The Times sent out a team of food reporters, editors, and critics to travel around the country in search of the very best foods.
It's no surprise to see Bacanora on the list, as chef Rene Andrade's new Grand Avenue restaurant and its fantastic Sonoran food have shot to national acclaim, earning a James Beard Award nomination.
But the other three spots are more under the radar. Here's a look at Arizona's four winners.
Bacanora1301 Grand Avenue, #1
602-612-4018 Chef Rene Andrade opened his new restaurant Bacanora in 2021. The space previously held Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, a restaurant owned by fellow James Beard Award Semifinalist Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza. Andrade took over the white-tablecloth restaurant and completely transformed the space, adding bright pink and neon yellow decor. Andrade's Sonoran cooking quickly elevated his new restaurant to national recognition, making it one of the hottest reservations in town.
Bacanora was named in Esquire Magazine's Best New Restaurants in America, Bon Appetit's 50 Best Restaurants of 2022, and others. No wonder it caught the eye of the New York Times.
Kabob Grill N' Go
3050 North 16th Street
602-607-5272 While it might be unexpected for this tiny, counter-service, takeout joint to make the list, Kabob Grill N' Go absolutely deserves the attention. Locals know that this little spot churns out amazing flavors and the best Armenian food in Phoenix. Follow the mesquite smoke in the parking lot to the counter, where you can pick from a selection of meat and vegetable skewers that are grilled to order. Enjoy the spice marinated and rubbed meats like the beef Koobideh or Barg over soft, savory basmati rice with juicy, charred tomatoes and peppers or tucked inside wraps. This small restaurant often sells out, so be sure to call ahead.
444 East Chandler Boulevard, #1, Chandler
480-927-3865 Thaily's is another tiny restaurant serving outsized flavors, this time in Chandler. Owners Thai and Lee Kambar call their food Camboadian-Arab fusion, but the menu stretches far and wide. Chef Thai creates refreshing papaya salad, gyros, spring rolls, and spam musubi, a dish often found in Hawaii. Sometimes there's curry on the menu, other times the restaurant focuses on steamed pork cakes cooked in banana leaves. The menu changes frequently, but one constant is the always excellent food.
Tito & Pep
4122 East Speedway Boulevard, Tucson
520-207-0116 The last Arizona restaurant to make the New York Times list is located in Tucson. Tito & Pep makes its home in a mid-century style strip mall, and can be found by its bright turquoise-colored sign. Inside, the design elements continue with simple yet elegant decor that hints at what to expect on the menu. Pick between Southwest classics like the queso fundido or crispy chicken torta, or try something unique like the sea bass crudo with bass chicharrones and sesame or the Sea of Cortez shrimp with masa dumplings. In Tucson, this spot is often sought out for birthdays, date nights, and celebrations. We're glad the New York Times agrees it's worth celebrating.