The New York Times just released “The Restaurant List 2023,” comprised of 50 restaurants from across the country that have excited the newspaper’s editors, reporters and critics.
Since the list launched in 2021, Arizona restaurants have been included each year, starting with Tratto in 2021, followed by four restaurants in 2022: Bacanora, Thaily’s, Kabob Grill N’ Go and Tito & Pep.
In 2023, no Arizona restaurants were included.
According to the New York Times, half of the restaurants on their list had opened since the 2022 list was published and the other half were “classics” that have been serving great food for over a year.
While we understand that New York Times editors may have wanted to give some attention to other states whose restaurants failed to stand out in previous years, we can’t help but wonder if they just haven’t found their way to the places we’re excited about.
These five metro Phoenix restaurants should not only be on the New York Times radar, but everyone’s.
Celebrity chef and “Chopped” champion Cory Oppold’s Course restaurant opened in May 2022, serving 10- and five-course dinners as well as a six-course Sunday brunch. Oppold is known for his artful, elegant plates with flavors that are often reminiscent of comfort foods like pizza or cereal in taste, but never in form. The restaurant itself is modern with soft colors meant to keep your attention directly on the food.
Details: 7366 E. Shea Boulevard, Suite 106, Scottsdale. 480-687-0491, coursrestaurantaz.com.
The owners of Tacos Chiwas and co-owners of Bacanora and Espiritu have opened their own inventive restaurant in Tempe’s first car-free apartment complex. Cocina Chiwas has light, airy, welcoming decor and a menu of dishes reminiscent of classics, like a tuna tostada, made with raw tuna, aguacate, cucumber, radish, toasted sesame seeds and salsa macha XO; old blue corn empanadas made with barbacoa and beef cheek; and a parrillada featuring three different meats cooked on the mesquite grill, fresh tortillas, grilled vegetables, rice and beans. The cocktail program is rich in agave spirit and as exciting as the gourmet menu.
Details: 2001 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe. cocinachiwasaz.com.
James Beard Award winner Nobuo Fukuda was the longtime chef and owner of Nobuo at Teeter House before moving to Japan from Arizona. In 2023, he returned to the Valley to open Hai Noon with the owners of Welcome Diner. The logo features a bonsai and a saguaro to represent the union of Japanese and Sonoran cuisines. There’s a serious cocktail program to pair with bites like sashimi, fried tofu with papaya salad, and soft-shell crab with rice noodles.
Details: 7017 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale. hainoonaz.com.
Christopher is at the Wrigley mansion
It’s actually surprising that Christopher didn’t make the list the year before. The restaurant is James Beard Award-winning chef Christopher Gross’ temple to creative dining, offering the choice of a three-course menu on weekdays or an 11-course menu on weekends. The restaurant emphasizes attention to detail, from dishes adorned with chef’s hand drawings to drawers on each table that hold guests’ silverware and an unusual appetizer presentation. A wall of windows offers stunning views of the Phoenix skyline, although it would be difficult for anyone to tear their eyes away from the theatrical scene unfolding on the plate. The restaurant has received numerous awards for wine and cuisine and has been described in Gayot as offering “true culinary ecstasy”.
Details: 2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix. 602-522-2344, wrigleymansion.com/christophers.
Glai Baan means “far from home”. Opened by Pornsupak “Cat” Bunnag and Dan Robinson, the restaurant serves Thai street food and cocktails infused with traditional ingredients. The intimate restaurant has been packed since opening in 2017 and remains one of the city’s most popular restaurants. The kanom jeeb pork balls and oyster mushrooms yum het tod tempura are worth a visit alone.
Details: 2333 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix. 602-595-5881, glaibaanaz.com.
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