Looking for a great place to eat in Tempe? Check out these top restaurants in the area, as they all excel at what they do, and I have personally sampled their menu and dubbed them among the best this city offers.
Whether you’re looking for a refreshing brunch after a night out or a fancy restaurant for a romantic dinner, there’s a dining spot here for everyone.
- House of Tricks
- The Dhaba
- The Chuckbox
- Cafe Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine
- Crêpe Bar
- Vincitorio’s Restaurant
- Top of the Rock Restaurant
- RigaTony’s Authentic Italian Restaurant
- Cornish Pasty Co
- Four Peaks Brewing Company
Just make sure you stay well hydrated because it’s awfully sunny and hot on most days. Without further ado, check out my list of the best restaurants in Tempe below!
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281
The House of Tricks is a reasonably small, cozy restaurant with an American menu that showcases some Asian and Mexican influences.
It’s in downtown Tempe, near the ASU campus and its Gammage Auditorium. House of Tricks is a favorite stop for dinner before seeing a show, but they also have a brunch menu and happy hour. The restaurant is the brainchild of Robin and Robert Trick, two experienced restaurateurs.
House of Tricks smokes their own salmon and baby back ribs, and they are a favorite appetizer menu item for many visitors.
I always hesitate to order fish when I’m more than 100 miles from the ocean, but the seafood cioppino was confidence-inspiring, and the smoked tomato broth was the perfect complement to the fresh fish. They also have an extensive wine list.
1872 Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281
Located near the cross of Apache Blvd. and McClintock Drive, The Dhaba serves Indian food. The ambiance is part cafe mixed with a lot of traditional Indian cuisine.
The smells of savory spices fill the air but compete with the occasional sounds of police car sirens pulling out from the Tempe police station across the street.
Dhaba refers to a type of local restaurant common in Punjab where casual service is standard, and the food is a mix of all the local influences.
The food that hits your table is a mix of the culinary cultures of the region. So, while they have traditional Indian dishes like curry, tikka masala, and spicy murgh vindaloo, you can also have Persian and Pakistani favorites as well.
202 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281
The Chuckbox is a family-friendly burger joint with a simple menu and a buffet serving line. It’s casual and a bit fast-paced, and the food is inexpensive and plentiful.
It’s on University Drive near the Bateman Physical Science center and just a few blocks from the main campus of ASU.
The burgers are the focus of Chuckbox’s menu, with eight variations of their ‘Big One’ theme. They also serve a veggie burger, chicken strips, a chicken sandwich, and a few deep-fried items like jalapeno poppers, onion rings, and, of course, Chuckbox potatoes (french fries).
849 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281
Cafe Lalibela serves Ethiopian food in an upbeat and fairly upscale setting. The plating is simple but elegant, and the aroma of Ethiopian spices fills the air.
The restaurant is just off University Drive near South Hardy Drive and down the street from Mitchell Park.
They also have a complete line of Ethiopian coffees on offer, and their store sells premium beans by the pound.
Whether you’re a relative newcomer to the world of Ethiopian food or you’ve been enjoying it for years, the menu is accessible and authentic.
Try Gomen for an African twist on collard greens, Azifah for a cold stew of brown lentils, or try Tibs for pan-fried beef or lamb cubes with jalapenos, onion, and spices.
7520 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283
Crepe bar used to be a food truck known as Truckin’ Good Food. In 2012, they parked their truck and set up shop on South Rural Road, near Corbell Park.
This area of Tempe is a bit more spread out, but it’s still really easy to get to. It’s just a little bit farther from the gravity of downtown Tempe.
They’re casual and trendy, with an eye toward quality ingredients and play interpretations of classic dishes.
They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, with a big focus on crepes.
There are savory choices, like Jamaican jerk sausage crepes, vegetarian options prepared with chickpea batter, or sweet crepes like the vanilla bean custard with strawberries, jam, and whipped cream.
There are also plenty of coffee options, a selection of tea, and even chai.
1835 E Elliot Rd # C109, Tempe, AZ 85284
Vincitotorio’s has been serving Italian food for more than thirty years. It’s just off East Elliot Road, right in the heart of the Pheasant Ridge neighborhood, blocks from the ASU Research Park facility.
The restaurant is casual and friendly, but they also cater to upscale tastes with elegant service and a diverse wine list featuring both inexpensive and pricey bottles.
The food is decidedly classic Italian, with Caprese, meatballs, fried ravioli, and antipasti on the starters menu.
There are plenty of pasta options, and the chicken and sausage cacciatora pairs perfectly with one of the bold Tuscans on their red wine list.
I was tempted to try the Sassicaia ‘Super Tuscan’ 2009 Bolgheri, but I went with the Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino instead.
2000 W Westcourt Way, Tempe, AZ 85282
The Top of the Rock Restaurant is on the top of the Marriot Phoenix Resort. Located near Tempe Diablo Stadium among the hotels surrounding the Maricopa Freeway, the views of The Valley of the Sun from your table can be breathtaking.
The menu leans toward farm-to-table and high-end presentations, and the setting is upscale and trendy but not stuffy.
I tried the miso-glazed sea bass, served on a bed of potato puree and asparagus, and smothered in a rich citrus beurre blanc sauce.
They also have other entrees like bone-in pork chops, tuna, duck, and innovative dishes like chicken and doughnuts.
There’s something for everyone on the menu, but remember that everything is sourced locally, so there is some changeover.
1513 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281
Haji-Baba is on East Apache Blvd., just a few blocks from the ASU campus towards the 101 highway. They serve authentic Mediterranean food in a casual setting.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is fairly relaxed but can get noisy at peak times. They’ve been open since 1984 and serve lunch and dinner, closing at 5 PM on Sundays and 8 PM every other night.
If you’ve never had a Sanbusek, try Haji-Baba’s take on the meat-filled deep-fried eggroll.
Choose from traditional classics like kabab, shawarma, gyros, falafel, baklava, and kafka. For the more adventurous, try the lamb tongue sandwich.
1850 E Warner Rd, Tempe, AZ 85284
RigaTony’s is a little taste of New York’s Little Italy neighborhood right near Estrada Park.
In this fairly quiet section of Tempe, sandwiched between Estate La Colina and Alta Mira, you’re not far from the Price Freeway. The restaurant has been serving family-friendly and casual Italian food since 1994.
RigaTony’s serves pizza, but they’re not a pizza place. The Pizza Checca appetizer is as close as you can get to a New York-style slice West of Ohio, but there’s much more to choose from, and it’s not all pizza.
Keep an eye out for their daily and weekly specials, but you can’t go wrong with the Chianti-braised short ribs or Chicken Parmesan.
960 W University Dr #103, Tempe, AZ 85281
Cornish pasties were once the favorite hand-held food of tin miners in England. The food traveled to the US as Cornish miners came in search of new work in the late 19th century.
Since 2005, the Cornish Past Company has been serving scratch-made pasties in a casual and pub-like atmosphere, right on West Unversity Drive in downtown Tempe.
Anyone who visits can find a crusty pasty, almost like an empanada, with their name on it.
There are more than three dozen varieties, with fillings ranging from veggie options to roast beef, Guinness marinated steak, pesto chicken, and their interpretation of a ‘Cuban’ ham sandwich.
1340 E 8th St #104, Tempe, AZ 85281
Four Peaks is a brewpub with a friendly, casual, and trendy atmosphere. The food is much better than standard bar fare, and that’s no accident.
They brew their own beer in a quest for the perfect mug. The building was originally an ice house, but it’s also been a dairy creamery and successful recording studio. The location is also right near the Cape Cod and Willowbrook apartments off East 8th Street.
There’s nothing on the menu that I don’t recommend. I really liked this place. But the special ‘Bob’s Burger’ with Anaheim chili and Peach Ale bacon aioli is still on my mind a few weeks after I last had one.
Their beer menu is extensive, and they also have all kinds of sandwiches, greens, burgers, and even quesadillas to choose from. I’d eat them all if I could!
The best restaurants in Tempe each have their own take on food and service. These establishments made their mark in a relatively fast-paced and competitive city and now stick with what works.
So whether you’re visiting a student at Arizona State University, catching a Sun Devils game, or just visiting the Valley of the Sun, you can’t go wrong with one of these eleven best restaurants in Tempe. Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
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