10 Best Restaurants in Tempe: From College Hangouts to Global Eats

Part college town, part urban destination, Tempe is conveniently situated at the crossroads of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The city is one of the top foodie destinations in metropolitan Phoenix, home of eclectic student-centric hang outs, authentic ethnic eateries, bar and grills, and chic sidewalk cafes.

One of our top picks in Tempe is the venerable House of Tricks. Located on a quiet street on the outskirts of busy Mill Avenue, Tricks (as the locals call it) serves gourmet New American fare in beautifully restored historic home and outdoor patio.

Tempe is also home to one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the Phoenix metro area, Cafe Lalibela. The casually elegant dining room at Cafe Lalibela is the perfect place to experience a savory and authentic communal meal.

For a power lunch that doesn't skimp on fresh ingredients and flavors, or a romantic night out, La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine delivers great hand-tossed pizzas and an eclectic wine list.

You'll find one of the best Thai restaurants in the Phoenix Metro region in Tempe: Yupha's Thai Kitchen, our top pick. The restaurant combines exotic, impeccably clean decor and design with a menu full of mouth-watering Thai classics. 


Finally, fresh local flavors come alive at Desert Roots Kitchen, a vegetarian cafe that even diehard carnivores will love. 



Phoenicia Cafe is Tempe's favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. Located next door to a temple at the perimeter of Tempe's busy Mill Avenue district, this is a busy lunch spot with the college crowd and local workers. All appetizers are top-notch,...  Read More



If you're looking for a fast casual spot to enjoy healthy yet tasty fare, don't miss Hummus Express when you're in Tempe. This small, stylish spot offers a huge selection of fresh ingredients and authentic flavors. Ordering is simple enough:...  Read More



Desert Roots Kitchen is a vegan and vegetarian cafe tucked away in a colorful alley in downtown Tempe. Chef and owner Leslie Robin, a vegan for more than a decade, dishes out hearty and delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine featuring fresh...  Read More

Cafe Lalibela


Cafe Lalibela is an award-winning Tempe Ethiopian restaurant. Casual yet elegant, the cafe elevates the standard lunch and dinner meal into an exotic culinary experience. The menu features a large selection of authentic Ethiopian cuisine with...  Read More



The Dhaba is Tempe's destination for authentic Punjabi Indian food. The menu specializes in food from the state of Punjab and the rich culinary influences from the regions of Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan. The restaurant's menu echoes the...  Read More



This casually upscale Italian neighborhood restaurant has the kind of cozy, intimate atmosphere that can be hard to find among more popular chain eateries. Hand-crafted wood furnishings, exposed brick and framed family photos throughout the...  Read More



La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine is located in the heart of downtown Tempe, a short stroll away from the metro light rail station. The Mediterranean-inspired menu specializes in creative hand-tossed pizzas, specialty salads, bruschetta planks,...  Read More



Savor the joys of an authentic Cornish pasty (pronounced pass-tee) without even having to jet off across the pond. The Cornish pasty is a traditional English comfort food featuring a variety of meats, veggies and cheeses, all stuffed into a...  Read More



Two fireplaces, antique furnishings, and tables positioned to offer the utmost privacy adorn various rooms at House of Tricks, evoking an inviting, home-like ambiance. Dining on the terrace is a delightful experience, thanks to tables set under...  Read More



Yupha's Thai Kitchen has quickly earned a reputation for being the best Thai restaurant in Tempe. It's easy to see why. Traditional Thai dishes are served here with modern flair and fresh ingredients. The ambiance is sophisticated yet not...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia