November saw one new restaurant shutter before completing its first year and welcomed 23 newbies to the Metro Phoenix scene. New Thai options abound, a full-on vegan restaurant is in full-swing, and the flood of Korean BBQ and poke restaurants continues to take-over the Valley.
Nelson's Meat + Fish
The market, run by Chris Nelson, will provide a range of high-end meat and fish products, many flown in from far parts of the country and world. Nelson’s will also sell upscale dry goods and prepared foods. Ryan Laufenburger, lately of Brat Haus, will be making the prepared food: cold, ready-to-go eats like poke, ceviche, nicoise, and lobster rolls. Noble Bread is developing a bun for the poke bahn mi. Sauces like cocktail, remoulade, and chipotle-sour-orange mignonette will be made from scratch.
Poke Hale, Gilbert
The poke bowl trend continues with a new spot opening on South Gilbert Road at Crossroads Towne Center. The shop offers the usual poke options in a bright, casual space with plenty of seating. No website or Facebook page yet, so call the restaurant for more details (480-209-1895).
Royyim Thai Cuisine, Mesa
Mesa has a brand-new Thai joint serving up the likes of crab fried rice and Hok May Talay, a seafood dish featuring fish, mussels, scallops, and shrimp in a kaffir lime-scented red curry.
Another branch of this health-conscious mini-chain opened this week in Gilbert on East Pecos Road.
Talo’s Mexican Food, Mesa
Mesa now has a new alternative to the 'Berto's fast-casual Mexican chains with this new chimichanga and burro joint at 10861 East Baseline Road. Specialties include menudo and rolled tacos. No website yet.
The latest of the wave of Korean barbecue joints to open in the metro area is this stylish, decidedly upscale restaurant on North Black Canyon Hightway. Serving up down-home Korean specialties, Korean barbecue, and sushi, the restaurant might become your go-to spot for bibimbap, kalbi, and the generous spread of pickled Korean side dishes that accompany every order.
LIMóN Tacos & Tequila
This upscale, fast-casual taco and burrito joint is now open on West Dove Road. Pick your toppings then find a seat, Chipotle-style, and don't forget to grab one of their monster margaritas to wash it all down with.
Chennai Cafe, Glendale
Craving south Indian specialties like masala dosa and Malabar fish curry? Then you're going to want to make the drive to Glendale to check out this new regional Indian restaurant.
Another pizza contender has entered the ring on Thomas Road and 64th Street in Scottsdale. In addition to gourmet pizzas, the restaurant offers house-made pasta, salads, and a slew of starters like calamari and cured meat plates. They have a full bar and daily happy hour specials.
This new addition to the modern Indian scene in Phoenix is serving up South Asian dishes in the form of bowls, wraps, salads, and tandoori barbecue platters, with a focus on fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors.
Claudio Urciuoli, who cooked at Noble Eatery for four years, has opened a new restaurant: Pa'La. Pa'La will "create dishes that reflect the seafood, grains, and vegetable-driven coastal cultures of the Mediterranean and South America." The menu will change every single day. That menu is divided into three sections: tapas; schiacciata (Tuscan flat breads); and an entree-like section of rice, grains, and fish. He will be using wood-fired heat sources to cook all of the food.
Scottsdale has a new breakfast joint on East Via Linda, serving up the likes of creme brulee oats, Spam breakfast sliders, and churro waffles. If breakfast isn't your thing, they also have a solid lineup of sandwiches and burgers.
QC Junction Cafe, Queen Creek
Queen Creek has a bright, airy new cafe serving up specialty drinks, baked goods, and the house specialty, fresh-baked Righteous Rolls, which come stuffed with sweet or savory fillings.
Poke Fuzion, Mesa
This new poke joint adds its own twist with chipotle-style, build-your-own sushi burritos. Choose from fillings like spicy tuna, salmon, or tofu and go to town with your add-ins and toppers. The shop also sells poke bowls, boba tea, and macaron ice cream sandwiches.
BBQ HOUSE All You Can Eat Korean BBQ, Mesa
This long-awaited AYCE Korean barbecue joint has finally opened in Mesa. In addition to the usual suspects, the restaurant is offering Angus prime brisket, which is said to be fire.
New York Bagels N Bialys at SkySong, Scottsdale
Metro Phoenix gets another location of this bagel spot. The menu, full of Jewish delicacies like blintzes and bialys, should satisfy all kinds of doughy cravings.
The Human Bean, Tempe
With two drive thru lanes and a monster lineup of hot, cold, and frozen drinks, this new coffee shop is poised to be the most popular source of caffeine-to-go in Tempe.
Seed Shack, Gilbert
An honest-to-God, 100 percent vegan restaurant is now open on Baseline Road. The spot features dishes like truffle macaroni and cheese (cashew mozzarella), topped with their rice-based "bacon" bits, which are also featured on the "bacon burger", specialty hummus, and cauliflower chickpea tacos.
Famous 48, Scottsdale
This new spot on Scottsdale road is serving up a wild mash-up of American regional foods, with dishes like Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, baby back ribs, shrimp Louie, and Doritos nachos.
Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequila, North Scottsdale
A new branch of this long-time Old Town restaurant opened on East Mayo Boulevard this month serving favorites like queso studded with chunks of pork and tomatoes; crispy shredded chicken and beef tinga tacos; ceviche; and a laundry list of margaritas.
H O T House Of Tacos, Tempe
Mill Avenue has a new bar and taco shop offering the namesake food by-the-taco or by-the-pound alongside freshly made tortillas. The spot features taco Tuesday specials and Friday fiesta drink deals in its large, well-designed space in the heart of Tempe.
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This poke chain keeps on growing with its newest location open now on South Market Street in Gilbert.
Henhouse Cafe, Mesa
Mesa residents now have a new breakfast and lunch spot to scratch their comfort-food itches. The Henhouse menu features a breakfast meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, and an array of soups, salads, and wraps.
El Panzon y Frida
The Old Town Scottsdale restaurant El Panzon y Frida closed after only six months. Though we were impressed with our First Look at the restaurant, creative late night bites weren't enough to sustain the hip eatery, which was located in the heart of the nightclub-lined block of Old Town.