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Featured Dining LocationMonths spent traversing Italy by bicycle inform the menu at Flagstaff's Pizzicletta, a Neapolitan pizzeria and favorite of photographer Dawn Kish.

© Paul Markow

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Best Restaurants 2013
There are many wonderful restaurants in Arizona, and every April, we spotlight some of the best. This month, we're at it again, but instead of having an editorial board make the picks, we enlisted the help of 10 of our favorite food-loving photographers. We also managed to snag a few of their favorite recipes, which you can find by clicking the links that accompany each entry.

By Nikki Buchanan

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Pizzicletta, Flagstaff (Recommended by Dawn Kish)
Chef-owner Caleb Schiff spent months riding his bicycle (bicicletta) through Italy, sustaining himself on pizza and gelato. Now he applies what he learned about freshness and simplicity to the short but oh-so-sweet menu at his tiny pizza joint, housed in a wedge-shaped historic building. Using the domed wood-burning oven he built himself, Schiff turns out lavishly topped Neapolitan-style pies, antipasti and dreamy Tuscan-style gelato, the recipe gleaned from a gelato-making friend in Italy. Customers call ahead to reserve a loaf of Schiff's rustic bread, offered Friday through Sunday.

Established: 2011
Cuisine: Italian
Chef: Caleb Schiff
Price: $$
Open: Dinner
Information: 203 W. Phoenix Avenue, Flagstaff, 928-774-3242, www.pizzicletta.com

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Asi Es La Vida, Phoenix (Recommended by Kerrick James)
Once upon a time long, long ago (like the early '90s), there was a Mexican restaurant called Such Is Life, which created a stir for turning out regional Mexican dishes instead of the usual cheddar-cheese-topped AZ-Mex standards. When the Rodriguez family bought the business 10 years later, they changed the name to Asi Es La Vida ("such is life" in Spanish), but kept the same commitment to authenticity. Their faintly upscale little place is adorable, thanks to brightly colored walls, plants, Mexican art and furniture, and the menu hews to tradition, offering cochinita pibil (Yucatan), molé poblano (Puebla), ceviche (coastal) and sincronizadas (Chihuahua).

Established: 2002
Cuisine: Regional Mexican
Chef: Irving Rodriguez
Price: $$
Open: Lunch, Dinner
Information: 3602 N. 24th Street, Phoenix, 602-952-1255

The Steak Out, Sonoita (Recommended by Paul Markow)

The original building (Sonoita Mercantile, back in the day) burned down in 1997, and when this popular steakhouse was rebuilt in 1999, owners Grace and Michael Wystrach invited local ranchers to brand the walls. Decorated with saddles, bronze statues, oxen yokes, wagon-wheel chandeliers and cowboy art, the place is an ode to the Old West, offering mesquite-grilled steaks, homemade pinto beans and country music on weekend nights. Nowadays, there's a second location in Marana, but it's hard to beat the original for emulating the Cowboy Way in an iconic, far-as-the-eye-can-see Western setting.

Established: 1951
Cuisine: American/Steaks
Chef: Vince Govier
Price: $$-$$$
Open: Lunch (Sa-Su), Dinner
Information: 3200 S. Sonoita Highway, Sonoita, 520-455-5205, www.azsteakout.com

Cliff Dwellers Lodge, Marble Canyon (Recommended by David Zickl)
Fly-fishers and river-rafters flock to this rustic old lodge because of its proximity to Lees Ferry on the Colorado River. A hard bed, clean sheets and a meal (decent or otherwise) are generally their only requirements. Instead, they're treated to hearty breakfasts and first-rate lunches, both served with spectacular views of the Vermilion Cliffs. Come nightfall, looming peaks and a sky full of stars provide a romantic backdrop for inspired dinners of Alaskan king crab legs, New Zealand rack of lamb and sesame-crusted ahi, drizzled with wasabi sauce.
A super-friendly service staff makes the experience all the more delicious.

Established: 1951
Cuisine: American/Modern American
Chef: John Cochran
Price: $-$$$
Open: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Information: 928-355-2261, www.cliffdwellerslodge.com

Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano, Sedona (Recommended by Derek von Briesen)
With its crystal chandeliers, heavy draperies, gorgeous table settings and Italian art, this multi-award-winning Red Rock Country mainstay exudes Old World charm. Chef-owner Lisa Dahl (who wrote The Elixir of Life cookbook in 2010) is committed to local, organic ingredients whenever possible, turning out picture-perfect salads, rustic soups, house-made pastas and Italian classics (think scampi fra diavolo, fettuccine primavera and veal saltimbocca), as well as the occasional inspired creation such as grilled Scottish salmon finished with a limoncello reduction. The global wine list, which features Super Tuscans and other regional Italian wines, impresses for its breadth and affordability.

Established: 1995
Lisa Dahl
Lunch, Dinner
2321 W. State Route 89A, Sedona, 928-282-5219, www.dahlanddiluca.com

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DiningWhether you find yourself famished in Flagstaff or starved in Sonoita, there are many great spots to find a bite in Arizona... [more

Weekend GetawaysCheck out Weekend Getaways around the state. ... [more]

Events CalendarEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]


LodgingNo matter where you travel in Arizona, you'll find lodging that ranges from rustic to ritzy, along with everything in between... [more]

External LinksFor more information about great places to visit in Arizona, view our list of links to external resources, from Native American arts to parks and national forests... [more]

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