Craving something savory from northeastern China? How about fresh pasta, or a killer roast beef? You can satisfy all those cravings with a trip to Mesa. This East Valley suburb has some of our top dining destinations, including standouts for Chinese cuisine, Italian staples, and Latin American eats.
5609 East McKellips Road, Mesa
Osteria brings some much-needed culinary firepower to northeast Mesa. Owners Jeff and Alec-Lauren Golzio and chef Tony Snyder have fashioned a modern Italian restaurant with the laid-back airs of a refined neighborhood cafe. The menu features a compelling assortment of antipasti, pasta, wood-fired pizzas, salads, and entrees. The fresh pasta menu is a highlight, especially the campanelle, served with bright, ultra-fresh basil pesto. In a city chock-full of great Neapolitan-style pizza, chef Snyder’s wood-fired pies are notable in their own right, especially pies like his salsiccia, featuring spicy homemade fennel sausage.
Asian Cafe Express
1911 West Main Street, Mesa
It's small and it's certainly no-frills, but Asian Cafe Express is nevertheless one of the best-loved Chinese restaurants in town. Opened by chef Michael Leung and his wife in 2005, this Mesa restaurant has become known for its unique BYOS (bring your own seafood and the chefs will cook it) policy and for its impressive menu with more than 300 items. Leung prides himself on offering customers Hong Kong-style cuisine, including favorites such as clams in black bean sauce, pickle and pork noodle soup, and salted fish and chicken fried rice. And did we mention the affordable price point? Many of the dishes will set you back less than $10.
218 West Main Street, Mesa
This quirky, bustling mom-and-pop on Main Street specializes in craft sandwiches featuring locally sourced ingredients. Worth Takeaway's signature sandwich is its Crispy Chicken, served on ciabatta with house-made pickles and just the right amount of mayonnaise and Sriracha honey. Another highlight is the roast beef sandwich, served with a horseradish crema and seasonal greens from Steadfast Farm in Queen Creek. The all-day breakfast menu is equally irresistible — especially the pastrami croque madame. Don't miss the homemade banana pudding for dessert.
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67 North Dobson Road #109, Mesa
The hearty, bold flavors of Northwestern China’s Shaanxi province and its capital city of Xi'an are the specialty at Shaanxi Garden, a culinary gem tucked into a suburban eastside shopping center. The expansive menu features specialties like homemade noodles, offal salads, dumplings (try the spicy and sour lamb dumplings), lamb kebabs, and robust stews. Even simple vegetable dishes like dried green beans pulsate with flavor.
204 East First Avenue, Mesa
Indecisive diners will love this family-owned and -operated restaurant that specializes in Latin American comfort foods. The star of the show is the selection of savory and sweet empanadas, each of which comes encased in golden, flaky fried wheat flour dough. Some of our favorites from the Republica Empanada menu include the Boricua empanada, filled with fragrant pernil made with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), ham hock, and cooked in sofrito. Another can't-miss option is the achiote potato empanada, made with potato and annatto seed seasoning. Don't forget to wash down the meal with a cold craft beer; the restaurant has a fridge stocked with primo bottles.