Floridino’s

Floridino’s
590 N Alma School Rd
Chandler, AZ 85224
480-812-8433

Floridino’s used to be a neighborhood secret. The secret is pretty much out! During the off season it can be tough to get a seat at lunchtime. During the winter, the place is packed. There can even be a wait for dinner. That said, Floridinos is worth the usually brief wait. The prices are great, the food is great, the service is great and the redecorated dining room almost has a hint of ambiance.

This isn’t the place to go for cloth tablecloths and expensive food. If you want a great lunch special for $3.50, then this is the place. The individual lunch pizza is an unbeatable deal and there are about a half a dozen other specials that are too good to pass up.

If you are interested in a unique individual pizza, I strongly recommend the spicey chicken pizza. It’s an individual pizza topped with chunks of boneless chicken wing served with a side of creamy ranch dressing. It’s one of my favorites and it tastes even better than it sounds. You can choose what kind of meat, cheese and veggie fillings you would like in a freshly made giant calzone. You can get sausage, meatball, pepperoni, broccoli, garlic and about a dozen other things in your calzone or on a pizza. My personal preference is for the white calzone with no tomatoes.

The chicken parmigiana sandwiches are bursting with sauce and cheese. The pasta dishes are available with meat sauce or marinara and a very interesting take on garlic bread.

While I’m not a huge salad fan, the Chicken Ceaser salad is probably the best I’ve ever had. They put big chunks of lightly breaded chicken on a mound of fresh greens. If your tastes run to the garden salad with vinaigrette or the chef’s salad, they are all prepared equally as competently.

For a great appetizer, meal or quick snack the pizza muffins are a great choice that you won’t see anywhere else. Picture a sliced up Stromboli cooked with your choice of fillings and made fresh to order. Delicious!

Floridino’s is a must for great, inexpensive Italian food. They rate five stars.

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Saigon Pho

Saigon Pho
1381 N Alma School Rd
Chandler, AZ 85224
480-786-8828

Here’s the short version of this review: “Saigon Pho has the best Vietnamese food in Chandler”. I haven’t found any Vietnamese restaurant in the area that compares to Saigon Pho. I spent a year living in Orange County California. I lived within 20 minutes of “Little Saigon” in Garden Grove. That said, I’ve eaten at a lot of Vietnamese restaurants. I’ve yet to find many that I like more than Saigon Pho.

When you walk in to the deceptively large restaurant, you will be greeted by a smiling waitress asking you how many in your party. If they aren’t crowded, you’ll usually be seated at one of the tables or booths in the main dining room. There is a spill over dining room attached that is just as large. The décor is plain, very plain. I do recommend visiting the large fish tanks in the back. Seeing giant fish swimming around in a restaurant is always a treat.

The Vietnamese style egg rolls are lightly fried, not greasy and filled with meat and vegetables. The spring rolls burst with crispy veggies and lean meat. The Bun and Com dishes are sensational. Saigon Pho has by far the leanest and most flavorful charbroiled pork I’ve ever seen. The namesake Saigon Pho is a great soup with perfectly cooked rice noodles.

The Beef Chow Fun is a mix of vegetables, beef and sauce on a thick bed of rice noodles. Speaking of rice noodles, the seafood and vegetable with crispy rice noodles is one of my favorite dishes. A medley of seafood with mixed vegetables cooked in one of Saigon Pho’s signature sauces is served on a bed of crispy rice noodles. Absolutely fantastic.

If you like seafood, Saigon Pho has a special treat for you. Saigon Pho has their Saigon Pho special sauce. This is the best seafood sauce I’ve ever eaten. The Saigon Special Crab, Saigon Special Lobster and Saigon Special Fish are incredible. You could put Saigon Special sauce on a rock and it would be great! The Saigon Special Fish isn’t on the menu, but they’ll make it if you ask.

Saigon Pho is the one of the best Vietnamese restaurants around. They rate five stars.

Scott’s Generations

Scott’s Generations
5555 N. 7th street, Suite 108
Phoenix, AZ
(602) 277-5662

It’s pretty easy to find a good deli in New York City. Once you are outside of NY however, it’s pretty hard to find a good deli. People go years without eating a truly great pastrami sandwich. Sure, you can buy deli in the supermarket, but if you think that’s the same thing, you are seriously mistaken.

Scott’s generation’s is perhaps not the oddest name I’ve ever heard for a restaurant, but it’s up there. This humble restaurant in a nondescript strip mall houses a deli that produces true New York style deli sandwiches. If you ask for it, they can even make a chocolate egg cream.

The deli sandwiches are giant, over stuffed piles of lean or extra lean meat on fresh rye bread. You can get wheat, white, pumpernickel, Kaiser Rolls or club rolls if you prefer. I’m a bit of a traditionalist so I had mine on rye with a bit of spicy brown mustard. The sandwich was heaven. Lean delicious meat on the best fresh bread. The sandwiches come with pickles and coleslaw.

The menu includes all sorts of omelets, pancakes, smoked fish, lox and other sandwiches. By other sandwiches, I mean a selection large enough to fill up a multi page menu. Prices are reasonable with most items under $10 and everything including the dinners well under $20.

Scott’s Generation’s is a great deli. They rate five stars.

Joes Real BBQ

Joes Real BBQ
http://www.joesrealbbq.com/
301 N Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 503-3805

To review Joes, or to not to review Joes, that is the question. Is there anyone who hasn’t eaten at Joes in Gilbert? Possibly, it could be, so what the heck. They have great food! I’ll do a review. Joes has been around about 10 years. They are in a long brick building on the north east corner of Page and Gilbert with parking in the rear and side of the building.

When you enter Joes, you walk through the seating area to get in the cafeteria style line. First you take a tray, silverware and cup for a drink. Next you take your drink from the soda fountain or grab a bottle of premium root beer. As you wind your way past the menu and the cafeteria display you can see the bbq and the sides. My favorite is the sampler platter for $12. You get a chicken breast, pulled pork, beef brisket and two baby back ribs topped with two large pieces of Texas toast. You can also get an assortment of sandwiches of varying sizes. The sausages are excellent, well cooked and flavorful.

There are many sides and you could debate the merit of coleslaw versus potato salad endlessly. My favorite is the baked beans. These are by far the best baked beans I’ve ever eaten. The mac and cheese is outstanding, the corn is great but the beans are sublime. As a side they offer thick slices of cornbread. If you have a big appetite, I wouldn’t pass it up.

Being self serve, there is no service to consider. The food is great. It’s probably the best bbq around. I rate Joe’s as 5 stars. It’s one of the only bbq places I eat in around here.