Nonni's Kitchen Owners Tom and Chrysa Kaufman have created an Italian-inspired spot in which old cooking utensils and vintage photos convey the kitschy warmth of grandmas and their kitchens everywhere. The restaurant offers crispy pressed chicken, miniature doughnuts to be dipped in honey and even some recipes straight from Chrysa's Italian grandma (4410 N. 40th St., Phoenix; 602-977-1800).

Valencia Lane With its tiny garden and cinnamon-tinted walls, Michael Hoobler's snug Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is a far cry from the elegant T. Cook's, over which he once presided. But it doesn't matter: His lobster-truffle risotto and his pork chop with fig chutney represent some of the simplest but most sophisticated food in the city (5620 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix; 480-945-4503).

Convivo Locals loved Jeffrey Beeson's lobster-and-roasted-corn tamales when he was at Different Pointe of View; now that he's opened his own place, they can enjoy those tamales and his ancho-chile fudge brownies as well (7000 N. 16th St., Phoenix; 602-997-7676).

Elements This restaurant in the resort Sanctuary offers exquisite Japanese design as a backdrop to chef Charles Wiley's Asian-accented menu. Diners can sit at a communal table to dine on tuna tartare or sesame-crusted ahi with mango-lime chutney (5700 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley; 480-607-2300).

Mosaic Former Miraval spa chef Deborah Knight brings a light touch to everything she prepares here, from her composed wild mushroom terrine to her Muscovy duck breast with quinoa (10600 E. Jomax Rd., Scottsdale; 480-563-9600).

Gregory's World Bistro When Gregory Casale moved his restaurant, he also changed its name to reflect its global orientation. Now, Casbah-type archways and snapshots of foreign lands complement his Kobe beef, hazelnut-dusted sweetbreads and mussels vindaloo (8120 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale; 480-946-8700).

Sapporo Jellyfish-filled aquariums under sky-high ceilings have helped make Sapporo the place to be this season. The teppanyaki tables are certainly a crowd pleaser, but sushi buffs shouldn't miss the maki rolls or the Pacific Rim exotica, especially the Hawaiian-style poke (14344 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale; 480-607-1114).

Shinbay At this quiet sushi bar, chef and owner Shinji Kurita draws regulars with sake flights, jewellike obentos and three-course dinners that might include monkfish pâté and olive oil­ drizzled sashimi (15410 S. Mountain Pkwy., Phoenix; 480-704-1422).


Medizona Mediterranean-inspired Southwestern cuisine? Yes, and it's worth seeking out, thanks to chef Lenard Rubin's daring yet terrific combinations, like rabbit baklava and eggplant-lamb tacos (7217 E. Fourth Ave., Scottsdale; 480-947-9500).