In a world full of sushi restaurants and ramen shops, Nobuo at Teeter House offers a Japanese dining experience that stands out from the crowd. By day, this small eatery located in downtown Phoenix's Heritage Square presents as a tranquil tea house with a menu of thoughtful, playful Asian fare. House-cured salmon sits next to an order of Teeter Tots, or panko-fried tofu served with spicy miso sauce. By night, the restaurant gets even more creative with elevated izakaya-style dining and the chef's famed omakase, or chef's choice, menus. Nationally recognized chef Nobuo Fukuda takes diners' expectations of Japanese cuisine and turns them on their head with dishes like the Tako and Tomato, made with grilled octopus and house-made mozzarella on a slab of miso-marinated, pan-seared foie gras.

Marigold Maison
Lauren Saria

Whether you're looking for a South Indian dosa or excellent chicken tandoori, Marigold Maison in north Phoenix makes a solid destination for Indian cuisine in a casual, chic setting. You can start your meal with any of a number of appetizers, ranging from the usual options like samosa and chicken pakoora to something a little harder to find, including chickpea ceviche and aloo tikki chaat, an Indian street food that combines lentil cakes with yogurt, tamarind, onion, and tomato. From there, you can start to explore any of several regional specialties, including crispy rice cakes stuffed with potato and onion; classic, creamy tikka masala; and biryani hyderabadi, a southern Indian rice dish.

Al-Hana Restaurant at Baiz Market Place
Laura Segall

For a fast, affordable, and delicious lunch — and on top of that, an authentic Mediterranean one — there's really no better stop than Al-Hana restaurant inside Baiz Market Place. The walk-up counter is just a portioned-off corner of the international market, but there's good reason you'll often find a queue of hungry customers lined up around lunch time. For under $10, you can get a plate of marinated chicken shawarma with rice, pickles, onions, and creamy garlic sauce or a large portion of tabbouleh that makes a perfect light lunch. Our go-to order is the simple falafel sandwich, which, for just $3.99, comes stuffed with hot, fried chickpea balls, lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, pickled turnips, and rich tahini. The price point certainly can't be beat by anyone except Ronald McDonald or the Colonel — and we'd rather have some of city's best Mediterranean fare than fast food any day.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Chef Chris Bianco has been known as one of the best pizza chefs in the country for years, and at his newest restaurant, he proves he's got lots more than pizza up his sleeve. The highly anticipated Tratto restaurant opened its doors at Town & Country shopping center in central Phoenix this spring, serving a concise menu of excellent Italian fare including pasta, small plates of local vegetables, and more. A meal might start with a long piece of grilled house-made focaccia spread with buttery lardo and jelly, and star an entree of slow-braised pork shank with sweet summer corn and local peaches. From start to finish, Tratto makes a strong impression — even the cocktails surpass expectations, with craft ingredients including local honey and olive-oil-washed gin.

Romanelli's is a wonderful family-run Italian deli that has been singlehandedly funneling tasty Italian import meats, cheeses, and chocolate-chip cannoli into the west side for decades. This is the place to go for the simple pleasures of an old-fashioned cheese and liverwurst sandwich, trays overflowing with homemade cheese ravioli, and deli sandwiches stuffed with your dream configuration of mortadella, salami, capicola, and other specialty cold cuts. The bakery case is replete with everything you need to impress at your next potluck, including an assortment of homemade eclairs, cannolis, cheesecakes, and sfogiatelle stuffed with custard. And if you love the homemade sauces, the Romanelli's market pantry is stocked with jars of their homemade puttanesca, arrabbiata, and marinara, so you can bring the flavors to your own home pantry.

Haus Murphy's
Jennifer Goldberg

Haus Murphy's has been a mainstay in downtown Glendale for nearly as long as the lifespan of the average millennial. The secret to the restaurant's longevity is pretty simple: good, hearty German fare served in a hospitable, group-friendly dining room. Come here for the sausage sampler, the juicy bratwursts served over the house-made sauerkraut, and a whole menu of excellent schnitzels. The sauerbraten, or sweet-and-sour marinated beef, served with a side of spätzle, is as close as you'll get to southern Germany without hopping on a plane. Of course, you'll have to order the giant Bavarian pretzel, and if the weather allows, there may not be a lovelier outdoor patio in downtown Glendale.

La Tiendita Cafe
Lauren Saria

Sure, La Tiendita Colombian Restaurant is a destination for excellent Colombian fare in metro Phoenix. But the Mesa restaurant is more than just a place to eat. It's a gathering place for the Valley's Colombian community, often hosting a packed house of jersey-clad fans for soccer — er, futbol — matches and other sporting events. So it makes sense, then, that this is where you'll find some of the most authentic Colombian food in town, including excellent arepas, empanadas, and desayunos, or breakfast platters featuring chorizo, eggs, and coffee, for under $10. The go-to order is the bandeja paisa, a filling plate of chicharrón, ground beef, and chorizo sausage, as well as rice, beans, avocado, plantain, a mini-arepa, and a fried egg.

Stop by LaBella Pizzeria for lunch or dinner, and you're getting two things: a great Italian meal and the best kosher food in town. You may not care so much about the latter, but to the Orthodox Jews in the Valley, LaBella is one of only a handful of eateries where they can order a meal that abides by the set of religious dietary restrictions known as kashrut. For everyone else, LaBella is a casual neighborhood eatery where the absence of meat on the menu (there are plenty of fish dishes, though) doesn't at all detract from the quality of the food. Try the Louis pizza (with spinach, mushrooms, garlic, feta, Parmesan, and mozzarella), the can't-eat-just-one garlic knots, or the best eggplant Parmigiana we've ever tasted. Where's the beef? Who cares?

Goldman's Deli

Comfort food comes in many forms, but when you're craving classic dishes of the Jewish variety, it's time to schlep over to Goldman's Deli. Inside the humble strip-mall location, you'll find all the greatest hits of Eastern European Jewish cuisine, and all of them done well. A steaming bowl of chicken soup comes with a matzah ball as big as your fist, and the potato knish, a savory treat wrapped in tender dough, is a carb-laden delight. At breakfast, you can feast on bagels with cream cheese and lox, potato latkes, and blueberry- or cheese-filled blintzes. Goldman's has a full menu of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it's the Jewish specialties that make it a must-try dining destination.

Ollie Vaughn's
Lauren Saria

Breakfast at Ollie Vaughn's might just be one of the most underrated ways to start your day in metro Phoenix. This quaint, sun-soaked eatery located on McDowell Road just west of 16th Street offers a small but worthwhile lineup of breakfast options, all priced under $10. For a morning on the go, there's the breakfast sandwich, a fully customizable affair that can be served on your choice of a doughy house-made biscuit or a flaky, fresh croissant. For a heartier start, we love the pork chile verde, which, for just $9, includes a heaping portion of chile-kissed meat and a fried egg, all served over a buttermilk biscuit. Ricotta pancakes, French toast, and bagel and lox round out the options with a little bit of starch. The bakery and cafe even offers online ordering, so you can swing by and pick up your food without having to wait.

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