We asked, you answered: The Valley’s top restaurants for dining this winter

We asked, you answered: The Valley’s top restaurants for dining this winter

Homemade Cornish pasties with beef, carrot, and potato. (Photo by Getty Images)

By Robert Gundran

November 29, 2023

The Valley isn’t exactly freezing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get cold—and what better way to stave off the chill of winter than with some warm and comforting food.

I asked our readers and viewers for recommendations on restaurants to check out when temperatures get a little chilly, and here are five they suggested (plus one of my own favorites):

Cornish Pasty Co.

7 W. Monroe St., Phoenix (six Valley locations)
11 a.m.—2 a.m.

Cornish Pasty Co. has six locations across the Valley—two in Phoenix and Tempe, plus one each in Scottsdale and Mesa. Another is coming to Glendale in spring 2024. A Cornish pasty is basically a fancy hot pocket. Each pasty has an entire meal as filling.

For my money, the best pasty is The Pilgrim. It has turkey, sweet potato, grilled onion, and stuffing inside, and is served alongside gravy and cranberry sauce.

Cornish Pasty Co. has dozens of different pasties, including several vegan and vegetarian options. If a Thanksgiving meal in a pasty isn’t your speed, they have shepherd’s pie, Cajun chicken, a Reuben, and a Cubano, among other options.

Thai Recipe Bistro

2234 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Closed Tuesdays
11 a.m.—3 p.m. and 4 p.m.—9:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays
12 p.m.—3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Thai Recipe Bistro brings authentic Thai cuisine to Arizona. This restaurant has three soups and eight curries to keep you warm.

Pair the curry with roasted duck or pad thai for some added comfort.

The restaurant is just north of downtown Phoenix and Roosevelt Row, so check them out before you head to First Friday in the winter months.

Sakana Sushi & Grill

6989 Hayden Road, Scottsdale (three Valley locations)
Closed Sundays
5 p.m.—8:30 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays
12 p.m.—2 p.m and 5 p.m.—8:30 p.m Thursdays
12 p.m.—2 p.m and 5 p.m.—9 p.m Fridays
5 p.m.—9:30 p.m Saturdays

When looking to warm up during winter, most people wouldn’t think about eating sushi, but there are cold-weather options at Sakana Sushi & Grill, which has locations in Scottsdale, Glendale, and Ahwatukee.

Sushi rolls with fried tempura is the way to go when you want something else cooked alongside your raw fish. Sakana’s crunchy eel roll and Las Vegas rolls have fried tempura, cream cheese, avocado, and eel sauce.

Sakana also has fried rice and gyoza alongside other items off the grill like spicy salmon and chicken teriyaki.

Eat Up Drive In

4001 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
11 a.m.—9 p.m.

Eat Up Drive In serves single and family meals through their drive-through on the southeast corner of Indian School Road and 40th Street.

The restaurant has chicken, barbecue short ribs, baked potatoes, mac and cheese, and more. If you don’t want a full meal, they have four soups and eight sandwiches to pick from.

Eat Up has gluten-free and vegan options, too.

If you’re ordering for the family make sure you have time to wait, because all their meals are cooked to order.


66 S. Dobson Road, Mesa
9 a.m.—8 p.m.

The family that founded Unphogettable left Vietnam in 1978 and opened the restaurant in Mesa 30 years later.

All the pho options are beef or chicken-based broths with rice noodles. You can get steak, brisket, shrimp, chicken breast, or tofu with your pho.

The authentic Vietnamese dish is a great way to combat the cold with warm noodles and soothing broth. If pho isn’t your thing, try one of their steamed rice selections that come with pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, or fish filets.

Shady Park

26 E. University Drive, Tempe
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
4 p.m.—10 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays

Shady Park is maybe best known for its dispute with Mirabella at ASU, a retirement community right next to Mill Ave, over noise complaints for its live music.

But the restaurant is also home to delicious ramen and a sushi happy hour. Their sushi happy hour—which runs 4-7 p.m. every day—has $5 California rolls and salmon nigiri and $3 off all other sushi rolls.

Ramen is the star at Shady Park, though. You can build your own bowl, starting with one of six kinds of broth. From there you pick which of their 22 toppings you want to add to the bowl.

My order is shoyu broth with pork belly, a soft egg, corn, fried tofu, scallions, and extra noodles. Shady Park also has six house bowls if you’re feeling indecisive.

Shady Park is my favorite spot to grab food during the winter because there’s just something special about a steaming bowl of ramen during the coldest months of the year. There’s nothing like finishing off the warm noodles, and then drinking the still-hot broth.

READ MORE: Great spots for cozy winter camping in Arizona


  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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