10 (Okay, 11) Best First Tastes of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

Categories: Top Lists

Rusconi's American Kitchen
Thanks to hundreds of new restaurants opening in the Valley this year -- including a cozy artisan pizza shop in Scottsdale, a vegan bakery downtown, and a trio of cuisines in East Phoenix -- there was plenty to chew on when it came to First Tastes, our column of initial impressions.

See also: 9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

Featuring a variety of fare for various tastes and wallet sizes, this list has a little something for everyone. Find a favorite or two and pay them a visit in the new year.

Rusconi's American Kitchen

A round of applause for chef Michael Rusconi, who opened his new restaurant of seasonal and sustainable American fare in the middle of a chain-infested strip mall at the northeast corner of Tatum and Shea. With dishes like butternut squash ravioli and prickly pear braised red cabbage, the neighborhood has quickly caught on, leaving the likes of Panda Express and Corleone's in the dust. Read the First Taste here.

Thumbnail image for IlBoscoPizza.jpg
Laura Hahnefeld
Il Bosco Pizza

Scottsdale's best-kept secret for a cozy-casual dinner of low lights and handcrafted 'za can be found at this tiny restaurant from former mobile pizza business couple Bill and Gina Forrest. Fashioned from naturally risen dough, the "Neo-Neapolitan style" pies feature first-rate ingredients best enjoyed with a glass of wine and Il Bosco's bottomless olive tray. Read the First Taste here.

Jackie Mercandetti
-Jerk Hut Jamaican Grille

The menu of Jamaican eats in this tiny, counter-service eatery on 19th Avenue just north of Indian School Road may be small, but who cares when the flavors (not to mention the portion sizes) are so big? Don't miss killer jerk chicken, bone-in curried goat, and stewed veggie chunks along with daily specials like beef patties and Jamaican stew peas. Read my review of Jerk Hut here.

Location Info

Il Bosco

7120 E. Becker Lane, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Jerk Hut Jamaican Grille

4115 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Rusconi's American Kitchen

10637 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Brat Haus

3622 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Astor House: Coronado 'Cue & Southern Speakeasy

2243 N. 12th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music


1515 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Treehouse Bakery

1348 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Khyber Halal Restaurant & Catering

4030 N. 24th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Cool Gelato Italiano

7373 E. Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Isa's Pizza

777 E. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant


7121 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Helen Yung
Helen Yung

Can't believe I still haven't been to Khyber Halal. Love diversity of list especially Treehouse vegan cupcakes. Also love Il Bosco and Baratin.


@tuckinphx @vovomeena @astorinphx Thank you for the good eats.

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