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4 Nights in Mesa - Good and Local

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First time visitor, in town for work...will be logging long hours, but should be able to break away for several meals. Scoured the Phoenix Board, but am having trouble finding the real gems, i.e. non-chains and great food.
So far, I have Contigo Peru and Blue Adobe Grill.
Hoping to find a few other options, as we may be working later then these places are open.
Southwestern, Mexican, Burger Joints, Diners, Ethnic Places, Good Bar Food...all recommendations are welcome!
Alcohol being served is a definite plus, but not a restricting factor.
We'll be staying in the Mesa Riverview area, but will have wheels.
Thanks in advance.

-and how about Bars? if I'm forced to go to a Chili's again, I swear it's all over!

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  1. You had me at Chili's, I hope I can save you!

    OK, so you're actually closer to Tempe than downtown Mesa if you're near the Riverview mall. Even Oldtown Scottsdale isn't that far - if you can spend 10-15 minutes driving then I would expand your search to Tempe and Scottsdale. Both have MUCH better options than Mesa and Mesa is HUGE so you may want to repost something that says you're by Riverview mall so the ideas are more focused on your location.

    You are close to one of the Valley's tastiest New Mexican spots - Los Dos Molinos (Blue Adobe is also good NM, probably more refined IMO). Very hot salsas, delicious chips, killer empanadas and great margs. A good calorie splurge! Oregano's may also work for you, it's a local pizza/pasta/salad chain but mostly tasty and festive. If you're into ethnic, there's a whole strip mall of Asian places by Oregano's on Dobson but I haven't tried any. I think I few are suppose to be good.

    House of Tricks is one of Tempe's most charming restaurants and they have a nice outdoor bar. It's just a few miles west of you. For great sandwiches at lunch, Dilly's Deli is not too far either. If you're not afraid of a dive-y place, my favorite carne asada street tacos are at Susie's which is probably only a few miles from you. Delicious beans and rice too but I've never had anything BUT the carne tacos so I have no clue if the rest of the menu is any good. Those tacos are killer though! Just a bit northwest near the Tempe/Scottsdale border is DeFalco's Italian Grocery - probably the best Philly in the Valley and they are a true Italian deli with other tasty items including pizza. More of a lunch spot but they do an early dinner as well. If you were willing to go a little past DeFalco's into Oldtown Scottsdale, you'd have a LOT of great options there.

    As for anything within a mile or two of Riverview, there's not much! And all the restaurants at the Tempe mall are not worth a stop IMO.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hungryinaz

      I haven't been to Susie's in a while, but, it has always been solid - breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

      http://www.susiesmexicancafe.com/

      Carlsbad Tavern is open late.

      http://carlsbadtavern.com/

      1. re: hungryinaz

        On the way down to Oregano's on Dobson (I think at Main) is Asian Cafe Express, which I've been hearing from all kinds of food folk is real-deal authentic Chinese, and is terrific quality to boot.

      2. Sushi Kee, Saigon Pho, China Magic Noodle House (lunch), Shimogamo (dinner only), Yupha Thai, and Four Peaks Brewery (Tempe) are all great choices in the Mesa and Tempe area. Four Peaks is hands down best place for drinking this time of year unless you want to wander into downtown Tempe or Old Town Scottsdale. If that is the case, then Citizen Public House (Scottsdale) and a host of Tempe spots will fit the bill.

        1. Where do you hail from, Doc? Always helps to know the strengths and weaknesses of the city you're coming from so we can steer you towards stuff you lack or away from stuff you can do better back home.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dmnkly

            Almost twenty years in Atlanta, but originally from NYC/Boston.

          2. These tips are great...thank you to all. Susie's and Los Dos Molinos will definitely be hit.
            Hopefully, we'll have some time to drive up to Scottsdale, Carlsbad Tavern will be a valuable late night haunt, though it's nine miles from the hotel. Citizen Public House is somewhat more of a journey. Will also refocus on Tempe, as well. Four Peaks fits the bill.
            I've never eaten at an authentic New Mexican spot, so I'm especially looking forward to that!

            3 Replies
            1. re: doc1969

              In case it makes any difference, the drive from your hotel to either Carlsbad Tavern or Citizen Public House is about 15 minutes each way--only a couple of minutes longer than the trip to the Tempe Four Peaks.

              -----
              Carlsbad Tavern
              3313 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

              Four Peaks Brewing Co
              1340 E 8th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

              Citizen Public House
              7111 E. 5th Avenue, Suite E, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

              1. re: doc1969

                carlsbad tavern is great and good selection of draft beers - get the enchantment platter :)

                If you want great cocktails go to CPH
                +1 for 4 peaks

                Delux burger is open until 2AM i believe every night if you need a burger and beer they have 30ish beers on draft but is further than carlsbad tavern

                1. re: doc1969

                  There's been some good advice; I'll second (or third or fourth) the Four Peaks recommendation - they are the premier brewpub in the state, with fine beer and very good food served at a unique location (though parking is a PITA).

                2. On the Mexican tip, I'd also suggest Rancho de Tia Rosa on McKellips in Mesa - delicious salmon tacos with mango salsa & strong margaritas....

                  1. Even though I never made it to my original two targeted restaurants, Contigo Peru and Los Dos Molinos, the trip was a success.
                    Got it started right off the plane with Susie's Mexican Cafe, followed up a short time later with Blue Adobe Grill...where I learned that the Double Stacked Enchiladas, Christmas Style...really aren't my friends.
                    A good bounce back the next day with some In-n-Out Burger (we don't have that in Atlanta or NYC). Also was able to hit Carlsbad Tavern one of our late nights.
                    Found on our own: we went for a couple of lunches at De La Cruz Bistro, across from the Mesa Arts Center where we were operating out of. Went for the specials of Pork Belly Sandwich one day and Ribeye Steak Sandwich the next. No let down either time.
                    Most places seemed to close at 9p, so we were fortunate to find Monti's where I wasn't expecting much, but got a cheap and pretty damn good steak.
                    Lastly, we discovered a taco joint on the corner of W.Main and S. Country Club that was really, really good. In an old gas station, across from the Taco Bell...the chorizo, egg and potato breakfast burrito for $2.99 made my day.
                    Good trip all around. Really happy I never set foot in Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill...which was basically in my hotel parking lot.
                    Cheers.