20 Best New Restaurants of 2013 in Greater Phoenix
The good news is that, in 2013, as most of the country was transfixed by the shenanigans of the now-infamous Amy's Baking Company, we eye-rollers in the Valley were being treated to a crop of new restaurants more focused on well-prepared food than overcooked reality.
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From big-name chefs and restaurateurs to family-owned eateries, the 20 best new restaurants of the year offer an array of cuisines that take inspiration from across the globe as well as focus on using as many locally procured ingredients as possible.
And that, dear Amy and Samy, is truly what makes us hungry.
See also: 10 Best Things I Ate in November
The sleek new midtown restaurant from former Parlor Pizzeria chefs Jared Porter and Joseph Absolor along with co-owners Joshua James and Nicholas Campisano (who also did time at the pizzeria), the Clever Koi is more or less a Chinese-American comfort food head trip. Porter and Absolor's tight selection of reinvented street snacks, rice and noodle dishes, and steamed buns and dumplings are deliciously inauthentic, the two chefs both paying tribute to -- and taking wild liberties with -- each Asian dish.
See Also: 20 Best New Metro Phoenix Restaurants of 2013 (Complete Slideshow)
This contemporary, easygoing spot in north Central Phoenix from Mexican-born chef Doug Robson both complements Gallo Blanco, Robson's first restaurant, in the way of outstanding Mexican while managing to find a more elevated niche of its own. Not that anything gets too lofty here -- there are excellent tacos, tortas, and street snacks. And if you're in the mood for something a bit more unique -- say, a Spanish-style appetizer, an intricate Inca salad, or a sublime pollo en mole negro -- Otro's got those, too.
Scottsdale's newest meat-intensive venture comes courtesy of restaurateurs Bob and Sally Ann Molinari and Bret Pont, owner of Hobe Meats, the over-50-year-old custom butcher shop in Phoenix. Which begs the question: Does The Blind Pig's freshly butchered offerings of custom meats to take home as well as meaty Mexican-inspired street foods to enjoy on the spot make it a butcher shop with a restaurant or a restaurant with a butcher shop? Either way, it's all about the meat.
This cheery restaurant in Sunnyslope from Oaxacan-born owner Elizabeth Hernandez not only features some of the best moles in the Valley, it serves excellent tlayudas, enfrijoladas (chicken enchiladas smothered in an anise-laced black bean sauce), and a spicy homestyle soup called amarillo. The restaurant doubles as a Oaxacan marketplace, boasting deli cases and shelves filled with ingredients, foods, and cooking items from Hernandez's homeland.