Dining Guide | Small Space, Big Flavor: 5 Petite Spots in Phoenix
You walk into a restaurant and hear the loud, steady hum of the diners and an occasional ting of flatware dropping and the kitchen staff calling out orders. There is a ballet of sorts with the servers; putting orders in, dropping by the bar for drink orders, checking in a delivering dishes. But what happens when you want a more intimate experience? It has been said that great things come in small packages and these Scottsdale locations are proof positive. The petite spots, with no more than 50 or so tables, cater to a cozier and warm experience.
Small Space, Big Flavor: 5 Petite Spots in Phoenix
5632 N. 7th St., Phoenix
Taco Tuesday will likely never be the same once you try all that Barrio Urbano has to offer. Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza is a local hero as the authority on regional Mexican flavors, always elevating her game and providing diners throughout the Valley with unexpected menus, melding flavors that she discovers on her frequent trips to Mexico. The small space that she has created just off of Culinary Dropout at The Yard is bursting with flavor and character. There are several taco options and they all come in orders of three (though you do have the option of ordering any one of their 21 tacos singularly on Tuesdays) which may not seem like much but is more than enough to make a meal out of. Outside of the stellar taco selection, you’ll find tortas, burritos and generously portioned entrees and the best part is that breakfast options are available all day long.
Ingo’s Tasty Food
4052 N 40th St., Phoenix
Ingo’s Tasty Food is an elevated experience of a gourmet food stand; the tiny permanent structure is home to a bright and airy patio with a beer and wine garden with modern flair. This delightfully quirky spot has an equally eccentric menu with cleverly named dishes comprised of unexpected ingredients with delectable results. You’ll find salads, rice bowls, burgers (of the grass fed beef and vegetarian variety) and their Fresh Shattered Potato Chips are something that you will be telling your friends about for weeks to come. Their Farmer’s Daughter Burger (made of beef or a house made cashew patty) is dolled up with dijonnaise, fol epi, and sauerkraut. The bite and tang of the burger flavors paired with those chips will have you feeling like you’re on our own private island, not a tiny urban patio.
2201 E. McDowell Rd, Phoenix
Local business lovers know all about the greatness that is Noble Bread and if you just couldn’t get your fill or wanted to step up your carb cravings, you can rejoice in Noble Eatery. This petite sandwich shop uses their space really wisely; you order your meal at the counter and then seek out your table and wait for your meal to be brought to you. You already know that the bread is going to be amazing and the chef’s exhibit their talent by adding ingredients that play well with each other, not fight against one another to overpower the pure and simple flavors. The small space and its rustic accouterments add to the charm of the location making it a place you will want to seek out and cozy up to.
3623 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
The Gaslight Square is an adorable mecca in the Arcadia district with unique shops and eateries. Nook Kitchen takes the small space and seemingly casual environment and serves up first class dishes in this quaint corridor. This small space is deceiving with its cozy booths, an elongated bar, and quick service. The Italian driven menu makes it a perfect spot to pop in for a glass or two of one of their more than 50 boutique wines and a cleverly created charcuterie board. If you want to settle in and enjoy your company and the background music one of their Neapolitan-style pizzas will add to the warm ambiance. Their Mela e Dattero pizza is a surprisingly delightful combination of fontina, gorgonzola and parmesan cheeses along with roasted fennel, Medjool dates, apples, extra virgin olive oil and rosemary.
TEN Handcrafted American Fare & Spirits
2501 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
This small local spot plays hard to get being a little bit difficult to locate, but your efforts will be rewarded in the form of a full and happy belly. The restaurant has two levels, which helps to give the illusion of more space and allow diners to not feel as though they are on top of one another. The service is expedient and always upbeat, attentive and knowledgeable of their menu and bar offerings, which is precisely what you would expect from a restaurant that gives healthy nods to the Chef/Owner’s Midwest roots. The TEN menu is not overly complicated and is rather small, which allows for the Chef to put extra love and care into each dish. You will never forgive yourself if you leave without trying their Shrimp and Gritcakes; the shrimp are dressed with a light sauce and then stacked on rich andouille sausage and that perfectly crisp and creamy grit cake. This dish will convert anyone that thinks that they don’t care for grits.
*This article, written by Taryn Jeffries, was originally featured in the October 2015 issue of Uptown Magazine.*