Food Scene

Find adventurous cuisine at Tempe restaurants

When I eat out at one of my beloved Tempe restaurants, I often order the same dish over and over because I love it so much. But, every once in a while I step out of my comfort zone and try something new. And, not just something new, but something unusual and even adventurous. Because even your taste buds need a vacation from the expected. Here are some of my favorite dishes in Tempe area restaurants that are a little out of the ordinary, but 100% delicious.

Hummus Stuffed Avocado at Salut Kitchen + Bar
It’s on the tapas menu so it’s perfect for sharing, but you’ll want to keep this one to yourself. A bright green avocado is stuffed with flavorful hummus, chicken, red onion tomato and feta. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s served on a generous serving of spinach and quinoa. In addition to the delicious menu, you’ll love the quaint atmosphere at this restaurant with its reclaimed wood décor, metal chairs and large patio.
1435 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 625-3600

PB&J at House of Tricks
Going to House of Tricks makes any ordinary day extra special. And lunchtime at Tricks feels like a respite from the grind of the work week. It’s hard to stray from their Moroccan Chicken Schwarma Salad, but their upscale version of a PB&J on their lunch menu is something that you have to try. They’ve taken a dish that you ate as a child and elevated it to the nth degree. This sandwich is made with balsamic macerated strawberries, pistachio butter, shaved fennel, mascarpone cheese and arugula on toasted brioche bread. It comes with a side of fresh fruit and greens with a balsamic vinaigrette.
114 E. 7th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 968-1114

Grand Prix at Crepe Bar
Something about eating at this quaint south Tempe eatery makes me feel like I’m on a vacation. The staff is so friendly, the atmosphere is chic, yet comfortable, and the food seems both simple and complex (perhaps because I could never make anything this good in my own kitchen). One of their dishes, the Grand Prix, made the Phoenix New Times list of 100 favorite dishes of 2015. I couldn’t agree more. It starts with a coffee-flavored crepe that is filled with pork belly, maple glazed pork jowl, a sunny side up egg and a drizzle of maple espresso syrup. Sounds amazing, right? Makes plan to eat there for breakfast as soon as possible. You won’t be sorry.
7520 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85283
(480) 247-8012

Rattlesnake at Rustler’s Rooste
How cool would you feel if you could say that you ate rattlesnake like it was no big deal? Pretty cool indeed. Rustler’s Rooste offers an outstanding view of the valley from its mountaintop location, excellent steaks and seafood and…rattlesnake. Tasty bites of this notorious reptile are breaded and fried and served with chipotle ranch and prickly pear cactus fries. You can even buy a t-shirt to prove that you ate it and lived to tell the tale.
8383 S. 48th St., Tempe, AZ 85044
(602) 431-6474

Do you know of other adventurous dishes I should try in Tempe? Let us know! For more ideas about restaurants in Tempe, check out the Food and Drink section of the Tempe Tourism Office website.

Written Toni Smith

An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.