New restaurants, old favorites, college hang-outs and upscale dining options, all within Tempe, makes this town a hot spot for culinary adventures every day of the week. One of the many reasons why I love Tempe is because of how many “off the beaten path” restaurants there are to choose from. Little tucked away neighborhood spots that you may not find without a local recommendation, the Yelp app on your phone, or a very lucky spotting from your car. Here is just a short list of some of my favorites, but there are always more to be discovered.
Tasty Thai Restaurant
10 W. Broadway Road, Tempe, AZ 85282
Tasty Thai Restaurant is a cute little neighborhood place that serves dishes with mighty big flavors. True to its name, the food is tasty and the portions are substantial. The red curry, yellow curry with tofu, pad king and orange chicken are my favorites. The red curry was all spicy goodness with tender bits of white meat and a nice mix of vegetables; the yellow curry was sweet and spicy with a hint of heat and the tofu was the perfect satiny, creamy consistency. The Pad King was a lovely mix of fresh ginger, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, baby corn with brown sauce. Anyone who prefers less spicy fare, can’t go wrong ordering the orange chicken a lovely orange sauce.
616 S. Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281
Phoenicia Cafe is a family owned and operated restaurant that’s been serving delicious, affordable traditional Mediterranean, Greek, and Middle Eastern for 19 years. It is located between 7th and 6th Streets on Forest Avenue, a few blocks from Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena and College Avenue Commons. You can’t beat the killer Greek fries, hummus and everything else on the menu. Their prices are so reasonable even students on the tightest budgets can afford to eat here.
7520 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85283
Something about eating at this quaint south Tempe eatery makes me feel like I’m on a vacation. The staff is so friendly, the atmosphere is chic, yet comfortable, and the food seems both simple and complex One of their dishes, the Grand Prix, made the Phoenix New Times list of 100 favorite dishes of 2015. I couldn’t agree more. It starts with a coffee-flavored crepe that is filled with pork belly, maple glazed pork jowl, a sunny side up egg and a drizzle of maple espresso syrup. Sounds amazing, right? Make a plan to eat there for breakfast as soon as possible. You won’t be sorry.
1872 E Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281
Located in Arizona’s largest South Asian shopping center, The Dhaba is a family owned and operated, award-winning restaurant that’s legendary for serving the finest rich, robust and authentic food of Punjab. The interior is elegant, but casual, warm and inviting. The food is intensely flavored and beautifully colored with spices that are all mixed in house. The menu also offers suggestions for the perfect wine pairings with each dish. I love the curried dishes like the Dhaba chicken korma and the Kashmiri chicken tikka masala. Dining at The Dhaba is more than just a fine meal. It’s a cultural experience thanks to the owners’ devotion to sharing both their culture and extraordinary cuisine.
Casey Moore’s Oyster House
850 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
I love everything about Casey Moore’s. It’s a great little place, tucked away in a cool neighborhood that is rumored to be haunted. They’re known for their oysters, which you can get a variety of different ways. The Calamari Rings are also a fan favorite, which are fried calamari served with a cocktail sauce. It’s easy, simple and delicious.
Salut Kitchen + Bar
1435 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281
This fun wine bar is both hip and relaxed at the same time. In addition to the delicious menu, you’ll love the quaint atmosphere at this restaurant with its reclaimed wood décor, metal chairs and large dog-friendly patio. Try the hummus stuffed avocado while you’re there. It’s on the tapas menu so it’s perfect for sharing, but you’ll want to keep this one to yourself. A bright green avocado is stuffed with flavorful hummus, chicken, red onion tomato and feta.
Cornish Pasty Co.
960 W. University Dr. #103, Tempe, AZ 85281
This neighborhood spot is tucked away on University Dr, just a few blocks away from Downtown Tempe. The cozy dark atmosphere is always welcoming as you walk through the door craving comfort food. They offer over 30 hearty pasties to choose from, and a few dessert pasties too. I love the Greek pasty and the portobello mushroom and balsamic pasty. The Oggie is my husband’s go-to. It’s made up of steak, potatoes, an onion and rutabaga with a side of red wine gravy. For a more intimate experience, head over to their newest location on Mill Avenue and 5th St.
You’ll find TRES Tempe tucked away next to the Hilton Garden Inn off Price Road and the 101 Freeway, close to the ASU Research Park. The decor is sleek, contemporary and comfortable. The menu features delicious dishes that blend both Mediterranean and Southwest flavors. Once you’ve discovered TRACE Tempe and experienced their fresh mix of menu selections, the comfortable ambiance and excellent service, it’ll be at the top of your favorites list.