Chilte, the modern Mexican restaurant inside the Egyptian Motor Hotel on Grand Avenue, and Lom Wong, the celebrated regional Thai restaurant on Portland Street, are on the list.
While the concepts were recognized as best new restaurants, customers have been enjoying their food for much longer as both started their journeys prior to opening at their current locations.
Chilte started as a pop-up which evolved into a food truck, and in February, opened as a brick-and-mortar restaurant. It is owned by chef Lawrence "LT" Smith and Aseret Arroyo. The menu draws on Arroyo's Mexican heritage which is blended with modern influences to create one of the most unusual restaurants in the Valley.
"A neon sign shines in the night. And in the old lobby of the Egyptian Motor Hotel, chef Lawrence “LT” Smith brings a carnal joy to new Mexican cuisine," Esquire's Joshua David Stein wrote. "Each bite is a wonder."
Best Chef. In this year's awards, we named Lom Wong the Best Thai Restaurant in town.
And earlier this month, the duo expanded their reach once again. Behind their restaurant, they've opened Mr. Baan's Bar and Mookata, a destination for cocktails, grilled skewers and soup. The new bar continues the mission of introducing customers to more of the regional Thai recipes and cuisine on display at Lom Wong.
"All the curry pastes are hand pounded, all the coconut milk handmade," Stein wrote of Lom Wong. "It’s an act of love, of passionate cooking."
The two restaurants, owned by two couples, are an integral part of Phoenix's restaurant love language.
Hard copies of the Best New Restaurants edition of Esquire will be on stands on Dec. 5.