Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although several new restaurants are scheduled to meet up with thousands of existing ones in the Valley this year, the Phoenix dining scene, for many of us, still could use a bit of tinkering.
Valley chefs and restaurateurs agree. And when it comes to the restaurants they wish existed in the area, ten of them had these suggestions:
Chef Admir Alibasic, Ben & Jack's Steakhouse, Scottsdale
Being from the Balkans, my mother would always cook traditional dishes she learned from her mother. When it comes to Balkan dishes, (burek, cevapi, sarma, etc.) I would enjoy them more than if I was given a piece of the finest steak in the world. I wish there was a restaurant in the Valley that served Balkan dishes so I can feel as if I was home.
Farah Khalid Chef and Owner, Curry Corner
I wish a good Mediterranean fusion restaurant existed in Tempe. I long to have the flavor of those dishes incorporated in a lighter style. Mediterranean food has become increasingly commercialized.
Justin Beckett Chef and Owner, Beckett's Table
I wish there was a great place to pick up unbelievable soups, rustic bread, and salads. A place where you could get really gourmet sophisticated salads to go. Oh, yeah, and a 24-hour poutine shop!
Chef Theresa Wille, 32 Shea
I still have not found a good tapas seafood restaurant. Still hunting for one in the Valley.
Adam Allison Chef and Owner, Frank. Food Truck
It would be great to have a restaurant like Chris Cosentino's Incanto. I like trying new things and some of the offal dishes he offers seem pretty intriguing.
Giovanni (Gino) Leonel Chef and Owner, La Prima Donna Ristorante & Catering
A real South American place. I lived there quite a long time ago and still have not found food that touches your soul like Venezuelan or Peruvian food can. The gauchos in Argentina have steaks and sauces that will challenge any upscale steak house in our country and give them a run for their money.
Danielle Morris Co-Owner and Pastry Chef, Cork
An old-school diner or a New York-style delicatessen. If they exist in the Valley, we would prefer them to be in Chandler.
Rick Phillips Owner, Bootleggers
Epic Italian. Something along the lines of Marea.
Curly Castaneda Executive Chef, Tilted Kilt
I would love to find a restaurant that brings authentic food and isn't willing to change their food just to compete with the market. For example, my perfect authentic Mexican food restaurant would have menu items that mom makes at home -- one different recipe from each state. I have looked for this kind of restaurant but have not had any luck.
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Chef Nick LaRosa, Nook
I'm still getting acclimated to being street side, and there may be one, but molecular gastronomy has always intrigued me. I may even start to dabble in it my myself.
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