If you had one night in Phoenix....
.....where would you eat? Let me preface that by excluding anything very upscale. I'm just looking for great local food, doesn't really matter what kind. Mexican, BBQ, Italian, whatever. Hoping to get a handful of good rec's, just passing through on a cross-country drive.
I'd go somewhere Mexican, or maybe New Mexican.
Carolina's is a fast casual Mexican place with three locations. Rosita's Place is full service, basic Mexican common to the area. Some higher end choices are Barrio Cafe, Los Sombreros, and Gallo Blanco. I would go with Gallo Blanco if you want some good vegetables and/or salad.
My New Mexican favorites are Dick's Hideaway and Los Dos Molinos.
6008 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016
2310 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Gallo Blanco Cafe
401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
I really like Dhaba when I am over that way. It is great Indian in a nice atmosphere. There is an Indian market next door. And it is on the light rail if you don't want to or can't drive.
More info: They were voted Best Indian by New Times and Arizona Republic/ AZ Central in 2008 and 2009. They have specials on the website (currently, printable coupon).
1874 E Apache Blvd
Tempe AZ 85281