Do the hokey POKE and turn yourself around because Tempe is what it’s all about! If you didn’t catch the reference, then I will let you in on a little secret: Poke is popular food trend hitting the Valley and Tempe is at the forefront. Poke, meaning to slice or cut, is a Hawaiian staple made with fresh seafood and ingredients. Typically poke restaurants will be set in an assembly line style (think Chipotle) with all of your options laid out in front of you. You first decide on your base, then you move on to your protein and toppings. Each location has their own selection of ingredients to choose from so it’s up to you to make the perfect poke. (In my experience, poke bowls typically run around $10-$13 depending on the amount of protein and extra toppings). Tempe has seen in influx of Poke restaurants opening in various parts of the city. Below is a list of Tempe’s Poke restaurants.
1015 S. Rural Road
Tempe, AZ 85281
Ahipoki Bowl, located in the new complex near ASU Tempe campus, was my first stop. First, I had the option between white or brown rice, mixed greens or half and half. I dove in feet first and went with three protein selections. I selected shrimp, scallops and octopus on half brown and half white rice. I topped it off with the house sauce and then added my toppings of green onion, edamame, crab meat and avocado. My favorite thing about this location is the macron ice creams that you can treat yourself to at the end. On a hot summer day there is nothing that beats cold ice cream smashed between a macron!
Aloha Poki Co.
325 W. Elliot Rd., Ste. 101, Tempe, AZ 85284
This new kid on the block, just opened a few weeks ago in south Tempe. They have another location in Ahwatukee, but their Tempe space is large and open with lots of seating. Here, you can create your own customized poke bowl with a variety of toppings, including masago (salmon roe) and seaweed salad.
9920 S. Rural Road, Ste. 111
Tempe, AZ 85284
Located in South Tempe, Poke Wave takes the stress out of figuring out the perfect poke combination by giving you suggested bowls to choose from. Select from one of their previously designed wave meals like the Aloha Classic that keeps it simple with Ahi Tuna and a mix of toppings or the Wasabi Shrimp and Scallop that includes the two proteins along with onion, edamame, pineapple, masago, furikake all tossed in wasabi aioli. All meals can be adjusted according to your liking or you can create your own from scratch. Their experienced chefs have more than 25 years of experience making sushi, and they prepare everything fresh daily, from the sliced mango to the variety of sauces. Protein selections at Poké Wave are incredibly fresh and tasty and they have a generous serving size, as you can see from their photo below.
1753 E. Broadway Road, Ste. 103
Tempe, AZ 85282
Pokedon, also located in South Tempe, gives you your choice of rice and salad, and something I didn’t see at other poke restaurants, wonton chips! Poke not your thing? No problem, this location also serves various bowls like steak, salmon and chicken as a different option.
414 S. Mill Avenue, Ste. 114
Tempe, AZ 85281
Poke2U brings poke to Downtown Tempe! This location takes a twist on traditional poke restaurants as it has both poke and BBQ fare. Select your classic poke on either rice, greens, soy paper or seaweed wrap or try one of their BBQ beef or chicken protein bowls. Whether you are in the mood for poke or BBQ, Poke2U offers a wide range of toppings to add crunch, texture, and sweetness that makes a combination that is just right for you!
4715 S. Rural Road, Ste. 104
Tempe, AZ 85282
Tokyo Joe’s has it all from made-to-order sushi, salad, protein and poke bowls! This location is best for those who want to dip their toes in the poke water, but aren’t quite sure if the rest of the family is ready. Tokyo Joe’s gives you three options of protein to choose from and a smaller selection of toppings, so you won’t be too overwhelmed with choices.