Tempe’s dining scene is on the rise, with new and notable restaurants that are adding new flavors to this college town. The newest eateries in Tempe feature everything from plant-based cuisine to delicious sweet treats, so you’ll find exactly what you’re craving. Alter Ego, the lobby level restaurant at Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown, was recently named Best Hotel Restaurant by the Phoenix New Times. That’s quite an honor, considering that it just opened in June.
Check out Tempe’s newest restaurants and find even more at www.tempetourism.com/food-and-drink/.
GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina
920 E. University Dr. #204, Tempe, AZ 85281
GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina is an unpretentious dining destination where the experience counts as much as the food. The eatery offers mouth-watering plant-based versions of Mexican food, margaritas and new takes on cocktails made popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Standout menu items include the Baja Pescado Street Tacos, made with beer battered royal trumpet mushrooms, and the Enchiladas Calabacitas, made with roasted squash and zucchini, house-made roja and verde sauce and cashew crema.
410 N. Scottsdale Rd. Suite 105, Tempe, AZ 85281
One of Arizona’s favorite local ice cream shops, Sweet Republic, recently opened their newest location in Tempe. This new destination for ice cream lovers is located at the Watermark development, on the north side of Tempe Town Lake. Their artisan ice cream is made in small batches, with natural ingredients such as milk from Arizona dairy farms, fresh fruit and handmade marshmallows. You’ll find standard flavors that you know and love, but you’ll be tempted by some of their unique combos such as Peaberry Espresso and Church Music, a collaboration with The Shop Beer Co.
1840 E. Warner Rd. Suite 108, Tempe, AZ 85284
Looking for healthy food that tastes delicious? CoreLife Eatery is Tempe’s newest fast-casual restaurant serving salads, rice bowls and tacos made with ingredients free of GMOs, artificial colors or additives. Patrons can choose from suggested options, such as Southwest Grilled Chicken with Purple Rice, Sriracha Ginger Tofu and Ancient Grains and Korean Pulled Pork Tacos.
Drink Me! Tea Room
1730 E. Warner Rd. #5, Tempe, AZ 85284
A twist on the British tradition, Drink Me! Tea Room is a charming place for afternoon tea in South Tempe. Their whimsical décor is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. They offer several options for tea service and reservations are required in advance. The Wonderland Afternoon Tea is a mix of savory bites, scones and sweet treats and the Petite Tea offers a selection of scones served with coconut cream and lemon curd. You can choose from a list of organic teas to accompany your treats, all of which are plant-based, gluten free and absolutely delicious. Check their website for seasonal offerings.
108 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281
Alter Ego is the signature restaurant at the Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown. With a gorgeous interior space and a patio open to views of Arizona State University, Alter Ego serves elevated fusion cuisine expertly executed by Executive Chef Ken Arneson, such as the Katsu Chicken Sandwich and Brick Oven Calabrian Shrimp. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and also offer inventive hand-crafted cocktails. They have also recently added weekend brunch with not so typical dishes like “FRO,” with breakfast pork fried rice, a teppanyaki-style omelet, Asian pear salad and Thai vinaigrette, and the Banana Fritter Pancake with bruleed bananas, cinnamon whipped cream and warm syrup.
108 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281
Change your point of view and visit Alibi on the 14th floor of the Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown. This poolside rooftop bar offers a menu inspired by street food from around the world, with options including an ahi tuna Poki Sampler and Filipino Style Empanadas. Here you can nosh with friends, sip on a cocktail, wine or beer and catch the sunset all at once.
Postino South Tempe
8749 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85284
Postino South Tempe opened in September 2020. Postino, a metro area favorite, is beloved for its menu of bruschetta boards, sharable snacks, salads, paninis, Arizona craft brews, and nearly 30 wines by the glass. Join them for daily happy hour, $5 ’til 5 p.m., when all wines by the glass and pitchers of beer are $5 from open-5 p.m. After 8 p.m. on Mon. and Tues. evenings, partake in their $25 Bottle & Board, a bottle of wine and a board of bruschetta for $25 after 8 p.m. Funky décor including mid-century modern furnishings, vintage Tempe concert posters, and a 300-foot art wall covered in skateboard ads makes this location a standout from the rest.
Monroe’s Hot Chicken
430 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ 85281
A 2019 Best of Phoenix restaurant came in hot in Tempe and just opened its second location early November! Monroe’s Hot Chicken originated in Downtown Phoenix, founded by Larry White, the man behind the famous LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles which can also be found throughout the valley. Monroe’s Hot Chicken specializes in Nashville-style hot chicken meals. They are famous for their Fried Chicken Sandwich, Popcorn Chicken Waffle Cone, and their Hot Chicken Belgian Waffle Sandwich which can be customized to the heat level you can handle: from no heat aka “Southern” to “What da Cluck!” a heat so intense that you must sign a waiver before purchasing. Their chickens are all-natural and deep fried in peanut oil for that perfect crunch. They are located at the Watermark development, at the southwest corner of Scottsdale and the 202.