Welcome to Dining Guides, an intermittent series on the many dining hubs around the greater Phoenix area and what they have to offer. Breakfast to drinks, quick coffee to sit-down dining, we break down some of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Today, we want to zero in on lower Seventh Avenue in the Coronado District.
The Coronado District is easily one of the Valley's cutest neighborhoods, if we may use that word. Serious eats are abundant along lower Seventh Street in central Phoenix. The area — sometimes dubbed Vegan Row, thanks to all the vegan options — is as versatile as it is historic, and includes classic diners, killer cocktails, and worldly eats. Let’s break it down.
Urban Beans3508 North Seventh Street
Urban Beans offers freshly brewed coffee and espresso drinks as well as teas and other specialty beverages. Think latte, chai, mocha, and the UB 24 Hour Cold Brew. In addition to your caffeine dream, you can order Italian soda, juice, horchata, smoothies, and frappes. Oh, and don’t forget the pear almond scone or zenergy bar.
Bikini Beans Coffee2330 North Seventh Street
If you're looking for a coffee shop with a drive-thru on Seventh Street, Bikini Beans Coffee is certainly ... one of them. This place, something like the Hooters of coffee shops, offers black iced coffee to frappes, teas, smoothies, energy drinks, and protein shakes. The shop specializes in iced drinks, but that's how the toasted coconut latte tastes best anyway.
Giving Tree Cafe2024 North Seventh Street, #111
To put it bluntly, this might be the “hippiest” of vegan-friendly restaurants on this list. The menu at Giving Tree Cafe is entirely organic and gluten-free, and interior décor is sparse save for a kids’ corner play area and a couple of gorgeous, gigantic amethyst geodes. There's an all-day breakfast menu with many recommendations. The spinach-packed vegan quiche is especially good and "Delicious AF" is how Giving Tree Café describes its banana bread with macadamia butter.
The Coronado2201 North Seventh Street
This casual, vegetarian eatery and coffee shop serves breakfast all day, including two freshly baked biscuits topped with rosemary-mushroom gravy. There’s also a breakfast burrito, chia pudding, avocado toast, and a farmyard vegetable scramble with your choice of egg or tofu. There’s also a selection of coffee, fresh pastries, and a dog-friendly patio. The Coronado opens at 7 a.m. daily.
Green New American Vegetarian2022 North Seventh Street
This 100 percent vegan restaurant serves comfort food ideal for lunch out of the office or just a midday break. Those vegan buffalo wings can hang with the real thang, while the peanut mock chicken salad is yes, a big salad, but it will go fast. Another recommendation at Green is the original “g” spicy po'boy — a messy handheld just waiting to be ordered. The house-made drinks are also a treat and include organic sweet lime, strawberry lemonade, electric nectar, and organic fair trade (unsweetened) green tea — all made with unrefined organic sugar.
America's Taco Shop2041 North Seventh Street
If you’re on the hunt for Mexican food, head for the 2008-established America's Taco Shop. The menu offers al pastor, char-grilled chicken, and carne asada in the form of tacos, burritos, bowls, salads, quesadillas, and nachos. Even for a quick snack, you could order chips and guacamole, or just a homemade agua fresca for the road.
Thai Recipe Bistro2234 North Seventh Street
The recently opened Thai Recipe Bistro offers lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. Diners can pick a protein and pair it with jasmine rice and a veggie roll. The menu lists curry, soup, fried rice, noodle dishes, and more. One recommendation is the Crying Tiger — char-broiled marinated beef served on a hot plate with house chili lime sauce.
New India Bazaar & Cuisine2544 North Seventh Street
Hidden at the back of this small, Indian market is a no-frills Punjabi-minded eatery of top-notch chaat. Try the popular samosa chaat, a dish akin to a savory exotic pie, for a light snack or appetizer, and then move on to stellar vegetarian offerings like the spinach-based palak paneer or aloo mutter made from potatoes and peas in a creamy sauce, a popular order at the wallet-friendly New India Bazaar.
Urban Cookies Bakeshop2325 North Seventh Street
This beloved bakery is ideal for a quick treat in the Coronado district. Pick up anything from a snickerdoodle to a pineapple coconut cookie to a dark chocolate cookie with sea salt, or head in for the cupcakes, dessert bars, doughnuts, or ice cream. If it’s just a boost you need after lunch, Urban Cookies offers a full menu of Passport Coffee & Tea products.
Taco Guild546 East Osborn Road
There's not much better than Confession Hour (2 to 6 p.m. daily) at Taco Guild. In addition to tequila, the wraparound bar has dark and light rum, beers, wine — a full bar, really. And you can mix anything with Mexican Coke (which they have in bottles at $3 a pop). But the best part is the piping hot bowl of tortilla chips that comes spinning out once you sit at the bar — complete with three sauces. Other quick snacks include the Diablo Eggs, yucca fries, and the queso fundido.
The Main Ingredient Ale House & Café2337 North Seventh Street
Attention, mac and cheese fans. This is where to be. Sergio’s Mac & Cheese at The Main Ingredient Ale House & Café is a baked dish of cheese pasta with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of pesto. The cozy little house restaurant also has wine and specialty cocktails like the Dream Daquiri, the TMI Negron, and the Alameda Margarita, but this place is an alehouse for a reason. Choose from a full page of draft, bottled, and canned beers. During happy hour (11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday) it’s $2 off all draft beers, well liquor, select wines by the glass, and specialty cocktails.
El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant & Bar2605 North Seventh Street
For super-fans of Peruvian food, the family-owned El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant & Bar has probably been your spot since its 2014 opening. Starters include a crispy chicharron, the salchipapa (french fries with fried sliced hot dogs), and the beloved anticuchos — marinated grilled beef heart kebabs. For entrees, get excited for the tacu tacu de mariscos, ceviche mixto, and the arroz chaufa — a Peruvian-meets-Chinese fusion-style dish of chicken fried rice. The menu also offers vegetarian dishes, soups, sides, and desserts — as well as killer margaritas and other craft cocktails. All this and more can be enjoyed in the small yet colorful dining room.
Rice Paper Vietnamese Restaurant2241 North Seventh Street
Every list needs a token hip spot, and the Coronado neighborhood provides that place with the cozy, house-turned-restaurant Rice Paper. Advertised as a spring roll bar, the menu is dominated by its many rolls, but fear not, the small pho section certainly makes up for its size through flavor.
Nami2014 North Seventh Street
Yes, Nami is on here twice, because the tSoynami is easily the best frozen vegan dessert in metro Phoenix. It is basically a vegan version of a Dairy Queen Blizzard. We're super into the Doughboy, which features vegan cookie dough. In the mood for something more sophisticated? Try the Chai Tiramisu. Granted, it's not really all that tiramisu-like, but the animal crackers take the place of ladyfingers and bring a crunchy texture to the soft-serve chai blend. And with more than 15 tSoynami combos on the menu plus a seasonal recipe, there are plenty of choices for every taste.
MacAlpine's Diner & Soda Fountain2303 North Seventh Street
MacAlpine's is an iconic spot with its red booths, jukeboxes, and attached antique store, along with endless syrup options and ice cream sodas available to order with fun, pop-culture referencing names. The staff wear those pink dresses you won't see anywhere else; essentially, this is a dessert haven.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on October 4, 2016. It was updated on February 19, 2021.
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