Chow Bella

5 Things Food and Drink Lovers Need in Metro Phoenix Right Now

It's been a while since we've written a Phoenix wish list. In the past, we've focused on specific places -- like downtown Phoenix and Tempe's Mill Avenue -- but this time I'm tackling issues all over town.

Phoenix is a great city to live and eat in, but there are still plenty of things I wish we had to offer. Here are the top five.

See also: 10 National Food Trends for 2014 Translated for Arizona

Specialty Food Stores

There are tons of great locally made and grown products in Phoenix, everything from produce to meats, honey, and teas. But finding them all takes effort. You can go to farmers markets and places like Luci's Healthy Marketplace and La Grande Orange Grocery, but we deserve to have at least one great specialty food store and preferably one in every neighborhood. Wouldn't it be great to have a place to pick up everything you need for dinner -- fresh bread, gourmet cheese, and more -- in one stop? A wanna-be home cook can dream.

Good Sushi in Arcadia

I'm not saying I haven't been to sushi restaurants in downtown Phoenix and even Arcadia, but when I'm craving the good stuff, I either make the drive to Hana Japanese Eatery or up to one of the places in North Scottsdale. It's as if the East Camelback corridor -- and even Tempe, for that matter -- is a sushi black hole, where your only options are cheap, cream cheese-filled rolls or expensive ones loaded with fish then smothered in spicy sauces. We've got just about everything else in this neighborhood, it's time for some amaebi and toro nigiri.

More Mixology in Old Town Scottsdale

In other large metropolitan cities you can hit the downtown scene and hop from bar to bar sipping tip-notch cocktails like it ain't no thang. In Old Town Scottsdale, there are definitely places to get your mixology on -- like Second Story Liquor Bar and Citizen Public House -- but not nearly enough if we want the area to be more than just a place for tank-top-wearing douchebags and Red Bull vodka-drinking gals. After midnight, when many of the restaurants with good bars close, there's little to keep the cocktail crowd around, and that's just a shame.

Greek Restaurants, Anywhere

We've got at least three Greek food festivals that I can think of but when it comes to actual Greek restaurants, we're kind of lacking. Most of the really good Greek food I've had in Phoenix has been Mediterranean (as opposed to specifically Greek) restaurants. Let's get a Cafe Ga Hyang of Greek cuisine, Phoenix. I'd make the drive for some handmade dolmades with an extra-large serving of moussaka.

Parking. Everywhere.

You can call it "free" valet all you want, but I still have to tip, which may not be a problem for some of you, but as a person who rarely carries cash this poses a big problem. Not to mention the fact that half the time the valet just park the car five feet from the entrance leaving me wondering why we need them in the first place. Let's get some parking structures going on around town -- or even better, some real public transportation. But that's a whole different issue.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria