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Boston foodies looking for recommendations in Phoenix & Gilbert

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We're staying in Gilbert on South Market Street for a few days and then moving over to the Marriott in Phoenix for a few days. We'll have a car so we don't mind driving 30 min or so for great food. We're looking for the best carnitas, enchiladas and chips/salsa. Any recommendations for BBQ? And finally, is there a restaurant (any type of cuisine) that should not be missed?

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  1. Which Marriott? I would guess Desert Ridge, but, I believe there are at least two others in the Phoenix city limits.

    I haven't had any great BBQ in Phoenix, but Joe's Real Real BBQ in Gilbert probably gets some of the best all around reviews.

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    Joe's Real Barbecue
    301 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234

    3 Replies
    1. re: johnseberg

      Yes, we're staying at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix.

      1. re: scootie

        I like the carnitas at Los Sombreros, but I'm more likely to order the puerco en chipotle that is also based on slow roasted pork. The chips and salsa are pretty good, but, I've never had the enchiladas. I tend to avoid their seafood. It's in between your locations, maybe a little closer to Desert Ridge.

        I like the New Mexican style enchiladas at Dick's Hideaway / Richardson's / Rokerij. Also, the unique repollo and corn enchiladas at Via Delosantos are some of my favorites. I like the enchiladas at Carolina's, for the sauce, but, I think it is a bit of an acquired taste, Carolina's is a counter service place, and I think the enchiladas are a little diminished by the fact that they're served in a polystyrene carton.

        La Condesa has a very good salsa bar, although they have had some staffing problems, in my experience, and it can get neglected. The rest of the food is very good, if a bit rich. This is also a counter service place.

        Like twodogs, I also like Rosita's Place and Pro's Ranch Market. Ranch Market is a big Mexican grocery store with a great food court.

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        Carolina's Mexican North
        2126 E Cactus Rd Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85022

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

        Dick's Hideaway
        6008 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

        Rokerij
        6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016

        Via Delosantos
        9120 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020

        Rosita's Place
        2310 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006

      2. re: johnseberg

        I don't know of a standout place for Mexican specifically in Gilbert for that part of your stay, although I'm sure there are some decent ones. Since you also specifically mentioned BBQ, I agree that Joe's Real Barbecue is a must. I haven't tried a lot of bbq in Arizona, but I think many of those that have would agree that Joe's is clearly among the best. As far as additional Gilbert spots than can't be missed, the owner of Joe's also owns 2 other well regarded unique spots: Liberty Market and Joe's Farm Grill. For pizza, Oregano's is a small popular Arizona only chain with a spot in Gilbert. Oregano's, Joe's Real BBQ, and Liberty Market are all within a block or so of each other in downtown Gilbert.

        There are also a few notable places a few miles away in Chandler. El Zocalo Mexican Grill in downtown Chandler gets some good reviews for its enchiladas and chips/salsa (per your request), among other things including its patio. Other generally well regarded options in Downtown Chandler for dining or drinks include San Tan Brewery, Murphy's Law Irish pub, Urban Tea Loft and the Bistro at Kokopelli Winery among others. For some variety, a few miles down Chandler Blvd from Downtown, there's Cyclo for Vietnamese and ultra casual Chino Bandido for Mexican/Chinese fusion. Both often get positive and sometimes glowing reviews.

        The above spots are all inexpensive to perhaps moderate in the Gilbert/(NW-ish) Chandler area. If you are looking for something very unique and upscale, Kai at Wildhorse Pass in Chandler is regarded among the best restaurants in the country. I haven't been to all of them, especially recently, so others may have more recent personal input.

        I'll leave it to others as far as Desert Ridge and other area options.

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

        Joe's Real Barbecue
        301 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234

        Kai
        5594 W. Wildhorse Pass Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

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

        Chino Bandido
        1825 W Chandler Blvd Ste 2, Chandler, AZ 85224

        Joe's Farm Grill
        3000 E Ray Rd Ste 101, Gilbert, AZ 85296

        Kokopelli Winery
        35 W Boston St, Chandler, AZ

        Liberty Market
        230 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ

        Urban Tea Loft
        11 W Boston St # 2, Chandler, AZ

        Oregano's Pizza Bistro
        328 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234

      3. For Carnitas,any Pro's Ranch Market food court has the real deal,most of the smaller places don't have what I consider carnitas though it will be on the menu.The closest to you would be 16th.St and Roosevelt.
        For Enchiladas it's Rosita's Place .2310 E. McDowell,their chips and salsa are great too.Actually both of these places are fairly close to each other.

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        Rosita's Place
        2310 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006

        1. If you like pizza, should probably put Pizzeria Bianco on your itinerary (even with Chris no longer in charge in the kitchen).

          For Mexican choices see this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/708118

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          Pizzeria Bianco
          623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

          1. There's a Pro's Ranch Market in Mesa that would be closer to your Gilbert stay. Also, in Gilbert you need to hit Udder Delights for either ice cream or a shake. Dairy farmer owned and yum!

            Three Phoenix BBQ places to try are the original Honey Bears on east Van Buren, Notorious P.I.G. and Stacey's. None compare to the great Texas, KC or Memphis places but order right and they're pretty good.

            1. For the "not to be missed," I'd suggest NOCA and Binkley's, those the latter is outside the driving distance (Phoenix is over 500 Sq Miles, so it IS big). Still, each is worth the effort.

              BBQ is a bit tougher. Honey Bear's on Central, at about 2300 N (just south of Thomas Road) has good pulled pork, though the slaw is not "chipped," Carolina-style. Still, the best that we have found, and we've given many a chance.

              We have had very good meals at Desao at the Westin Kireland Commons, not THAT far away.

              A bit away from your locales, El Conquistador is a good Jaliscan restaruant, and will be a bit different, from the general Sonoran/Mexican fare prominent in Phoenix. Web site: http://feastinginphoenix.com/?p=108

              Enjoy,

              Hunt

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              Binkley's
              6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

              El Conquistador
              16428 N 32nd St # 101, Phoenix, AZ

              1. Not sure why NOCA did not pick up on the links, but here is their URL: http://www.restaurantnoca.com/

                Well worth the effort. Note: their Sunday meal is a pre fixe and is "simple," as per the name "simple supper." Their menu is such, that we've never quite been satisfied with the Sunday meal, though it is reduced in price.

                Enjoy,

                Hunt