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13 Best Ethnic Restaurants in Metro Phoenix

The seasonal menu of exquisite country-French bistro fare also includes a few stellar specials.
The seasonal menu of exquisite country-French bistro fare also includes a few stellar specials.
Jackie Mercandetti

Looking for something a little different to eat? Well, Chow Bella is here to help. We spent the past year scouring the Valley to find the best ethnic restaurants.

Here's a list worth saving for when you're looking for some great ethnic cuisine, no matter where you are in metro Phoenix.

Best French Restaurant: Amuse Bouche Gourmet Bistro & Catering

For those enjoying a bit of culinary torment, you could do worse (depending on where you live) than driving 45 minutes or more to Surprise for some of the best French food in the Valley. Courtesy of French-trained chefs Snir and Kiersten Mor, Amuse Bouche, the tiny BYOB country-French bistro features top-notch, seasonal lunch and dinner fare as well as an outstanding Sunday breakfast. Read more here.


Ethiopian Famous fills a niche for Central Phoenix fans of the African cuisine.
Ethiopian Famous fills a niche for Central Phoenix fans of the African cuisine.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Ethiopian Restaurant: Ethiopian Famous Restaurant & Coffee

Like any good Ethiopian chef, Abebech Ejersa's doro wot, made with onions, boiled egg, and peppery berbere, is pretty much perfect. But then, the same could be said for nearly all her traditional Ethiopian favorites, most of which are prepared from recipes Ejersa has used for years, at home and in her former restaurant in Ethiopia. Read more here.


New Hong Kong's flavor-packed clay pots are among the restaurant's highlights.
New Hong Kong's flavor-packed clay pots are among the restaurant's highlights.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Chinese Restaurant: New Hong Kong Restaurant

Get past its weathered appearance and you'll find first-rate Cantonese cuisine hiding in plain sight at this passed-it-a-million-times Chinese restaurant in Central Phoenix. Courtesy of Jian Yu, a chef in Kaiping, China, for over 32 years, and his family, come tangled nests of expertly prepared stir-fried noodles, trembling clay pots nearly blowing off their lids to expose steaming, flavor-packed broths, and moist, marinated meats. Read more here.


At Brat Haüs, beer may be king, but there are enough good dishes here to keep the taps in good company.
At Brat Haüs, beer may be king, but there are enough good dishes here to keep the taps in good company.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best German Restaurant: Brat Haus

A welcome new addition to the Valley's woefully short list of German-minded restaurants, this lively gastropub in Old Town even sports its own sprawling biergarten that usually fills up before the two indoor spaces do. With nearly 30 beers on tap and almost 40 in bottles and cans, a strong German or Belgian craft brew is just a "Danke!" away. Read more here.

 

For those willing to go a few extra miles on the treadmill, there's Leo's grilled spam moco.
For those willing to go a few extra miles on the treadmill, there's Leo's grilled spam moco.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Hawaiian Restaurant: Leo's Island BBQ

There may not be a more divine, island-inspired indulgence than the Hawaiian plate lunch. Piled into a styrofoam container, the aloha-infused carb load features two scoops of rice, a side of macaroni salad, and (usually) a pan-Asian protein of your choice. You'll find excellent plate lunches at this cheery little eatery in Peoria. Read more here.


Featuring the cuisine of South India, Karaikudi's dishes are bold, expertly prepared, and packed with flavor.
Featuring the cuisine of South India, Karaikudi's dishes are bold, expertly prepared, and packed with flavor.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Indian Restaurant: Karaikudi Palace

What's better than an exceptional Indian restaurant with one chef? An exceptional Indian restaurant with three of them. Thanks to a trio of culinary school chums from India, this pleasant little spot in Scottsdale serves up vibrant, South Indian dishes like a smoky and spicy curry of baby eggplants stuffed with onions and spices; fish cooked in coconut sauce with red onions and green chilies; and thin and crispy stuffed dosas, the crispy-hot Indian-style crepes. Read more here.


Both bento box levels with five compartments.
Both bento box levels with five compartments.
Nikki Buchanan

Best Japanese Restaurant: Nobuo at Teeter House

James Beard Award winner Nobuo Fukuda offers the closest thing to a real izakaya (a casual Japanese eating and drinking establishment) this side of the Land of Rising Sun. Sourcing prime ingredients and combining them in simple yet inventive ways, his dishes are no less than exemplary works of culinary art. During the day, there may be offerings of warm duck salad or a luscious panko-fried soft shell club sandwich. Read more here.

 

Fantastic Korean food that stays up late makes Cafe Ga Hyang a Valley anomaly.
Fantastic Korean food that stays up late makes Cafe Ga Hyang a Valley anomaly.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Korean Restaurant: Café Ga Hyang

Before the summer of 2011, the only place to score late-night Korean food in the Valley was out of it -- specifically, 360 miles away in L.A.'s Koreatown. But thanks to this welcoming west side restaurant, top-notch Korean cuisine can be had until 2 a.m. every day but Sunday. Post bites of banchan (the little dishes of marinated vegetables, kimchi, and other delights that accompany meals), you'll find dishes like fiery duk boki, Korean fried chicken, spicy seafood stew, and the refreshingly cold noodle dish naeng myun. Read more here.


Filled with classic Thai dishes, as well as signature creations, Chanpen is a hidden gem in South Phoenix.
Filled with classic Thai dishes, as well as signature creations, Chanpen is a hidden gem in South Phoenix.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Thai Restaurant: Chanpen Thai Cuisine

If Chanpen seems like the only Thai restaurant in South Phoenix, it's probably because it is. But that's okay with owner and chef Chanpen Ramonaitis (whose Thai name is Tuk). She's happy to serve her expertly prepared classic Thai dishes and signature creations to anyone who happens upon her tiny, unassuming home. Read more here.


From broken rice to pho to spring rolls, it's fun to eat your way through the tasty Vietnamese menu at Pho Thanh.
From broken rice to pho to spring rolls, it's fun to eat your way through the tasty Vietnamese menu at Pho Thanh.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Vietnamese Restaurant: Pho Thanh Restaurant

Pho Thanh, it should be noted, does not care about your Westernized dining needs of English-speaking servers, short menus of seasonal, farm-to-table fare, or dimly lit, cozy interiors. Its priorities lie in a massive listing of crazy-cheap, top-notch Vietnamese dishes (most made with more fresh herbs and stinky fish sauce than you'll know what to do with) served up under a sea of fluorescent lights by a Vietnamese man who isn't into chitty-chat. Read more here.

 

Chef Oscar Graham's ceviche de pescado features a mound of chopped pieces of tilapia in a thin, bracingly sharp juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers.
Chef Oscar Graham's ceviche de pescado features a mound of chopped pieces of tilapia in a thin, bracingly sharp juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Latin American Restaurant: Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine

Like any good Peruvian chef worth his sea salt, Oscar Graham makes very good ceviche. And at this tiny no-frills spot in Chandler, his ceviche de pescado -- a mound of chopped tilapia in a sharp and spicy juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers topped with slivers of red onion and served with a hunk of sweet potato and pearly, large-kernel Peruvian corn -- is just about perfect. Read more here.


A loaded bowl of Mediterranean food at Hummus Xpress.
A loaded bowl of Mediterranean food at Hummus Xpress.
Laura Hahnefeld

Best Mediterranean Restaurant: Hummus Xpress

Mediterranean eats served up Subway style is the tasty idea behind this excellent, fast-casual, and wallet-friendly spot in Tempe. Helmed by Lebanese-born chef-owner Ahmed "Eddie" Hantas, Hummus Xpress lets Med fans pick their food vehicle (pita, bowl, or plate) before moving on to top-notch choices of signature sauces such as the Yemeni hot sauce called shug, seasoned grilled meats, and veggie delights like sauteéd broccoli with the wild thyme called za'atar. Read more here.


The Cuban sandwich is almost a rite of passage here, but there are several other satisfying dishes, too.
The Cuban sandwich is almost a rite of passage here, but there are several other satisfying dishes, too.
Jackie Mercandetti

Best Cuban Restaurant: Cuban Foods & Bakery

For lovers of the Cuban sandwich -- the divine creation of ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard stuffed into crunchy, buttered bread -- this small, tidy spot of homestyle Cuban eats on the city's west side is your place. But there are other good dishes, too: garlicky and meltingly tender lechon asado, classic ropa vieja, and golden orbs of fried and meat-filled potatoes called papas rellenas. Read more here.


Explore more of this year's Best of Phoenix 2013 multimedia content here:

Best of Phoenix has arrived. Dig around, you're guaranteed to find something you like. Click on the image (or right here) to visit our plate wall, where you can explore this year's slideshows, videos, and podcasts.
Best of Phoenix has arrived. Dig around, you're guaranteed to find something you like. Click on the image (or right here) to visit our plate wall, where you can explore this year's slideshows, videos, and podcasts.

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