9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix
The House Brasserie

This year, the variety of new restaurants in the Valley has more breadth and depth than ever before: comfort-food-meets-gourmet in Scottsdale; artisan pizzas by a legendary baker in Central Phoenix; and knockout Italian eats in east Mesa.

When I made this list, I wanted a selection of restaurants offering distinctive fare -- places you couldn't wait to return to and tell your friends about -- and with options for various tastes and wallet sizes. Find a few that fit your fancy and pay them a visit in the new year -- they'll appreciate it.

The House Brasserie Set in a charming little1920s bungalow, chef Matt Carter's newest restaurant in Old Town is a sophisticated spot serving American cuisine with touches from all over the globe. From charcuterie and cheeses, tapas-style shared plates, stellar side dishes, and entrees like the noteworthy Berkshire pork country ribs, there's something for nearly every palate. Bonus: Al fresco dining on the equally charming patio.

9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

- Crudo This year, chef Cullen Campbell moved his home of modern Italian fare to a warm and intimate space hidden in the back of a shopping center in East Phoenix. And although it's tricky to find, Campbell's inventive and expertly prepared raw seafood dishes, handmade pastas, signature mozzarellas, and wood-grilled delights are worth a few go-arounds in the parking lot to get to. Bonus: Cocktails from Crudo bar owner Micah Olson.

9 Best New Restaurants of 2012 in Greater Phoenix
Claire Lawton

Italian Restaurant It started off with a few snags, but now, Valley legend Chris Bianco's shabby-chic neighborhood restaurant in the Town and Country Shopping Center in East Phoenix is delivering on Italian standards and signature Italian-American creations in full force. With a small, rotating menu of flavor-packed salads, pasta dishes, and entrees using fresh, locally grown ingredients, there's always a dish or two to savor. Bonus: Desserts from Bianco's mom, Francesca.

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