Where to Dine in the Valley in January & February 2023

Editorial StaffJanuary 23, 2023
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The restaurants listed are noteworthy and randomly selected from our rotating master list. We suggest that you confirm information, and we solicit your help in correcting any errors in the guide. We also ask readers to send us complaints in writing when one of the listed restaurants fails to meet expectations. Please note that, unless otherwise indicated, the listed restaurants offer free parking and recommend reservations for peak hours and large groups. Price categories reflect average dinner entrée prices; drinks, tax and tip are extra.

  • $=under $10
  • $$=$11-$15
  • $$$=$16-$25
  • $$$$=$26 and over


2728 E. Thomas Rd.
602-956-0900, avanti-az.com
This classic Italian stalwart – which was avanti in the early ’70s – retains a loyal following that still loves the house-made pastas, osso buco and veal chop. Other selections have included pappardelle with oxtail sauce or jumbo shrimp stuffed with king crab in lobster-vodka sauce. $$-$$$

Barrio Café
2814 N. 16th St.
602-636-0240, barriocafe.com
Brash, crowded and tons of fun – that’s the lowdown on this high-end Mexican restaurant, specializing in food from central and southern Mexico. Don’t miss the tableside guacamole, the cochinita pibil or the churros for dessert. Other location: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. $-$$$

1301 N.W. Grand Ave.
602-612-4018, bacanoraphx.com

Chef-owner Rene Andrade’s tiny, vibrant eatery, a heartfelt homage to the rustic cooking of his native Sonora, has earned universal raves for its flame-licked pollo asado, caramelos stuffed with succulent carne asada and otherworldly grilled octopus (which he offers on Saturday only).

Photo by Mirelle Ingelfield
Photo by Mirelle Ingelfield

Cafe Chenar
1601 E. Bell Rd.
Small but stylish, this strip mall café specializes in the eclectic cuisine of the Bukharian Jews, whose singular Central Asian fusion cuisine was molded by their proximity to the ancient Silk Road trade route. Anything made with dough is bound to be out of this world, so try two or three appetizers before digging into plov (an excellent spin on pilaf) or markovcha, a tangle of spicy, garlicky carrot strings, strewn with green onion and cilantro. $-$$

2611 N. Central Ave.
602-264-5967, durantsaz.com
This midtown institution has been serving beef and booze for the past 50 years. Phoenix’s movers and shakers come for Florida stone crabs, excellent lunchtime sandwiches and classic martinis. $$-$$$

El Chullo Peruvian Restaurant & Bar
2605 N. Seventh St.
602-225-2925, elchullorestaurant.com
Chef Omar Velarde transforms starchy staples such as corn and potatoes into tart drinks, munchable table snacks and appetizers such as papa rellena, a meat- and raisin-stuffed tuber that’s like a Coney Island knish on steroids. Main dishes of lomo saltado (beef strips in a tangy, soy-based gravy) and Peruvian fish and chips go down as easy as the educational tidbits provided with each meal. $$

6314 N. 12th St.
602-274-9700, feeneysaz.com
A cave-like but friendly neighborhood restaurant specializing in great steaks, good homemade soup and a dandy salad bar. One of the Valley’s great respectable dive bars. $$

Glai Baan
Thai street food
2333 E. Osborn Rd., Phoenix, 602-595-5881
Pornsupak “Cat” Bunnag escapes the Americanized Thai restaurant tropes with her spin on classic Thailand street food and specialties from her home province of Isan. Using locally sourced ingredients where possible, Glai Baan (loosely translated as “far from home”) offers a small menu of small plates meant to be shared, like out-of-this-world steamed pork dumplings and crispy chicken wings with garlic chips, and unusual daily specials like mackerel fried rice. $$

Indian Delhi Palace
5104 E. McDowell Rd.
602-244-8181, indiandelhipalace.com
Phoenix’s oldest Indian restaurant has been spruced up and is still going strong. Feast on Goa-style delicacies including chicken tikka masala, the benghan bhartha and the palaak paneer. $-$$

515 E. Grant St.
602-432-0752, kaizenphx.com
Chef Gustavo Muñoz brings a Latin vibe to this hip fusion sushi spot in the warehouse district, where you can expect to find ceviche, scallop aguachile and tiradito alongside florid sushi rolls made with striking ingredients and Japanese standards gone fancy. $$

Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

Ingo’s Tasty Food
4502 N. 40th St., Phoenix
602-795-2884, ingostastyfood.com
This casual Arcadia eatery features a wrap-around patio with a front row seat to some of the best people-watching in Phoenix. Ingo’s mainstay is burgers, but the crispy chicken sandwich and fresh shattered potato chips are top-notch. $

Little Miss BBQ
4301 E. University Dr.
602-437-1177, littlemissbbq.com
Little Miss BBQ is one smoking hot mama. Scott and Bekke Holmes’ tiny one-room restaurant regularly draws long lines of locals, their fingers figuratively crossed in hopes of deterring the “sold out” sign. Their secret is mouthwatering meats smoked over white oak for 12-14 hours and served by the pound, on a bun, or plated with two sides. The restaurant’s second location offers beer and better parking. $-$$

Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café
808 E. Jefferson St., 602-262-9256
Southern-style home-cooking is heaven-sent at this spartan Downtowner, going strong for more than 30 years. Fried chicken, catfish, black-eyed peas and peach cobbler… it’s all good. $

Noble Eatery
4525 N. 24th St.
602-688-2424, nobleeatery.com
Local breadmaker Jason Raducha showcases organic legumes, artisanal meats, fresh local produce and mouthwatering loaves. Look for rotating daily sandwiches, salads and starters, including tart pink grapefruit with fennel, and bruschetta-like smorgas with seasonal ingredients like Blue Sky cherry tomatoes and milky mozzarella. $

Ocean Prime
5455 E. High St.
480-347-1313, oceanprimephoenix.com
Start with inventive appetizers like white truffle caviar deviled eggs before moving on to executive chef Jagger Griffin’s superlative surf-and-turf selections, like Chilean sea bass in champagne truffle sauce and a 10-ounce house-seasoned filet mignon. The wine menu (50 pours by the glass) is outstanding, as is the daring dessert menu, bulging with dense treats like 10-layer carrot cake. $$$$

Parlor Pizzeria
1916 E. Camelback Rd.
602-248-2480, theparlor.us
The Salon de Venus beauty parlor has been reincarnated as one of the best pizza places in town. The crispy, chewy crust is wood-fired, the mozzarella homemade and many of the ultra-fresh ingredients are local. Assemble your dream pie from the make-your-own menu, or choose the Yukon gold potato pizza, topped with gorgonzola, pancetta and leeks. $-$$$

Quiessence at the Farm
6106 S. 32nd St.
602-276-0601, qatthefarm.com
It doesn’t get more charming – or romantic – than this legendary farmhouse restaurant, cozily set at the end of a lane on a sprawling 10-acre farm boasting flowers, lush lawns and an old pecan grove. Chef-owner Dustin Christofolo has enhanced the restaurant’s farm-to-table cuisine with flashes of Italian virtuosity, turning out some of the city’ best bread and pasta, as well as a charcuterie board you’ll eat with your eyes first. $$$-$$$$

Reathrey Sekong
1312 E. Indian School Rd.
480-238-0238, sekongbynight.com
Introducing Phoenicians to the fresh flavors of Cambodia, this eatery serves up dishes like a spice-layered chicken curry and Amok fish, steamed in a banana leaf package and smeared with kaffir lime-flecked coconut cream. $-$$

Seydi’s Pupuseria & Grill
2625 E. Greenway Pkwy.
Painted the bright blue of the Salvadoran flag, this friendly Salvadoran mom-and-son restaurant hangs its hat on cheesy, melty, hot-pocket-like pupusas, but everything is well-prepared and remarkably inexpensive. $

Taco Chelo
501 E. Roosevelt St.
602-368-5316, tacochelo.com
Quick, cheap and delicious: All accurate descriptors for the home-style Mexican food chef and operating partner Suny Santana is turning out in this great-looking beautiful Roosevelt Row space, designed by artist Gennaro Garcia and co-owned by restaurant empire builder Aaron Chamberlin. House-made chicharrónes make a good prelude to yummy quesadillas and tacos. Don’t miss dessert. $

1515 N. Seventh Ave.
602-252-2541, vovomeena.com
This fast-casual breakfast gem from DJ Fernandes is easy to zip past on this busy stretch of McDowell Road, but once found, it quickly becomes a regular stop for Japanese cold-brewed coffee and breakfast vittles. Blow your daily sugar quota on fantastic banana bread pudding turned into French toast served with whiskey-kissed caramel sauce. Hungry? Try the aptly named b.m.o.c. (big man on campus), a waffle with a smoked pork chop, two eggs and a fried Portuguese doughnut halo. $$


Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

Andreoli Italian Grocer
8880 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale
480-614-1980, andreoli-grocer.com
Giovanni Scorzo is large and in charge at this comfy, antique-furnished market-restaurant, where he makes the sort of Italian food Italians want to eat: house-made salumi, focaccia, pizzetta, bresaola, carpaccio, pesce en brodetto and (if you’re lucky) vitello tonnato. For dessert, the fabulous meringata. $-$$$

Arcadia Farms Café
Contemporary American
7014 E. First Ave.
480-941-5665, arcadiafarmscafe.com
This quaint cottage is where everyone goes for the quintessential grazer lunch. Try the strawberry chicken salad or the yummy turkey and Brie sandwich. Reservations recommended. $-$$

Café Monarch
New American
6939 E. First Ave.
480-970-7682, cafemonarch.com
Feeling flush? You’ll need to be to partake of a scrumptious four-course prix fixe dinner at this elegant fine dining restaurant, where the atmosphere is quiet, the wine list is deep and every server and sommelier is ultra-attentive. $$$-$$$$

Diego Pops
4338 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-970-1007, diegopops.com
Nestled in the iconic building on Scottsdale Road that once housed Pottery Paradise, Diego Pops serves tacos and bowls, appetizers, salads and killer paletas. Nab a seat on the patio and sip a cocktail or try one of more than 30 tequilas. $-$$

4175 N. Goldwater Blvd.
480-265-9814, evoscottsdale.com
Various star chefs have elevated this Old Town eatery with handmade pastas, intensely flavored sauces and delightful specialty meat dishes. Try the focaccia rustica, with crème de Brie, Taleggio, mascarpone, honey, olive oil and salt. $$-$$$

Fogo de Chão
Brazilian Steakhouse
6300 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-609-8866, fogodechao.com
This addition to the Brazilian cuisine scene offers continuous tableside service of 15 different cuts of beef, pork, chicken and lamb. Omnivores have their choices of salads and sides as well. $$$-$$$$

Jade Palace
9160 E. Shea Blvd.
480-391-0607, jadepalacescottsdale.com
This upscale, classily under-lit restaurant offers a wide variety of Cantonese dishes ranging from duck to pork to vegetarian. With popular entrées such as crispy orange beef and Double Dragon, a specialty shrimp dish, it makes for one of the Valley’s few Chinese cuisine destinations. Other location: North Scottsdale (480-585-6630). $$-$$$

Mowry & Cotton
Modern American
The Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Rd.
480-423-2445, mowryandcotton.com
Enjoy fun, sophisticated touches on a Modern American menu built around crowd-pleasing small plates of flatbread, meatballs and steak. Try the outrageously good buttermilk buns, wild mushroom flatbread with apricot and horseradish, and fabulous veal and black garlic meatballs. $$$

Modern American
6350 E. Thomas Rd.
480-272-7500, pitchpizzeria.com
Those who wish to partake of the locally fleeting pleasure of dining al fresco should appreciate this pizza-centric gastropub, which has an expansive courtyard patio with a commanding view of the Papago Buttes beyond. The food is even better than the view. Chief tempter among the sandwiches is the short rib grilled cheese – punchy barbecue Angus beef and cheddar on toasty multigrain bread, with truffle fries on the side. $-$$

Roka Akor
7299 N. Scottsdale Rd.
480-306-8800, rokaakor.com
The open charcoal-fire robata grill anchors this chic international superstar of Asian fine dining. Robatayaki (a grilling technique of Japanese fishermen) inspires a menu featuring sushi, salads and grilled entrées. $$$

Modern fine dining
7044 E. Main St.
480-949-6296, selrestaurant.com
Within the framework of a four-course prix fixe meal, Food Network veteran Branden Levine offers a repertory company of ingredients and styles, shifting into different roles every couple of weeks in this small, quietly chic Old Town Scottsdale restaurant. Outstanding regular entrées include filet, duck breast and halibut, but the purées and reductions with which Levine presents them are recombined with seemingly infinite variety. $$-$$$

Spanish steakhouse
10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr.
480-513-5085, talaverarestaurant.com
With its covered, second-story patio overlooking the desert and recently refreshed dining room, this beautiful hotel restaurant transcends the genre, offering spectacularly good Spanish cuisine, including crudo, tapas, steaks and dreamy, Latin-inspired desserts. $$$$

Virtù Honest Craft
3701 N. Marshall Way
480-946-3477, virtuscottsdale.com
Virtù offers an ever-evolving Mediterranean menu at the charming Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale. Head straight for the signature charred octopus and wash it down with one of the restaurant’s handcrafted cocktails. $$-$$$

New American
6850 E. Main St. (Hotel Valley Ho)
480-248-2000, hotelvalleyho.com/zuzu
The Midcentury-Modern Hotel Valley Ho’s signature restaurant has evolved into an airy, open eatery offering entrées like berbere-spiced pork tenderloin, honey-lacquered chicken and black truffle tagliatelle. If you have a sweet tooth, try an oversized, over-the-top Show Stopper Shake gilded with house-made desserts, candies, sauces and more. $-$$$


Photo courtesy Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
Photo courtesy Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
721 N. Arizona Ave., Gilbert
480-497-2739, azwbeer.com
Gilbert’s first microbrewery scored RateBeer.com’s best new brewery award in its inaugural year. Arizona Wilderness sports an outdoorsy vibe, reflected in lodgepole furnishings, beam ceilings and national forest signage. Yet the brews here are remarkably light and refined. Grub is a heavier affair, with Belgian waffle-battered onion rings, pork-smothered fries and a glut of tacos leading the charge. $-$$

At My Place Cafe
3450 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler
480-838-1008, facebook.com/atmyplacecafeaz
This cute Filipino café draws loads of Asian cuisine lovers who show up for lechon kawali, adobo, beef caldereta, breakfast silogs (offered all day), pork sisig, lumpia, empanadas, buko pandan and more. $-$$

Ban Chan
2909 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa
This pleasant restaurant features excellent dishes such as spicy pan-fried octopus and squid, Korean-style pork belly (sam-gyeopsal) and monkfish stew (agujjim), a favorite with the regulars. $-$$

Cyclo Vietnamese Cuisine
1919 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler
480-963-4490, ordercyclo.com
Chef/owner Justina Duong offers great Vietnamese food in a pretty setting. The menu offers specialties such as banh xéo (a shrimp- and pork-filled crêpe), goi du du (green papaya salad) and bun rieu (an amazing seafood soup), which you’ll love at first bite. $

1116 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa
480-590-7979, darumabyrie.com
This unassuming charmer offers a big bang for the buck, turning out noodle dishes, classic entrées and traditional sushi standards as well as edgier selections such as tuna carpaccio with creamy onion sauce and a California roll with poke on top. $-$$

Ghost Ranch
1006 E. Warner Rd., Tempe
480-474-4328, ghostranchaz.com
Sure, you could eat a juicy, outrageously good green chile burger at this elegant ode to Southwestern cuisine, but then you’d miss out on wonderful dishes that redefine the genre. If you’re willing to fork out the cash, the grilled trout is sensational, as are the pollo asado and the ceviche (technically an aguachile), one of the best in town. $$-$$$

Hot N Juicy Crawfish
740 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
480-634-6285, hotnjuicycrawfish.com
An outpost of the Las Vegas-based seafood eatery featured on Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, Mill Avenue’s Hot N Juicy is an experience not to be missed. Grub is served family-style in a traditional Cajun crawfish boil, with bibs and gloves handed out to protect diners’ clothes. Seasonal seafood options can be customized with five spice blends at various heat levels. Other locations: Glendale (623-872-2984), Scottsdale (480-462-5500). $-$$

Jalapeño Bucks
3434 N. Val Vista Dr., Mesa
480-459-3050, jalapenobucks.com
Set in an old orange grove, this cultish walk-up barbecue joint turns out great brisket and pulled pork as well as terrific quesadillas, hearty burritos and good salsas. $

Mandarin House
1825 E. Baseline Rd., Tempe
480-838-8988, mandarinhousetempe.com
Never mind the distinctly un-Chinese décor. This strip-mall restaurant is the real deal, offering a separate menu for the cognoscenti, which includes steamed whole fish and squid with black bean sauce. $-$$$.

The Peppermill
Steakhouse/Contemporary American
7660 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe,
480-590-6755, peppermillaz.com
Chef-owner Chad Bolar spent nine years working for culinary star Christopher Gross, and his classical chops are deliciously apparent at this unassuming strip-mall spot – part modern-day steakhouse, part gastropub – embraced by cuisine-starved South Tempeans. The pork belly, crunchy with “everything bagel” toppings, the loin-like meat beneath ribboned with buttery fat, is among the Valley’s best. $$$-$$$$

SanTan Brewing Company
8 S. San Marcos Plaza, Chandler
480-917-8700, santanbrewing.com
Anthony Canecchia, who earned his stripes at Four Peaks, is owner/brewmaster at this friendly, lively neighborhood pub, offering vastly different ales and lagers as well as the pub grub to go with them. Get there early and grab a seat at the long indoor-outdoor bar. $-$$

101 E. Baseline Rd., Tempe
480-839-8226, someburros.com
This family-owned local chain serves some of the finest Southwest-Mex favorites in the Valley, from the intensely cheesy pollo fundido to the borracho burro, redolent with smoky, earthy green chiles. We love a place that lets us “enchilada-ize” and deep-fry our burros for saucy custom chimis. Multiple locations. $

Zu Izakaya
2210 N. Scottsdale Rd., Tempe
480-625-4372, zuizakaya.com
Owned by Chef June Kang of Scottsdale’s Bei Sushi, Zu captures the spirit of a Japanese izakaya pub without its more traditional trappings. A massive menu of tempura, hot pots and grilled meats includes gyoza, chile-garlic edamame and tempura sweet potatoes, with fried cheese SPAM katsu sliders for more adventurous appetites. $-$$

Photo by Gianluca D'Elia
Photo by Gianluca D'Elia

SoCal Fish Taco Company
219 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert
480-807-6225, socalfishtacos.com
This breezy fish shack incongruously nestled in downtown Gilbert serves Baja-style seafood and fried fare, from tequila-glazed shrimp and fried cod tacos to creamy clam chowder and onion-laced blue crab cakes. Everything is so fresh, you’ll forget you’re in a landlocked state. $


Arrowhead Grill
8280 W. Union Hills Dr., Glendale
623-566-2224, arrowheadgrill.com
Chef/owner Charles Schwerd has manned the grill for Mastro’s, Ruth’s Chris and, most recently, John Elway’s Denver steakhouse. While steaks occupy the front burner, there are seafood options and enough hearty appetizers and salads to craft a lighter meal. $$-$$$

Cucina Tagliani
17045 N. 59th Ave., Glendale
602-547-2782, cucinatagliani.com
Exposed brick, weathered doors and grape leaves give this popular West-sider a cozy Old-World feeling. Customers love the “Pick a Pasta,” first choosing a pasta, then a sauce, then ingredients such as eggplant or prosciutto to add. $$

Dazzo’s Dog House
6143 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale
623-934-3536, dazzosdoghouse.com
The Chicago native Dazzo brothers and their families have been running this joint since 1979. Grab a hot dog, Polish dog or bratwurst or feast on a Chi-Town smorgasbord of Italian beef sandwiches, chili dogs, pizza puffs, Chicago tamales and fresh-cut fries. $

Flavors of Louisiana
13025 W. Rancho Santa Fe Blvd.,
Avondale, 623-935-2357,
Forget blackened, over-salted faux Cajun. This is the real deal. Baton Rouge native Jennifer Landry Goff runs this little slice of the bayou like it’s her home kitchen, specializing in lovingly scratch-made Cajun and Creole specialties like jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp ètouffèe and boudin balls. You can’t go wrong with anything fried – Goff even has a gluten-free fry mix available, just ask – and the po’boys and muffulettas will transport you to NOLA. $-$$

300 E. Wigwam Blvd.
(Wigwam Resort), Litchfield Park
623-935-3811, wigwamarizona.com
Expect delicious, locally sourced cuisine at this respected resort restaurant, like sweet potato hummus with olives and oranges or any of the homemade pastas, and pan-roasted trout. $$$

Pho Avina
4920 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale
602-439-2547, phoavina.com
Head to this gem for an inexpensive and satisfying meal crafted from creative appetizers: banh xeo, a rice crêpe filled with seasoned bean sprouts, pork and shrimp, and bo tai chanh, a lime-marinated, rare beef salad served with rice crackers. $

Saffron Indian Bistro
4330 W. Union Hills Dr., Glendale
623-581-7576, saffronarizona.com
Saffron defies Indian eatery conventions, focusing on complex and palatable homemade fare such as creamy butter chicken, spicy black pepper shrimp and dark, rich tikka masala that’s the Indian equivalent of mom’s marinara. $-$$

Vogue Bistro
15411 W. Waddell Rd., Surprise
623-544-9109, voguebistro.com
For a taste of ol’ Paris in the Valley, head west. The menu offers tradiitional French fare like coq au vin chicken as well as American comfort food with Gallic flair, like award-winning meatloaf in a rich Sherry sauce If rabbit or cassoulet are offered as specials, don’t hesitate. $$-$$$


Bryan’s Black Mountain Barbecue
6130 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek
480-575-7155, bryansbarbecue.com
Voted “best ribs in Arizona” by Food Network, this laidback barbecue joint specializes in meat, beer and fries. For vegetarians, there’s a meat-free “pulled” squash sandwich or olive coleslaw. Cool your taste buds with a refreshing homemade chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwich. $-$$

Modern American
36899 N. Tom Darlington Dr., Carefree
480-488-9796, restaurantconfluence.com
Kevin Binkley protégé Brandon Gauthier conjures up a winning debut with his first venture as a chef-owner. Like a hybrid of Café Bink and Gauthier’s more high-end, experimental work at Binkley’s, the menu offers dishes both delicate and powerful, like a foie gras parfait and butternut squash agnolotti. $$-$$$$

El Encanto Mexican Café
6248 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek
480-488-1752, elencantorestaurants.com
The Mexican food at this longtime favorite is consistently good. And just as good is the charming patio that overlooks a duck pond. Stick with Sonoran basics, and don’t miss huevos rancheros on the patio on Sundays. $

English Rose Tea Room
201 Easy St., Carefree
480-488-4812, carefreetea.com
Floral fabrics, crystal chandeliers and bone china make this pretty tea room a must-do for ladies who lunch. The food menu features a variety of quiches, sandwiches, soups and salads. $$

Palo Verde
34631 N. Tom Darlington Dr. (The Boulders), Carefree, 480-488-9009, theboulders.com
This colorful Southwestern-accented dining room makes a great place for an upscale breakfast or dinner. Sit on the patio, which offers expansive views of the golf course and distant mountains. $-$$

6710 E Cave Creek Rd,
Cave Creek
480-524-0989, pomodorousa.com
Pomodoro was opened by husband-and-wife team Federico Venturini and Viola Tagliaferri, who moved to the area from Italy in 2018. The fine dining destination offers a slew of homemade pasta dishes, seasonal salads and seafood-centric entrees. $$$

Tonto Bar & Grill
5736 E. Rancho Mañana Blvd., Cave Creek 480-488-0698, tontobarandgrill.com
Tonto Bar & Grill stands on the original site of the Rancho Mañana dude ranch, once the largest of its kind in Arizona. Enjoy fresh baked breads and house-made desserts. $$$


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