Urban Elegance 3

La Bocca Urban Kitchen + Wine Bar and Modern Margarita Hit Downtown Chandler

Downtown Chandler is experiencing a bit of a restaurant renaissance. Two of its newest members: La Bocca Urban Kitchen + Wine Bar and Modern Margarita both arrived on the scene in August.

While La Bocca slings wood-fired pizzas and has a strong wine program, Modern Margarita dishes out fresh, inventive tacos and features a bar that focuses heavily on tequila-based drinks. Both owned by Mill Avenue Management Group, the concepts share the same kitchen and talented culinary team, yet the atmosphere in each is decidedly distinct.

Modern Margarita

This eclectic concept has a more laid-back vibe, complete with bright green walls accented with creatively-designed wallpaper, a D.J. booth for late-night tunes, and an expansive bar surrounded by flat panel TVs where patrons can watch sports. The Downtown hotspot caters to the late-night crowd and is open as late as 2 a.m., offering a fun, festive atmosphere for enjoying tasty food, expertly crafted drinks and good times with friends.

Modern Margarita’s menu is largely dominated by a mouthwatering selection of savory tacos, but also includes other Mexican staples like spicy salsa, fresh guacamole and creamy queso. Highlights include the pork tacos and a “taco flight,” where guests can enjoy 15 tacos delivered in grand fashion to their table on a long metal tray.

Tequila is the mainstay of the drink menu. Guests can order premium blanco, reposado, and anejo varieties. Their namesake drink, Modern Margarita, is a mix of Herradura Blanco tequila, Aperol, fresh grapefruit juice and simple syrup. All drinks can be enjoyed in 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and shareable 60-ounce margarita glasses. ModernMargarita.com.

La Bocca Urban Kitchen + Wine Bar

Right around the corner is La Bocca, a romantic spot that offers Mediterranean and Italian-style cuisine. The rustic yet industrial space sports brick and wooden walls, dim lighting, black and white photos adorning walls, plush booths and tables outfitted with bright red chairs. Although La Bocca is the more sophisticated of the duo, Mill Avenue Management strives to create a welcoming atmosphere in both restaurants.

“Everything needs to be, and is, approachable. I can’t even express more about the family and approachable feel that we try to convey in every single location,” says Tony Pethers, the restaurants’ general manager.

La Bocca guests can chow down on piping hot pizzas made with homemade dough and hand-stretched mozzarella curds slid straight out from the kitchen’s impressive wood-fired oven. One of the restaurant’s signature pies, Truffled Mushroom, is topped with savory mushrooms, vine-ripened tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fresh goat cheese and spinach, and is drizzled with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

The food is always made from scratch, and “if we can’t make in house, we source out locally,” says Pethers.

Besides the pizzas, guests can enjoy steamed mussels, a variety of bruschetta planks, as well as charcuterie and antipasti boards.

When it comes to drinks, La Bocca stocks more than 150 domestic and international wine bottles and has recently unveiled a new cocktail menu. Guests can also order customizable wine flights using La Bocca’s Coravin Wine System, sampling smaller pours of the restaurant’s pricier options. LaBoccaPizzeria.com.