For those who think South Phoenix is food-starved when it comes to great restaurants, think again.
At the moment, the five best restaurants in the area feature farm-fresh produce, luscious meats, and organic grains -- many locally sourced -- in boldly flavored, scratch made dishes that are deceptively simple and completely satisfying. Their settings range from romantic, to breezy, to decidedly modest. And for those that have patios, al fresco perfect.
Some are longtime favorites, others just a few years old, and all would appreciate a visit.
Thirty-two-year-old chef Dustin Christofolo may have left to helm Quiessence (which, along with The House at Secret Garden, he owns with mom Pat Christofolo), but he's still overseeing his restaurant's contemporary American menu of housemade pastas and dishes utilizing locally sourced products. And with patio weather in full swing and new chef Chris Barch (St. Francis) adding a few touches of his own, the romantic Spanish-style mansion is as inviting as ever.
At their cheery, Ahwatukee vegetarian and vegan cafe, mother-daughter chef duo Marlene and Cassie Tolman serve up vibrant, nourishing, and flavor-packed eats like sandwiches, salads, and all-day breakfast items made with a harmony of fresh vegetables and grains, fruit-packed smoothies and veggie juices, and a dazzling array of ever-changing sweet treats. There are gluten-free and raw options, too.
Since 2011, Texas expats Mike Pitt and Doug Dieckmann have been serving their smoked meats on large rectangles of butcher paper while politely encouraging customers to eat them sans sauce, plates -- and even forks. At their modest little restaurant, you'll find luscious brisket, jalapeño sausage, rosemary-rubbed turkey that tastes like Thanksgiving, and hulky and meaty beef ribs that are easily some of the best in the Valley.
A hidden gem filled with satisfying, expertly prepared classic Thai dishes, this tiny, unassuming spot from owner and chef Chanpen Ramonaitis is (quite possibly) the only Thai restaurant in South Phoenix. Along with street food eats, colorful curries, and stir-fried dishes laden with crunchy vegetables, don't miss Ramonaitis' unique offerings and improvised dishes of Thai-style favorites that change out regularly.
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Right next door to Maya's Farm, this charming outdoor breakfast and brunch spot at The Farm at South Mountain brings true meaning to the term, "farm-to-table fare." Adding lush lawns, stunning gardens, and stately pecan trees to its array of fresh, homestyle breakfasts, rustic brunch dishes, and a selection of scratch-made muffins and pastries, it's more or less down-on-the-farm eats worth getting out of bed for.
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