These 3 metro Phoenix restaurants lauded by New York Times on 2022 list

Sep 23, 2022, 3:00 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2022, 10:36 am

Bacanora (Yelp Photo/Phillip G.) Bacanora (Yelp Photo/Mike E.) Kabob Grill N’ Go (Yelp Photo/Kabob Grill N’ Go) Kabob Grill N’ Go (Yelp Photo/Jimmy P.) Thaily's (Yelp Photo/Derek Y.) Thaily's (Yelp Photo/Justie L.) Tito & Pep (Yelp Photo/Andrea M.) Tito & Pep (Yelp Photo/Hannah H.)

PHOENIX – A diverse serving of four Arizona restaurants, including three in the Valley, had dining experts from The New York Times licking their chops this year.

Bacanora and Kabob Grill N’ Go in Phoenix, Thaily’s in Chandler and Tito & Pep in Tucson landed on The Restaurant List 2022, which was published Monday.

The annual compilation is a rundown of the 50 American restaurants that the newspaper’s food writers and editors are most excited about, presented in alphabetical order.

In 2021, The Restaurant List had one Arizona entry, Chris Bianco’s Tratto in Phoenix.

“While we love to see a dynamic new dining room open its doors, we’re equally impressed by kitchens that are doing their best work years in,” says the introduction to the list. “So while some of our picks debuted just this summer, others have been around for decades. The one thing they do have in common: The food is amazing.”

Bacanora opened in February 2021 on the triangular northwest corner of Grand Avenue and McKinley Street, where chef Rene Andrade conjures up his wood-fired, Sonoran-style magic.

“He’s 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,” writes NYT’s Priya Krishna.

Kabob Grill N’ Go has been serving up seasoned and grilled lamb, beef, pork ribs and chicken from a humble storefront between a pawn shop and a Middle Eastern bakery on 16th Street north of Thomas Road since May 2020.

Krishna calls it one of the best lunch options in Phoenix.

“Expect to wait at least 20 minutes, but you’ll be rewarded with kabobs that are juicy beyond belief,” Krishna writes.

Thai and Lee Kambar opened Thaily’s on Chandler Boulevard between Arizona Avenue and McQueen Road in April 2021. The East Valley’s only entry on the NYT list combines Cambodian ingredients with Iraqi flavors.

“These aren’t haphazard mash-ups; it’s thoughtful, intentional cooking that feels like a revelation,” Krishna writes.

(Note: Thaily’s said on its Facebook page Thursday that dine-in service was only available through reservations.)

Southern Arizona’s only entry on the list, is the oldest of the Arizona contingent. Tito & Pep (4122 E. Speedway Blvd.) has been satisfying Tucson diners with its mesquite-fired cuisine since November 2018.

“The chef and owner, John Martinez, is a third-generation Tucsonian, and he is re-examining the ingredients of his childhood with cooking that is understated and remarkable,” Krishna writes.

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These 3 metro Phoenix restaurants lauded by New York Times on 2022 list