2 Valley eateries named to USA Today’s 2024 Restaurants of the Year list

Feb 16, 2024, 4:15 AM | Updated: 6:52 am

PHOENIX — Two Valley restaurants are some of the best places to eat in the U.S., according to USA Today.

The two Valley restaurants honored as the best in the nation are Cocina Chiwas in Tempe and Glai Baan in Phoenix.

“We didn’t select the places you would find on your average roundup of best restaurants,” according to the company’s Thursday announcement. “We’re not just spending a few days passing through a city in search of what it has to offer. We’re here. We know.”

Why reporters say Cocina Chiwas is one of the best places to eat in the U.S.

USA Today credited this restaurant’s unique drinks as one of the biggest draws. Its mesquite-fed grill and “unusual agave spirits” got special mentions.

Armando Hernandez and his wife, Nadia Holguin, co-own this and other Phoenix restaurants. They opened this spot in February 2023 to celebrate Chihuahuan cuisine.

The spot offers Mexican seafood dishes, seasonal salads, chorizo con papas and tender carne asada, according to USA Today’s announcement.

Arizona Republic Reporter Felicia Campbell described the offerings as “comfort food taken to new heights.”

The address is 2001 E. Apache Blvd. in Tempe. The restaurant is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Journalists: Glai Baan is also one of the best places to eat in the U.S.

Chef Pornsupak “Cat” Bunnag’s menu is inspired by her homeland in northern Thailand, USA Today said. It offers kanom jeeb pork dumplings and yum het tod tempura oyster mushrooms.

It was a 2023 James Beard semifinalist for its outstanding wine and beverage program. Its cocktails are also infused with Thai ingredients.

Glai Baan only accepts reservations for dinner service, which starts at 4 p.m. However, its website recommends visitors reserve tables for parties of two or more in the dining room.

It’s located at 2333 E. Osborn Rd. in Tempe. Glai Baan is open from noon to 9 p.m. Mondays though Thursday, noon to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Why trust USA Today’s 2024 Restaurants of the Year list?

The national news company hires local reporters in major cities across the nation. Food and culture experts from Phoenix to Detroit, Jackson, Reno and beyond report on their findings while searching for the best grub in the country.

USA Today’s first list of the 47 best restaurants in the U.S. said the list is a mix of old, new, popular and little-known spots. They include buzzy spots Instagram stars love, place with award-winning chefs and reliably high-quality small-town stops.

“They’re places with stories to tell, places that should be on your dining bucket list and, lest we forget, places serving delectable dishes we can’t stop talking about,” USA Today said.

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2 Valley eateries named to USA Today’s 2024 Restaurants of the Year list