Head west of the Loop 101, hit the US 60, and you're in the north West Valley. And while it's not the hottest or hippest part of greater Phoenix, the cities in this neck of the woods -- which include Peoria, Surprise, and El Mirage -- have more than a few restaurant gems to offer hungry diners. You know, the kind of places we wish were just a little closer to Phoenix proper.
From upscale French cuisine to favorite neighborhood Mexican spots, here are the five best restaurants in the north West Valley right now.
French-trained chefs Snir and Kiersten Mor opened their tiny BYOB country-French bistro in 2008, settling in Surprise because of the affordable housing prices and nearby family. We're sure the locals are happy they did. Amuse Bouche serves some of the best French food in the entire Valley, including delicious Quiche Lorraine, housemade chicken liver pâté, and a perfectly moist Berkshire pork chop with red wine demi-glace with roasted fingerling potatoes and asparagus. In 2010 they even earned a nod from the New York Times.
New York Flavor
New York Flavor owner Bill Olear knows a few things about New York-style eats and has brought some of the Big Apple's most-loved dishes to Surprise. At this small, fast-casual spot you can find over 25 kinds of hoagies, New York cheesecake, and a classic New York egg sandwich. The restaurant even serves egg creams, the drink with milk and soda water that was made famous by soda fountains in Brooklyn. At New York Flavor, Olear makes them with a half-inch of Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup, delivering a foamy, chocolatey treat you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere around town.
Rio Mirage Cafe y Cantina
If you're on the hunt for an old-school Mexican restaurant, then look no farther than Rio Mirage Cafe y Cantina in El Mirage. The restaurant offers all the classics including burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and more, as well as an impressive brunch that features unlimited chorizo con huevos, red menudo, chiles rellenos, and freshly grilled tortillas that will be delivered in a basket right to your table. Don't forget to end your meal with something sweet like their pan dulce or a churro with apple or caramel filling.
Leo's Island BBQ
If you're looking for a taste of the Hawaiian Islands, you could do worse than what you'll find at Leo's Island BBQ in Peoria. This small, bright eatery offers nearly 30 different types of plate lunch, a favorite island-style meal that always comes with two scoops of rice and a side of macaroni salad. You can get your plate lunch loaded with smoky kalua pork, tangy teriyaki beef, or Spam. If you're going for a really authentic experience, try the loco moco, a popular meal with islanders that features a hamburger patty and fried egg smothered in gravy. And with nearly everything priced under $10, you're in for a filling and affordable meal.
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No, you're not reading this wrong. As it happens, Surprise is home to not one, but two of the city's best French restaurants. At Vogue Bistro French expat Aurore de Beauduy serves an approachable menu of French and French-inspiried fare. There are dishes like the escargot, foie gras, and duck confit, but also more American-style eats including meatloaf, burgers, and even lasagna. The restaurant also serves a lineup of "designer" martinis, each of which takes its name from a French fashion house.
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