Noca - Italian-Inspired Modern American - CLOSED

2013 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
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JennyC
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Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

Noca: How loud can you scream Food Nerd?

One of my all time favorite places is owned/operated by a huge food nerd, Eliot Wexler. I think I love Noca because of him. From the early days when it first opened, the front of the house was as smooth as silk, his extra touches apparent throughout the restaurant, and the crudo, flown in daily, was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Eliot has almost a maniacal passion about the food he sources and the way in which it is presented and served. How can you not appreciate that?

Noca has evolved through chef changes and managed to always provide amazing food with top notch service to please both its neighborhood clientele and the food nerds who visit.

Long live Restaurant Noca!

Noca Discussion Threads:
Noca
Nocawich

Noca
www.restaurantnoca.com
3118 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602-956-6622
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chrislee
Posts: 169
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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6 years ago

How can Noca not be FNA?

Throughout the tours of 3 different chefs, Noca has always been amazing. Sourcing is without peer. Dishes are interesting and wonderful. I've loved all the different incarnations. From nocawich to the soups to the burger to the wagyu pastrami to simple suppers to specialty dinners, everything I've had has been lovely.

While the location is not fancy or super charming, I love the ambiance and the space and the service is always excellent.

For any of my other favorite restaurants in town, my heart skips a beat if I hear anything going on with the chef. For Noca, now I wouldn't worry. I have so much faith in Eliot that I know that Noca is going to be amazing no matter what happens for years to come.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

That's the way to de-lurk! Thrilled to see you posting, JennyC :-)
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
M_L
Posts: 979
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6 years ago

I am a fan of what goes on here. And I do not get by there nearly as much as I should especially since it is so very close to me. I have hit the NOCAwich a few times and left very happy every time. Their twitter is very good about updating the specials and what is going on that day and I appreciate that. As for dinner service, it has wowed every time. I still have not been under the current chef (again really lax in getting here more frequently I suck) but we have really enjoyed it every time.

I sent my friend here when he was looking for a multi course meal post his small wedding and it blew him out of the water he and the people that went with him still rave about the meal. This is a spot not to be missed by anyone and it is sure to win you over with how well everything is executed.
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uhockey
Posts: 435
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Location: Phoenix/Scottsdale
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6 years ago

Admitting that subsequent visits have been less wowing than my first, this is still a great nomination. Kinda disappointed the pastries aren't being done in house anymore, but the pastas and proteins here are where its at
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Christina
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6 years ago

Great nomination. I'm a huge fan of Noca also.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Coming back now that I have a little time to comment, yes, yes, yes. There are so many things to love about Noca, and so many reasons it should be FNA. Eliot is a champion ingredient sourcer, and he finds people to run the kitchen who know what to do with those ingredients. Some of the most drop-dead delicious dishes I've had in Phoenix have come out of that kitchen -- from all three chefs -- and the fact that the current regime may be my favorite makes it easy to get behind Noca without the slightest reservation. Those sandwiches at lunch are killer, dinner is always an exceptional treat at a very reasonably price for what you're getting, and earlier this year they served me one of the best pastas I've had in a long, long time.

Yes to Noca for FNA!
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
cactuschowdah
Posts: 144
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6 years ago

I don't know why, but I've been here twice and haven't had the "blown away" experience that it seems like everyone else in town has had- maybe my taste buds are just missing a certain noca receptor. I WANT to like this place since everyone raves about it, but I've just got extraordinarily bad luck or bad taste :-)
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BillBuitenhuys
Posts: 397
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Location: Chandler, AZ
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6 years ago

Only been to noca once as my encounter was extremely underwhelming.

Testy server, meat that was over salted on one side and not seasoned on the other, over cooked pasta.

Given all that went wrong combined with raves from nearly everyone in town with palates I trust, I'm chocking it up to a bad night. (This was 1 chef ago).

I abstain from supporting as FNA.
ericeatsout
Posts: 103
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

The periodic "off night" notwithstanding, I can't think of a good reason why Noca shouldn't be a sure thing for FNA. The obsession with quality sourcing is a testament to their commitment to quality. I'm still not 100% sold on the new Italian-ish leanings, but it's hard to deny that the quality and integrity is 100% there.
PHXeater
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6 years ago

Full disclosure: Only night I've been with Claudio at the helm was fried chicken throw down. However I am also one of the few who doesn't get it. I really want to love since everyone else does but have never had an exemplary meal there or exemplary service. Sadly I'm not sure if I've just never gone at the right time or ordered right but i've been 3 times (twice in 2011 and once this year for fried chicken throwdown) and with my limited dining budget I just can't justify going back instead of trying somewhere new or going back to a restaurant that I've always enjoyed.

That being said, I've never had a bad time but if something has never wowed me I really can't support it.
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ScottofStrand
Posts: 624
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Location: Mesa, AZ

6 years ago

I've been to Noca a few times, though never since Claudio has taken over the reins. Though, 3/4 of the times was when Matt Taylor was chef, and he and I are friends, I can say that some of my best meals in Phoenix came out of Noca. I completely back the nomination, and hope everyone can have a great experience there, because I know Elliot and that kitchen are capable of putting out some crazy-good food.
Erin
Posts: 31
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

Every time we have been to Noca it has been delicious. We are so lucky to have this place in our community. The ingredients are superb and I've had some amazing flavors put on my plate here. This is a great nomination for FNA!
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MyLifeOnVacatio
Posts: 354
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Location: Mesa, AZ
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6 years ago

Noca was the first place I thought of when I read about the FNA designation. Eliot and Claudio are constantly creating and enhancing the menu and their passion for excellence comes shining through in how the menu continues to evolve and how the best products continue to be sourced. During a recent trip to Monterey, CA I was surprised to discover than while dining at one of the top seafood restaurants that noca actually had a vastly superior representation of Monterey seafood that weekend than we found in CA. Exceptional sourcing and preparation, innovation and passion, that’s what I think of when I think of noca. Whenever we want to celebrate something or just relax and enjoy a fantastic meal out of the house, noca is our ‘happy place’.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Noca has been named to the 2013 Food Nerd Approved list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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