Best of Phoenix

Best of Phoenix 2018: Aaron Chamberlin's Favorite Local Spots

Best of Phoenix 2018: Aaron Chamberlin's Favorite Local Spots
Carrie Wheeler
Carrie Wheeler

Restaurateur Aaron Chamberlin lives for healthy food and good hospitality. And Chamberlin, who recently opened Southwestern eatery Ghost Ranch next door to his acclaimed Tempe Public Market Café, says he finds both in spades at Nobuo, the Asian tearoom at Teeter House. “It’s the healthiest restaurant in the Valley,” he claims. “Raw fish, low carbs, local vegetables, all presented with bold flavors. And it’s a bike ride from my house.”

Chamberlin and his wife do a lot of staycationing, especially at the newly refurbished Mountain Shadows Resort. “Their restaurant, Hearth ’61, doesn’t serve the usual heavy hotel food. It’s light, healthy stuff. I want substance as well as flavor, and chef Chuck Wiley has done a great job getting both into every entree.”

When he’s not chilling at a resort, Chamberlin is often in a hurry. “I love Flower Child because I can get quick, tasty nourishment for my kids and really healthy food for me. Plus, I can order online and have it delivered, which is great when I’m busy. And I’m usually busy.”

But Chamberlin’s never too busy for a good crepe. “Most crepe places, they serve them folded with something inside and some sauce on top,” he sighs. “But Crepe Bar serves the most inspired breakfast and lunch food around.” He likes the chipotle burrito crepe, with cheesy eggs and chorizo, and the vegetable crepe made exclusively with produce from nearby farms.

That local vibe is important to Chamberlin, and he finds rather a lot of it at Pane Bianco. “I eat there twice a week, and it’s like visiting family. Marco comes around the corner with flour on his pants, and I feel like I’m at home.” The food’s good, too. “It’s fast service, high-quality ingredients, consistent, affordable, and you always get a nice conversation with someone who works there. This place is a great addition to the Phoenix scene.”

• Nobuo at Teeter House (622 East Adams Street, 602-254-0600) is a shining star among local restaurants. They’ve won a James Beard Award, and they deserve it.

• Mountain Shadows Resort (5445 East Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, 480-624-5400) has all the bells and whistles of a really great hotel, and my wife and I love their restaurant, Hearth ’61.

• Flower Child (100 East Camelback Road, 480-212-0180) lets me feed my kids healthy food when I’m in a rush. They’re consistent and have a lot of great menu options.

• I love good coffee, and Crepe Bar (7520 South Rural Road, Tempe, 480-247-8012) serves really great coffee. And this is the only breakfast place you can go where they serve an amuse-bouche of cold cereal while you’re looking at the menu.

• I’ve been eating at Gallo Blanco (928 East Pierce Street, 602-327-0880) since they first opened. It’s the best Mexican cafe I know of where you can get breakfast, dinner, and lunch, and there’s always something new on the menu.
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela