Food Scene

Enjoy Tempe restaurants on the “new” University Dr.

The City of Tempe is growing by leaps and bounds. As you drive down Rio Salado Pkwy., you can’t help but notice cranes everywhere. Tempe is booming right now.

But not all the construction is about bringing in something brand new or building up towards the sky. Over the last couple of months, Tempe has been upgrading University Dr., between Ash Ave. and Priest Dr.  The beautification of this area has made it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly which is perfect since it is a gateway to Downtown Tempe and the Arizona State University Tempe Campus. In addition to a newly paved road, there are dedicated bike lanes, new palm trees and cacti planted in the center medians and some eye catching public art.  There are quite a few popular dining spots along this revitalized stretch of University. Ditch your car, lace up your shoes and/or grab your bike for a relaxing journey where you can sample food from around the globe, without leaving Tempe.

Café Lalibela
849 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281

This Ethiopian restaurant was voted “Best Vegetarian Restaurant of Phoenix” by the Phoenix New Times. Patrons can enjoy authentic fare, such as asifah, gomen or shiro wat. You can dine at a table but we recommend dining Ethiopian-style, on a low stool in front of a mesob (Ehiopia’s traditional basket table) for the total experience.

Essence Bakery Café
825 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281

This Tempe gem is one of the best restaurants in the Valley. Chef Eugenia Theodospoulos lived and trained in Paris before coming to Tempe and opening up this quaint little restaurant. Dine inside or outdoors on their patio and enjoy both breakfast and lunch here. Some of our favorite dishes are the French scrambled eggs, their freshly baked croissants and the Quiche Lorraine. A trip to Essence Bakery Café also isn’t complete without an order of their famous macarons, which come in a wide variety of flavors.

The Revival
603 W. Univeristy Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281

Chef Kelly Fletcher opened The Revival this past summer. His unique menu combines food inspired by various parts of the world and gives them a bit of Mexican and Southwestern flair. You’ll find everything from salads, tacos and wraps to roast duck or a Cuban sandwich. They have a full bar and an impressive wine, beer and cocktail menu. Their outdoor patio is really nice and its high walls that provide a more intimate atmosphere. The Revival is open for lunch and dinner.

Cornish Pasty Co.
960 W. University Dr. #103, Tempe, AZ 85281

One of the most recognizable restaurants in Tempe, Cornish Pasty Co. opened their first restaurant here in Tempe back in 2005. Dean Wallis, a native of Cornwall (that’s a county in England), decided to bring this native Cornwall tradition to Arizona. We’re very thankful for this. A pasty has a thick, baked crust and can contain different fillings. I’ve eaten here a few times and my favorites are The Oggie, which is a more traditional pasty with steak, potatoes and onions. I also really like the Shepherd’s Pie, a classic that has ground minted lamb, peas and carrots, grilled onion and mashed potatoes. Both these pasties are on their Signature Menu. In addition to the food, Cornish Pasty Co. has a great bar with a good selection of beers.

Harlow’s Cafe
1021 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281

This little cafe is a hidden gem located on the south side of University Dr., just west of Hardy Dr. There’s a reason why this restaurant is always packed with people. The food is that good. They’re known for their breakfast and anyone you talk to who has eaten here will recommend at least one favorite dish. This charming family owned restaurant has been in Tempe for over 30 years. Popular menu items include their omelettes,  Eggs Benedict and Huevos Rancheros. They’re open everyday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

For more information about Tempe restaurants, visit our website or call 480-894-8158.

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Written Patrick