Looking to introduce some international flair into your otherwise predictable dining experience? If you’re looking for a meal that will satisfy both your hunger pangs and thirst for a new cultural experience, you will
definitely want to check out at least one of these amazing Arizona restaurants.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Cafe Lalibela, Tempe (Ethiopian)
The first item on this list also happens to be one of my favorite places, although I don't go there often enough. Cafe Lalibela offers a delicious introduction to Ethiopian and eastern African foods. A platter of thick stews and cooked vegetables are served on a large sheet of injera bread and the meal is eaten with pieces of the bread with your hands.
Location: 849 West University Drive, Tempe.
2. Casa Vicente, Tucson (Spanish)
In a state famous for Mexican food, finding foods that hail from Spain can be a little tough. However, Casa Vicente in Tucson provides excellent meals and tapas options that are sure to whet your palate. We recommend trying the paella marinera (pictured above).
Location: 375 South Stone Avenue, Tucson.
3. Cocina Oaxaqueña, Phoenix (Oaxacan Mexican)
Please note, Cocina Oaxaqueña is no longer in business.
I hesitated adding your traditional Mexican fare onto this list because, in the eyes of many Arizonans, Mexican food is an essential part of Arizona's cuisine. What other foods do you miss when you leave the state? Anyway, if you've never had Mexican food from regions other than Sonora, you're missing out because there is a lot of variety mixed in with some foods you may be more familiar with. The foods you will find here include mole, enfrijoladas (like enchiladas but with a bean puree), and chapulines (fried grasshoppers). Location: 1818 West Bethany Home Road, Phoenix.
4. Delhi Palace, Flagstaff (Indian)
When most people tend to think of foods that hail from India, northern cuisines are most popular with their curries, samosas, and lots of naan bread. If that's what you're looking for with either meat or vegetarian options, Delhi Palace in Flagstaff has some great options. One of their most popular meals is the chicken tikka masala, which is creamy and flavorful.
Location: 2700 South Woodlands Village Boulevard, Flagstaff.
5. Ikkyu, Tucson (Japanese)
If your idea of ramen is a sad bowl of instant noodles back in college, you need to try the ramen offered at Ikkyu. The complex flavors and variety of toppings will put any of those old meals to shame. Other staples of Japanese restaurants, such as sushi and rice bowls, can also be found here.
Location: 2040 West Orange Grove Road, Tucson.
6. India Oven, Mesa (Indian)
Another delicious Indian restaurant, India Oven has an incredibly popular (and budget friendly) buffet option if ordering from the extensive menu seems intimidating.
Location: 1315 South Gilbert Road, Mesa.
7. Khai Hoan, Tempe (Vietnamese)
If there's any place where you should eat pho for the first time, it is Khai Hoan. Pho, a deceptively simple steaming bowl of rice noodles and beef in a sweet-savory beef broth, will quickly become your comfort meal after consuming a bowl here. Chicken and vegetarian versions are also available.
Location: 1537 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe.
8. Persian Room, Scottsdale (Persian/Iranian)
The meals you will find here may look pretty familiar if you've ever eaten Mediterranean foods, like kebabs or dolmas (known as dolmeh here). However, give the more traditional Iranian foods a try, like the ghormeh sabzy, a ridiculously good herb stew.
Location: 17040 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.
9. Phoenix Palace, Chandler (Chinese Dim Sum)
When it comes to Chinese food, it's difficult to find restaurants that don't have a heavy American influence. If you're looking for something a little different from the orange chicken you normally order, try out a dim sum restaurant like Phoenix Palace in Chandler. Dim sum consists of ordering a bunch of small, appetizers sized foods to enjoy with a pot of tea.
Location: 2075 North Dobson Road, Chandler.
10. Puerto Rico Latin Bar & Grill, Phoenix (Puerto Rican)
One of the many different Caribbean options you can choose from, Puerto Rican foods are a wonderful blend of Spanish, African, and indigenous foods. The options are extensive, but you can't go wrong with a pernil dish.
Location: 2714 West Thomas Road, Phoenix.
11. Saing Thai Cuisine, Tucson (Thai)
I'll be honest here: I've eaten at several dozen Thai restaurants here in Arizona and I think I've only been disappointed once. However, one gem that stands out is Saing Thai in Tucson for their delicious curries and pad thai, which are consistent and fresh in whatever heat level you prefer.
Location: 9136 East Valencia Road, Tucson.
12. Tampopo Ramen, Tempe (Japanese)
You read what I already had to say about ramen earlier, right? If you're craving that complex, savory soup in the Phoenix area, check out Tampopo Ramen in Tempe.
Location: 3223 South McClintock Drive, Tempe.
13. Thai Basil, Tempe (Thai)
The Phoenix metro area has so many delicious Thai restaurants that it was difficult to choose just one. However, Thai Basil has several locations around the Valley that offer a consistent, delicious meal. The red curry is always a winner, but give the yellow or green versions a try; there are subtle flavor changes between these three dishes. Oh, yeah, and the Thai iced tea is really good as well!
Location: 403 West University Drive, Tempe.
14. Thuy's Noodle Shop, Bisbee (Vietnamese)
If there's any place on this list that is a hidden gem, this is it. Not only is the pho absolutely delicious but, for any vegetarians or vegans out there, they have options for you as well.
Location: 9 Naco Road, Bisbee.
15. Zur Kate, Mesa (German)
The first time I ever tasted German food was at this establishment and it has been absolutely delicious ever since. You really can't go wrong with any of the options, but if there's anything to try, it's the jager schnitzel.
Location: 4815 East Main Street, Mesa.
Have you visited any of these restaurants before? Let us know where you love to get a delicious bowl of phở or some tapas!