Restaurants & Bars 8

Review: Zuppa's Bistro - Phoenix

barry | Jan 29, 200811:01 AM

Thanks to winedubar and mamamia mentioning Zuppa's, a new place on Thomas and 5th Ave., I stopped by for lunch today. I gotta tell you...this place is really good.

Zuppa's is in a very small space. Just 6 tables inhabit the whole restaurant. There are two counters; one for Zuppa's and one for Sweet Thang Bakery that shares space with the restaurant. The bakery, by the way, is excellent. Lots of cupcakes (all $3) including red velvet, carrot cake, chocolate, coconut, etc. The owner of the bakery brought us a little taste of her rum cake as we waited for lunch, and it was awesome. She also has pastry and coffee in the morning.

Zuppa's menu starts with their soups, which are out of this world good. The Italian Wedding and pasta faoili are there every day. There are also special soups each day (I think there were at least 6 today). All are homemade and very fresh. She does not make any cream based soups, although she'll add cream if you ask. I had the butternut squash soup with lunch, and seriously, it was one of the best soups I've ever tasted. The butternut squash and whatever else she put in there was pureed and the taste was just amazing. Someone else tried the tomato bisque (can you call it a bisque if there's no cream in it?) and loved it. We also had an Italian egg drop soup which was very good.

Zuppa's has a lot of vegetarian options, and all of the ingredients were top notch. In addition to the soups, the menu offers salads, pastas, pininis and sandwhiches. I had the Zuppa mixed greens tossed with roasted tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette and toasted pecans ($7.50). I added roasted Italian chicken on top for $2.50 more. Frankly, it's a bit expensivefor a salad, but it was delicious. Everything on the menu comes with soup, so I started with a nice size cup of soup. The chicken breast was very moist and tender.

Other salads include a chicken salad witih granny smith apples over romaine with homemade dijon and local orange blossom honey ($8), and the tonno fazool ($8) with albacore tuna salad atop romaine with white beans and tomatoes.

One guy ordered the pasta special with sausage, pepper and onion and a marinara sauce ($7). It came with garlic toast, and of course a cup of soup. He said it was excellent. The other pastas looked really good, as well.

The pinini include one with roast beef, oven dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, carmalized onion and gorgonzola cheese ($8). Another guy with us ordered the eggplant with roasted red peppers topped with spinach, roasted roma tomatoes and goat cheese on a 7 grain bread ($8). He couldn't say enough about the sandwich, and it looked great. They obviously have a pinini press, and the bread was perfectly toasted and pressed. There is also a meatball sandwich ($8) and an Italian sausage, pepper and onion sandwich ($8).

Zuppa's says the menu changes often to reflect the availability of fresh, local produce and the market. A lot of the menu is vegetarian and/or organic. All I know is everything tasted great, and we have a new place for lunch. The owner is back there cooking, and she came out to talk to us a few times. I know it sounds like I'm a paid shill, but we were really blown away. I really hope the area supports this new restaurant (open less than 3 months), although I'm already having second thoughts about telling everyone and filling the place. When we were there just one other table was occupied, although she told us she's breaking even so far. If you work in the area, stop by and check it out.


Zuppa's Bistro
503 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ

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