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BULLETPhoenix and Central Arizona Dining Guide
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AH Best Restaurants


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Pizzeria Bianco
Phoenix
www.pizzeriabianco.com


Chris Bianco is the king of pizza. Although contenders might dispute the claim, they'd be hard-pressed to prove it wrong, especially considering that Bianco is a 2003 James Beard Award winner and that his downtown Phoenix bistro was given an amazing 29 out of 30 points by the Zagat Dining Guide. In fact, the only person who disputes the claim is Bianco himself, who contends that it's not about him — it's about the pizza. That's a truth evident in every pie that leaves the wood-fired oven at Pizzeria Bianco, where most guests wait hours just to be seated. Although the menu is small, it's mighty, featuring a handful of decadent pizzas, handcrafted country bread and a selection of fresh, flavorful salads.

Pizzeria Bianco is located at 623 E. Adams Street, Phoenix. Information: 602-258-8300 or www.pizzeriabianco.com.


Rancho de los Caballeros
Wickenburg
www.sunc.com

There are plenty of resorts in Arizona, but not many of them are "ranch" resorts, like Wickenburg's Rancho de los Caballeros. You'll find plenty to do at this splendid retreat — from horseback riding and golf to hitting the spa or the pool — but when you're done, you'll want to try the ranch's restaurant. Featuring plenty of meat-and-potatoes-type meals, as well as signature dishes that highlight the flavors of the Southwest, this isn't your typical beans-and-franks cowboy restaurant, and that's a good thing. Among other things, try the Southern quail. It's pan-fried and served over fingerling potatoes with green beans and lavender butter.

Rancho de los Caballeros is located at 1551 S. Vulture Mine Road, Wickenburg. Information: 928-684-5484 or www.sunc.com.


Featured Dining Location
Quiessence is located at 6106 S. 32nd Street in Phoenix. For more
information, call 602-276-0601 or visit quiessencerestaurant.com.
Quiessence
Phoenix
www.quiessencerestaurant.com

Tired of fast food? The "slow food" at Quiessence in South Phoenix will make you want to eat for hours.

By Keridwen Cornelius

As he presents the grilled scallops mingled with marinated red cabbage and citrus in an emerald pool of mint sauce, manager Dustin Christofolo proudly explains the origins of the ingredients. "The oranges are from a farm in Peoria, and the grapefruit is from that tree over there," he says, pointing to the front yard. [more]


Rancho Pinot
Scottsdale
www.ranchopinot.com

Foodies flock to this cowboy-chic venue, decorated with Western memorabilia, for dozens of reasons — first and foremost, chef-owner Chrysa Robertson's sophisticated version of American comfort food, inspired by her Italian family and informed by her passion for local, seasonal, organic ingredients. A master of the mesquite grill, she works wonders with quail, duck and chicken, makes ravishingly simple salads and bakes up homey, satisfying desserts such as ginger cake with honey-roasted local pears and house-made ice cream. Partner Tom Kaufman, who maintains an impressive cellar of boutique wines and hard-to-find vintages, charms the room with his wine lore and down-to-earth approach.

Rancho Pino is located at 6208 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. Information: 480-367-8030 or www.ranchopinot.com.


Featured Dining Location Rock Springs Café is open Sundays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 623-374-5794 or visit rockspringscafe.com.
Rock Springs Café
Black Canyon City
www.rockspringscafe.com

If you're looking for a piece of pie that takes the cake, head to the middle of nowhere, just north of Phoenix.

By Ashley Macha

While the waitress was slicing the large triangle of blueberry pie, the mouth of the lucky customer was beginning to water. By the time she took a bite, her taste buds were doing somersaults. That's how good a piece of pie really is at the historic Rock Springs Café. [more]


Sugar Bowl
Scottsdale
www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com


If fruitcake isn't your thing, grab a sundae at the Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on Christmas Eve.

Featured Dining Location
The Sugar Bowl is located at 4005 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-946-0051 or visit sugarbowlscottsdale.com.
By Leah Duran

Fifty years ago this month, Jack Huntress and his family sat around the breakfast table and developed a menu for an ice cream parlor they planned to open in Old Town Scottsdale. They called it the Sugar Bowl, and on Christmas Eve 1958, it officially opened to the public. [more]


Vogue Bistro
Surprise
www.voguebistro.com


From its designer-named martinis and bold, black-and-white color scheme to its French-inspired menu and TV clips of fashion models walking the runway, Vogue is everything its name implies: a stylish restaurant that reflects trends without being trendy. Chef-owner Aurore de Beauduy brings her Le Cordon Bleu training to bear on an all-day menu that allows customers to eat as lavishly or budg-et-consciously as they please. Will it be a not-so-humble hamburger (topped with Gorgonzola, applewood-smoked bacon, arugula and caramelized onion chutney), buttery escargots swathed in puff pastry or foie gras cured in Cognac?

Vogue Bistro is located at 15411 W. Waddell Road, Surprise. Information: 623-544-9109 or www.voguebistro.com.


Featured Dining Location
Zeke's is located at 1781 E. Highway 69 in Prescott. For more information, call 928-776-4602 or visit zekeseatinplace.com.

© Geoff Gourley


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Zeke's Eatin' Place
Prescott
www.zekeseatinplace.com


Even during lunch, omelets rule the roost at Zeke's Eatin' Place in Prescott. If you're on a diet, you're in trouble. These things are huge.

By Hilary Peele

Remember back in january, when you made that resolution to eat healthy and lose some weight? If you're like most Americans, you didn't make it past the Super Bowl. And that's OK. In fact, as long as you've blown it, you might as well head to Zeke's Eatin' Place and really fall off the wagon.
[more]

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LodgingNo matter where you travel in Arizona, you'll find lodging that ranges from rustic to ritzy, along with everything in between... [more]

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