BEST STEP BACK INTO THE PAST 2006 | Avanti, A Restaurant of Distinction | Food & Drink | Phoenix
For 32 years, this shiny black-and-white supper club has been stuck in the '70s but in a good way. We go there for the delicious rolled roasts, the risotto, and the tiramisu, but also because we love the "gone-back-in-time" feeling we get whenever we step into this mainstay's faux-fancy foyer. Owners Benito Mellino and Angiolo Livi have occasionally updated Avanti's interior, but to our eye, it's always 1975 here. We dig the black-and-white-tiled lounge with its back-lighted glass brick bar, where singer Danny Long tinkles the ivories to the tune of all your favorite Nixon-era hits. And we love the main dining room, decked out as it is with zebra-striped banquettes, linen tablecloths, and a shiny chrome ceiling. A couple of martinis and a little squinting, and we're convinced it's 30 years ago. Time travel never tasted so good.
Lauren Saria
The ratatouille omelette at Vincent's Market Bistro.
Leave it to a French chef to make us proud to call Arizona home. Over the past 20 years, Vincent Guerithault has built an enviable reputation with his namesake restaurant, where refined French cuisine goes hand in hand with a touch of Southwestern spice. At the cornerstone of his mini-empire near 40th Street and Camelback Road, classics like duck tamales with Anaheim chile and raisins, and grilled rack of lamb with thyme, rosemary, garlic, and spicy pepper jelly, appear with Guerithault's newer creations, such as pork osso buco with Anasazi beans. This place oozes special-occasion luxury, but next door, at the rustic, French-farmhouse-inspired Vincent's Market Bistro, diners can feast on quiche and coq au vin without getting gussied up. (Or better yet, they can get their gourmet goodies and fresh pastries to go.) We're also fans of Vincent's Camelback Market, a bustling Saturday morning farmers' market held out in the parking lot from October through May. Here, you can savor a homemade crepe or some warm chocolate souffl; pick up a bottle of wine and some olives; or just ogle the picture-perfect produce. Trust us: On a crisp, sunny morning when the rest of the country is blanketed with snow, a visit to Vincent's will make you beam with pride.
So which came first, the chicken or the waffle? Don't matter much, really, 'cause Larry "Lo-Lo" White is cookin' 'em both up back in the kitchen. White's the grandson of Mrs. Elizabeth White, of Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe, and he's a grandson done good. Lo-Lo's take on L.A.'s famous Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles has become a Phoenix fave, but there's more to this soul-food palace than just the signature, nap-inducing dish. White also serves up some of the best scrambled eggs and grits, catfish, mac 'n' cheese, cornbread, greens, and red beans and rice that you'll find anywhere in the PHX. Celebs such as Oak-town rapper Too Short have been known to slide through and get their soul-food fix, and one trip to Lo-Lo's will learn you why. And if you can keep from nodding off after ingesting a plate of carbs here, well, you're a better fresser than we'll ever be.

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