Traveling through the Southwest you can’t help but dive into the culinary scene. More accurately put, you should not miss out on the culinary scene, especially when there are so many wonderful Tempe restaurants to discover and taste when you are in town. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few sweet delights are in store, and there isn’t a single national chain among them on our list.
TEMPE RESTAURANTS NOT TO MISS
Fresh ingredients, unique flavor combinations and portions that are easy to share, as well as restaurants spaces that fit a variety of groups (families, friendly gatherings, romantic two tops) are what you will find when you dive into Tempe’s culinary landscape. Let your taste buds do a little wandering. Yes, you can try rattlesnake (tastes just like chicken nuggets), but that’s up to you. There are plenty of other meats, fruits and veggies that will be in your comfort zone.
TEMPE BREAKFAST SPOTS
Daily Jam, 310 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281. Fast counter service breakfast that is actually healthy and delicious is hard to come by. The owners of Daily Jam saw the need in the Tempe restaurant scene, filled the need and have been serving up great food to Tempe locals and ASU students ever since they opened. Grab omelets, smoothies, Red Velvet Waffles and more to go or to stay at their indoor and outdoor seating space.
The Crepe Bar, 7520 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283. These are not your average crepes and we couldn’t be happier. Fig and honey crepes grace the sweet side of the menu. Crepes reminiscent of huevos rancheros can be found on the savory side. Honey lattes and other specialty coffee delights are brewed at the coffee bar and when you see Tempura French Toast on the menu, don’t fight it. Just order it and find out how delightful these bite-size morsels really are.
Romancing the Bean, 80 E Rio Salado Pkwy #120, Tempe, AZ 85281. When you need your coffee ritual every morning, look no further than Romancing the Bean near Tempe Town Lake and the AC Hotel. They do serve a full breakfast if you need sustenance, but are happy to just give you your caffeine fix. Be aware that they are only open during the week though.
Snooze an A.M. Eatery, 615 S College Ave #103, Tempe, AZ 85281. Located next to a lunchtime favorite, Snooze is the perfect way to start your day in Tempe. Don’t miss a flight of pancakes, hash browns, or breakfast burrito. Serving sizes are massive, but make sure you save room for an order of the pineapple upside down pancakes. Just order a plate for the table to share. You will thank us later.
TEMPE FOR LUNCH
Postino Annex, 615 S College Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281. A wine bar with a full menu that includes an entire section of Bruschetta? Yes, please! Grab a glass of Cava and create a plate of your four favorite bruschetta from their list (or get a salad or other item from the menu). Insist on a seat on the outdoor patio if the weather is cool, and watch the ASU students stroll by. This is lunchtime perfection.
Culinary Dropout, 149 S Farmer Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281. Located in an old warehouse, this Tempe restaurant is a family dining dream. It is also a great space for friends and college kids to come hang out for a few hours. If you have kids, ask to be seated outside where there is a ping pong table and other games to play while you wait for your meal. This will give parents a little peace and quiet in their day. The light snacks are perfect for sharing, the salads are fresh and the soup of the day is always worth asking about.
Salut Kitchen Bar, 1435 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281. Mediterranean fare will hit your taste buds when you enter Salut. A variety of Hummus plates, bruschetta, grilled pita sandwiches, kebabs and Bolognese will refuel your belly as you explore Tempe and beyond. You need to keep your energy up after all. There are so many things to do in Tempe!
Perfect Pear Bistro, 9845 S Priest Dr, Tempe, AZ 85284. Strawberry and pear linguine on the kid’s menu should give you a pretty good idea of the amazing ways this pear-inspired restaurant likes to incorporate their signature fruit into many of their dishes. Pear bread grilled cheese, pear cobb salads and pear tacos are a few of the creative options you can look forward to, and dessert is just as exciting.
DINNER IN TEMPE, AZ
Pedal Haus Brewery, 730 S Mill Ave #102, Tempe, AZ 85281. When you just want to kick back, watch the game, or have a large group that wants to hang out, this is the place to go in Tempe. Definitely get the burger and a Moscow mule (with Icelandic vodka!). If you like beer, there are several on tap for you to choose from. When your kids get rambunctious, don’t stress. The music is pumping and there is plenty of space to stretch. Ask for a table with couches or away from the crowds so your kids can do a little skipping when necessary.
Rustler’s Rooste, 8383 S 48th St, Phoenix, AZ 85044. Perfect for carnivorous families with kids who love to eat a great steak, want to try rattlesnake (yes, rattlesnake) and be entertained while they eat. A live band plays while guests line dance. Kids can go down the indoor slide, while parents chat together or with friends. Balloon artists and magicians walk from table to table entertaining guests young and old with their tricks, making sure everyone leaves with a smile.
House of Tricks, 114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281. Possibly one of the best Tempe restaurants, you will definitely want to make a reservation. Children won’t be turned away, but it’s better as a date night spot or a place to meet up with friends. Gluten-free options are clearly marked and allergies are taken very seriously by the wait staff and kitchen. The cocktail menu is inventive (our favorite is the Lavender Dog), and you should never skip the Salted Caramel-Apple Bread Pudding for dessert.
Restaurant Mexico, 423 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281. Authentic Mexican food you don’t often find in the U.S., so much so that you may find a chicken bone in your meal, which we actually love. No Tex-Mex or crazy toppings. Just basic, amazing fare that you crave… if you have ever been to Mexico that is.
TEMPE’S SWEET TREATS
Tracy Demsey Originals, 1323 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281. When the pastry chef for several Tempe restaurants and the greater Phoenix area opens her own storefront, you don’t skip a stop to load up on a few treats. Her s’mores bars are divine and her individual sharing cakes are a must when you are in town. Tracy also offers cooking classes, which are perfect for ladies looking for an activity to do together on a girl’s getaway.
The Baked Bear, 420 S Mill Ave #106, Tempe, AZ 85281. Mix and match your cookies, throw some ice cream in between, add a few toppings and then press it together and you have a Baked Bear ice cream sandwich. Want a donut or brownie sandwich instead? They can do that for you. Think you have already been to a Baked Bear? You aren’t wrong. There are a few in Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah and several in California.
Slickables Ice Cream Sandwich, Brickyard Engineering, 699 S Mill Ave #117, Tempe, AZ 85281. This much smaller shop compared to the Baked Bear empire of ice cream sandwiches is a bit more manageable if you don’t like super sweet cookies paired with sweet ice cream and toppings. There are two locations in Arizona and one in California, servicing milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches (just cookies with ice cream in between) and fudgy brownies. Now it’s up to you to decide which ice cream shop you like the most.
This post is part of a paid partnership with Tempe Tourism. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t, you will be the first to know.