Byblos (3332 South Mill Ave., [480] 894-1945). Middle Eastern cuisine doesn't get much better in the Valley. The Mirza family's signature tomato soup is a must-have item and their stuffed grape leaves are nearly as good. You can't go wrong with the chicken Mediterranean or any of the kebabs. $

Caffe Boa (398 S. Mill Ave., [480] 968-9112). Tasty offerings at this red-brick Italian wine bar include paninis, pastas and a very tasty tiramisu. Looking for lighter fare? Boa has a nice list of tapas and flights as well as one of the best happy hours in town. Additional location in Mesa. $$

Chuck Box (202 E. University Drive, [480] 968-4712). The guys at this rustic ASU lunch spot have been serving the best mesquite-grilled burgers in Tempe for longer than we can remember. Ever a student (and alumni) favorite, Chuck Box also makes great fried zucchini. $

Classic Italian Pizza (1030 E. Baseline Road, [480] 345-8681). It doesn't look like much from the parking lot, but inside the dimly lit cafe are the best gourmet wood-fired pizzas around. Great wines, salads and desserts, too. $

Cornish Pasty Co. (960 W. University Drive, [480] 894-6261). The pasty (pronounced pass-tee) is England's answer to the calzone, but with a pie-like crust. The carne adovada and lamb vindaloo versions rock, as does the mine-shaft style and shape of the pub and the $9.50-and-under menu. Additional location in Mesa. $

Dilly's Deli (414 W. University Drive, [480] 929-0111 and 3330 S. Price Road, [480] 491-1196). It's always a good time for soup - especially at Dilly's. Better known for its grilled sandwiches, this popular lunch spot also serves up a mean bread bowl. Our fave? The cream of broccoli. Additional locations in Chandler and Scottsdale. $

Four Peaks Brewery (1340 E. 8th St., [480] 303-9967). Don't expect the usual bar food suspects here. Four Peaks' menu includes such impressive offerings as Thai hummus, the Portabella veggie beer bread sandwich and the salmon BLT. Oh, and the beer - including the customer fave Kilt Lifter - ain't half bad, either. Additional location in Scottsdale. $

Green (2240 N. Scottsdale Road, [480] 941-9003). This vegan restaurant specializes in American comfort food with a twist. The spicy buffalo wings are made from cucumbers; oats and barley are the main ingredients in the burgers; and the po'boys feature mock chicken and mock steak. Don't forget to try a cup of the homemade soft-serve soy ice cream. $

Harlow's Cafe (1021 W. University Drive, [480] 829-9444). Classic movie posters line the walls and waitresses with marquee looks deliver your breakfast. Fill up on one of their many omelets or their eggs Benedict, always cooked to perfection. There's always a wait on Sundays, but that's a good sign. Open for lunch as well. $

House of Tricks (114 E. 7th St., [480] 968-1114). Located in a 1920s cottage, Tricks is all the things most other Mill Avenue eateries are not - charming, cozy and delightfully unique. In addition to an eclectic menu featuring a fusion of French and American flavors, Tricks also boasts an inviting outdoor bar (complete with fireplace) and a shaded patio perfect for enjoying a bottle of wine. Or two. $-$$

Maria Maria (2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, [480] 449-3663). This eye-catching Tempe Marketplace restaurant, owned by legendary musician Carlos Santana, showcases the globally inspired Mexican cuisine of chef Roberto Santibañez. Try the braised short ribs, chile relleno or chicken and mole tortilla casserole, but save room for lime pie. $-$$

Monti's La Casa Vieja (100 S. Mill Ave., [480] 967-7594). If you love meat at reasonable prices and don't want to work for it, Monti's is probably your idea of culinary nirvana. Since 1956, the steakhouse has roasted and barbecued pork, chicken and beef for families and Arizona State University students. It's comfort food in a comfortable and unpretentious atmosphere. Filet mignon, ribs and the casa burger will satisfy any meat lover. $

P.F. Chang's China Bistro (740 S. Mill Ave., [480] 731-4600). P.F. Chang's has been a hot spot in the Valley since it opened a decade ago. Offering innovative Chinese cuisine and an upscale ambiance, P.F. Chang's has since taken its famous lettuce wraps national, with locations in such corners of the country as New Jersey, Wisconsin and Alabama. Additional East Valley locations in Chandler, Scottsdale and Mesa. $

Pita Jungle (1250 E. Apache Blvd., [480] 804-0234). Vegetarians aren't the only ones who love Pita Jungle, with its huge portions of mostly healthy fare. Usually crowded, with cool art on the walls, this is one spot that college students and postgrads can agree on. Additional locations in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Scottsdale. $

Rúla Búla (401 S. Mill Ave., [480] 929-9500). In addition to pints of Guinness and Irish coffee with a jolt of Bailey's, this Mill Avenue bar and grill - modeled after the pubs of Ireland - serves a mean shepherd's pie. Other specialties at this fun, colorful hot spot include corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, lamb stew, boxty and bread pudding. $

Sacks Art of Sandwicherie (35 E. 9th St., [480] 966-9266 and 839 W. University Drive, [480] 967-2980). Patrons will discover arty sandwiches and an equally colorful setting at this longtime ASU fave. The sandwiches, named for the greats (Picasso, van Gogh and the like), are served in a sack (get it?) with a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. It's just like mom used to do - only cooler. $

Ted's Hot Dogs (1755 E. Broadway Road, [480] 968-6678). Long lines at lunchtime have been forming here since 1983, but the wait is always worth it. Dress up your dog, bratwurst or sausage - Italian or Polish - with your choice of 14 toppings. Wash it down with a malt or milkshake. $

Tott's Asian Diner (1817 E. Guadalupe Road, [480] 897-7928). With an extensive list of create-your-own dishes there's something here to satisfy every taste. Pick up some stir fry, curry or one of the chefs specials, including grilled bourbon chicken, sweet and pungent shrimp and Asian fried sole. $

U.S. Egg (131 E. Baseline Road, [480] 831-0070). This family-run Tempe mainstay sings a lovely medley from the traditional breakfast songbook: moist omelets, with hash brown chasers; crisp waffles and large pancakes that grab the warm syrup. Their crunchy/sweet protein pancake with blueberries, granola and slivered almonds is a flapjack lover's find. They're friendly, too! Additional location in Scottsdale. $-$

Venezia's Pizzeria (33 East Southern Ave., [480] 858-1660). A favorite of ASU students as well as the 9-to-5 crowd. Get two giant slices and a drink for $6 and change, or try one of their overstuffed subs. In the mood for a pie with a little kick? Bring home the Italian Stallion, made with Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions and jalapeños. Additional locations in Chandler and Mesa. $

Y.C.'s Mongolian Grill (3206 S. McClintock Drive, [480] 820-8880, and 752 W. Elliot Road, [480] 777-2929). What makes Y.C.'s Mongolian Grill different from other buffet-style establishments is that after patrons finish filling their bowls, they get to watch the cooks - or, in Y.C.'s case, "grill warriors" - stir-fry the meals on a smoking hot grill. Patrons customize their entrees with an assortment of meats, vegetables, noodles and sauces. The $10.50 per person dinner price also includes a side of soup, rice and frozen yogurt for dessert. Additional locations in Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale. $

Z'Tejas Grill (20 W. Sixth St., [480] 377-1170). Blending American regional styles, this restaurant has remained a favorite with locals and visitors alike. The food, dubbed New American cuisine, is a combination of Tex-Mex, Southwest and Cajun/Creole flavors. And the potent margaritas? Well, they're sure to put you in your place. Additional locations in Scottsdale and Chandler. $ boasts an extensive assortment of wines. $$

More top restaurants:

http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_898d1cbc-e148-11df-bb98-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">CHANDLER | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_b8e4d2fc-e148-11df-9005-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">GILBERT | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_faf53e3e-e148-11df-a3c1-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">MESA | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_2df28b84-e149-11df-8c19-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">TEMPE | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_521f1246-e14b-11df-9ee0-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">QUEEN CREEK | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_a142f27a-e14b-11df-9892-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">SCOTTSDALE | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_aa80de16-e14a-11df-8924-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">PARADISE VALLEY | http://eastvalleytribune.com/guide/article_51b38308-e148-11df-a970-001cc4c002e0.html" target="_blank">AHWATUKEE FOOTHILLS

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