Casa Filipina Bakeshop & Restaurant

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3531 West Thunderbird Road, Phoenix

If you know and love Filipino food -- run, don't walk -- to this clean, pleasant bakery-cum-restaurant, stashed in the corner of an aging stripmall. Owners Tess and Tony Menendez are culinary school grads who worked as pastry chefs in various Valley resorts, but now they're doing their own thing, offering classic European desserts (think eclairs and tiramisu) as well as Filipino specialties such as bibingka, sapin-sapin, siao pao, ensaymadas and pan del sel. The attached restaurant (where karaoke singers warble the night away) features lumpia Shanghai, lechon kawali, pancit Malabon, bistek Tagalog, dinuguan and more. Adventurous eaters will love this place, cowards -- not so much. Lunch and dinner Tu-Su. $