Phoenix and Tucson restaurants made The New York Times best in US list

Arizona restaurants are getting lots of national love lately with shout outs for best new restaurants and best cocktail bars. On Sept. 19, the New York Times released its Top 50 restaurant list, which features three Phoenix restaurants and one Tucson restaurant. Last year the only Arizona restaurant to make the list was Tratto.

The list was compiled by New York Times writers, editors and critics who traveled from coast to coast in search of their favorites. The one thing all the restaurants are said to have in common is that “The food is amazing.”

Here’s a look at the four Arizona restaurants that made the cut.

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Thaily’s in Chandler

Prahok Ktiss at Thaily's in Chandler.

Thaily’s restaurant in Chandler offers dishes that pay homage to the wife and husband team’s Cambodian and Iraqi heritages. The New York Times was especially impressed with lemongrass beef, cooked in an air fryer and wrapped in garlic naan. The Republic’s food critic was “obsessed with this tiny, chef-driven restaurant.”

Details: 444 E. Chandler Blvd, Chandler. 480-927-3865, Thaily’s Restaurant on Facebook.

Bacanora in Phoenix

An assortment of dishes and drinks at Bacanora including a tomahawk steak, aguachile, quesadillas, cucumber salad, warm calabaza, tamarind honey daiquiri, margarita, and La Chareauna on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Phoenix.

Since Bacanora opened in February 2021, the restaurant has received a lot of attention. It was a 2022 James Beard finalist for “Best New Restaurant.” Esquire named it in its best new restaurants 2021. And Republic dining critic Andi Berlin gave it a rare five star review. If you haven’t tried the food, put it on your list. There are practically no wrong choices on the Sonoran menu. “[Rene Andrade] is the kind of cook who puts as much care into a side of beans as he does into a special of grilled yellowtail collar glazed with tangy chamoy — and it shows,” Priya Krishna wrote in the New York Times article.

Details: 1301 Grand Ave., Unit 1, Phoenix. 602-612-4018,

Kabob Grill N’ Go in Phoenix

Kabob Grill N' Go has some of the fattest kebabs in the Phoenix area.  From left to right: pork ribs, tomatoes, chicken thighs, Anaheim peppers and beef barg.

Another Phoenix restaurant on the list is Armenian-owned Kabob Grill N’ Go. The menu is not extensive, but everything on the Persian-Armenian menu is prepared fresh daily from combo plates like barg and koobideh to wraps and sides like Shirazi salad. Both our previous and current restaurant critics raved about it. “Expect to wait at least 20 minutes, but you’ll be rewarded with kabobs that are juicy beyond belief,” wrote Priya Krishna for the New York Times. “Douse everything in Mr. Chilingaryan’s pepper-forward take on chimichurri, and you’ve got what may be one of the best lunches in Phoenix.”

Details: 3050 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-607-5272,

Tito & Pep in Tucson

The food at Tito & Pep is simple but elegant and delicious.

The list also recognized a 2022 James Beard semifinalist from Tucson: Tito & Pep, describing the chef’s style as “understated and remarkable.” Among the menu items mentioned was a seafood stew in a tostada infused tomato broth with shrimp and masa dumplings.

Details: 4122 East Speedway Blvd, Tucson. 502-207-1116,

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