Whether it's your neighborhood, just outside your backyard, or clear across town from your regular haunts, Chandler is a dining district worth exploring. You'll find excellent destinations for Asian, Indian, and Latin cuisine in this East Valley suburb, in some cases not more than a few miles from one another.
Our list of favorite restaurants right now includes some of the very best ethnic restaurants, as well as a neighborhood spot for simple food done well and a place where you can count on a great cocktail.
American Way Market Cafe
Head to Merchant Square Antique Mall to find American Way Market Cafe, a small breakfast and lunch spot with excellent breads and house-smoked meats. It may sound like an odd combination, but becomes slightly less so when you learn that baker Jared Allen of Proof Breads is the one responsible for the cafe's sourdough flatbreads, croissants, and cinnamon rolls. The menu includes a selection of salads, sandwiches, and more, all of which are made in house, from scratch, and oftentimes with the help of the giant smoker owner Mike Moore salvaged from the original Bill Johnson's Big Apple restaurant.
House of Eggroll
Located just across the street from longtime fan favorite Chou's Kitchen (which specializes in northeastern Chinese cuisine), you'll find House of Eggroll. But don't let the generic moniker fool you: this is not your typical takeout Chinese eatery, but rather a destination for those in search of hard-to-find northwestern Chinese cuisine. Expect steaming bowls of vinegary broth loaded with pillowy dumplings and umami-rich seaweed, as well as ribbon-like noodles topped with succulent shredded pork. Just be sure to bring a friend on this dining adventure, as the portion sizes tend to lend themselves toward sharing.
If you're looking for traditional sushi, then you'll want to head to Shimogamo in Chandler. Located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Warner and Dobson roads in Chandler — a veritable Asian cuisine destination — this sleek restaurant offers a whole spread of sashimi, nigiri, and maki, including sometimes hard-to-find options such as escolar, sweet shrimp, and sea urchin. Crazy, modern rolls aren't really the name of the game here, though you can get delicious and sometimes unexpected sushi rolls such as the Zen Roll, made with spicy yellowtail, shishito peppers, and yamagobo, and topped with white fish and jalapeño.
The Brickyard Downtown
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Sure, The Brickyard Downtown has brought classic and creative cocktails to downtown Chandler. But the new spot has more to offer than just playful drinks, including an excellent and boozy take on a root-beer float. Diners can also look forward to a menu of sharable plates including olives, fried artichokes, and stuffed peppers, as well as miniature "Big Macs" and prosciutto-wrapped prawns. As an added bonus, the restaurant's located inside historic digs. The building used to be home to the Chandler Arizonan, a newspaper first published in 1912 that was later bought by the East Valley Tribune.
Woodlands Vegetarian South Indian Kitchen
Vegetarian food has never looked so good as at Chandler's Woodlands Vegetarian South Indian Kitchen. The fast-casual spot serves affordable South Indian eats including dosa, the popular crepe-like street food made with rice and lentil and stuffed with vegetables and curries. Other specialties include rasam, a tamarind, lentil, and tomato soup, and vadai, or deep-fried patties with lentil and ginger — but be warned that just about everything on the menu comes with a little spice. It's usually not so much that it overpowers all the subtler flavors, but sensitive diners will still appreciate the restaurant's chutney bar with plenty of options to punch up or cool down your dinner.
Originally published March 3, 2015. Updated May 16, 2016.