East Valley foodies, this guide is for you! And if you aren’t in the East Valley, you’ll likely want to make the trip for these Arizona eateries. Mesa’s food scene has been growing over the last few years, and these restaurants are worth the drive. Mesa is one of the more culturally diverse food cities in the Phoenix area, and restaurants here offer authentic, incredibly well-executed cuisines that can be hard to find elsewhere. Read on for some of the best restaurants in Mesa.
Our Top Picks for the Best Restaurants in Mesa
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13. Mexican: Los Dos Molinos
Proudly proclaiming “some like it hot” on the side of their restaurant, Los Dos Molinos is not for the heat-averse. This family-run joint’s menu proudly proclaims they “don’t know how to make mild”, and almost all of the dishes on the menu are marked with a chili pepper symbol, indicating that they are packing some heat. Even their queso fundido is made with fiery green chilis for a spicy, but delicious combination. Their signature dish, the adovada ribs, served with rice, beans, and a thick flour tortilla, are fork tender, so flavorful, and again, pack a punch with a red chili-based sauce. If the heat is too strong, they’ll gladly bring you a side of sour cream to help cool your tongue.
Los Dos Molinos
$$$$ Mexican, Bars, Venues & Event Spaces260 S Alma School Rd #137, Mesa, AZ 85210 • (480) 969-7475
12. Mediterranean: Green Corner
Located in the Fiesta District, Green Corner is one of the only restaurants in Mesa to offer authentic Mediterranean food. You’ll order at the counter at this fast-casual establishment and choose from falafel, gyros, shawarma, kababs, and more. Each entree comes with a side of yellow rice, pita, greek salad, and hummus. We love the beef shawarma wrapped in a pita and topped with copious amounts of delectable hummus and flavorful garlic sauce. And for the sweetest ending to your meal, each entree comes with a complimentary slice of baklava.
$$$$ Mediterranean, Salad Greek1010 W Southern Ave #7, Mesa, AZ 85210 • (480) 835-2313
11. Tacos: Tacos Chiwas
For a fast-casual lunch or dinner, head to Tacos Chiwas for street tacos that are tasty and friendly on the wallet. Tacos Chiwas is a Phoenix staple with three locations throughout Arizona, including a hip new spot in downtown Mesa. The menu is simple: choose from tacos, gorditas, burritos, or a quesadilla, but “tacos” are the namesake of the restaurant for a reason and are our personal favorites as well. We love the asada, the pastor, and, our favorite, the pollo. With seasoned grilled chicken, pickled red onions, and cilantro crema on a house-made tortilla, it’s a practically perfect chicken taco. You’ll also want to grab a gordita with shredded beef in red or green salsa and potatoes stuffed into a masa shell. Whatever you order, stop by the salsa bar to grab some caramelized onions to top it all off.
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10. Korean: Hodori
Mesa is a bit of a destination for Asian food, and its Asian district here offers a cornucopia of authentic cuisine. Our pick for Korean fare is Hodori. The kimchi jun, a crispy kimchi pancake with bits of pork, is a must-order. While Hodori is not a KBBQ spot and you don’t cook your meat at your table, the kalbi marinated short ribs are another fan favorite, served sizzling over a bed of onions with a variety of banchan, or small side dishes, to try as well. Speaking of the side dishes, we love the kimchi (of course!) and the potatoes.
9. Barbecue: Jalapeno Bucks
Jalapeno Bucks is not your typical barbecue joint, proudly serving “Arizona-style barbecue” from a small walk-up window in front of B.B. Citrus Farms. We’re not totally convinced that Arizona-style barbecue is a legitimate thing, but from their interpretation, it seems to be a barbecue/Mexican fusion, and they offer as many varieties of house-made salsas as they do barbecue sauce. Needless to say, they know their way around a kitchen, so we won’t worry about semantics. What really shines here are the sandwiches. The brisket sandwich is simple but perfect, with tender brisket and ”thunder sauce” (a savory, mayo-based spread) on a toasted bun. Place your order at the window then grab a table to feast next to the orange trees in the Arizona sunshine.
$$$$ Mexican, Barbeque, Sandwiches3434 N Val Vista Dr, Mesa, AZ 85213 • (480) 459-3050
8. Vietnamese: Pho Thuan Thanh
You can’t spell Phoenix without Pho, and Mesa has some of the best pho around. We especially love Pho Thuan Thanh, one of the best restaurants in Mesa. The menu has a wide range of dishes like banh mi and vermicelli, but the pho is what keeps us coming back. Choose from 13 different varieties, all with beef broth and rice noodles served with different combinations of meat and vegetables. Your pho will be served with bean sprouts, fresh mint, jalapeno, and lime, and the table is pre-set with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha, and chili paste, so you can doctor your pho to your liking, but the broth here is so rich it stands on its own. Pro tip: order the XL and ask for an extra bowl to share with a friend and split some spring rolls or a banh mi to really get a full sampling of what Pho Thuan Thanh can do.
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7. Empanadas: Republica Empanada
This bright and trendy spot is one of the only restaurants in Mesa that serves authentic empanadas. Choose from a selection of both savory and sweet empanadas, as well as a handful of tasty tortas. For the empanadas, we love the Pernil, simple and delicious with juicy slow-roasted pork. For something more adventurous, try the jalapeno potato popper empanada with grilled jalapenos, cream cheese, and achiote-seasoned potatoes. All empanadas are served with a jalapeno-cilantro salsa that is so fresh you’ll want to drown your food in it.
República Empanada Restaurant
$$$$ Latin American, Empanadas, Comfort Food204 E 1st Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210 • (480) 969-1343
6. Ukranian: All Pierogi
For adventurous foodies, check out the quaint Euro-market and Ukrainian restaurant All Pierogi, where you’ll feel like a welcomed guest in a family kitchen in Eastern Europe. The small restaurant is often busy, which is always a good sign. The food is prepared from scratch by a single chef, and both Eastern Europeans and foodies alike are crowded into the tiny dining room, all thrilled with an authentic taste of Ukrainian cuisine at one of the best restaurants in Mesa. So expect slower, but friendly and attentive service, and make reservations to avoid a long wait for a table, especially on the weekends. As for the menu, you’ll see a few familiar favorites – pork schnitzel, for example – but the Ukrainian specialties are worth trying. We love their namesake dish, the fried pierogies. There are 17 flavors; our go-tos are the farmer’s cheese and chive and the potato, cheddar, and jalapeno. For your main, try the beef cabbage roll. This beef and onion blend is reminiscent of an American meatloaf stuffed inside cabbage and covered in a savory tomato sauce. It’s a simple and deliciously comforting meal.
All Pierogi | Kitchen Restaurant & Euro Market
$$$$ Grocery, Polish, Ukrainian101-103, 1245 W Baseline Rd, Mesa, AZ 85202 • (480) 262-3349
5. Dumplings: Happy Bao
Also located in Arizona’s Asian district, Happy Bao serves up steamy, delicious dumplings and noodles from a small restaurant inside the Mekong Market. Start with the spicy chili wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp and paired with housemade chili oil for just the right amount of spice. Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings, are also an absolute must. Filled with pork and a savory, warm broth, poke a hole in the dumpling to slurp up the broth, dip it liberally in vinegar sauce with fresh ginger, add a bit of housemade chili oil, and enjoy. Craving noodles? The beef chow fun noodles with thick, chewy rice noodles, fried with strips of beef and tender onions are phenomenal.
$$$$ Chinese, Noodles, Comfort Food66 S Dobson Rd STE 112, Mesa, AZ 85202 • (480) 912-1207
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4. Board and Batten
Hidden away in North Mesa, Board and Batten is a quiet, high-end option on our guide to the best restaurants in Mesa. Part restaurant part event venue, this white brick building is set behind the Stonebridge Manor and was constructed in the same, charming style. They describe themselves as a bistro with Italian influence, so pay attention to the pasta section. Their menu varies seasonally, but the classic cacio e pepe is almost always available and is our go-to. With al dente rigatoni noodles, this dish is prepared in the classic style with simple ingredients combined to create a rich, peppery, and buttery sauce. From the mains, the seasonal pork shoulder was fork-tender and was perfectly paired with creamy applesauce and crispy brussels sprouts.
Board & Batten
$$$$ American (New), Wine Bars4012 E Palm St, Mesa, AZ 85215 • (480) 641-4148
3. Pizza: Myke’s Pizza
Some of the best pizza in all of Arizona is served from the back of Cider Corps Brewery in downtown Mesa. Chef Myke is known for his quality pies served with a creative twist. Go for the Red, White, and Bacon—it’s layered with both your traditional red sauce (made with San Marzano tomatoes) and a garlic cream sauce, a combination that is reminiscent of our favorite pink sauce pasta. Or, try the salami pizza with red sauce, mozzarella, salami, and hot honey drizzled generously on top. If you’re a fan of pineapple pizza (we won’t judge), the hot honey is also featured on their pineapple pizza and is worth a try. Wash it all down with a bottle of Arizona’s Own Sasparilla, another local business we love.
2. Mexican: Espiritu
Downtown Mesa got a major upgrade with last year’s addition of Espiritu. This bustling spot is the sister restaurant to the acclaimed Bacanora in downtown Phoenix and adds a stylish, high-end dining option to Mesa’s main street. Look for the restaurant with the busy chef out front grilling fragrant meats and vegetables on a wood-fired grill right on the sidewalk. Start your meal with the ceviche mixto: shrimp, fresh fish, cucumbers, onions, and serrano peppers in a chiltepin broth that packs a bit of heat. Or, go for the queso fundido with melted menonita cheese, a mild tomatillo salsa, and piled high with crisply little shoestring potatoes served with warm corn tortillas to make your own delicious mini quesadillas. For your main, you’ll likely want to order one of the specials. Espiritu focuses on what is locally available, so most of its main courses are seasonal items. Trust your waiter to point you in the right direction. Commonly featured items include a whole roasted fish served with tortillas to make your own fish tacos and wood-grilled chicken cooked on their sidewalk grill.
$$$$ Mexican, Seafood, Cocktail Bars123 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201 • (480) 398-8129
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1. Sandwiches: Worth Takeaway
Home of a chicken sandwich worth traveling across the valley for, the best burger in Arizona, and a killer brunch on the weekends, it’s no surprise that Worth Takeaway leads the pack of the best restaurants in Mesa. Any meal, any time of day, you cannot go wrong with anything on the Worth menu. In short, we’ve never met a sandwich we didn’t like here. Other items to try include the candied Bacon BLT with siracha candied bacon, smashed avocado, and red onions on cheddar-jalapeno bread, or the cheddar and havarti grilled cheese with tomato soup. Finish off your meal with their creamy, heavenly banana pudding topped with the lightest sprinkle of salt to bring out the flavor.
$$$$ Breakfast & Brunch, Sandwiches, American (New)218 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201 • 480-833-2180
Please go try chikiliquis taco stand in Mesa off Lindsay and Broadway. Our favorite new taco place and I’m telling everyone because I don’t want it to go out of business. Homemade tortillas make all the difference
Thanks for the recommendation Cathy!
thanks for the recommendation!