Tempe’s cool outdoor patios offer great dining and greater views

Author: Patrick

Posted on: January 29, 2014


Though it seems like the rest of the country is either covered in snow or reaching high temperatures of 30 degrees, Tempe, Arizona has been unseasonably warm the last couple of weeks. With highs in the low 70s, it’s the perfect weather to be outside, embracing the sunshine and fresh air.

There are many things I love about Arizona. To me, Arizona is all about being outside. We have hiking, biking (did you know that Tempe has 175 miles of dedicated bike paths?), boating, golf courses and outdoor patios in a vast majority of our restaurants.  Tempe is no exception, boasting some of the best patios around, offering patrons everything from great views, vibes and of course, food.

View from the second floor patio at CASA Sunba in downtown Tempe

Whenever I think of cool patio restaurants in town, the first one place that usually comes to my mind is CASA Sunbá, which is located on the southeast corner of Mill Ave. and 6th St.  CASA is all outdoor dining, so the entire restaurant is one giant patio. I’ve eaten at CASA a few times and have absolutely loved it. They serve both lunch and dinner, with a menu that has salads, burritos, burgers and even a vegan section. By far, their most popular menu item is the CASA Mac & Cheese Burrito. I’ve had it and it’s really good. I’ve also had the Fidel, which is their take on the traditional Cuban Sandwich and I thought it was incredible. What makes CASA special is the view. A two story restaurant, patrons who eat up on the second floor get some incredible views of downtown Tempe. It’s pretty quiet on the second level as well, so if you wanted to go there but want something a little more intimate, head upstairs.

Tempe's Front Porch is located at Monti's La Casa Vieja.

One of the nicest looking outdoor patios can be found at Tempe’s Front Porch, located at the historic Monti’s La Casa Vieja. Sitting on the corner of Rio Salado and Mill Avenue, Tempe’s Front Porch is definitely one of Tempe’s more popular spots. The lunch and dinner menu is different than Monti’s but you can see a lot of similarity between the two. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with either the Prime Rib Quesadilla or the Short Rib Tacos. They’re both two of my favorite dishes here. Tempe’s Front Porch is also great place to just grab a drink. They have some great craft beers and fresh-squeezed cocktails.  Even though this great outdoor space is located on a busy area of town – with both foot and automobile traffic – I never get that feeling like I’m eating in the middle of a crowd. It feels like an escape. There are plenty of heat lamps for those chilly nights and the seating is really, really comfortable. It has more of an industrial feel because the décor features a nice mix of hard materials (metal, rocks, etc.).  Much like CASA, the view here is great. You can see Tempe Beach Park, the Mill Avenue Bridge and the Hayden Flour Mill, all iconic Tempe landmarks.

Tempe’s award-winning House of Tricks has arguably the nicest outdoor patio space in the valley.

My third favorite outdoor patio is definitely at House of Tricks. House of Tricks is a charming restaurant located in two historic homes. For over 25 years, this award-winning Tempe establishment has been located on the southern end of downtown Tempe, off of Mill Avenue and 7th Street. The outdoor patio here is incredible. I always feel like I’m sitting in someone’s backyard. It has a laid back, relaxing vibe to it. A wooden deck and outdoor patio bar greets you as soon as you walk up to the restaurant. The tables outside are situated on a brick-paved patio, among the trees and large pots of flora. Mary Trick, mother of owner Bob Trick, tends to the plants and flowers every morning before the restaurant opens. Before the staff arrives for work, she’s outside planting, pruning and prepping the patio for the day.  At the front of the restaurant is a moss-covered fountain and pond that is home to a family of goldfish. This is the perfect setting to enjoy some of their lunch specials, such as their famous  Homemade Quiche of the Day or dinner favorites like the Grilled Filet Mignon. This is the absolute perfect place for a nice afternoon or evening out with a special someone.

For more information about Tempe restaurants, visit the Tempe Tourism website or call 800-283-6734.

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