Mesa, the third-largest city in Arizona, sports some big-time tastes when it comes to its best restaurants at the moment.
Here, you'll find flavors from all over the globe -- Asia, Latin America, even Canada -- in dishes put together with things like cured fish, minced banana flowers, and ham hock. And given that they're served up in places ranging from food courts to sit-down restaurants with a fully stocked bar, how to experience them is up to you and your wallet.
Thanks to its new digs in Mesa, Hanna Gabrielsson's quirky and crazily unique Swedish, Polish, and Canadian restaurant is bigger -- and Beav-ier -- than ever. Now, The Beaver's luscious, loaded plates of schnitzels, cured fish, and meatballs can be had in a sleek new dining room three times the size of the original, outside on the patio, or alongside a glass of wine or imported brew from the fully stocked bar. Smooth move, Beaver.
For over five years, this real-deal restaurant of Hong Kong-style cuisine has been churning out very good stews, hot pots, fried rice, congee, and noodle dishes from a novella-sized menu put together by chef Michael Leung. Try the chili sauce dumplings, Singapore-style fried noodles, or the ma po tofu hot pot. And if you bring your own seafood (that's right, BYOS), the kitchen will prepare it anyway you'd like for just a five-spot.
Walter and Marti Bergamaschi's penchant for premium ingredients is what makes their tiny, unassuming grocery and Northern Italian-based eatery so exceptional. You'll find bruschetta as simple and fresh as bruschetta can get here, as well as stellar sandwiches layered with parmacotto ham and smoked prosciutto, and scratch-made ravioli filled with delights such as fresh vegetables, herbs, and savory beef. For dessert, there's gelato, courtesy of the Bergamaschi's shop next door.
For those who enjoy the portable perfection of a delicious wrapped snack, this inviting empanaderia serves up over 20 savory and sweet empanadas ranging from the straightforward (Nutella and banana) to the more unusual (the Puerto Rican-style Boricua and the addictive cheeseburger). Entrees such as a very good plate of the classic Latin American dish arroz con pollo round out the menu of comforting Latin American fare.
A rare treat for fans of Vietnamese food, this counter-service stand in the food court of Mekong Plaza focuses on the distinctive food of Hue (pronounced "hweh") located in the center of Vietnam and the country's one-time imperial capital. Try dainty dishes of petite filled rice cakes called banh beo, Vietnamese crab soup (banh canh cua), and com hen, the intricate and full-flavored Vietnamese street food that gets better with every bite.
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