Best Vegan Restaurant 2017 | Vegan House | Food & Drink | Phoenix

Vegan House has been quietly feeding the downtown Phoenix crowd for about two years now. It took over a space on Adams Street notorious for turning over restaurants, but this unassuming vegan spot has defied the odds and become something of a mainstay. The secret to its success may very well be in its quirky and diverse menu. You'll find standard appetizers like lettuce wraps and fried tofu, but also unexpected highlights like a strong faux-seafood menu. Gems include the green curry seafood, featuring a delightfully silky curry studded with well-seasoned vegan "shrimp." Sandwiches, noodle bowls, and wraps round out the menu. The lunch menu, especially, offers both good flavors and great value, a virtuous combination that will hopefully keep Vegan House around for years to come.

Looking to take your grocery shopping to the next level? Look no further than the Uptown Farmers Market. Every week, more than 60 vendors set up shop in the North Phoenix Baptist Church parking lot selling everything from organic greens and grass-fed beef to artisan soaps and ceramics. The community pop-up also puts together live music, food trucks, and a fair amount of outdoor seating so stroller-pushing, dog-walking visitors can turn their shopping into an all-morning affair. The market is open year round on Saturday mornings and moves indoors during the summer months. It also holds morning hours on Wednesdays throughout the fall so reusable bag-toting shoppers can keep their fridges stocked throughout the week.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Country Velador (she's the pastry chef for Cowboy Ciao) and her super-sweet husband, Sergio, had already made a mark with Super Chunk, their adorable candy shop (featuring everything from meringues to caramels to caneles, all house-made) but now they've opened an adjacent market with house-made bagels and bread, sandwiches, salads, more baked goods, housewares, and party supplies. Pizza's coming soon. And so's a lot more. Stop by for a coffee drink and stay for any and all of the above. We can't wait to see what these two overachievers cook up next.

Upon approaching Lee Lee, you'd be forgiven the mistake of identifying it as a Chinese market. After all, they call themselves an "Oriental market," and just inside the door there is an entire section dedicated to Buddha statues and tables upon which to keep said statues. But a walk through the aisles reveals that it is so much more. Lee Lee circles the globe. There is an entire row dedicated to the shrimp pastes, lemon grasses, and pickled vegetables of Thailand. Middle Eastern ingredients strangely share an aisle with imports from the Netherlands; nevertheless, you'll find everything from zaatar to Persian sugar candy stuffed on the shelves. Walk down India's row and you'll taste the curry leaves and masala blends, whose fragrance cannot be contained by their flimsy plastic packaging. Continue to the back of the store to peruse a vast selection of Japanese beers and sake. And in the produce aisle, feast your eyes on Sri Lankan banana flowers, the infamous durian fruits, and Filipino plantains. This is an international market in the truest sense, with something for everyone.

Heather Hoch
Freshly baked rugalah

A visit to Yasha From Russia is an immersive experience, beginning with the oversize Russian nesting dolls that adorn the exterior of the building. Inside, there is a vast selection of Russian wines and beers, which are worth buying for the amazing bottles alone. There is a small section of picked, canned, jarred, and dry goods, a deli counter slinging the likes of head cheese, as well as prepared foods like a very decent borscht. They have a selection of caviar (of course), but the real highlight of the market might be the frozen section. Coolers throughout the shop hold bins and bins of homemade pelmeni dumplings stuffed with everything from mashed potatoes and onions to ground pork to sweet cheese. They are purchased by the pound and can be taken home and boiled. The staff will be happy to explain to you that when the dumpling floats, you still should leave it another few minutes in the boiling water before fishing them out and serving alongside sour cream. There is no place in Phoenix quite like this East European shop.

Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Asiana Market is in a class of its own. The sprawling grocery store is located in a Mesa strip mall, but once you pass through the doors, you will feel like you're in a supermarket in Seoul. From kalbi potato chips to fresh rice cakes for dubboki and specialty cuts of meat like cross-cut cow's foot, this market has every Korean staple imaginable. Shop for them to the sound of K-pop playing gently over the speakers. One of the best parts of the shop is the prepared-food counter. There, you can watch the army of Korean women frying, baking, and boiling dishes like glass noodles, mung bean pancakes, fish cakes, and Korean fried chicken. Their prepacked lunch boxes come stuffed with rice, meat, glass noodles, rice cakes, bibimbap, and a seaweed salad, and every takeaway order is given with a free bottle of water. There is nothing not to love.

Everything about Ruze Cake House is beautiful: the decor, the baked goods, even the drinks are lovely and colorful and supremely Instagrammable. But the appeal of the Old Town Scottsdale bakery goes far beyond its aesthetics. The goods here are delicious and made with the utmost care; the selection is constantly changing but can include macarons, cookies, cupcakes, sweet and savory croissants, marshmallows, pies, sweet rolls, and more. We love the macarons for ourselves, and the Arizona- and cactus-shaped cookies that come in a variety of icing designs make excellent gifts. Also, Ruze still produces the elegant custom wedding cakes that gave the company their start. And these days, the beverage menu is developing its own dedicated fan base: The bakery sells Cartel coffee along with a number of signature beverages, including a hot-pink concoction called the Ruze, which is made from prickly-pear tea, prickly-pear syrup, milk, and tapioca pearls.

Housed in a small strip mall on North Scottsdale Road, this shop is easy to miss. Once inside, you'll find ramshackle shelves stuffed with Persian, Middle Eastern, and Indian ingredients, canned goods, dried beans, and sweets, in no discernable order. There's a small produce section and a dairy fridge filled with treats like Iranian clotted cream, feta cheeses, and doogh, a salty yogurt drink in both carbonated and flat versions. But the real reason to visit this shop is the stone-oven bakery tucked in the back, just behind the register. There, a team of bakers make thin, chewy, sesame-encrusted sangak bread; delicate rounds of lavash; and thick, pillowy ovals of barberi bread. Not all the breads are available every day, or even all day, but if you call ahead, you can walk out with a stack of flatbread still hot and steaming through its paper wrapping. It is the best Persian bread in the state, and maybe even the best flatbread, period. Pick it up along with a chunk of feta and some fresh herbs or clotted cream and honey.

Judy Nichols

Jewel's has long been a favorite for gluten-free fans in Phoenix, and they continue to be the best place around for fresh-baked loaves of flaxseed bread, burger buns, brownies, muffins, and all manner of typically "off-limits" carb-laden goodness. Even those who aren't gluten-free can appreciate the indulgent, super-moist salted-caramel brownies, cranberry scones, and chocolate-white chocolate chip cookies.

Here's what our vegan friends say about treats from Treehouse Bakery: "These are really good!" Here's what our non-vegan friends say about treats from Treehouse Bakery: "These are vegan? Wow, these are really good!" Any misconceptions you may be carrying about vegan desserts being less tasty than "regular" ones can now be left at the door. Step inside the cheerful pink-and-white storefront near Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue, and you'll see a small but enticing selection of pastries, cookies, brownies, scones, and more. We love the light, moist lemon cupcakes, the rich brownies, and the flaky house-made toaster pastries. Treehouse also does birthday cakes, wedding cakes, and large orders of cupcakes in a variety of flavors, such as red velvet, apple pie, French toast, pistachio, and peanut butter. Some can even be made gluten-free. In short, Treehouse isn't just a great vegan bakery — it's a great bakery, full stop.

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