Gilbert sure has come a long way from its agricultural roots. Did you know this East Valley suburb was once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World"?
These days it's one of the fastest growing cities in the Valley, which means that there's an ever-increasing number of reasons to get in your car and head east. From affordable Asian eats to solid neighborhood restaurants serving unexpectedly elevated cuisine, we're always happy for an excuse to get out and dine in Gilbert.
For first-time visitors the dark windows and straightforward signage of Simi's Cafe can be a bit scary, but step inside the strip mall restaurant and you'll find a neat, dark dining room filled with patrons. Simi's Cafe serves a somewhat comprehensive menu of Vietnamese and Asian-American dishes including pho and spring rolls, as well as pad thai and kung pao beef. Expect the service to be friendly and prompt, and know that the prices won't leave your wallet too empty. We like to start with an order of Summer Spring Rolls, and end with a glass of sweetened Vietnamese coffee.
Joe's Farm Grill
Located just steps from the Farm at Agritopia, this retro-futuristic diner serves "common food done uncommonly well." The menu of salads, burgers, sandwiches, and hot dogs gives Joe's Farm Grill mass appeal, and the high-quality ingredients mean you'll often be surprised by the attention to detail in each dish. Some of our favorite dishes include the Fontina Burger topped with pecan pesto and the Carolina Dog, decked out with pulled pork, cole slaw, and barbecue sauce. Whatever you do, don't skip the hand-breaded onion rings; The rosemary dill panko makes the batter something special.
When you consider that Flancer's Cafe founder Jeff Flancer graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, one of the country's top institutions, it should come as no surprise that his namesake restaurant serves exceptionally good food. In the menu of neighborhood restaurant staples — think sandwiches, burgers, and pizzas — Flancer delivers some unexpected surprises. They include dishes such as Chile Verde Birdie Turkey sandwich, loaded with real off the bone turkey breast and house made New Mexican green chile mayonnaise, and the Walk on the Wild Side pizza, which combines wild roasted mushrooms and local fennel sausage.
Romeo's Euro Cafe
Whether you're looking for baked feta cheese or a stuffed gyro, Romeo's Euro Cafe can satisfy your Mediterranean cuisine craving like few other places in town. The restaurant's lengthy menu covers everything from an array of appetizers such as sauteed hearts of artichokes and open faced foccacia bread to entrees ranging from burgers and subs to pastas and seafood platters. If the sheer number of options has got you overwhelmed, go with a fan favorite like the Chicken Omega, which features strips of grilled chicken with spinach, pine nuts, garlic, and feta in a white wine cream sauce.
Lulu's Taco Shop
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We've got three words for you: Arizona Super Taco. It's what you should order when you hit up this longstanding Gilbert taco spot. Specializing in Guadalajara-style soft tacos, Lulu's Tacos Shop serves excellent tortillas stuffed with anything from flavorful steak and pork to grilled shrimp and fried fish. Not in the mood for a taco? No problem. You can also get filled up on a breakfast burrito (served all day), quesadilla, or tostada. There's really no wrong way to go here considering that it's all scratch made and can be spiced up with something from the salsa bar.
Check out our other neighborhood lists:
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