The Phoenix Metro area of Arizona is a culinary oasis in the middle of a vast landscape of rugged terrain and natural wonders. There are legendary industry giants in neighboring cities that may cause some to overlook Gilbert. But Gilbert has a unique and burgeoning food scene with plenty to offer, even to the most skeptical foodie. We look at the ten best restaurants in this charming suburban town, deep in the American West.
Joe’s Real BBQ is proud of its Arizona heritage and shows it in the decor of its historic building. The interior of the restaurant pays homage to Gilbert’s early farming days in a delightfully kitschy way. The food, however, is serious. The restaurant smokes meats over Arizona-grown pecan wood, rendering a flavor that is out of this world. Chicken, turkey, sausages, pork, and beef are all slow-cooked to perfection. Homestyle sides, like mac ‘n cheese, bbq beans, and coleslaw are customer favorites to round out the meal. Joe’s Real BBQ has been a mainstay for nearly two decades, and locals could not be happier.
Bringing their passion for craft brews to Gilbert, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company combines great beer, lively food, and an unapologetic zeal for life. The friendly and enthusiastic crew at this brewing company creates hand-crafted American and Belgian ales. The restaurant’s menu packs a punch, with flavorful and inventive dishes. Fan favorites include the jalapeno meatloaf sliders and the frenched chicken wings confit. Arizona Wilderness also offers an array of tantalizing and creative burgers, like the peanut butter and jalapeno jelly burger, and a brisket-blend burger with blue cheese and beer-braised onions. This is the type of neighborhood haunt that makes anyone feel welcomed.
With a name like Joyride, you can’t possibly avoid smiling at this restaurant. But taste their street-style tacos, and you will really see why locals love it. The taqueria serves a large variety of tacos, from the slow-roasted chicken standard, to braised beef, pork, and even shrimp and ahi tuna. Mexican street corn and ceviche are also popular dishes. Joyride also serves spot-on cocktails to quench your thirst after even the most spicy salsa. Since opening their first location in Gilbert, Joyride Taco House has become so popular that they opened a second location in nearby Phoenix to share the taco love.
Liberty Market has a vibe that is a refreshing mix of urban chic and homestyle comfort. The restaurant serves American fare, with particular attention to local flavors and ingredients. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, Liberty Market handcrafts meals that are traditional and cozy, yet elegantly presented. The breakfast menu offers standards like egg scrambles and sandwiches, while dinner brings wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and meat dishes. Daily and weekly specials are created to highlight fresh, in-season ingredients from local purveyors. And no matter the time of day, don’t miss trying one of Liberty Market’s fresh, house-made pastries and desserts.
Steeped in tradition and family memories, The Farmhouse has been a part of Gilbert for over 25 years. Originally housed in an actual old farmhouse, the restaurant is now in a historic building closer to the center of town. Though the location changed, there is still an air of nostalgia, and a commitment to making customers feel comfortable and at ease. The owners and staff at The Farmhouse aim to extend great service, and a bit of family love, to each guest. This restaurant is only open until 2 p.m., so you’ll have to visit them early in the day. Breakfast offers up quintessential American classics, and the lunch menu is full of homestyle salads and sandwiches, with daily specials like chicken and biscuits, pot pie, and fried chicken.
Joe’s Farm Grill is as unpretentious and straightforward as it gets. They just make food that people love, whilst using the best ingredients possible. The result is a dining experience that is reminiscent of simpler times and slower living. The restaurant is set on Agritopia; a 166-acre community of residential homes, commercial business, and agricultural lands, all centered around a culture of urban farming. Joe’s Farm Grill uses fresh produce grown from the urban farm, making the ingredients as fresh as possible. Many of the menu items are a throwback to classic American diners; burgers, hotdogs, fries, and sandwiches. But they are made with care, and in a way that respects the ingredients and the simplicity of the food. For a unique snack or appetizer, try the fried zucchini slices, breaded in rosemary-dill panko.
A relative newbie to the restaurant scene in Gilbert, Simi’s Café serves the vibrant flavors of Asia. With dishes ranging from Vietnamese to Chinese to Thai, there is something for everyone here. The restaurant is family-run, and each staff member pays close attention to the care and attention given to each guest. As great as the customer service is, the food at Simi’s Café is what truly puts this little place on the map. Customers rave about the orange chicken, yellow curry, and house fried rice. Some even claim that the restaurant’s Pho is the best in the entire state.
Another establishment born out of the urban farming plan of Agrotopia is The Coffee Shop. The little shop is quaint and charming but has a modern, chic air about it. The cafe offers a full menu for breakfast and lunch but is a great place to stop for coffee or baked goods all day. In fact, The Coffee Shop gained some celebrity status when its cupcakes were featured on a popular baking competition TV show in the USA. But beyond its excellent sweet treats, the restaurant uses fresh ingredients from the on-site farm to prepare honest and uncomplicated food.
Pizzeria, Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Gilbert has several good pizza restaurants in town, but Casanova Brothers is a clear local favorite. The location is odd; the restaurant is tucked away in a sleepy-looking strip mall. But from its humble exterior comes hot, mouthwatering pizza with a whole lot of heart. As the name indicates, the brand was created by two brothers, passionate about good food and great service. That is what regulars have come to expect from Casanova Brothers Pizza, time after time. The shop serves Italian-American favorites like pizza, calzones, pastas, and sub sandwiches, and is open for lunch and dinner.
Restaurant, Wine Bar, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Wine, Beer, $$$
From the same genius that brought us Joyride Tacos, Postino East offers a dining experience that is classy yet comfortable. The restaurant marries expertly selected wines with delectable food items, many of which are shareable, making for a perfect meal to enjoy with friends. Many visitors love to order a few different types of bruschetta, get a great wine to go with it, and just relax. A few of the most popular bruschetta flavor combinations are brie and apple with fig spread, tomato jam with sheep’s milk cheese, or burrata, bacon, arugula, and tomato. Postino is the perfect place to just sit back and enjoy life for a little while.