On our recent trip to Tempe, we went out to eat more than ever before… On day 4 I actually said “I kinda just want to stay in for lunch”, which is crazy for me! We don’t really go out to eat at home at all, so it’s rare that I get “restauranted out”. The plus side to this, is that I was able to sample so many of the wonderful places to eat that Tempe has to offer, and now I can share my recommendations with you all!
So I present to you, my foodie’s guide on where to eat in Tempe. I will note that I only ever include places I have actually been, so there may be a few spots that I may have missed. However, each and every restaurant on this list is a guaranteed win – if there’s somewhere that I didn’t like, I just didn’t include it! So you know that if you pick something from this list, it’s gonna hit. Let’s get into it!
Daily Jam: Trendy Breakfast Spot
- Address: 310 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: Creative breakfast and brunch options, including unique pancake varieties.
- Steph’s “must try”: Elvis French Toast
After our sunrise hike at ‘A’ mountain, we stopped in at Daily Jam for our second breakfast. It has cool and fun vibe, with colourful decor and bright windows. They have a coffee bar with great drinks (I got an iced white mocha, 8/10). For grub, we got the Denver skillet (7.5/10) which was pretty much just standard breaky food, and the French toast with Elvis topping (9/10) that had the thickest pieces of bread I’ve ever seen and was divine.
Snakes and Lattes: Board Game Cafe
- Address: 20 W 6th St, Tempe, AZ 85281
- Known for: A unique dining experience with a vast board game library and comfort food.
- Steph’s “must try”: the NUTELLA LATTE!
We stopped in here more out of convenience than anything, since this cafe was right beside out hotel. The food was kinda just your average breaky – I got the Avocado Toast (6/10) and Ty got the Breakfast Sandwich (6/10), but my fav part was the Nutella latte (10/10). This was better than Starbucks; which is high praise, coming from me! They also offer lunch and dinner foods, plus a range of board games to stay and play.
Gertrude’s: Garden Dining at the Desert Botanical Garden
- Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ
- Known for: Farm-to-table cuisine in a beautiful desert garden setting.
- Steph’s “must try”: Korean Corn Cheese
We had dinner at Gertrude’s after visiting the botanical garden for sunset. Dining on the patio was a special treat, as it felt like an extension of the garden itself! The food was exceptional – you could really tell that the ingredients were fresh and locally-sourced. We started with the Korean Corn Cheese (9/10), which was soooo yummy! For our mains we had the Braised Boar (8/10) and Roasted Corn Tamale (7/10).
Cocina Chiwas: Elevated Mexican Dining
- Address: 2001 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: Authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine with a focus on family recipes.
- Steph’s “must try”: Chicharron – Roasted Pork Belly served on Salsa Verde, White Rice & Crema
I loved the vibe at Cocina Chiwas. It’s located in a cute pedestrian-only neighbourhood that has a lively night market on Thursdays – would highly recommend trying to arrange your visit so you can hit up both the market and the restaurant! They have an extensive cocktail menu and their food menu is full of elevated classics. We got the Guacamole (7/10), the Chicharron (8/10), and the Asado de Puerco (7/10).
Alter Ego: Asian Fusion
- Address: 108 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: Offering creatively crafted food in a vibrant and modern atmosphere.
- Steph’s “must try”: Crispy Pork Belly
The original plan was to come here for brunch, since I’d read a lot about their fantastic breaky options! But after my bike crash, we decided to head home a little earlier, so we squeezed in a visit for dinner instead. The Pear Salad (8/10) was refreshing and well balanced, and the Pork Belly (7/10) was packed with flavour.
Pita Jungle: Casual Mediterranean
- Address: 4 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281
- Known for: A diverse menu of healthy and flavourful Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a casual and welcoming setting.
- Steph’s “must try”: The lemonade!
Looking for a quick and easy bite, we came by Pita Jungle. We got the California Beach Lavash Wrap (7.5/10) and the Glazed Chicken Lavash Pizza (6/10). It had fast and friendly service, refreshing and delicious food, and one of the best lemonades I’ve had in a long time. Loved it!
Med Fresh Grill: Easy Pre Race Meal
- Address: 414 S Mill Ave #117, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: No-fuss Turkish plates
This was our choice when hunting for a simple rice/chicken/salad combo for my pre-race meal. It delivered exactly what we were looking for, and we were able to take it to go to eat while sitting along the lake!
SkySill: Rooftop Views
- Address: 11 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: A rooftop restaurant with panoramic city views and a modern American menu.
- Steph’s “must try”: Getting here for sunset!
Skysill is the rooftop bar and restaurant in the Westin hotel. I will admit, we did not actually eat here. They do have a food menu though! Whether you plan to have food, or just drinks, you gotta come here for the sunset views. Absolutely gorgeous panorama of downtown Tempe, including “A” Mountain, the lake, and all the way to Phoenix!
Crumbl Cookies: Iconic and Irresistible Cookies
- Address: 430 N Scottsdale Rd, Suite 112, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: A rotating menu of gourmet cookies, served warm and with a variety of flavours
- Steph’s “must try”: Molten Cookie
After hearing about Crumbl non-stop online, I figured it was time to actually try it… and WOW were these cookies ever delish!! I often find that things don’t live up to their online hype, but these do. They thick and chewy and gooey in the best way. I loved the chocolate ones most – chocolate pistachio (7/10), molten chocolate (8.5/10), chocolate peanut butter (8/10), and Ty’s fav was the cookie dough (7/10).
Drink Me! Tea Room: Step into Wonderland with Tea and Treats
- Address: 1730 E Warner Rd, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: A whimsical tea room offering a wide selection of teas and delectable pastries.
- Steph’s “must try”: rotating menu… get the whole spread!
I’ve never been to tea before, so this whole experience was super fun for me! Each and every bite of the spread was scrumptious. And I expected to be hungry after, but I was surprised at how there was enough to serve as a proper lunch. The menu is seasonal, so I can’t give any specific recommendations but I will say you gotta go!
Sparky’s: Something Sweet!
- Adress: 510 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ
- Known for: Fresh churned ice cream
For a city that is SO HOT, Tempe had a very small number of ice cream joints… We scoped out Sparky’s when trying to beat the heat one afternoon. I was honestly just ice cream, nothing special. But they get points for existing! Lol. I got the Fluffernutter (5/10) and Ty got a root beer float (5/10).
That’s it folks! If you’re in Tempe and are looking for things to do, check out my Complete Guide to Tempe here, and my post on where to find the best sunrises and sunsets in Tempe here.
And for the full trip experience, check out my YouTube vlog from the long weekend:
*Kinda sponsored: I was hired by the Tempe Tourism Office to create an Instagram Reel with highlights from my trip. So while this post is not sponsored, a portion of the trip was covered by the office.