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Best New Restaurant Phoenix 2000 - Medizona

This small enterprise features a constantly evolving repertoire of Mediterranean flavors that provide a mischievous zing to our Southwestern staples. Everything, from the crusty, baked-on-site breads nestled in a painted wooden box with ramekins of dips, to the signature prickly pear tiramisu, is a work of art.

Ordering is always intriguing. Will it be baklava with nubbins of plump rabbit, fig, quail egg and pine nuts? Or eggplant tacos with lamb, arugula, cucumber radish and Kasseri cheese in roasted tomato garlic sauce?

Perhaps charbroiled beef tenderloin in sun-dried cherry barbecue sauce plus green chile stuffed with butternut squash, smoked bacon and provolone cheese? Or salmon, grilled with achiote seed in morel and baby clam sauce with crayfish-corn risotto?

Medizona's chef-owner, Lenard Rubin, gave up a comfortable resort kitchen career to open his dream restaurant, and it's sure paid off.

Medizona opened to rave reviews and continues to draw a steady crowd. And, with just 13 tables, reservations are a must.

Readers' Choice: Bahama Breeze and Voo Doo Daddy (tie)

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