Food Scene

Apache Blvd. offers an authentic culinary adventure

When I’m hungry for some fragrant, savory, spicy and delicious Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean and Asian food, I know where to go—Apache Boulevard in Tempe. I don’t have to venture very far to find mighty fine falafel, curry or couscous. Apache Boulevard is a veritable spice trail of flavorful food finds all clustered between Rural and Price Roads, close to Arizona State University (ASU).  All are family owned and have been in business for many years. The menus are authentic and loaded with dishes that are rich in both flavor and tradition.

Chou’s Kitchen

1250 E. Apache Blvd. Suite 101, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 557-8888
Nothing makes me feel more cozy than Chou’s Kitchen. Serving incredible Chinese food, I absolutely recommend the soup dumplings. (When you’re reading the menu, P13 is my favorite), I could eat them all day everyday. If you love the idea of a family-style meal (which is all we talk about here), then you’ll love sharing some of their most popular dishes including their fried rice, the Cucumber with Garlic Sauce (cold cucumber salad A08), or even their MASSIVE clay pots. Yummy!

Chou's Kitchen in Tempe

Curry Corner

1212 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 894-1276
Curry Corner serves some of the best Pakistani food outside of Pakistan. Like its neighboring restaurants, it’s been around for years and is very popular with the locals. Then it was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and voila!- instant fame.  In spite of all the fuss, Curry Corner has remained humble and authentic to the core, serving delicious, authentic dishes at extremely reasonable prices. The menu is huge. I’ve sampled the vegetarian and non-vegetarian thali (samplers of a variety of dishes) and the chicken tikka masala and, of course, the naan bread. Loved it all!

The Dhaba

1872 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 557-8800
Located in Arizona’s largest South Asian shopping center, The Dhaba is a family owned and operated,  award-winning restaurant that’s legendary for serving the finest rich, robust and authentic food of Punjab. The interior is elegant, but casual, warm and inviting. The food is intensely flavored and beautifully colored with spices that are all mixed in house. The menu also offers suggestions for the perfect wine pairings with each dish. I love the curried dishes like the Dhaba chicken korma and the Kashmiri chicken tikka masala. Dining at The Dhaba is more than just a fine meal. It’s a cultural experience thanks to the owners’ devotion to sharing both their culture and extraordinary cuisine.

Haji Baba

1513 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 894-1905
Haji Baba is both a Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery store. It’s not about the décor, which is basic, but comfortable.  It is, however, all about the food which is always delicious. I’m sure everything on the menu is yummy, but I don’t deviate from the chicken shawarma or the gyro platters. The meats are so good. The hummus is unbelievably creamy with a velvet-like consistency and perfectly pared with the light-as-a-cloud pita bread. Save room for the incredible baklava. Portions are huge, but the prices are not.

Khai Hoan Restaurant

1537 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 829-7118
Khai Hoan Restaurant has been in business serving excellent authentic Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine for 16 years and has garnered a substantial reputation as being one of the best in the Valley. It’s noodle heaven! From rich brothy pho (rice noodles) to hu-tie-mi (glass and egg noodles) to bun (angel hair noodles), Khai Hoan has a noodle favorite for you. But, the menu isn’t limited just to noodles dishes. I love the spring rolls and bahn cuon, soft rice crepes stuffed with delectable meats and vegetables.

Mango Rabbit

1250 E. Apache Blvd. Suite 112, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 912-6283
Serving up a wonderful selection of bubble waffles, authentic milk teas and also savory treats to balance all the sugar you’re sure to consume. Mango Rabbit is locally owned and operated by Peggy Huang, an ASU Alumni and lover of Tempe. We appreciate the fresh curation of ingredients and incredible flavor combinations. Mango Rabbit often offers limited time items for seasonal changes meaning we constantly find ourselves at the counter ordering something new. You can read more about this sweet store on our featured blog.

Bubble Waffle at Mango Rabbit by Mark Lipczynski
credit/permission Mark Lipcyznski

King Tut’s Cafe & Hookah Lounge

1125 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 921-1670
For more flavorful Middle Eastern fare and hookah delights try King Tut’s Cafe & Hookah Lounge. I go to King Tut’s for the tasty food, but the the sheesha selection sounds pretty intriguing. The sheesha’s sound like deserts with names like fuzzy lemonade, melon dew and tangerine dream,  I can see why people get hooked on the hookah. During Ramadan, King Tut’s serves a  traditional Ramadan Iftar dinner.

If you love great food from these exotic lands as much as I do, you will want to try all of the Apache Blvd. restaurants, if you haven’t already. Another bonus–they’re located close to light rail stops.

If you would like to explore more stops on the Spice Trail we created a Google Map with the stops for you to save and explore!


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Written Nancy Black

Nancy came from Chicago to attend Northern Arizona University and liked Arizona so much she stayed. She loves exploring Arizona and hanging out with family in Flagstaff and Tucson. She’s also a fan of cats, dogs, chuckwallas, wine and whisky.