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Kid-less vacation to PHX this weekend - where to eat?

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My husband & I are from Kansas City and will be traveling for 4 days this weekend to PHX for the first time. We have 2 small children, who are staying home with grandma, and so we are really looking forward to dining out wherever we want!!

What are the must try places in PHX? Not really interested in BBQ or steakhouses since we have a plethora of that where we live. We'd like to find some great seafood, sushi, and of course Southwestern cuisine but we are really open to any great food. We are open to any type of establishment - anywhere from a fantastic hole in the wall, great cheap eats to an upscale dining experience. My husband is really into craft beers, any places we should check out? Our hotel is near the airport but we have a rental car and will be traveling around the metro area.

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  1. Kai, Talavera and Posh would be high on my list if I was seeking high-end child-less dining in the Phoenix-Scottsdale metro area.

    I would also highly recommend Binkley's, but it's a bit of a hike out to Cave Creek.

    1. FnB will be back from vacation this weekend and if you want to taste true Arizona cuisine you can't go wrong there. FnB right now is my favorite spot in the valley and is not far from the airport. You mentioned your husband is into craft beers. FnB has only one non local beer/wine on their menu it is Estrella Damm Inedit an amazing 16 dollar beer out of Spain created by one of the worlds top chefs and one of Spain's old breweries. Pavle Milic the owner will tell you the whole story, anyway the beer is jaw dropping worth the 16 dollars. The other place I would recommend is Noca which also is not that far from the airport. I have been to both places many times and never been disappointed. If you are looking for a great lunch spot Four Peaks Brewery over in Tempe is also not far from the airport and has great local beers. For breakfast Essence Bakery is known nationwide for their croissants, easily the best I have ever had. Pizzeria Bianco is either raved about or considered greatly over rated, regardless it is consistently ranked as the best pizza in the United States. If you go check the board for the best procedure on getting a table (waits have been known to be as long as four hours if you get there at the wrong time) I think the place is worth it.

      Hope this helps,

      Pizzeria Bianco
      623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

      Essence Bakery Cafe
      825 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

      Four Peaks Brewery Company
      1340 E 8th St # 104, Tempe, AZ

      3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

      7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

      1. Some good suggestions above. My wife and I take the kids a lot of places, but if I had a fantasy weekend with unlimited babysitting, these would be some of the places I'd try to visit:

        -- Sens. Great place for Asian tapas and cocktails downtown. Not formal, but too hipsterish for kids.

        -- Pizzeria Bianco. I would never inflict the long wait for a table on a hungry child, but this is the type of place where if we know our sitter has no deadline, we can bring a backgammon board or an iPad and play games while waiting for a table.

        -- Petite Maison. I've been to this French restaurant in Scottsdale only for lunch, but I keep seeing all sorts of chatter on Twitter about the "staff meals" offered at 10 PM Thursday, Fridays, & Saturdays. These meals, often prepared by a guest chef, are bargain-priced but reportedly quite tasty and inventive. As I tweeted last week, if only we had a sleepover sitter on staff, we might love to try the staff meal. http://www.twitter.com/petitemaisonAZ

        Pizzeria Bianco
        623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

        Petite Maison
        7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

        1. Breakfast standbys: Over Easy and Matt's Big Breakfast. I believe both open at 6:30, and it's best to arrive between 6:30 and 7:00 to avoid the wait. The weather will be best, this time of day, in August.

          Lunch: Mariscos Playa Hermosa, Pro's Ranch Market, Carolina's, La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop, etc. There are many, many lunch choices around the airport (a few miles radius).

          Sushi: There are probably a half dozen really good sushi places in the Phoenix / Scottsdale / Tempe / Chandler area, and several pretty good ones. The best I have been to is Hana Japanese Eatery, but, I don't have the budget to try much. Other choices closer to you are Sushi Eye and Sushi Roku. Although brand new, Nobuo at Teeter House might be the best Japanese in the area.

          Beer threads:


          Hana Japanese Eatery
          5524 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

          Matt's Big Breakfast
          801 N 1st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

          Over Easy
          4730 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

          Sushi Eye
          Chandler, AZ, Chandler, AZ

          La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop
          1919 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

          1. Los Sombreros has a number of Mexican style seafood dishes on the menu, although my personal favorites there are other things (lamb adobo, chicken mole, puerco en chipotle). I think San Carlos Bay is often recommended for Mexican style seafood, but I haven't been there in years.

            Four Peaks Brewery has a good Sunday brunch. They have good upscale-bar-type food generally, including tasty pizzas. I like Essence too, especially their amazing macarons! Their hours are pretty limited (especially on weekends), so make sure to check before going there. Another good place in the downtown Tempe area is House of Tricks, with various southwestern and Mediterranean-influenced dishes. For sushi, I really like Shimogamo, although it's a ways away from you (in Chandler) and fairly expensive.

            For the kind of high-end gourmet dinner you couldn't have with little kids along, I second Kai and Binkley's. Unfortunately they're both pretty far from you in terms of mileage, but you could probably get to Kai pretty quickly on the I-10. Be prepared for a spectacle there, but it's really delicious. I've also heard great things about Lon's at the Hermosa for a romantic dinner.

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

            6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

            1. If you don't want to deal with the crazy wait for Pizzeria Bianco (I am in the "it's overrated camp - I concede it's really good, but I find very little is worth waiting that long for) try Pane Bianco for lunch. They make the bread in the wood fired oven and the menu is small but delicious. It's the same owners but much less of a "scene" and the sandwiches really are outstanding.
              For Mexican, I think it was already said but Tradiciones is really great, Carolinas is a dive but best tortillas ever, and La Parilla Suiza is an AZ chain but also really good. Their green salsa is addicting. I also have really been enjoying Gallo Blanco lately, its in the Clarendon Hotel.
              I find a lot of the sushi places in Phx overpriced and disappointing (avoid Ra!) but Sakana out in Awatukee is pretty good and actually reasonably priced.
              For the craft beers, I second the Four Peaks recommendation. They have a pretty good menu for bar food although I'd hit it for lunch rather than dinner now that ASU is back in session, it gets pretty loud in the evenings.

              1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

              Pizzeria Bianco
              623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

              Pane Bianco
              4404 N Central Ave Ste A, Phoenix, AZ 85012

              Tempe, AZ, Tempe, AZ

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

              1. Caroline's for dive Mex is next to the PHX airport..excellent and cheap.
                Binkley's is awesome.
                Lon's at the Hermosa for Sunday Brunch
                MBar at the Montelucia resort for happy hour
                T. Cook's at the Royal Palms for a romantic dinner
                Kai's for dinner at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass..
                Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe.
                House of Tricks in Tempe for lunch or dinner.

                Drive up to Sedona which is a 2 hour straight shot up the 17 north..have lunch at Enchantment resort..stunning!

                1. Suprised no one has mentioned Noca yet, not too far from the airport and great food.

                  3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                  1. You have some great options with the responses above...they took the words right out of my mouth (fingertips?), so I'd second/third pretty much everything here. I'd especially like to note La Condesa, which only got a brief mention. It's nothing that screams "run here as soon as you lose the kids," but they do have some of the best tacos in town, IMO (try their mole, conchinita, and tinga). Down the street is Barrio Cafe, which will be nearer to you than any of the other popular upscale-Mexican spots around. I'd also think about Dick's Hideaway for some great New Mexican.

                    I personally wouldn't "use up" an entire meal at Four Peaks, just go for some solid local beer before/after you eat. If you're in the area, your husband would most likely love drinks at Papago Brewing. Huge beer selection between the tap and the cooler, including a few of their own.

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

                    1. Great suggestions here. I'd add one of my favorites to the list - Quiessence. It's hidden away in a farmhouse on an old pecan orchard. One of the prettiest settings in Phoenix. They focus on local (menu changes daily as there is a farm on-site), and feature an all-domestic beer, spirits, and wine list.

                      6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rubee

                        Wow Rubee, Quiessence looks fab!
                        When I'm back in town for the holidays, that'll be on the list.
                        Thanks Chicka!