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10 Most Exciting New Restaurants

BY Riki Altman-Yee, Lad Makinde, Teresa K. Traverse, David Tyda and Lauren Swanson | January 4, 2017 | Feature Features National

The city's booming culinary scene is hallmarked by inspiring new restaurant openings, impressive chefs, dishes to die for, experiences to savor and a spectrum of food and drink trends that take dining out into a whole new and exciting realm.
The casoncelli with butternut squash, amaretti, Parmesan and pomegranate ($15) at Fat Ox in Scottsdale

Barrio Café Gran Reserva
Securing a seat at this 30-seater might prove to be challenging, but the effort pays off as soon as a spoonful of chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s zesty posole verde hits the palate, followed by a cool sip of Bosscal mezcal with Grand Marnier. The five-course tasting menu is a must-do, at least once, especially since it only costs $42 and comes with colorful explanations (those are complimentary). 1301 W. Grand Ave., Phoenix, 602.252.2777

Fat Ox
Remember Quilted Bear and Davanti Enoteca? If so, erase the memory. If not, there are plenty of reasons to appreciate the striking new concept that took over the spot, now offering incredible modern Italian meals in a superchic glass-enclosed environment with an outdoor patio boasting its own bar and olive tree. Those who start with the tableside Caesar and partake in the housemade pastas—especially the casoncelli with butternut squash ($15)—and sizable steaks, will understand why chef Matthew Carter (of The Mission and The House Brasserie) will make this place a star. 6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.307.6900

Lincoln
Diners might be partial to chef Chris Neff’s elevated comfort-food classics, like country fried Mary’s chicken with potato gnocchi ($29) or one of the Allen Brothers steaks, finished with butter and housemade hickory smoked salt. But locals will insist the seafood selection is what makes Lincoln special. Not many places in the Valley offer black cod, Arctic char, diver scallops, tuna and shellfish on the regular. JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, 5402 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, 480.905.7979

Mora Italian
Once we learned celebrity chef Scott Conant teamed up with the CEO/owner of Pomo Restaurant Group, Stefano Fabbri, to create a modern osteria in the modish Seventh Street corridor, we wanted in. Granted, the wait took longer than expected, but now that the dream of Neapolitan pizza, Conant’s signature polenta and freshly made extruded pasta has officially come to fruition, locals and tourists are in Seventh Heaven. Entrees from $19. 5651 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602.354.7088

Sel
Few places are as alluring as Sel, especially with its glam interiors and alfresco patio facing all the Scottsdale Art Walk action. Yet once the first course arrives, be it anything from crispy cauliflower polenta to braised Niman Ranch pork belly, all the focus moves from the environs to each artfully prepared bite. Chef and co-owner Branden Levine ensures the entire four-course prix fixe meal ($60 to $70 per person, plus $50 for wine pairings) teases, then satiates, like nothing else in town. We have said it before and we will say it again: This gem is definitely more than the sum of its parts. 7044 E. Main St., Scottsdale, 480.949.6296

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