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 Desert Ridge Marketplace.
Though the Desert Ridge Marketplace is teeming with chain restaurants, the north-central Phoenix entertainment district boasts a few local and distinct options as well. Among them: Tryst Cafe, Comic X, Pigtails Cocktail Bar, and Paris Rendez-vous — spots ideal for power lunches, date nights, and family dinners.
Let's get started.
Tryst Cafe21050 North Tatum Boulevard, #108
Business meeting? Morning coffee with a friend? Tryst Cafe has intimate seating indoors or on the patio. Service here is quick, even if there is a bit of a wait on busy mornings. Organic, natural, and delicious are the buzzwords used in Tryst's motto, and diners have the choice of avocado toast, banana quinoa pancakes, pecan-crusted French toast with maple syrup, and whipped butter. If modifications are necessary, Tryst can accommodate gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
Breakfast Kitchen Bar21001 North Tatum Boulevard
As its name suggests, this sleek eatery at Desert Ridge offers all things breakfast. Patrons can enjoy a churro waffle, shrimp scampi omelet, and croissant French toast at the Breakfast Kitchen Bar. For those who prefer brunch, options include avocado fries, a hefty pastrami sandwich, and a turkey burger. Salads, keto bowls, and smoothies are also available.
Comic X21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #95
With the slogan, "This is where your favorite superheroes unite," Comic X offers monuments to pop culture and geek-friendly subject matter abound inside the 8,000-square-foot theme restaurant, which offers seating for 200 people. The menu is loaded with nachos, brisket fries, salads, and burgers under names like Atlantis Coconut Shrimp, Lord of the Onion Rings, and the Supersonic Cheeseburger. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available too.
Flower Child21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #16-1000
Ladies lunching, people picking up to-go orders, and moms toting their kids in strollers are usually fixtures at Flower Child. Menu items usually have an interesting twist like Indian-spiced cauliflower, Thai green papaya, and red chile-glazed sweet potatoes. Vegan poke, Madras yellow curry, and the forbidden rice bowls have the options of adding all-natural chicken, grass-fed steak, salmon, or tofu. There are teas and lemonades as well as beers like Lumberyard Diamond Down lager and seasonal Four Peaks.
Slices21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Sometimes lunch needs to be quick, in which case there's nothing like a New York-style slice. A landmark since 1998, Slices offers at least 25 varieties of pizzas, including pepperoni pineapple bacon, cheeseburger, white prosciutto, and Colby chicken. Grab a slice with a drink for less than $6. The Italian eatery also offers calzones and gluten-free crusts. There usually isn't a wait, so even with a short lunch break, you can savor your downtime.
Tikka Shack21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #48-1520
The menu at Tikka Shack targets the newbie Indian diner to the person who absolutely craves curry morning, noon, and night. For a suburban lunch joint, its options are impressive, offering samosas, masala fries, biryani, and build-your-own curries. Choose from tikka, korma, and spinach masala, or Goan vindaloo. Select a sauce, then pick chicken, veggies, paneer, shrimp, or lamb as your protein. Add naan or rice to finish your meal.
Sizzle Korean BBQ21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #36-1220
At Sizzle Korean BBQ, the meal is cooked at your table. Hyunwook Lee, the executive chef, wants to fuse Korean, Asian, and Japanese cuisines. Be aware that it is mostly about the meat here, with different cuts of beef and pork cooked to your liking. There is the option to complement the meat with soups, noodles, and rice as well.
Barrio Queen21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Barrio Queen offers handcrafted drinks like the jalapeño margarita, La Dahlia, and the award-winning skinny chola. But since you must eat, try favorites like queso fundido, yucca fries, roasted elote, and several varieties of tacos, enchiladas, and tortas. Just don't overlook the chile relleno — a fresh roasted poblano filled with mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, red pepper, and tomatoes.
Sandbar Mexican Grill21001 North Tatum Boulevard
There's often a party going on at Sandbar. Live music, outdoor cabanas, and a multicolored furniture scheme will put you in the mood to celebrate — even if it's a Monday evening. There is plenty to eat, too. Tacos, nachos, macaroni and cheese, sizzling fajitas, and even salads if you want to keep it light.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Chill out and enjoy the local game at Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill. Starters include artichoke spinach dip, spicy fried chicken sliders, and an oven-baked soft pretzel. Salads, soups, and burgers are on the menu, as well as chef specials like Baja fish tacos, Tuscan Romano chicken, and grilled Atlantic salmon.
Paris Rendez-vous21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Who says you need to travel to Paris to taste a French dessert? Paris Rendez-vous offers macarons, canele de Bordeaux, and croissants. These aren't just ordinary sweet treats. The macarons taste homemade with rich, deep flavors and just the right amount of soft shell crunch you'd expect. Once you have one macaron, you will ask for more. Gelato is also offered if you need something to cool your palate.
Nekter Juice Bar21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #18-1096
If vegan ice cream is your thing, stop by Nekter Juice Bar and try the coconut vanilla. For everyone else, be sure to sprinkle your choice of chocolate chips, cacao nibs, chocolate drizzle, coconut flakes, strawberries, blueberries, or hempseed granola upon any order. A variety of smoothies are also available to satisfy that sweet tooth while staying somewhat healthy.
ShareTea21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #36-1230
If you're looking for a flavored drink with fresh boba, ShareTea is the place to go. Classic milk tea is a fan favorite, but there are choices like mango milk, matcha, and strawberry ice blended with lychee tea. Drinks can be hot, cold, and with or without caffeine.
Pigtails Cocktail Bar21001 North Tatum Boulevard
A speakeasy concept is always fun for those looking for an escape from the ordinary bar experience. Pigtails Cocktail Bar features a raw oyster bar and drinks boasting barrel-aged whiskey, organic vodka, botanically infused gin, and a variety of tequilas. No password is required, and the covert entry makes this an exciting end to the weekday or any day.
The Rock Pub21001 North Tatum Boulevard
Connected to CB Live (which hosts comedians, variety shows, and other entertainers), The Rock Pub offers after-show drinks and can be a simple stop for a quick one. cocktails include Moscow mules and a seasonal whiskey smash on draft, as well as beer, wine, and signature cocktails like the Champagne Supernova.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on July 12, 2019. It was updated on May 11, 2021.
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