10 Underrated Restaurants in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Top Lists

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Jackie Mercandetti
Sure it's a hotel restaurant, but have you had the sangria at Rita's Kitchen?
It's a familiar scene: You're in your main food hang-out in town and it's dead. Why is it dead? You know it's great but for one reason or another your favorite joint just doesn't get the cred it deserves. We have a few of those places and we're sure you have many more. Here's our list of the most underrated dining spots in town, but if you think we missed any, pipe up in the comments section and let us know.

See Also: 10 Signs You're a Phoenix Foodie

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Shannon Armour

Rita's Kitchen
Swing a dead cat in this town and you'll hit a hotel restaurant. Some are better than others, and most are overrated and overpriced. For our money, we'll take a table at Rita's Kitchen, the casual dining spot at the Camelback Inn. Adjacent to the swankier BLT, Rita's has a serviceable indoor dining room. But you will want to reserve a table outside on the patio, to take full advantage of the Camelback Inn's lovely grounds and live music in the evenings. On winter nights, they build big fires and you can sit in a ring and warm your toes. Any time of year, start with a glass of the hotel's signature red sangria (the not-so-secret ingredient is vanilla) and a bowl of yellow gazpacho. The tableside guacamole is excellent. We recommend the fajitas and the Marriott burger -- and another glass of sangria.

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Courtesy of Otto Pizza and Pastry/Facebook
Being open for about 20 year in Tempe means Otto's been doing something right.

Otto Pizza and Pastry
How Phoenix became a mecca for pizza snobs, we'll never know. But it did. That doesn't mean there isn't room for a few no-frills pizza joints, right? Otto Pizza and Pastry is one of those Tempe mainstays that doesn't get the love it should. With freshly made, crispy thin crust pizzas and even pizza by the slice, college kids in the know flock to the joint for a quick lunch between classes. However, their tasty desserts, gigantic calzones, pasta, and French and Italian sandwiches, there's a lot more to this small spot off Ash Avenue and University Drive than just the pies. Plus, the cheap prices and friendly, family-run vibe make it a nice place to relax without breaking the bank.

Location Info

Rita's Kitchen

5402 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Otto Pizza & Pastry

804 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Melt

910 N. 5th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Lenny's Burger Shop

2825 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Khai Hoan Restaurant

1537 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Desert Jade

3215 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Shine Coffee on Vernon - CLOSED

10 W. Vernon Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Press Coffee Roastery

4243 S. 36th Place, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Orange Table - CLOSED

7373 E. Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Cartel Coffee Lab

1 N. 1st St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Texas BBQ House

5037 S. 24th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Yume Sushi Grill

16459 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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87 comments
Laura Bloomfield
Laura Bloomfield

A friend talked me into eating there a few weeks ago. It is still the same as it was when I ate there 3 years ago in 11

Laura Bloomfield
Laura Bloomfield

Fridays front row at chase field. That's the poorest excuse for an eatery I've ever sern

Carina Dominguez
Carina Dominguez

Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen, hands down. Get the Ravioli & Creamy Gorgonzola, seriously GET IT

Holly Vaughan
Holly Vaughan

Hiro Sushi at 90th street and Shea in Scottsdale. Beautiful amazing food made with care and skill. Nothing better.

Patrick Brennan
Patrick Brennan

Guys, the logo is in the pic... Texas BBQ House. It is good stuff!

Myra Tansil
Myra Tansil

What's the restaurant in the pic? Yummy!

Sean Egan
Sean Egan

Juan's Authentic Mexican Food. Family owned for years. Delicious food. Cheap. Clean. Miss living near them.

Henry Godski
Henry Godski

Second most under rated in my opinion is Famous Dave's barbeque, on 8th St and Dobson is Mesa

Henry Godski
Henry Godski

Humble Pie on 7th St. This is The Best Pizza In Phx AZ, to the best of my knowledge. Excellent, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Gillian Moore
Gillian Moore

I second Gadzooks! THE best place for enchiladas

Laura Ory
Laura Ory

Gadzooks! Amazing enchiladas and soup.

Jeff Fleezy Flee
Jeff Fleezy Flee

Bourbon Jacks Bar and Grill, Great restaurant but eveyone assumes it's a bar.

Hr Hamada
Hr Hamada

I love all the places you've listed. But the article is for underrated places, not great places that hve received press or are already foodie favorites.

Hr Hamada
Hr Hamada

Thank you for this article. I've been critical of some of the choices for articles in the past, but not because of snobbery. This is an excellent use of your article. We shouldn't be talking about corporate chains where food is just heat and eat., We should be celebrating people who care about what they prepare. whether it be a little ma and pa hole in the wall, the most expensive chefs table, or anything in between. Love, care, craftsmanship, creativity and great ingredients and cultures is what chowbella should be about. it's great to see people chiming in with more places that they love. I hope to try some of them out.

Tony Beal
Tony Beal

Flavors of Louisiana in Avondale. Www.flavorsoflouisianacajun.com

Erin Osuna
Erin Osuna

Rudy's BBQ in Chandler, Fore Fathers cheesesteaks in Tempe.

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

Also. Didn't you just post this 3 days ago?

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

If we told you we'd have to... You know.

WhiskeyandPills
WhiskeyandPills

Sardellas 16'' pepperoni pizza.  Simple.....but damn good.  ( it's that cheese ? ) 

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

That's lame. I'd never go someplace that did something like that to me. I would have told them too. "You may have mad a buck on this water today, but you've lost a customer for life".

mandy_hearts
mandy_hearts

If you can't find parking @ Desert Jade, how is it underrated?  Silly list.

Elizabeth Ray
Elizabeth Ray

Lenny's charged me for a cup of water on a hot summer day when I was a kid.

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