Food News

Grains and Greens: Where to Find 10 Great Bowls at Metro Phoenix Restaurants

The Spicy Korean Steak Bowl with half brown rice and half sweet potato hash as its base.
The Spicy Korean Steak Bowl with half brown rice and half sweet potato hash as its base. Allison Young
Get ready to get bowled over. Grain bowls in Phoenix have reached new heights, combining the usual suspects, like grains, greens, and beans, with impressive toppers like heirloom black rice, Sonoran berries, charred veggies, pickled peppers, toasted hemp seeds, and house-made sauces – and some don't even come with grains at all. Often gluten-free and vegan with an option to add protein, these versatile vessels are ideal for a quick lunch or even brunch, packing in wholesome ingredients that layer flavor and textures. Here are the best one-bowl wonders Phoenix has to offer.

click to enlarge The Golden Pineapple’s Grain Bowl is more than a salad and more than a mere grain bowl. - ALLISON YOUNG
The Golden Pineapple’s Grain Bowl is more than a salad and more than a mere grain bowl.
Allison Young

The Golden Pineapple

2700 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
480-590-5703
Don’t mistake The Golden Pineapple as just another buzzy Tempe spot where ASU students go to unwind with weekend brunch mimosas, bomb burgers, and happy hour craft beers. Granted, the twinkle-lit place has a festive vibe, but the food is a level up. All seafood is locally sourced from Chula Seafood, produce is farmers market fresh and often organic, heck, even the fermented chili ketchup is made from scratch – and then there’s the Grain Bowl. Made with Hayden Mills grains, heirloom pinto beans, charred sweet potato, fire-roasted chiles, sliced and seasoned avocado, and piles of peppery arugula, the whole thing is tossed in a honey avocado vinaigrette and drizzled with house-made chili oil for a meal that’s smoky, spicy, substantial, and just happens to be vegan.
click to enlarge Pomegranate’s Magic Dragon Bowl is magically delicious. - ALLISON YOUNG
Pomegranate’s Magic Dragon Bowl is magically delicious.
Allison Young

Pomegranate Café

4025 East Chandler Boulevard
480-706-7472
Pomegranate Café is proof that plant-based bowls can bring big flavor. The Ahwatukee vegan hotspot serves up a mesmerizing menu of bowls: the Magic Dragon Bowl comes loaded with stir-fried broccoli, zucchini, crispy cabbage, and chili almonds, with a drizzle of Thai almond sauce. The Bountiful Bowl pairs quinoa, black beans, walnut chorizo and farm veggies with greens, guac, Baja sauce, and blue corn tortilla chips. All are thoughtfully layered, colorful creations that also come cradled on quinoa, brown rice or kelp noodles with a choice of plant-based protein (the jackfruit carnitas all the way). If comfort is your M.O., the Pom Mac is the way to go, a mix of gluten-free macaroni, cheezy sauce, and either garden veggie pesto, buffalo cauliflower, or BBQ jackfruit. None of the above skip a beat – just the meat.
click to enlarge Noble might be best known for its breads, but the Grain Bowl is a solid go-to. - ALLISON YOUNG
Noble might be best known for its breads, but the Grain Bowl is a solid go-to.
Allison Young

Noble Eatery

4525 North 24th Street
602-688-2424
To say the Noble Grain Bowl from Noble Eatery is fulfilling is an understatement. A mix of grains, sometimes farro, rye berries, Sonoran berries, or whatever’s in season accompanies quinoa, arugula, butternut squash, beets, and roasted red peppers, all sourced from McClendon's, a local organic farm in Peoria. The grains have a nutty, buttery quality, butternut squash and beets are roasted in the wood-fired oven to a caramelized finish, crunchy pepitas and shaved slices of Manchego cheese add extra crunch and texture, and a subtle dressing of cabernet vinegar and olive oil ties it all together. The result is a tangy, earthy bowl that provides the perfect balance between satisfaction and nutrition.

Luci’s Marketplace

1590 East Bethany Home Road
602-773-1339
There are plenty of health-focused options on Luci's menu, from breakfast frittatas to fresh salads, but the bowls are by far our favorite. The delicious lineup includes four bowls, including their Mojo Power Bowl, a blend of warm farro, quinoa, chickpeas, black bean hash, red peppers, yellow squash, red onion, avocado, and feta topped with an over medium egg, and their Lean Machine Bowl, a mix of field greens, sautéed red peppers and mushrooms, red onion, sweet potatoes, quinoa, avocado, and yellow squash, plus a generous portion of pan-roasted salmon. In fact, everything is generous about these showstoppers. They’re large, in charge, and beyond filling – and all gluten-free.
click to enlarge No need to snooze after eating the Makin’ It Grain Bowl at Snooze. - ALLISON YOUNG
No need to snooze after eating the Makin’ It Grain Bowl at Snooze.
Allison Young

Snooze an A.M. Eatery

Multiple locations
Choosing the plant-powered Makin’ It Grain Bowl means bypassing the syrup-soaked pancakes and French toasts at Snooze for something decidedly less coma-inducing, but the rewards are so worth it. The savory bowl starts with a mixture of farro, black rice, and quinoa mixed together with onion jam and mushrooms for a risotto-like consistency. The bowl comes topped by peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes for added pop, and house-made pickled peppers, plus sliced avocado and toasted hemp seeds. The crowning glory are cage-free eggs served sunny-side up with two perfectly pristine runny yolks begging to be broken. This bowl is way more satisfying than soaking pancakes in syrup and you won’t need a nap after.
click to enlarge There’s nothing forbidden about the Forbidden Rice Bowl at Oak on Cameback. - ALLISON YOUNG
There’s nothing forbidden about the Forbidden Rice Bowl at Oak on Cameback.
Allison Young

Oak on Camelback

111 East Camelback Road
602-200-8111
St Francis has turned even more saintly with its new owner, Chef Robert Bogart, and new name, Oak on Camelback. With a menu full of wood-fired fare that’s cooked in a custom wood-burning oven, it’s easy to get lost in crispy revelry – crispy pork ribs, crispy fingerling potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, and crispy chicken – but don’t overlook the Forbidden Rice Bowl. The sumptuous stunner starts with black rice, a nutty, deeply flavored grain that was once reserved for Chinese royalty, and adds in colorful pops of edamame, carrots, snap peas, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts, all tossed in a green curry coconut chili sauce that’s more sweet than spicy. An elegantly plated dish that sings with heavenly flavors, the bowl is topped with a long and luxurious stalk of oak-fired charred broccolini that gets your knife in on the action.
click to enlarge Mowry & Cotton serves up a Citrus Salmon and Chickpea bowl. - ALLISON YOUNG
Mowry & Cotton serves up a Citrus Salmon and Chickpea bowl.
Allison Young

Mowry & Cotton

6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
480-423-2445
There’s something special about lunching at a resort, especially one as spectacular as The Phoenician (just ask George Clooney), from driving into the groomed grounds at the base of Camelback Mountain to sitting on Mowry & Cotton’s expansive patio overlooking the lavish pool. The Citrus Salmon and Chickpea bowl feels just as special. The bowl is a perfectly plated arrangement of bright pickled cabbage, crunchy cucumber, hearty beets, olive oil-drizzled avocado, and greens that look freshly plucked from the ground. The whole array revolves around a mountain of chickpeas bathed in gorgeous green goddess dressing and salmon cooked in the hearth and cooled. Pair it with a crisp Riesling and pretend you’re on vacation.

Original ChopShop

Multiple locations
With its crisp interior, baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables, and sunny disposition, just walking into ChopShop feels healthy. The bowls are no exception. Ranging from a Spicy Korean Steak Bowl garnished with sesame seeds and green onions to a Green Curry Tofu Bowl with cilantro and sugar snap peas, or a Teriyaki Chicken Bowl topped with avocado and Brussels sprouts, all six bowls on the menu come with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, onion, carrot, mushrooms – in other words, no shortage of veggies – and your choice of base. Options include brown rice and sweet potato hash, or forbidden rice or quinoa for $1 upgrade. The finished bowl comes out piping hot and sauced just right. Pair it with a Power Green juice for a power-up combo.
click to enlarge LGO’s Berkeley Bowl is the natural food movement in a bowl. - ALLISON YOUNG
LGO’s Berkeley Bowl is the natural food movement in a bowl.
Allison Young

La Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria

4410 North 40th Street
602-840-7777
The Berkeley Bowl at La Grande Orange lives up to its name. The bright, farro-based bowl is brimming with vegetables, bold Brussels sprouts, strips of yellow peppers, cauliflower, and spinach, all sautéed over high-heat with a splash of cherry vinegar, plus Fresno chilies for a hint of heat. Absolutely pour on the house-made lacto-fermented hot sauce, a sweet-sour-spicy side that’s a little hippy-dippy and a whole lot zingy. The only thing missing is avocado, a righteous add-on. Sit on the patio and pretend you’re in California.
click to enlarge The Navarro Bowl is a Pa’La menu mainstay. - ALLISON YOUNG
The Navarro Bowl is a Pa’La menu mainstay.
Allison Young

Pa’La

2107 North 24th Street
132 East Washington Street
602-368-3052
There’s good reason you won’t find an online menu at Pa’la. With a heavy emphasis on seasonality and local sourcing, the menu is continually changing. That said, you can count on the Navarro Bowl, a menu mainstay where no ingredient is an afterthought. Chef and owner Claudio Urciuoli starts with a mix of locally-grown heritage and ancient grains, like White Sonora wheat and red fife, then adds wood-fired roasted veggies, creamy cannellini beans, and toasted seeds to balance the richness. The earthy medley is dressed in a blend of extra virgin olive oil, cabernet vinegar, and smoked shoyu soy sauce for a robust yet restrained finish that’s more than the sum of its parts. Richly satisfying on its own, topping it with premium seafood – like wild shrimp from Mexico, tai snapper from New Zealand, or Spanish octopus charred just right in the wood-fired oven – takes this bowl to the next level.
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Allison Young has written about food, nutrition, and travel for Sunset, Women’s Health, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Mindbodygreen, and Prevention. Her local jam is food writing, where she happily eats her way across the Valley to discover the best hidden gems, hole-in-the-walls, pizza joints, and the latest Phoenix food trends. She also loves to pick Valley chef’s brains for their favorite food finds. On her website, TheGlitterList.com, she posts one thing she’s looking forward to each day, from food to books and podcasts.
Contact: Allison Young