Southeast Phoenix Area Restaurants

Living in Seattle over the years we have traveled to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area somewhat frequently and have gone to most of the popular better restaurants in that area. Steak 44, Eddie V’s, Bourbon and Bones, Dominick’s, Ocean 44, Mastro’s, Nobu…

In June though we bought a second home in Chandler (off Gilbert Road). Most of the time we are there I would like to find some better restaurants in that area without having to travel 30-45 minutes to Scottsdale, eat and drink and then have to go another 30-45 minutes back.

We have been down a couple times since purchasing the home and have been to DC Steakhouse, Bourbon and Bones, few Sushi places that were just so-so, and Culinary Dropout. What is in the area that is would have good to great food and possibly a decent wine list (even by the glass), or a good corkage policy?

Since we wont be there often I’m setting the thermostats at 88 when we are not there so I wont be keeping wine there, but will take wine with us each time we go (wine flies free on Alaska Airlines [cheers.gif] ) I’d buy a wine fridge for there but don’t really have a spot for it in the house (even though it’s a 4,000sq rambler). It does have a 4 car garage but it gets way too hot to keep one out there.

While I have listed mostly Steak (and some Sushi) restaurants, we really do eat anything really good.
Suggestions are highly appreciated.

A couple ideas. The Living Room in Chandler. Ambiance is that of a home. Owner is Tom Kaufman who has been around the Phoenix food/wine scene for a long time. Another idea is Peppermill in Tempe (McClintock and Elliott in a Safeway plaza). Supposedly they do corkage. In general…corkage is screwed up in Az, but depends on the city. I’d call ahead.

Based on my visit in April,

Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass - considered by many lists to be the best restaurant in Phoenix, it was superb. Perhaps more south than Southeast

Ghost Ranch in Tempe - a bit closer, fantastic modern Mexian cuisine.

A few Suggestions (no order):
-Anhelo (callout: I put the wine list together but do not profit from sales. The chef is incredible. Wanted a NYC like restaurant to get incredible wines at reasonable prices for me and friends with amazing food- also wanted to fly in Chateaus and wineries like Angelus and others for cool events (Angelus end of August, Troplong Mondot (sept), Cos d’Estournel (October), VHR (October), Etc Etc.
-Cafe Monarch/Reserve
-Fat Ox
-Christophers at Wrigley Mansion

Chandler has a lot of pretty good Asian/ethnic food. Everyone else already listed all the higher-end dining options for the most part, so I will give some places that are low-mid range everyday style eats.

Dhaba: Best Punjabi food that I’ve found in the Metro area. Highly recommend the goat curry, any naan, butter chicken/tikka masala, and a solid tandoori chicken.

Sizzle: Old town Scottsdale so a bit further, but probably the best KBBQ in AZ in terms of quality of meats and authenticity. Great combos, highly recommend any of the marinated beef options (I really like the seasoned short ribs).

Old Town Taste: Pretty authentic Sichuan food, I know the owner personally as well. They have a solid white-washed menu, but the best stuff are the authentic water-boiled fish, szechwan fried fish fillets, stir fried green beans, and dry pot. Great seasoning and spice.

Glai Baan: Modern-style Thai street food, across the street from Binkley’s. Pretty popular these days and the food is solid! Skewers, Thai BBQ chicken, they got it all.

Bianco’s: Been eating there since I was a kid growing up, if you need to know more, watch the Chef’s Table episode about him. Great guy, and he is probably the reason why I don’t eat pizza outside of Arizona (and I’ve tried many LA/NYC places).

Hodori: Comfort-style traditional Korean food in Chandler, close to the H-Mart area. Good soondubus, bulgogi, spicy pork, soups and stews. It’s been around since the old Asiana market and lasted even after H-Mart opening.

Belly Kitchen and Bar: I believe they just opened up their second location over in Chandler. Original spot opened up close to me in Downtown Phoenix, really good modern Vietnamese/Asian food. Chef was inspired by Slanted Door and his execution is solid for a fusion type deal. Highly recommend the Crab Banh Xeo (crispy crepe) and their fried chicken. The pho is okay, there are better places… see next

Pho Thuan Thanh: This is going to be the best hole in the wall pho in Chandler/Mesa. Run by the same family that runs Pho Thanh and Da Vang in Phoenix (which are the best pho places, but Pho Thuan Thanh is closest to you).

Harumi Sushi: There is one in downtown Chandler, it is a solid roll joint. They use purple rice as their catch.

Little Miss BBQ: This one is over in Tempe, but one of the better BBQ joints in Arizona that isn’t a major chain export. They specialize in Texas style BBQ, but they sell out fast and you will have to get there early to grab brisket, burnt ends, etc.

Happy Bao: Located in Mekong Plaza in Mesa, they have some of the best buns/baos in Phoenix. Definitely recommend any of their dumplings and soup dumplings. Their other stuff is okay.

If you like ramen, most ramen places in Arizona fall short in my opinion. I have a higher bar than most, but just don’t go to Republic Ramen in Tempe - they are expensive and their ramen is not authentic and tasteless. Jin Ramen is better in Chandler, they are an export from a LA ramen chain.

That’s all I have off the top my head for the Chandler/Mesa/Tempe area. Most of these come from when I lived around there for 6 years. Ethnic food is definitely the forte of the tri-city area. I would say Mexican food is better in actual Phoenix/West Phoenix (Taco Chiwas is my favorite taco shop) and for high end you’re generally better off going to Scottsdale (and of course Kai down there). Binkley’s as others have mentioned is great - the chef there trained at The French Laundry along with Alinea’s chef. Always a fun meal there.

Edit: Adding a couple more!

Virtu Honest Craft: Modern Mediterranean, very solid and their menu generally rotates, located in Old Town Scottsdale near Monarch Cafe.

Francine: Mediterranean Southern French bistro dining. Wine list is not the easiest to navigate and pretty heavily marked up ($250 for Yellow Label Veuve), but the food is pretty good. Highly recommend the seafood uni pasta, moules-frites, and most of their protein entrees.