Open late Fri.-Sat.
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St. Francis Restaurant Review: Chef-owner Aaron Chamberlin has worked at Rubicon in San Francisco and Jean Georges in New York, although locals know him from his time at Phoenix hot-spots La Grande Orange Pizzeria, Chelsea’s Kitchen and Radio Milano. So, it’s no surprise that his venture here is a sophisticated-chic restaurant housed in a renovated two-story, historic office building that now sings of contemporary charm, in part because of the indoor-outdoor bar. Named for the central Phoenix neighborhood in which it resides, the eatery boasts an urbanized vibe, though the caliber of its menu has people driving from all across the Valley. The main draw is a massive, handcrafted wood-fire brick oven cranking out roasted meats, fish, vegetables and breads. While Chamberlin calls his food "everyday nourishment...simple, honest and good," the seasonal French-Mediterranean fare is much more: crackly-skin, wood-fired lemon chicken, savory French-style pot roast, and a provincial seafood soup that arrives at your table bubbling hot and thick with shrimp, mussels, clams, fish and aromatic vegetables. Desserts are fun confections, like Tuity Fruity cake and sticky toffee pudding, while the cocktails keep up the theme, such as a potent sparkling hard lemonade, a Dark and Stormy and a killer almond margarita. The wine list is more serious, tightly edited and focusing on uncommon labels from Italy, California, Spain and Argentina. Kick back, see and be seen, and above all savor the food: friendly, knowledgeable staff is there to see that you have a good time, not rush you along.