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Oct 7, 2013 04:07 PM

Help for Phoenix Visit end of October 2013

Hey Hounds, we have plans to be in Phoenix the last weekend of the month to look around, go to museums, and eat. Probably we will stay in Central Phoenix, but we will have a car and can/will travel for something worthwhile. We eat just about everything, but we live down in Yuma so border Mexican food is not what we are looking for. While we can spend money, a reasonably priced restaurant serving good food is preferred to expensive pretentiousness. Asian is fine, but it needs to be really excellent as we go to San Diego often. A place with a good wine selection would be a plus. Anyway, where would you go in Phoenix for a couple of dinners and maybe a lunch if you could just go where you wanted?

Thx in advance,


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  1. If you will be visiting the Heard Museum, a stop by the cafe there is an excellent choice for a mid-day meal. The weather in late Oct should be ideal for a meal outside in the courtyard there.

    Another great lunch (or even casual dinner) would be the Public Market cafe. It's a great space and the chef also runs St Francis, which is a nice restaurant that comes in at a slightly higher price point and is just a little bit more formal than the cafe (but still casual).

    Cibo is a great neighborhood pizzeria and the food is always top notch, although the service can be hit or miss sometimes. Excellent patio and very reasonable prices.

    Bink's midtown is a new spot opened by Kevin Binkley. Top notch food expertly prepared. The menu is a little pricier than the other places mentioned above, but absolutely worth it.

    Tuck Shop is a neat little place hidden in the Coronado neighborhood downtown. Great food and the staff is always very friendly. The owner also has a fantastic breakfast/brunch place called Vovomeena.

    I've also had very good meals at Blue Hound, Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, and Mrs. Whites.

    1 Reply
    1. I wouldn't bother trying any asian food here in Phoenix, especially compared to CA. I've eating at both Pizzeria Bianco and Pane Bianco and they are good. If you're going with family and don't want to wait for ~4 hours I'd recommend going to Pane Bianco although most of the pizzas they serve there are vegetarian.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kitchenace

        Thanks. My SO used to live in the area and loves Pane Bianco. But she may want something different this trip - but you never know.

        1. re: Kitchenace

          With the addition of lunchtime service at the downtown location and the addition of pizzas to the menus at all 3 Bianco locations, the dinnertime wait downtown has eased a bit.

        2. Nobuo at Teeter House, very fine Japanese cuisine with some western touches, is just across the walkway from Pizzeria Bianco at Heritage Square. This is a creative menu that is different from Asian restaurants you're likely to find in San Diego, and is one of my top favorites for special occasion dining.

          On the subject of Bianco, Trattoria Bianco is a fairly new addition to the Bianco group. It's in a shopping center at 20th St. and Camelback. If your wife loves Pane Bianco, she should love this one as well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kittyfood

            Thanks for the info. I really like izakayas and the menu of Nobuo looks tasty. But I can find similar in San Diego. Appreciate the response and the Trattoria Biaco info. Thanks

          2. Oh, and a local couple here recommended Tarbell's. Said they had a great meal there. Would it make a good choice? Is it worth it? How does it match up with Bink's Midtown?

            Thanks again for all the responses.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Ed Dibble

              We have had many very good to great meals with Chef Tarbell, and I recommend it. My only rub has been that it can be noisy.

              Right across the street, on a diagonal, there is NOCA (North of Camelback), and we love it too. It, also can be on the noisy side. Now, though we have had many great meals there Eliot Wexler, the owner, has a brand new chef, and we have not dined with him. Still, under Mr. Wexler, I cannot believe that it would be less than very good. Also, Eliot always has a very good, albeit somewhat short, wine list, and you will be hard-pressed to find even ONE of the "usual suspects." The wines are carefully chosen to accompany the fare from the kitchen, and if you have even one question, ask for Eliot Wexler, tell him that Bill Hunt sent you, and let him lead you around his wine list. He will never steer you wrong.

              Do not expect a great view at either Mark Tarbell's, or Eliot Wexler's NOCA - they are both in strip shopping centers.

              Most of all, enjoy!


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Thanks so much for the info. You had convinced us to try NOCA ("Bill Hunt sent me" :-) ) but it is closed for dinner -- for renovations? because it's still not in season? So we will probably try Tarbell's. We just can't find anything like that down here.

                The other meals are still up in the air, but Bink's midtown is certainly a possibility or one of the Bianca places.

                Thanks to everyone for the interesting recs. Hopefully others will find them helpful as well. I will report back.


                1. re: Ed Dibble

                  As far as I know, the timing of Noca's return to dinner service is still TBD, but my sense is that it will be after your visit. Crudo and Atlas Bistro are both worthy of consideration IMO.

                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                    Renovations? Sorry, but I did not know about that - guess that it's been too long, since we were back in Phoenix, and I am surprised that I did not get an e-mail on that. Maybe for the new chef?


                2. re: Ed Dibble

                  Tarbell's has wonderful food and is a sentimental place for me (my husband proposed to me there about 9 years ago!). Love their food and yes, no views but excellent food.

                  Another place you may want to check out is Elements, located at the Sanctuary on Camelback. Pricey, and can be a bit noisy, but incredible view and equally incredible food. They also have a private chef's table if you like to see what's going on in the kitchen.

                  When we are in the area we like to have a nice brunch or simple lunch at The Farm at South Mountain. They have the Morning Glory Cafe and The Farm Kitchen. This is the perfect time of year for eating here with all the outdoor seating!

                3. i am under the impression that the newly revamped/ renovated T.Cook's at the Royal Palms just over in Scottsdale is really great. We were at the "old" one s few years ago and thought it was really unique and top-notch.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MRS

                    Just to clarify for out-of-town visitors, The Royal Palms is in Phoenix proper, about a mile and a quarter west of Scottsdale.

                    1. re: MRS

                      We are also hoping for the best with T. Cook's. They were a great favorite of ours, but in the last few years, were really slipping. They fell from our "A List."

                      Just got the updates on the "new and improved" T. Cook's, and hope to give them a test run, when we are in town long enough to dine there. Fingers X'ed.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        we adored the "old" T.Cook's so definitely also hoping to return in the future and give it a go.

                        1. re: MRS

                          I agree completely.

                          Once, they were at the top of our list. Then, things happened, and everything became tired - service, food, wines, everything.

                          We are hoping for the best, as we know that they WERE capable of, and love the venue.

                          Good luck to us all,