La Madeleine

Note: La Madeleine has closed it’s locations in Phoenix since we published this review.

This French deli and restaurant cooks a delightful experience for any meal. If you go for breakfast we suggest just about anything! They cook up a good meal of eggs, toast, and bacon, plus hash browns and the usual fare you’d expect in a good breakfast.

La Madeleine’s is an excellent choice for a conservative breakfast meeting or to catch up with friends over lunch. Sporting a delightful open atmosphere with plenty of tables, it almost feels like a converted home with multiple outside facing windows.

The difference here is that you order your meal deli style and they bring it to your table once it is prepared. You can also pick from a variety of baked goodies and sweets at the counter.

What to try? We love the Tomato Basil Soup which is absolutely splendid and they can serve up some sumptuous treats like their cakes and pies.

How much? Expect to pay $10+ per person including drinks.

Where? It’s a chain and they’ve got over 60 locations nationwide. We’ve eaten at the ones at Camelback Rd. & 32nd St., Shea Blvd. and Tatum, and inside Fashion Square Mall. Visit for more locations.

Atmosphere? It feels like a specious home with wood floors and decorative wall hangings.

When? Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

The Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl brings back many memories for Scottsdale old-timers as it’s been in the same spot for at least a half-century.

You’ll remember seeing the Sugar Bowl featured in the popular comic strip ‘Family Circus.’ In fact, the menu has Bill Keens own personal touch.

The Sugar Bowl is the best place to get a malt in Scottsdale!

This place is covered in the color pink! The outside is pink, the chairs are pink, and the walls even have pink and white stripes! But it only adds to the atmosphere which brings to mind soda fountains of the 50s.

Try it for a light lunch of bite sized sandwiches or soups. Then always top it off by ordering one or two of the fantastic ice creams and malts! We suggest the Camelback Soda, or even one of the brownies.

Even if you’re a long-time resident, or simply visiting town, you’ve got to stop in and visit the folks at the Sugar Bowl.

How much? $2.00 – 10.00

Where? East side of Scottsdale Road (south of Indian School road by one block) in old town Scottsdale.

Atmosphere? Sidewalk sandwich shop.

When? Open for lunch and dinner and dessert! Mon-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

Cave Creek Coffee Company

Cave Creek Coffee Company is remarkable. It has large spacious rooms and comfortable ottoman chairs that make this coffee house especially comfy. Nowhere else can you get a leather chair, free wireless internet, and to boot it’s in Cave Creek, away from the beaten path which makes it special.


Let’s start with the coffee. First of all, they roast their own coffee beans and so you know the coffee will be fresh (you can even buy it around town and at several up-scale restaurants). The cappuccinos are delicious with just the right foam and nice tiny bubbles that have the appearance of soft cream. Just right. Next we tried some of the specialty drinks like the Mexican Spiced Mocha. The taste was intense and sophisticated and the cinnamon wasn’t crying for attention like so many others I’ve tasted. That’s important because I could taste the flavor.

We also tried some of the mocha’s and plain coffees and found a unique flavor. I frequently make the drive from Scottsdale simply for the good experience and coffee.

David and Anita Anderson are the owners of Cave Creek Coffee Company and they’ve recently installed free wireless internet in their entire coffee shop. Kudos’ to them for realizing the potential. As the only coffee shop in Cave Creek that we know of with free wireless, they’ll become the repeat destination for geeks and workaholics alike.


Cave Creek Coffee Company: Free wireless internet and superb cappuccinos

Cave Creek Coffee Company recently expanded its outdoor seating area and now it’s a huge spacious place with trees and lighting for night-time music events. Highly recommended.

Where: It’s on the south side of Cave Creek Rd. in Cave Creek. If you’re taking Scottsdale Rd. north, take a left (going west) when the road ends in Cave Creek and it’s another 2-3 miles ahead on your left (you’ll pass the Satisfied Frog restaurant). The address is 6033 E. Cave Creek Rd, or phone them at 480.488.0603 or

Hours: They open at 6:30 am and close at 8:00 on weekends. During the week they close at 6:30 pm (although the wine bar is open until 10 pm).

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

Date reviewed: 2/27/2004

Jolta Java

Quiet and peaceful, this coffee shop with wood and earth toned circle shaped walls and coffee-brown varnished concrete is a nice place to meet a friend or just take it easy.

This isn’t just a coffee shop – they have breakfasts and sandwiches for anytime in addition to a daily soup.

jolta java
Jolta Java: A plentiful menu, good coffees, and shiney floors.

I was pleasantly surprised by their rewards program: every 10th beverage is free and they even remember my favorite drink. Plus no silly punch cards; it’s all automated with computers.

If you’ve found other coffee houses to be noisy, you’ll notice that Jolta Java doesn’t attract a huge crowd yet serves up some delicious drinks. Most notable is the Mexican Spiced Mocha. Absolutely wonderful hot or iced (they didn’t put too much ice in it) and the Cappuccino is excellent.

They even have a smaller room with couches and easy chairs which reminds me of the Cave Creek Coffee Company. You can read books or just sit back and enjoy the quiet.

How much? Prices for beverages are about what you’d expect at any coffee shop around town. A cup of soup is only $2.75 and sandwiches are about $7.00.

Where? SW Corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Acoma (just north of Thunderbird). 14418 N. Scottsdale Rd. – Suite 185, Scottsdale, Arizona 85254. If you want more info, head over to where you can see the menu.

Atmosphere? Quiet coffee shop with high ceilings and varnished floors

When? Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, coffee. Seven days a week.

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

DJ’s Bagel Cafe

That small bagel shop atmosphere and espresso combination you’ve grown to like. This Fountain Hills café is on Fountain Hills Blvd. They have the usual mix and match of bagel varieties for a good price. Mix and match to get the sandwich you like best made fresh for you in minutes.

Skip the tap water which wasn’t too good and enjoy a cappuccino or a old fashioned root beer.

It’s a deal for bagels if you just want that, you can get a baker’s dozen for only $6.00.

How much? Expect to pay between $4-6 for a bagel sandwich at lunch, less for breakfast sandwiches.

Where? It’s in Fountain Hills and it is on Fountain Hills Blvd. Easy to find. 13693 N Fountain Hills Blvd, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268-3761, Phone: (480) 816-4155

Atmosphere? Sidewalk bagel shop with espresso and mocha drinks.

When? Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day except Sunday when they close at 3 pm.

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

Village Coffee Roastery

The Village Coffee Roastery has been around for about eight years sells great coffee drinks and provides a rich atmosphere, but they even roast their own coffee beans, seriously. You can also try a delicious assortment of sandwiches and salads (Monday through Friday).

The coffee house takes advantage of the natural light from outdoors which creates a nice warm effect inside. Central in the shop is a nice round bar tiled with square blue tiles. You can sit and watch the barista make drinks while you wait and if you’re interested, watch, learn, and ask questions about the coffee business. They’re pretty nice.


The Village Coffee RoasteryOne of my favorite drinks isn’t actually a coffee. It’s their Chai Tea Latte. They make it with all of the normal spices you’d find in a normal coffee house, except this one has a milk base rather than water. So it makes a world of difference. The drink is creamy and the spices just blend together with the milk to create this incredible blend of spices. We vote it BEST CHAI LATTE OF PHOENIX 2004.

Don’t worry, we tried their traditional coffee drinks and found everything to be flavorful and delicious. Especially considering the freshness of their coffee. In fact, if you are looking for fresh coffee for home use, we suggest you ask the barista when the next batch of coffee beans will be roasted.

Unlike most coffee houses that make coffee drinks the American way, Coffee Roastery makes coffees the Italian way which is a creamier and smoother taste (almost a velvety layer). When you’re sitting around the “Bar” ask them to tell you why this is important.

They’ve recently added free wireless internet, so you’ll always be able to connect. They don’t have too many power outlets though, so be sure to bring a charged battery!

Where: On the North-West corner of Hayden and Via De Ventura (DoubleTree Rd) inside the Village at Hayden complex… 8120 N Hayden Rd # E104, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.

Hours: Weekdays they open at 6:30 am and close at 6:30 pm and on weekends 7:30 – 4:00 pm

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

Date reviewed: 2/23/2004

Mimi’s Cafe

This is one of my favorite places to eat, if you go for lunch try the Arthur J.’s West Coast Reuben which is absolutely amazing… best in Phoenix by my words and huge – it is made with real cole slaw, swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing, and ham and turkey. It will make your mouth melt.

The salads, soups, and muffins are all suggested. If you can substitute a salad instead of soup we suggest it as the corn chowder doesn’t live up to the hype. Try the house Caesar Salad, its tops.

Mimi’s also has a wide assortment of pastas, for starters we suggest the Penne with Chicken, Feta, and Pine Nuts, which was excellent, and it had good texture and wonderful taste. Also recommended is the Artie’s Fettuccini, which is fantastic but a bit heavy on the artichoke side.

If you want to start with an appetizer, the Thai Chicken Wrap is delicious, it comes with special sauces that you can put on it, enough for three or four people. It also comes with a small assortment of fruit.

Service can be a little slow at times, especially during lunch when it gets pretty busy. They have a small spot outside for outdoor seating, which is shaded by trees so would be nice in wintertime.

We suggest getting two meals and splitting them (ask the waiter, they give you bigger portions). By splitting the meals you feel like it is a feast and you get to try a bit of everything.

This review is based on multiple visits to the Mimi’s Café on Shea Blvd.

How much? For two people including drinks and an appetizer count on $30., average meal prices are $7 – 9., appetizers start at $5.

Where? You’ll see Mimi’s Cafe all over Phoenix. The specific restaurant we reviewed is on Shea Blvd. and 89th St. It is just east of the 101 on Shea. Get more info at

Atmosphere? French cafe with spacious seating.

When? Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week.

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

Manhattan Pizzeria & Sub Shop

Note: Manhattan Pizzeria & Sub Shop is under new ownership (since this review was written), and on a recent visit (2012) it was all vegetarian.

This small pizza and sub shop first opened in the mid 1980s and offers up a fantastic menu with New York City flavor.

We like the submarine sandwiches they have, try the Bronx Bomber, or the Chicken Parmigiana (it’s tops!). These subs are by far some of the best we’ve eaten; they’re certainly a notch above the big-name submarine shops you’ve tried.

The place to go for lunch with co-workers and friends when you want a great sub sandwich but want something two steps above fast food. This isn’t the place to take clients, as the atmosphere isn’t good enough for a serious conversation with somebody you’re trying to impress.

How much? $4 – 5 for subs. Pizza starts at $11.

Where? Manhattan’s is on 7th St. just south of Missouri or north of Camelback. You’ll see it on the west side of the street. Get a map and see the menu at

Atmosphere? Sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, or sit inside. Seating is limited as this is a small shop. Take out and delivery available.

When? Mon-Sat 10:30 AM – 9 PM.

Reviewer: Chris Tingom

The Willow House

Note: The Willow House has since closed.

With some time to burn waiting for a downtown meeting, I visited the eclectic coffeehouse that’s really a house. Or it was at one time. Anyway, I like the arrangement, with several smaller rooms you can find a little spot for yourself or join a larger group if you prefer. The place has been here for years and it definitely fits with the bohemian/patchwork downtown aesthetic – there’s all manner of art and knicknacks for sale on the walls, and it’s the only place I’ve been in recently where smoking is welcome. I don’t know if it’s that way all around the joint, but people in the room I was in were definitely taking advantage – contributing their own “atmosphere” – shall I say.

The drink I ordered was well-made; I don’t normally have a white chocolate mocha because they’re too sweet, however here I ordered a raspberry white chocolate mocha on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. The flavors were there; the syrupy sweetness wasn’t.

As I was about to leave I remembered my ibook in my backpack; I thought “hey, there’s a chance…” and right away there it was – free wireless! Geek paradise. Well, for geeks who don’t mind secondhand smoke at least.

Where: 3rd Ave/McDowell – downtown Phoenix

Reviewer: Ben Wood

Date reviewed: 2/13/2004