Welcome to the Pita Jungle (4340 E. Indian School Rd., 602/955-7482, 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $7–15). The Central Phoenix branch of this ever-growing Valley culinary empire attracts a busy lunch and dinner crowd thanks to its inexpensive, healthy, Middle Eastern-inspired menu. The eclectic assortment includes gyros, falafels, and warm lavash, as well as salads and veggie burgers. The Mediterranean-roasted chicken shawarma is a garlicky, pita-wrapped masterpiece. Oh, please note: Best. Hummus. Ever.
It’s all about ambience at T. Cooks (5200 E. Camelback Rd., 602/808-0766, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5:30–10 p.m. daily, $26–38), a romantic hideaway at the Royal Palms Resort. The cozy, Spanish Colonial dining room is complemented by a Southwest-meets-Mediterranean menu, featuring seasonal dishes, fresh fish, and fire-roasted meats. The lobster bisque garnished with fennel foam is just one of the subtle, uniquely crafted dishes. Phoenicians regularly gather at the Sunday morning brunches for lemon brioche French toast, eggs Benedict, vanilla-scented pancakes, and mimosas.