photo: Nicky Hedayatzadeh of Mint Photography
- Pizzeria Bianco/Tratto
Renowned chef and pizza maker Chris Bianco created next-door-neighboring restaurants Pizzeria Bianco and Tratto in Phoenix. Pizzeria Bianco, a rustic building of brick and wood with two Phoenix locations, serves what has been called the nation’s best wood-fired pizzas like margherita and Biancoverde with smoked mozzarella. A bright and inviting establishment with a white color scheme and colorful jars of foods adorning the shelves, Tratto offers upscale Italian cuisine and cocktails made in collaboration with respected Valley farmers, ranchers, millers and artisans. pizzeriabianco.com; trattophx.com.
- The Mission (Kierland, pictured)/The House Brasserie/Zinc Bistro/Fat Ox
Whether your cravings call for impeccable Latin fare, French-inspired eats, cozy, modern American cuisine or homemade pasta, you better believe one of these romantic sister Scottsdale restaurants will deliver. Chef Matt Carter dishes up some of the Valley’s most impressive Latin dishes at The Mission (alongside divine cocktails) while Kierland Commons’ Zinc Bistro features French faves like onion soup and croque monsieur. At the charming House Brasserie, nibble on a selection of shared plates with friends, including Maine lobster gnocchi and steak tartare. Fat Ox in Scottsdale is Chef Carter’s newest addition to the dining scene and boasts handsome digs and remarkable pasta plates. Plus, the restaurants each offer some of the best opportunities for alfresco dining in the Valley. themissionaz.com; zincbistroaz.com; thehousebrasserie.com; ilovefatox.com.
Chef Cullen Campbell is the mastermind behind this unique and highly successful Phoenix eatery. Crudo makes waves with its highly inventive Modern Italian fare and cool tasting events, and Micah Olson heads up the bar, crafting some of the Valley’s most standout sips. crudoaz.com; okraaz.com.
- Christopher’s Restaurant & Crush Lounge
He’s been in the kitchen with Julia Child and made dinner for Martha Stewart. With experiences such as these, it is no shock that even a casual dinner on a random Tuesday night by Chef Christopher Gross is something special. Christopher’s Restaurant & Crush Lounge at Biltmore Fashion Park dishes up French-inspired fare, like roasted foie gras, pig’s feet and sweetbreads, in a setting that is handsome and elegant, yet far from stuffy and snooty. christophersaz.com.
- House of Tricks
Situated in two historic bungalows in Tempe, House of Tricks has been a Valley institution for more than 25 years. Enjoy Contemporary American cuisine, in the form of harissa-spiced mussels or rabbit-and-spinach chorizo terrine, for instance, on the lush, twinkle-light patio or inside the nearly 100-year-old, art-filled cottages. houseoftricks.com.