Best African Restaurant 2022 | Authentic EthioAfrican | Food & Drink | Phoenix
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Chris Malloy

It's impossible not to feel a festive vibe when you walk into Authentic EthioAfrican. Opened by husband and wife Anduale Hassan and Elsabet Tiruneh a decade ago on McDowell Road and 18th Street, fans have always come for the affordable Ethiopian food: slow-cooked doro wat, beef tips singing with spice, freshly fried sambusas stuffed with lentils, fragrant kitfo made with minced raw meat, and celebratory vegan platters circled with spicy stews. After a six-month renovation, the bigger, jazzier space is a draw, too. Filled with wood carvings and art work straight from Ethiopia, the space offers wood-lined walls and tables topped with colorful mesob baskets. They also offer an Ethiopian coffee ceremony and live music on holidays, plus have added a full bar and bar seating, so you can wash down massive rounds of injera with a draft beer or colorful cocktail.

Molly Smith

Chompie's may technically be a Jewish deli, but everyone with an appetite is welcome. The longtime local chain has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner for decades, and the traditional Jewish foods haven't changed. The matzah ball soup is still warm and satisfying, full of chunky carrots and pieces of chicken. The bagels still hit the spot in the morning, especially topped with a schmear of cream cheese and some lox. Chompie's is known for their mile-high sandwiches, piles of pastrami or roast beef so large we can barely grab them. The new location on Cactus Road is its most beautiful storefront yet, a huge dining room/market combination where anyone for an appreciation for good food can come and be fed.

Judy Nichols

This gluten-free eatery serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch from its location at 40th Street and Thomas Road in Arcadia. The biscuit and gravy, a fresh-baked garlic cheddar biscuit topped with sausage gravy and served with two eggs your way, is a great option for those who may not otherwise be able to eat the dish. Chicken and waffles come in several varieties, from classic to popcorn to hot chicken, and a churro and Belgian waffle are also on the menu. The baked goods at Jewel's are also delicious, whether you go for Fruity Pebble-topped doughnuts or a chocolate chip cookie. The cute cafe is a non-glutinous dream, with breakfast and lunch options for the entire family, including grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids. Cocktails are also on the menu, with margaritas, mimosas, and bloody marys.

Katie Johnson

Southern comfort food that's completely vegan? Yes, you heard that correctly. Green New American Vegetarian serves tasty fare — a classic burger, cheesesteak, and Buffalo wings — without using any meat. The menu is expansive and even meat-eaters won't argue about how the chili fries and burgers taste like the real deal. These "mock" meats are more than satisfying — herbivores and carnivores are both likely to revisit Green. Cap off your meal with the ice cream dessert called tSoynami, a mixture of unrefined sugar, coconut milk, and organic soy with flavors including peanut butter, mint, rocky road, and peach cobbler. It's a cliche, but at Green, you don't even miss the meat.

Nearly 200 vendors are part of this farmers' market, where they sell goodies including breads, honeys, meats, spices, fruits, vegetables, chocolate, salsa, pasta, and more. Besides the bountiful food and beverage options, you'll find a vast array of merchandise for times you need to buy a gift of splurge on a little self-care. Think pottery, aprons, cutting boards, totes, plants, and candles. The Saturday morning markets give you a chance to start your weekend with a little sunshine and fresh air, the bustle of community, and the good feelings that stem from supporting local farmers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Kids have a blast exploring the sights, including the pets that join their people in taking it all in. Once you've gotten all your fresh produce, you can look forward to making a meal that doesn't come in a wrapper or a Styrofoam box.

H Mart, the popular Asian grocery store with locations throughout the country from California to Illinois and New York, opened its first Arizona store in Mesa in 2020. The massive Korean grocery store offers produce, meat, fresh seafood, and lots of specialty Asian items such as Nongshim Shin Ramyun noodles, Huey Fong sambal oelek chili paste, and various flavors of the Pocky sweet coated biscuit sticks. H Mart also has a food hall with options from noodle dishes to bulgogi risotto, chicken wings, kimchi, and pork belly. There's also a Paris Baguette bakery inside the store, with a vast selection of treats like croissants, sticky milk buns, and chocolate cake topped with macarons.

When we travel, our favorite thing to do is eat. So we love Lee Lee's International Supermarket because pushing our cart up and down the aisles feels like taking a world culinary tour. Frozen lumpia from the Philippines. Eastern European meats. Indian spices. Countless types of noodles. We don't have enough room in our kitchen (or our stomach) for everything we want to try at Lee Lee, so we just keep going back for our favorite items and to try a few new things each time. We also like the little housewares area in the front of the store, where we can find cute bowls and cups to hold our global fare.

What looks like a simple convenience store from its location at Seventh Street and Thunderbird Road in north Phoenix is actually so much more. Summer Market stocks a plentiful supply of Middle Eastern goods, from garbanzo beans to fragrant spices such as Madras curry powder and fresh bread baked daily. And you won't have to break the bank at this local grocer, whether you're in search of cheese, yogurt, falafel mix, or a wide selection of bulk beans and seeds. So grab your favorite Middle Eastern friend (and their mother's stuffed grape leaf recipe) and head to Summer Market to stock up on the goods.

Meagan Simmons

DeFalco's is an old-school Italian deli where you can grab lasagna, fresh pasta, imported Parmesan cheese, and homemade pizzelle (traditional Italian waffle cookies) all on the same trip. The hot food is made to order but worth the roughly 30-minute wait, so order ahead if you wish to grab and go. The Centurion Calzone is stuffed with fresh mozzarella, spicy soppressata, roasted red peppers, fresh tomato, basil, and kalamata olives. The cheese oozes out as you dip it into the accompanying San Marzano tomato sauce and take a bite. The eggplant Parmigiana is a favorite among veggie lovers, while the ravioli with meat sauce is sure to satisfy the carnivores out there. And we always pick up dessert whenever we visit DeFalco's: The cannolis come traditional and with a chocolate shell, and the cheesecakes are freshly baked.

Peace. Love. Cheese. That's the motto on one of the T-shirts you can snag at Mingle & Graze, where another style features a four-letter F-word that isn't F-E-T-A. We like their spunk, and their unabashed devotion to all things cheese — and not just because they give us an excuse to use our fancy charcuterie boards. They do catering, carryout, and private events. But what we love most are the tastings and cooking workshops, because we want to truly understand and appreciate the finer qualities of cheese instead of merely stuffing our faces with it. The restaurant has plenty of options for your friends who might not revel in all things cheese, plus a kids' menu. Our favorite picks are the build-your-own boards that give you the chance to try a little of this and a little of that. Add in the eatery's charming decor and you have a one-of-a-kind culinary experience to share with locals and out-of-towners alike.

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