10 Best Restaurants in Surprise: Taking a Bite of the West Side

Surprise is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Phoenix Metro area, so it should come as no surprise that the city is filled with an eclectic selection of great restaurants. For great sashimi, sushi and other traditional Japanese fare, check out Uni Sushi & Steak, an elegant eatery serving quality, always-fresh and artful Japanese fare. 

If Mexican is what you're craving, stop by the Rio Mirage Cafe, a popular neighborhood eatery known for its savory Sonoran-inspired plates. The restaurant also offers a smattering of American classics, so this is a good pick for larger groups. The menu has a something for everyone. 

For a special date night, or gathering with fellow foodies, check out Vogue Bistro. The stylish contemporary American bistro features French classics like escargot, duck confit and - for lunch - the classic Parisian sandwich, Croque Monsieur. Check the menu for seasonal specialties. 

Another good option for French-inspired cuisine is Amuse Bouche, where the eclectic dinner menu entices with a duck breast, beef short ribs and rich Jambalaya. 

Craving a quick lunch or dinner that doesn't skimp on flavor? Plan a pit stop at CheezHeadz, where you can enjoy mouth-watering pizza pies, hot subs, wraps, salads and great sides. If you're looking for a great cheese steak sandwich on the west side, this is the place to find it. 


Babbo means "daddy" in Italian, and that sums up the food philosophy at Babbo Italian Eatery: warm, homespun Italian cuisine designed to make you feel as if you're dining with family. The expansive menu features gourmet salads, appetizers, pizza, sandwiches, calzones, and a build-it-yourself chalkboard menu. The pasta menu is full of luscious plates like a pomodoro tomato pasta; an Alfredo Supremo made with white wine, garlic and cream; and a roasted red pepper and mushroom pasta served on fettuccine. The calzones are excellent, and there is a build-your-own option with your choice of meats and ingredients. For something lighter, the salad menu offers 16 different types of specialty salads.

This family-owned restaurant is the west side location of the popular central Phoenix Mexican take-out market that has been feeding local Mexican food lovers since the 1970s. The Surprise location delivers the same homespun flavors and comfort food favorites that have earned Rito's a loyal following. One of the house specialties is their green chile beef, a concoction of chunky beef drenched in green chile sauce that is more savory than spicy. Other specialties include chimichangas, tacos and cheese crips. Whatever you order, chances it will be savory, beautifully seasoned and cheesy. This is a popular take-out joint on the west side, which is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

If hot, savory comfort food grub is what you're craving, you won't go wrong with a visit to CheezHeadz. This neighborhood eatery has earned a loyal following for its consistently tasty eats and treats. The menu consists of specialty pizzas weighed down with generous portions of fresh toppings and cheeses, hot subs dripping with flavor, wraps, salads, hot wings and desserts (including the amazing house specialty, the "Cheezookie," an oversized chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream). House favorites here include the CheezHeadz Cheezsteak, The Barnyard Pizza (topped with six different meat types) and the crispy-on-the-outside, cheesy-on-the-inside Fried Cheez Curds.


Big Buddha in Surprise offers a family-friendly spot on the west side for tasty, made to order Chinese classics. The huge menu has something for even the pickiest eaters. For starters, you'll find homemade pot stickers, juicy skewers of beef, lettuce wraps and a po po platter, a take on the classic pu pu platter. The menu is divided between chicken, beef, pork and seafood, as well as plenty of vegetarian selections. Some of the best dishes are on the special "Chef Specialties" menu, which includes homemade chicken egg foo young, Hong Kong crispy noodles, honey walnut shrimp and seafood in a crispy nest of noodles.

The Haymaker Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant making some of the tastiest burgers on the west side. The kitchen uses 100 percent Angus chuck to craft big, juicy burgers. The Haymaker is also famous for its slow cooked ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, which come smothered in the house barbecue sauce. There are also hot dogs, gourmet sandwiches, and tasty sides like sweet potato fries, mac and cheese, coleslaw and smashed potatoes. The cafe also serves breakfast seven days a week, and there are lunch specials daily. The Haymaker also prides itself on its extensive selection of fine whiskeys, one of the best in the city.

Vogue Bistro stands out as one of the most refined dining destinations in the west Valley. The Surprise bistro describes itself as an American restaurant with French influences. Indeed, the menu offers up continental classics with a contemporary American twist. For starters, try the Vogue onion soup, or the escargot, a must-try for any true foodie. Chef Aurore de Beauduy brings classic technique to entrees like the house Vogue steak, a prime grade Black Angus flat iron steak prepared medium rare and served with a brandied peppercorn sauce and crispy fries. Other house specialties include a duck confit, rabbit civet, Chef Aurore's entree of the day.

Luscious plates of Mexican food classics fill the menu at Rio Mirage Cafe, a family-owned eatery on Phoenix's west side that delivers big flavors and hospitality. The house motto here is "Not fast food, not fast paced," so settle in for made-from-scratch plates designed to make your tastebuds dance with joy. The menu focuses on Sonoran-style fare with unique, seasonal dishes. House specialties include steak fajitas, enchiladas del mar (seafood enchiladas), and "El Bombero Picado," or "the fireman." The dish features tender marinated top sirloin steak in thick slices, sauteed and simmered with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The menu also includes American food like burgers and a grilled chicken sandwich.

This casual bistro offers a dining experience that is casually upscale and contemporary, with dishes inspired by rich culinary tradition of France. The cafe is tiny, which lends the dining room with a cozy and romantic air that is ideal for celebrating a special occasion. Amuse Bouche has a chef driven menu with seasonally-inspired dishes, so everything is made from scratch. For starters, there is a pate du foie, a chicken live pate served with crostini. Another good option is the handmade burrata, which comes with a tasty tomato jam. The entree menu includes pan seared barramundi, duck breast and even a spicy jambalaya.

UNI Sushi & Steak is one of the best-loved sushi restaurants on Phoenix's west side. Uni (pronounced oo-nee) is the Japanese name for sea urchin, a sushi delicacy reserved for the highest quality sushi. The thoughtful menu offers a range of Japanese-inspired small plates, entrees and, of course, gorgeously plated sushi rolls. For starters, the eclectic appetizer menu includes tuna carpaccio, garlic edamame and something called "the firecracker," a lightly fried japaleno stuffed with tuna and cream cheese. The dinner menu is filled with teriyaki-style plates, including a teriyaki grilled salmon served over a bed of rice. a full sushi and sashimi menu, and a menu of whimsical specialty rolls.


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.