The stretch of Eastern Avenue that runs from Interstate 215 to Anthem may be the most diverse “restaurant row” in the Valley. As soon as you exit the freeway you see an In-N-Out Burger and a Coco’s, and continuing south, you get to Richmar Plaza, which features Grimaldi’s, where you can enjoy coal-fired pizzas and good beer on the patio, and one of the city’s best coffeehouses, Espresso Culture & Cuisine. People often make the trip across the Valley just for those two hot spots.
But across the street there’s a bigger reason why it’s bustling here day and night. Sansone Park Place (9480 S. Eastern Ave.) is a sprawling retail complex, home to an amazing diversity of places to eat and drink. Many of the mall restaurants are relatively new, having replaced ones that failed during these challenging times. Pizzeria Enzo sits where Le Golosita was, for instance. It serves good pizzas and house-made gelati. Elixir, an all-organic café with an emphasis on vegetarian dishes, recently opened in place of a Greek restaurant.
And changes are ongoing. Perhaps the most anticipated opening is Republic Kitchen and Bar, an upscale American concept that’s moved into the space formerly home to the Irish pub Fado, which was quite popular and is sorely missed. True Island Grill, the only Las Vegas place that featured the cooking of Guam, is being replaced by Kabob Grill. A Chinese-Indian fusion concept, Jai’Ho, opened this month.
You’re not going to starve here no matter what. There is a core of busy, successful places already well established. One is BJ’s Pizzeria and Brewhouse, which has the best happy hour in the area (discounted drinks and half-price mini pizzas and appetizers from 3-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and from 10 p.m. to closing Sun.-Thurs.) and American sandwiches.
The Brazilian Grill, open for dinner only, is a churrascaria—all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style meats on skewers. For breakfast and lunch, there is a cheerful café called The Griddle, done in soft pastel earth tones. Hotcakes and basics from the griddle, such as waffles and French toast, rule the roost, and there are wraps, melts and salads for lunch.
In the middle of the mall, there is the popular Thai restaurant Pin Kaow, with a huge menu of appetizers such as Thai beef jerky, fragrant Thai-style curries and fiery salads. For a Filipino food fix, visit the market Kababayan Ko, equipped with a steam table and a hot case for to-go treats such as pancit rice noodles and sisig, a spicy ground pork dish. It’s at the south end of the mall.
I haven’t even mentioned the ever-popular Red Mango, a South Korean yogurt place with branches in Los Angeles and Seoul. Red Mango does only four flavors of 100 percent natural, gluten-free yogurt—the original tart flavor, Madagascar Vanilla, Pomegranate and a special flavor that changes from time to time—but they’re all good. They do smoothies, too.
Whew! I feel like I’ve just circumnavigated the globe.