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Feb 21, 2014 04:41 PM


Together with friends we have begun exploring the many small ethnic restaurants here in the Valley. To date we have had wonderful dinners at a Cambodian and a Pakistani restaurant but we want to look further. Obviously we are not going to Mexican/Chinese/Italian because these cuisines are wonderful but all to mundane.

So, does anyone have recommendations?

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  1. Haji Baba on Apache in Tempe is great for Arabic but closes at 8pm and is like eating in a market. Cafe Lalibella, also in Tempe, is great for Ethiopean with their sourdough crepes/bread injera. I recommend the vegetarian combo.

    1. May we assume you are speaking of Sekong and Kyhber Hallal?

      1. There are many choices, but one place to start is at Mekong Plaza, a mall in west Mesa that focuses on customers of southeast Asian origin. The full service restaurants there are generally good at offering familiar Vietnamese and Thai fare, but if you want to dig deeper, explore the food court. You'll find three high-quality places there servings lesser known cuisines:

        Kong Fu Gyoza -- Chinese, but not the usual stir-fry dishes. Lots of emphasis on street foods with good gyoza, dandan noodles, and other specialties.

        Hue Gourmet -- The food of central Vietnam. Bold soups beyond pho, mini rice cakes with shrimp, dishes you won't see at most Vietnamese restaurants

        Wholly Grill -- Filipino food, a cuisine that doesn't get much love among non-Filipinos. Try the specials each day.

        1. There is a small but superb Moroccan restaurant in town:

          Service is slow, but the food is worth the wait. I recommend the chicken tagine with olives and lemon. Hearty, but bright in flavor.

          1. I am new to the area but I would like to offer "Persian Room" for Iranian food and "Tapas Papas Fritas" for Spanish food.

            3 Replies
            1. re: t19103

              Hi, and welcome! Thanks for the rec, I've been wondering about Persian Room. Need to put that on my list.

              1. re: alliegator

                2nd Persian room! I've been there many times and the food is always terrific and the atmosphere calm and dignified. Very, very nice.always get tahdig with both stews, shirazi salad, kabobs.....can't miss with a delicious and cooling doogh and finish with tea!

              2. re: t19103

                We have not been to the Persian Room (although I frequented small Iranian cafes when I worked in downtown Los Angeles), but a cousin and her Iranian husband recently visited the area and ate there. They reported that it is quite good and worth a visit.