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Need suggestons for Mesa?Tempe?Chandler area

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I will be staying in Tempe for a week and need some help in paring down a long list of restaurants that I have gleaned from this and other sites. I am looking for "interesting" foods, decor and ambiance not as important as great food. So far, my list is (in no particulart order) Cyclo, C-Fu, Asia Cafe, Los dos Molinos, Yasu Sushi, House of Tricks, Lychee Inn, Chino Bandido, Rancho Tia Rosa, Boca 7, Los Sombreros, Blue Adobe Grill, Restaurant Mexico, and Stacey's Smokehouse. Any help in whittling down this list, and specific suggestons of your favorite dish at some of these places would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, in advance, Matt

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

BoCa 7
66 S Dobson Rd, Mesa, AZ 85202

Restaurant Mexico
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

Lychee Inn
1138 E Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283

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  1. A couple of the links are obviously wrong. The address for Restaurant Mexico is 423 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ. It looks like the "places" feature has gone from bad to worse. I liked to hit Restaurant Mexico for the Bistek Ranchero lunch special on Wed. The food is pretty basic, but, always very fresh and good, IMO.

    I recently moved out of the neighborhood of Los Sombreros, but, I was somewhat of a regular, there. I favor the slow roasted pork dishes, and avoid the seafood.

    I think you have a good list. I haven't been *everywhere*, but, most places listed, and haven't had any bad food that I can recall. I prefer Los Dos Molinos to Blue Adobe, but, perhaps, an equal number of CHs would go either way on those two.

    I'm not a fan of Rancho Tia Rosa, but, many are.

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    Restaurant Mexico
    423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

    2 Replies
    1. re: johnseberg

      Of those I would second Cyclo, BoCa 7 (lots to love in the Mekong Plaza there), and House of Tricks. I would add Caffe Boa in Tempe as well -- a very strong and innovative chef has just moved there, and it was high on my list of recommendations before his arrival.

      Ranking your southwestern or Mexican options, I would place Los Sombreros first, Rancho Tia Rosa next (but I would say hit that on an off hour or just swing by the taco stand out front) Los Dos Molinos next (I feel the Mesa location is stronger than the SoPho), and then Restaurant Mexico, still far above Blue Adobe Grill.

      I kind of feel like that's a lot in the way of Mexican food, but if you wanted to venture into the central environs, I would put Barrio Cafe (upscale but terrific) and Carolina's (downscale but amazing -- order a burro, foot long, enchilada style, to best showcase their fresh toothsome tortillas and "brown sauce") in the top three of the combined list.

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      Barrio Cafe
      2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

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

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

      BoCa 7
      66 S Dobson Rd, Mesa, AZ 85202

      Restaurant Mexico
      423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

      1. re: johnseberg

        I was granted special powers and with them edited the Restaurant Mexico entry. Said powers seem to be available for the asking on the Site Talk board.

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        Restaurant Mexico
        423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

      2. doing a little place link clean-up

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        Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina
        2534 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

        Rancho de Tia Rosa
        3129 E McKellips Rd, Mesa, AZ 85213

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

        Yasu Sushi Bistro
        4316 E Cactus Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85032

        Asian Cafe Express
        1911 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201

        Los Dos Molinos
        260 S Alma School Rd Ste 137, Mesa, AZ 85210

        Stacy's Smokehouse
        1650 E Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

        C-Fu Gourmet
        2051 W Warner Rd # 13, Chandler, AZ

        Chino Bandido
        1825 W Chandler Blvd # 2, Chandler, AZ

        1. Thanks for all your suggestions. Keep them coming. My list was heavy on Mexican, as we have such poor mexican/southwest here in Sedona, Cafe Elote notwithstanding.

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          Elote Cafe
          771 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336

          cafe elote
          arizona, AZ

          Sedona
          9580 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89147

          1 Reply
          1. re: mattsedona

            ...fixing up Elote Cafe's link

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            Elote Cafe
            771 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336

          2. At Blue Adobe I've had the chile relleno with steak, which is probably my favorite dish there, but its not mind blowingly good like a chile relleno could/should be. Blue Adobe is the kind of place I go when they put out coupons, but don't pay full price for usually.

            Los Dos Molinos mesa location is a place we do go regularly. I go full hog and get the chimichanga, and it is awesome. We also split a pitcher of "kick ass" margaritas, so I'm usually drunk and stuffed by the time we leave, which is our idea of a good night out. :)

            Rancho Tia Rosa is heavy on atmosphere, and the food is very approachable, so its a fun place to take out of town guests who enjoy the entertainment and decor. The salmon tacos are good, I don't think I've had anything else memorable.

            Also in Chandler is Lee's sandwiches for a quick bahn mi.

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            Rellenos Cafe
            135 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM 87571

            1. If you go to C-Fu, I'd stick mostly to seafood dishes; they're much more focused on doing those well than on the more common US Chinese restaurant standards, in my opinion. Although I haven't been there in a while. I really like Cyclo too; I think you can get better pho at places specializing in that, but things like ribs, the "salads," and green beans are great. House of Tricks is good, and has a more calm, upscale atmosphere than most places listed here without being too fancy. It's very near Caffe Boa, I guess I'd pick whichever menu appeals to you most that day.

              I love the cheese chile relleno special on Fridays at Restaurant Mexico, but they're often sold out by dinnertime. For meat chiles rellenos, I like Barrio Cafe when they're in season (which I think they are now). I really like Los Sombreros, but I think I remember reading here that it once shared an owner with Cafe Elote, so if you're looking to winnow down your list you might cross it off? Someone else can probably advise on that.

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              Barrio Cafe
              2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

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

              Caffe Boa
              5063 E Elliot Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85044

              Elote Cafe
              771 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336

              Restaurant Mexico
              423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

              Rellenos Cafe
              135 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM 87571

              Pho Restaurant
              6775 Sierra Center Pkwy Ste 600, Reno, NV 89511