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Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Kai

Those wishing to experience the finest of what the Sonoran Desert has to offer — the native saguaro fruit and wolfberries, the tepary beans and wild sumac — would be wise to throw down for an upscale evening at Kai Restaurant. For roughly two decades, Kai has taken the best of what the Gila River Community can grow and forage (the tribe owns the restaurant, which is on its grounds) and put those quintessential Sonoran ingredients through global, fine-dining filters. Dishes have included cactus key lime pie. Buffalo steak with saguaro syrup. Posole with Ramona Farms corn. Wolfberry vinegar. Chiltepin froth. A circus of beautiful desert ingredients carried to new places. In 2022, Chef Drew Anderson took over from former head chef Ryan Swanson to lead Kai's efforts. Kai remains as intimate a place-rooted experience as you'll find in metro Phoenix, and, even after all these years, is a thoughtful and thrilling place to eat.

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