checked in around 8:45 PM and were seated around 10 PM.

            1. b
              Beach Chick Sep 29, 2009 11:07 AM

              I love Carolina's Mex by the airport..super casual dive that has some of the best Mex..
              Durant's in downtown Phoenix..old school steakhouse..imo, it doesn't get any better than this.

              www.carolinasmex.com
              www.durantsaz.com

              1. t
                teejaymoore Sep 29, 2009 10:31 PM

                Wow - you people have it easy. Went ahead and went to Las Taquitos as it was late and we were looking for a quick dinner. Thought the food was great (we don't have a lot of good mexican in the bay area). The pork taco and the spicy chicken burrito were really good.

                Had fun trying the Mexican Fresca (100 calories versus the American version with zero). Even the oddly smooth guacamole had a really good cool flavor which was a nice offset to the spicy sauce on the burrito.

                1. johnseberg Oct 5, 2010 12:54 PM

                  I recently noticed a Los Taquitos on 16th St, and finally got around to checking it out. They are in the space formerly occupied by San Gabriel Mexican Cafe on the NW corner at Glendale Ave, near the north end of the strip mall. It's a nice space for fast casual Mexican. It looks like they have a full liquor license, but, just serve tequlia, wine, and beer.

                  I had the carne asada street taco combo for $6.50. This includes 3 tacos, rice, and beans. The rice was typical, perhaps above average, but the soupy beans had good flavor, and the tacos were very good. I also had an horchata for $2.50. I thought it was small for the price, and bland. I be checking out more of the menu, in the near future.

                  They start serving breakfast at 10:00am, but, they may start opening earlier if the place catches on. I hope it does. It's looking like a work in progress, to some degree, but they still haven't officially opened.

                  I've never been to the Elliot location, so, I can't compare the two.

                  http://www.ltgrill.com

                  -----
                  Los Taquitos
                  4747 E Elliot Rd Ste 17, Phoenix, AZ 85044

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: johnseberg
                    azhotdish Oct 11, 2010 01:07 PM

                    I went today for lunch. The original location is near my parent's house and have been a couple times (can't remember what I've ordered) in the past. This new location is more modern, brighter, and has a small patio which is nice.

                    I thought the food was just ok. I got the taco combo as you did, and opted for asada, pastor and carnitas. The carne asada was the worst of the bunch - it was kinda dry with not much character from the grill (a squeeze of lime would have helped, but none was offered). The carnitas was tasty, but there were no crunchy bits like good carnitas should have, and thus the texture was that of pulled pork. The al pastor was excellent, with a nice subtle sweetness to the meat itself. All tacos had the same red sauce on top, which is quite good. That said, however, I wish they'd consider additional garnishes to enhance the individual meats, or at least provide them separately.

                    The rice and beans both taste fine, but the beans are too soupy which makes them hard to eat with a fork.

                    I ordered a side of chips & guac ($2.50) - the guacamole, from what I can tell, is simply blended avocado, lime, and salt. No pico, no cilantro, nothing. That was confusing to me, and disappointing.

                    I would certainly go back for the tacos al pastor and to try additional menu items, but I would never put this in a "must try" list of any variety.

                    1. re: azhotdish
                      johnseberg Oct 11, 2010 01:13 PM

                      I went back for the fish tacos on Friday night. They were made with small chunks of fish. I wouldn't get them again. I'll try the al pastor, thanks. This place is walking distance from my home, which is nice, but, if I'm firing up the car, I'll probably go somewhere else.

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