We came. We saw. We ate. Here are our whole-stomached recommendations for five restaurants to try now in metro Phoenix. This all-star roster features brunch and dinner, comfort food and high-end eats, Eastern and Western restaurants.
The Dressing Room debuted next door to monOrchid earlier this year. It’s already making Roosevelt Row a more interesting place to eat. The restaurant’s menu describes the offerings as “food from streets, beaches, carts, and trucks,” which gives you a good idea of the restaurant’s overall tenor and philosophy. This is casual food, the kind you might eat standing up, usually with your bare hands, the juices dripping onto a paper boat. Food that is universally irresistible.
Mora Italian in Phoenix
The rustic food of Scott Conant’s Mora Italian displays rare finesse and bright flavors. Conant and executive chef Ryan Morrison produce food with the lightness that all great Italian food has (excepting cream-and-butter regions north). But their Italian blazes its own path. Mora lacks Italian standbys like cacio e pepe; the menu lists few Italian-American red-sauce greatest hits. For Conant, what has been done is a starting point.
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Soup & Sausage Bistro in Phoenix
The flaczki at Soup & Sausage Bistro, a new north Phoenix restaurant serving a motley menu of Ukrainian and Polish cuisine, is a soup worth obsessing over, but it’s far from the only star dish at the restaurant. The small counter-service spot, which is operated by Ukraine-born chef-owner Oleksii Koshalko, opened earlier this year at Shaw Butte Plaza and is quietly turning out top-notch East European fare, including staples like borscht and dumplings.
Singing Pandas Asian Restaurant & Bar in Chandler
As any Red Sox fan can tell you, you haven’t really lived until you’ve sung “Sweet Caroline” with a large crowd of strangers. And Neil Diamond singalongs, it turns out, are a regular occurrence at Singing Pandas, a Chinese restaurant that quietly opened on Chandler Boulevard in early 2016.
The menu at Singing Pandas, a straightforward collection of American Chinese dishes, with the occasional Cantonese or Sichuan flourish, is neither novel nor trendy. This is comfort food in the Panda Express vein, powered by sweet and tangy sauces, served with a side of fried or steamed white rice (your choice).