15 menus worth trying in metro Phoenix

The state’s 10-day culinary tour de force returns for a big pre-summer push as metro Phoenix restaurants give us the convenient pre-fixe treatment with multi-course meals that showcase what they can do.

Twice a year, Arizona Restaurant Week lures hungry patrons to venture to a new spot, indulge at an occasion-worthy establishment or hit a favorite.

This season’s participants tempt with three- and four-dish offerings spanning classic comfort food to creative fusion plates. Some even come with a beverage. Some are reserved for dine-in or takeout only, while others offer both options.

If the list of more than 110 restaurants feels a bit overwhelming, here are a few places to start. These menus caught our eye because of the creative offerings, variety of options or value.

All menus are available May 21-30. Menus that feature alcohol apply to dine-in orders only, with the exception of bottles of wine. A complete list of participating restaurants can be found at arizonarestaurantweek.com.

Alter Ego, Canopy by Hilton

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

This downtown Tempe restaurant on the Canopy by Hilton’s ground floor aims to take you on a culinary journey through the South Pacific. Starter options feature breaded hearts of palm with tomato lomi relish, togarashi seasoning and coconut yogurt, and a sophisticated rendition of the street food fave takoyaki: fried octopus dumplings with gochujang aioli and bonito flakes. Entree highlights lean heavily on the islands. There’s a take on chicken katsu plate lunch with chicken fried in crispy rice flour that’s accompanied by steamed rice and garlic macaroni salad; lau lau with white fish steamed in a banana leaf with spinach, Schreiner’s pork belly, potato and garlic broth; and a brined pork knuckle with bibb lettuce, pickled carrots and a vinegar soy sauce. Choosing a dessert will be tough: passion fruit orange guava sorbet with whipped coconut cream and li hing mui powder; pull-apart Japanese milk bread with caramel glaze and Dole pineapple semifreddo; and haupia with prickly pear coulis and sesame seeds.

Details: 108 E. University Drive, Tempe. 602-612-7871, alteregotempe.com.

B Gastrobar

Head here for fun takes on sophisticated bites. Choose to commence with the crispy duck breast tartelette or fried burrata with jalapeno jam. Move on to either the salmon and spinach Wellington with lemon hollandaise or a version of steak frites featuring a New York strip with green peppercorn sauce and hand cut fries. Bring a dining companion so each of you can order and sample both dessert options: raspberry and chocolate mousse or a vanilla and sea salt caramel crepe.

Details: 1422 W. Warner Road, Gilbert. 480-497-1422, bgastrobar.com.

Los Sombreros

  • $33 or $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Beverage included
  • Dine-in and takeout

Dine in during Arizona Restaurant Week and your meal could include the legendary Steve-A-Rita with Patron Silver and Patron Cirtronage with a Grand Marnier float.

Start off with a nopales salad with chopped prickly pear cactus, onion, tomato and radish or crab cakes drizzled with house made cilantro crema. The entree list is comprised of the house specialties: scallops in spinach and chipotle cream sauce; chicken breast stuffed with huitlacoche, goat and Jack cheeses, and roasted corn; and the famous conchinita pibil featuring Yucatan style slow-roasted pork that’s cooked in a banana leaf and served in a sweet and earthy sauce. Or, for $44 go with the rib eye steak in mole negro served with shrimp and polenta. Opt for the Mexican chocolate cream pie or flan made with smooth cream cheese custard topped with luscious caramel to end it all. Dine-in and sip on a mezcal Old-Fashioned, cucumber jalapeno spritz with jalapeno-infused tequila, or the legendary Steve-A-Rita with Patron Silver and Patron Cirtronage with a Grand Marnier float. Takeout orders come with choice of fountain drink.

Details: 1976 W. Southern Ave., Mesa. 480-534-6742. Also, 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-994-1799, lossombreros.com.

Marcellino Ristorante

  • $44
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in. Takeout is possible by request and depending on availability.

Flexible waistbands and flowing dresses would be wise attire choices at this Italian comfort food haven. Begin with creamy imported mozzarella di bufala wrapped in prosciutto or bresaola of thinly sliced air dried tenderloin atop a bed of arugula, mushroom Parmigiano and signature lemon dressing. Six main course options span meat- and handmade pasta-centric plates. Those that deserve serious consideration: the Instagram-ready salmone al cognac comprised of Atlantic salmon delicately dusted with porcini flour and sautéed with leeks and imported porcini mushrooms in a cognac flambé; gnocchi Sorrentino boasting the beloved potato pillows in tomato sauce and dotted with melty mozzarella; and ravioli del giorno filled with ricotta and spinach dressed with the classic butter and sage. Panna cotta drizzled with caramel and tiramisu are dessert options.

Details: 7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale. 480-990-9500, marcellinoristorante.com.

Lon’s, Hermosa Inn

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in

The patio at Lon's at the Hermosa.

Splurge at this indulgent spot while sparing your debit card. The ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms adorned with Fresno chile romesco, celery jam and Marcona almonds is the best way to commence, but the mango gazpacho with Arizona Desert Shrimp is difficult to pass up. For the main attraction, a 12-ounce Duroc pork chop with cipollini onion bacon jam, grilled broccolini and cream popcorn polenta will turn heads. But the Scottish salmon accompanied by local Hayden Mills wheat berry risotto, fava bean salad and caviar vinaigrette, and roasted jidori chicken with cilantro chimichurri and smashed fingerlings beg to be noticed. Key Lime pie and peach crostata topped with a brown sugar oat streusel and vanilla bean ice cream battle it out for dessert honors.

Details: 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley. 602-955-7878, lons.com.

Ghost Street Asian Taqueria

  • $44 per couple
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

This virtual restaurant within Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill sets its sights on Asian-inspired street tacos created to enjoy at home or inside its host restaurant. Begin by choosing two starters, like wok-charred street corn with gochujang aioli cotija and togariashi; taquito dumplings stuffed with potato, chicken and jalapeno with salsa verde and wasabi sour cream; or a carne asada roll that gets kicked up with jalapenos and pickled fresno chiles. Each diner chooses a taco trio made with white corn or flour tortillas or lettuce wraps and filled with one of the following: char siu al pastor; duck carnitas; wokin’ hot carne asada; gochujang chicken; tempura shrimp; or stir fried vegetables of roasted shishitos, jicama, cucumber, Asian guacamole and sambal. Cinnamon sugar churro bites filled with banana cheesecake and served with a side of fresh strawberries, mascarpone and caramel are the sweet ending.

Details: 9397 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-767-5464, ghoststreettacos.com.

The Canal Club, The Scott Resort and Spa

  • $44 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

The melding of indoor & outdoor aesthetics, inspired by the colors and comforts of old Havana, at The Scott Resort & Spa.

Take a trip to 1930’s Havana without boarding a plane. Take off with shrimp ceviche, fried plantains or cassava root gnocchi with summer squash, corn and okra in a chipotle brown butter hollandaise. Gaucho steak with masa cakes and savory poblano chimichurri and shrimp and crab enchilado in a spicy tomato broth served with arroz negro and cilantro garlic aioli are the stars of the entree lineup. For dessert, it’s a toss up between a chocolate brownie that gets a hint of heat with ancho chile and a cool touch with dulce de leche gelato, and churro doughnut holes accompanied by white chocolate anglaise and guava jam.

Details: 4925 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-424-6095, thecanalclubaz.com.

Chauncey Social

  • $33 person
  • 3 courses
  • Beverage included
  • Dine-in

Chauncey Social opened Dec. 12, 2019, in Scottsdale.

If you want to start with a little kick, the shrimp scampi bathed in Calabrian chili butter, oregano and white wine with a toasted baguette on the side, or the Kung Pao cauliflower tossed in shoyu chili sauce with carrots, tri-color peppers, celery, cashews and cilantro will do. Go with the grilled salmon bowl flaunting organic arugula, couscous, farro, cherry tomatoes, avocado and turmeric herbed yogurt or the prime rib dip with shaved prime rib, provolone, caramelized onions, mushrooms and horseradish crema for the main course. A red velvet cake pop with Philadelphia cream cheese icing is dessert. The meal comes with a glass of house wine or draft beer.

Details: 17767 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-565-6488, chaunceysocial.com.

Tomaso’s

  • $44
  • 4 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

Tagliatelle is pooled with a velvety tomato sauce, garlic, basil and served with Italian bread ($19).
Details: 3225 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-956-0836, tomasos.com.

Savor an elegant Italian feast away or at home. A seafood salad with grilled octopus, clams, mussels and fennel or burrata and prosciutto with toast points will get the party started. Your choice of salad is followed by entrée options such as: veal Marsala with wild mushrooms; shrimp Parmigiano with jumbo prawns and San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and paccheri pasta; and eggplant Parmigiana and ricotta stuffed gnocchi featuring multi-layers of eggplant baked with Parmigiano and buffalo mozzarella with a fresh tomato basil sauce. Choose to punctuate the meal with tiramisu or cannoli.

Details: 3225 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-956-0836, tomasos.com.

The Market by Jennifer’s

  • $44
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

The Market by Jennifer's Restaurant + Bar in Phoenix on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.

Open with either tempura rock shrimp with ginger chili pepper aioli, or risotto arancini stuffed with mozzarella and served alongside roasted tomato merlot sauce for dipping. These main course options make for a difficult decision: cauliflower steak smothered in local hot sauce served with celery slaw and bleu cheese creme; Sonoran Pasta Co. bucatini embellished with pancetta and zucchini ribbons, poached eggs and sweet peas; and a grilled hanger steak with Street Frits steak fries, cipollini onion poached in olive oil and red wine reduction. Dessert choices feature Tracey Dempsey Originals’ ooey gooey butter cake with blueberry compote and vanilla ice cream or flourless chocolate almond torte with caramel sauce, whipped crème and espresso chocolate crunch.

Details: 3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. 602-626-5050, themarketbyjennifers.com.

Indian Delhi Palace

  • $44 couple
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout
  • Beverage included

With a dozen different selections spanning meat, vegan and gluten-free dishes there’s something for everyone. Start with two appetizers like sundried garbanzo wafers, chili paneer with cheesy cubes bathed in a spicy sauce, or vegetable pakora – veggies fried in garbanzo batter. Order an entree for two from options like chicken tikka masala, chana masala with garbanzo curry, lamb curry, vegetable biryani or palak paneer – creamed spinach with cheese cubes. Share a dish of Indian rice pudding or gulab jamun – think a deep-fried spongy doughnut, but better – that’s drizzled in a honey syrup. Basmati rice and garlic naan come with. Dine-in guests sip on a glass of house red or white wine.

Details: 104 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix. 602-244-8181, indiandelhipalace.com.

Christo’s Ristorante

  • $33 person for dine-in and takeout
  • $44 takeout for 2
  • Beverage included

The individual $33 menu offers opening highlights of calamari fritti and a hot antipasti selection of gnocchi, veal, spinach stuffed zucchini and crab stuffed mushrooms. For the entrée, ponder lobster ravioli and jumbo shrimp in a light creamy white wine sauce with fresh spinach; salmon poached in lemon dill sauce over sauteed spinach; veal piccata in lemon butter wine sauce and capers; or chicken braciole stuffed with spinach, garlic and cheese with tomato sauce with pine nuts and rigatoni marinara. The chef’s creme caramel, tiramisu, signature white and dark chocolate mousse or lemon mascarpone layer cake are dessert choices. The dine-in meal comes with a select glass of white, rose or red wine. For those preferring an intimate dinner date at home the $44 menu for 2 starts with bruschetta with goat cheese or crab-stuffed mushrooms. Next, choose veal meatballs over pasta, fettuccini Alfredo with chicken or lasagna Bolognese for the entree. Tiramisu or lemon mascarpone cake is dessert. The meal comes with a house salad. Add a bottle of bubbles, red or white wine for $20.

Details: 6327 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-264-1784, christosristorante.com.

Revolu

  • $33
  • 3 courses
  • Beverage included
  • Dine-in and takeout

The veg head taco at Revolu Modern Taqueria + Bar.

Kick things off with either elote with chipotle aioli and cotija or crispy flautas with house made chorizo and cilantro lime vinaigrette. The street taco trio featuring carne asada, chicken tinga and potato tacos with cilantro rice and black beans on the side offers a good roundup of what makes this spot tick. But the carne asada crisp stuffed with grilled steak, jalapenos, caramelized onion and roasted corn and adorned with guacamole and chipotle aioli is just as legit. The expected cinnamon sugar mini churros are always a pleaser but the double choco-coco cake laced with coconut buttercream, Mexican chocolate ganache and mango coulis deserves a shot. Stay for dinner and have the house margarita or pint of Mexican draft beer. Get it to go and choose a fountain drink.

Details: 15703 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria. 623-878-0215. Also, 5538 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-675-1182, revolutaqueria.com.

Tempo Urban Bistro

  • $44
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

Burrata Caprese at Tempo Urban Bistro in Buckeye, Ariz. on Feb. 16, 2020. The Verrado establishment tempts with unexpected eclectic plates.

This Verrado establishment tempts with unexpected eclectic plates like braised Kurobuta pork with sweet corn polenta and poached hen egg, and an ahi tuna stack with sticky rice, avocado and eel sauce as starter choices. Beef Wellington graces the main course lineup but the bone marrow fettuccine with porcini mushrooms and chicken and waffles with creamed spinach, jalapeno cornbread waffle and maple bourbon pan jus make compelling cases. Whiskey bread pudding is the hands-down star for dessert.

Details: 21067 W. Main St., Buckeye. 623-594-6788, tempourbanbistro.com

Urban Margarita

  • $33 person
  • 3 courses
  • Dine-in and takeout

Begin your venture through the Southwest with elote-style corn chowder or crispy cauliflower with sweet and spicy dipping sauce. For the main course, go with roasted poblano peppers filled with lobster and crab and topped with four cheese queso with rice and corn on the side or the 36-hour marinated prime rib New York “carne asada” served with guacamole, pico de gallo, flour tortillas, rice and beans. For dessert, it’s a toss-up between the salted caramel bourbon bread pudding or raspberry churro bites with whipped cream.

Details: 6685 W. Beardsley Road, Glendale. 623-561-6674, urbanmargarita.com.

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