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Help a transplanted DC 'Hound find some good food!

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bdow Mar 15, 2010 04:21 PM

Got out here from Washington DC about a month ago, and I'm still looking for some great local spots. Not chains, just the legit, maybe greasy, maybe mom and pop, local places. Here's what I'd like to find:

Cuban
Greek/Mediterranean (tapas, gyros, schwarma)
Subs (big, greasy, Philly or Chicago style)
Mexican (Quick, maybe drive-thru. I liked Carolina's and Los Favoritos, didn't like Los Betos)

I tried this last week without much luck, figured I'd give it another shot. I'm willing to drive anywhere in the Valley. Help, I'm starving!

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  1. p
    Phoenix99 RE: bdow Mar 15, 2010 05:06 PM

    Liking Carolina's and not liking Los Betos is a good sign. I'll focus on Mexican:
    America's Taco Shop (7th Street north of McDowell or 7th Ave. north of Indian School) Carne Asada tacos.
    Chino Bandito (19th Ave. north of Northern). Do a search on this site. It's Chinese and Mexican but somehow it works.
    El Nopolito (24th Street just south of Thomas). Tacos.
    El Pollo Campero (7745 W. Thomas). This is a central American chicken that is hugely ;popular with HIspanics.
    La Condesa Gourmet Tacos. (16th Street north of McDowell)
    By the way, 16th street is loaded with great Mexican places of all types. Start at the Phoenix Ranch Market and go north.
    Phoenix Ranch Market. There are many in the valley but I am partial to the mother ship at 16th street and Roosevelt. Go in a take a tour around the the market before you make your dining decision. Fish or shrimp tacos are very good and so are the combination plates, tacos, and tortas. On weekends they grill chicken and Mexican style corn outside.
    Los Reyes de la Torta on 7th Street north of Dunlap. For your first visit order either the Torta Cubano or the Torta de los Reyes and a Mexican coke. Check out the other food for next time.
    Los Taquitos on Elliott just west of I-10 in Ahwatukee. Family run like most of these. Carne Asada anything.
    Pepe's Taco Villa on Camelback just east of I-17. Honestly, I've never had tacos here but everything else has been first rate.
    Ritos at 909 N 14th Street. No sign but you'll see the crowd. Very limited menu but that doesn't matter. Red or green chili burro or chimichanga (my choice) and all dining is outside.
    Roberto's at 675 W. Union Hills inside the gas station. Try the Al Pastor.
    Barrio Cafe. More upscale than any of these for sure. On the 16th Street Mexican Restaurant Row.

    Just a couple of non-Mexican places and I'll let others fill in the gaps:

    Breakfast: Matt's Big Breakfast or Over Easy.
    Sandwiches: I like Miracle Mile Deli and always end up ordering the Straw. Another place in Chandler I think does a good job with cheesteaks is Forefather's.
    Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles south of downtown is both an adventure and has great food.

    Note: Lo Lo's and Carolina's both have opened other locations but you want to try the originals. The original Carolina's is on Mojave. Neither place looks like much from the outside (or on the inside for that matter) but they are icons. By the way, Both the good guys and the bad guys have apparently decided these places are neutral ground so don't be surprised to see gang bangers, politicians, police, fire and pimps.

    Have you tried In N Out? That's almost too obvious but it's the way burgers tasted in the 50"s.

    Finally, you can do a search on this site for any of the named places and get tons of info.
    Enjoy.

    1. a
      andyeats RE: bdow Mar 15, 2010 07:24 PM

      Greek/Mediterranean suggestions:

      In the northwest valley, The Greek Wraps has fantastic food. In particular, I recommend the chicken kabob wrap (although everything at this place is fantastic). The bread for the wraps is baked fresh per order.

      http://thegreekwraps.com/

      Haji-Baba, Phoenicia Cafe, and Al-Hana (inside Baiz Market) are all good.

      1. k
        kittyfood RE: bdow Mar 17, 2010 08:32 PM

        There is a Cuban cafe, called Sabor Cubano, on Camelback a few blocks east of the I-17. When it first opened and I worked in that area, it was a buffet. Now I understand that you can order off the menu but I haven't able to get back. The did have moros y christianos, ropa vieja, and variations of various Cuban stews when I used to go. I first learned to love Cuban food in D.C. in 1980 and have never found a similar variation of Cuban food either in L.A. or in Phoenix or anywhere else, but I still love Cuban food generally. I have not been happy with the several locations of Havana Cafe but now they're serving breakfast so maybe their approach is becoming more down-home.

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        Sabor
        18555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308

        1. twodogs RE: bdow Mar 17, 2010 09:34 PM

          Okay, here's my favorite for many years,the real deal when you say "Mom and Pop" The Golden Greek on 35th ave. just north of Glendale Ave.You won't be dissappointed.

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          Golden Greek
          7126 N 35th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85051

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            mojo22 RE: bdow Mar 17, 2010 11:16 PM

            Hi, welcome to AZ!

            For Cuban, I haven't been, but I hear that Havana Cafe is good. A bit pricey compared to what I'm used to from the East Coast. http://www.havanacafe-az.com/

            For Greek, we like My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, a few locations. I don't consider restaurants with more than one location a chain, but you might. Great appetizers and you can even get out cheaply by getting the sandwich platters instead of dinner platters. http://www.azeats.com/mybigfatgreek/

            Great place for Subs in general is Jersey Mikes. They're a chain, but they slice the cold cuts to order, have authentic jersey-style subs, and their cheesesteak is good too. http://www.jerseymikes.com/
            Corleone's cheesesteaks are probably closer to the Philly ones. http://www.corleones.net/

            For quick Mexican, this may not be in your area, but Los Taquitos was on Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives, and is excellent and cheap. They're near the I-10 on Elliott Rd., toward Chandler. Definitely worth checking out at least once. True family mom-and-pop place.
            http://www.ltgrill.com/

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

            2 Replies
            1. re: mojo22
              JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: mojo22 Mar 18, 2010 03:10 AM

              Oh Mojo, we have to get you out to a real Greek restaurant some time! My Big Fat Greek is truly chain restaurant Greek food. What are normally vibrant, assertive flavors are muted for American palates. It's not as egregious as Olive Garden does to Italian, but compared to what Greek food should be, it's bland as hell. A much better option is Greektown, on 7th Street between Dunlap and Northern.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                d
                danieli10 RE: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Mar 18, 2010 04:41 AM

                I could not agree more. There are no great Greek restos in the AZ.

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