Dining out: Where the locals go to eat - East Valley Tribune: Dining

Dining out: Where the locals go to eat

Land in any city, and you don’t need help finding an Applebee’s or Red Lobster. What’s harder is locating the places the locals go, those chockful-of-character eateries that draw a following day after day, year after year. We’ve compiled some of our favorites in this handy guide. Think of it as your dining-out cheat sheet — and bon appetit!

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East Valley restaurants: American

BLD (1920 W. Germann Road, Chandler [480] 779-8646). Short for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, BLD serves up chef-crafted comfort foods in a casual neighborhood environment, with a healthy disregard for when you’re “supposed” to crave dishes like bacon-studded waffles paired with fried chicken. (Breakfast is available until 2 p.m. daily.) A drive-thru window serves barista-made coffees, specialty drinks and meals on-the-go when you’re in a hurry — but a couple of bites always convince us these are meals best lingered over with good friends, good drinks (also available) and good conversation. $$

  • East Valley restaurants: Asian

    C-Fu Gourmet (2051 W. Warner Road [480] 899-3888). This Chinese eatery is best known for its daily Dim Sum, a kind of snack lunch full of tasty dumplings and pastries, served between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. And with good reason — it’s the best in the East Valley, highlighted by the shumai (pork dumplings) and shrimp rice noodle roll. Their dinner service is also a winner, offering nearly 200 options and 13 “regional specialty sauces.” $$

  • East Valley restaurants: Breakfast

    Brunchies (17 E. Boston St., Chandler [480] 899-5036). Brought to you by the folks behind Serrano’s Mexican restaurants, this downtown spot serves brunch until 2 p.m. daily. The tasty spread includes all the usual suspects — pancakes, eggs, fruit, sausage and home fries — along with a variety of soups, desserts and Mexican breakfast favorites. $

  • East Valley restaurants: Breweries/wine bars

    Caffe Boa (398 S. Mill Ave., Tempe [480] 968-9112). Tasty offerings at this red-brick Italian wine bar include paninis, pastas and a very tasty tiramisu. Looking for lighter fare? Boa has a nice list of tapas and flights as well as one of the best happy hours in town. $$$

  • East Valley restaurants: Dessert

    Caketini (2270 E. Williams Field Road, No. 114, Gilbert [480] 786-3500). Scottsdale has its Sprinkles, Gilbert has Caketini — a cute shop run by a family that’s been baking for generations. Sweet lovers will find gourmet cakes, truffles and massive, prettily decorated cupcakes. $

  • East Valley restaurants: Deli/sandwiches

    Chompie’s (1160 E. University Drive, Tempe [480] 557-0700). Founded in 1979 by the Borenstein family, originally from Queens, N.Y., Chompie’s serves up a huge menu of “breakfast all day,” N.Y.-style pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, matzo ball soup, and baked-from-scratch breads, cakes and pastries. Don’t miss the boiled-then-baked bagels in 35 varieties and the sliders, featured on an episode of “Man vs. Food.” Additional location in Chandler (3481 W. Frye Road [480] 398-3008). $$

  • East Valley restaurants: Ethnic

    Byblos (3332 South Mill Ave., Tempe [480] 894-1945). Middle Eastern cuisine doesn’t get much better in the Valley. The Mirza family’s signature tomato soup is a must-have item and their stuffed grape leaves are nearly as good. You can’t go wrong with the chicken Mediterranean or any of the kebabs. $$

  • East Valley restaurants: Italian/Pizza

    Alessia’s Ristorante Italiano (5251 E. Brown Road, Mesa [480] 396-2888). Unassuming from the outside, this authentic Italian gem offers a cozy, romantic setting on the inside, and it recently expanded into the former insurance suite next door to create a new entrance, bar and waiting area. Owners Jonathan and Shari Carr prepare every dish from scratch, making the food the true star here. $$

  • East Valley restaurants: Mexican/Southwestern

    Blue Adobe Grille (144 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa, [480] 962-1000). The carne adovada plate is the highlight of the New Mexican dishes found at this award-winning establishment. There’s an excellent selection of Southwest infused seafood as well, including lobster tamales with mango salsa and raspberry chipotle. $$

  • East Valley restaurants: Steakhouse

    Dutchman’s Hideout (6100 E. Mining Camp St., Apache Junction [480] 982-3181). Rustic wood-planked walls and brushed copper tabletops set the tone in this out-of-the-way place serving mesquite-grilled certified Angus prime rib of beef, steaks and seafood along with beer and wine. If you’re feeling more casual, the adjacent Mining Camp Restaurant offers all-you-can-eat family style dinners at long picnic tables. They’re seasonal, so call to make sure they’re open before you make the drive. $$$-$$$$

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