Though North Phoenix doesn't exactly rank as a Valley dining destination, there's good cause to be envious of those who live in this part of town. You may have to look a little harder to find upscale, fancy restaurant options, but several standout Asian restaurants call this area home.
Our list of favorite North Phoenix restaurants includes a cozy spot for sushi and Japanese eats, as well as an Indian restaurant where the spicy cuisine comes with a side of unique cocktails.
Diners looking to stick to the basics at Nee House will certainly enjoy the selection of Americanized dishes that appear on the restaurant's menu. But if you venture into more traditional Cantonese territory, then you're in for a real treat. Seafood is a specialty of this strip mall spot, in part because much of what you eat gets plucked from the tanks in the dining room just after you order. Everything from a simple plate of fried rice to a dish of crispy salt and pepper squid to fried tofu served with a a dried scallop sauce can make for a satisfying meal.
This understated North Phoenix restaurant serves upscale barbecue and other smokehouse fare including 24-hour marinated honey Sriracha chicken wings, mussels, and a pan seared Scottish salmon that's served over Forbidden rice and a delicate shallot reduction sauce. The restaurant's PBLT ranks as one of our favorite sandwiches ever, thanks to the winning combination of 10 hour smoked pork belly, tomato, red onion, iceberg, and spiced aioli. Plus, there's always the housemade apple pie moonshine, a potent but delicious concoction. We bet you can't drink just one.
If you want traditional Indian food in a more upscale atmosphere, then Marigold Maison should fit the bill. This restaurant, brought to a North Phoenix strip mall by the same folks behind the former Bombay Spice restaurant, delivers all your favorite dishes including tikka masala and classic curry, alongside a few harder to find dishes such as South Indian dosa and Indian street food including aloo tikki chaat. Best of all, you can have your meal with a glass of wine or craft beer — though Marigold Maison also pours a selection of all-natural drinks made with ingredients such as rosewater, yogurt, tea, and ginger cardamom syrup.
Yasu Sushi Bistro
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Though unassuming on the outside, this Japanese restaurant is the perfect neighborhood spot for a nice dinner out. Chef and owner Yasu Hashino brings in fresh fish and turns it into delicious rolls and dishes cooked on the restaurant's Japanese charcoal grill called a binchotan. We love everything at Yasu from the grilled tsukune (chicken meatballs) to the house-style salmon sashmi, though you should always look out for the daily specials. Usually there's a whole page of options that feature whatever fresh seafood Hashino could find.
Not surprisingly, pho is what this place does best, but that doesn't mean the rest of the Pho A.V.'s Vietnamese offerings aren't worth exploring. In addition to a bowl of noodles in a rich, beef broth, try plates of prawns sautéed with carrots, onions, and water chestnuts in tamarind sauce or bun thit nuong, a cold rice vermicelli noodle dish made with slices of sweet, garlicky pork. You can also look forward to chatting up the chef and owner and his wife, who run the restaurant as a two-person team.
Originally published January 1, 2015. Updated March 15, 2016.