Food News

These 4 Arizona Restaurants Made The New York Times 50 Best Restaurants List

Chef Rene Andrade (right) opened Bacanora in 2021. Since then, the restaurant has shot to the top of the culinary conversation.
Chef Rene Andrade (right) opened Bacanora in 2021. Since then, the restaurant has shot to the top of the culinary conversation. JM Photo
The New York Times published its annual Restaurant List of the "50 places in America we're most excited about right now." In a great showing, Arizona made the cut four times.

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.
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The Telesto from Barcoa Agaveria mixes mezcal wine with pineapple and passion fruit for a punchy, tropical taste.
Allison Young

Bacanora

1301 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.

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A quick, takeout lunch from Kabob Grill N Go.
Kabob Grill N Go

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.
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The gyro bites from Thaily's.
Chris Malloy

Thaily's

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.
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Lee preparing beverages in part of the Thaily's kitchen.
Chris Malloy

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. 
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Tirion Morris is the Food Editor at Phoenix New Times. Find her digging into all of the best restaurants and dishes in the Valley, from new spots to hidden gems. Food tip? Get in touch at [email protected]
Contact: Tirion Morris