For the list, the magazine’s writers and contributors traveled around the country gathering research on regional dishes, new chefs, and restaurants opened over the past year by some of the nation’s most creative culinary minds.
The list includes four sections, the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, and West. In our section of the country, one restaurant from Phoenix and another from Tucson accompany a host of choices from Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver.
For those plugged into the metro Phoenix food scene, it is no surprise to see Bacanora on the list. This trendy, and tiny, restaurant on Grand Avenue is one of the hottest reservations in town. Chef Rene Andrade shot to the top of the culinary conversation after spending time at Ghost Ranch in Tempe and then taking over the space that previously held chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.
Andrade took the calm, white-painted space and doused it in hot pink and yellow neon. Locally made piñatas hang from the ceiling, graffiti paints the bathrooms, and a firey grill spits flames over steaks and other distinctly Sonoran food Andrade cooks for his hungry fans.
“You’ll smell Bacanora before you see it,” Bon Appétit writes of the restaurant, describing “the irresistible waft of burning mesquite and seared meat” before singing the praises of Bacanora’s shareable dishes including whole chickens and massive steaks.
In Tucson, Bata made the list. This new restaurant is a departure from the homey, sometimes grungy, delicious, hole-in-the-wall joints the Old Pueblo is known for. High ceilings with exposed pipes and industrial decor provide contrast to the carefully put together plates of locally-sourced vegetables.
Similar to Bacanora, a wood-fired grill infuses flavor into each dish, but here the fire burns oak. Meat options are limited, with a focus on fish and pork, according to Bata’s website.
“Due to careful local sourcing, vegetables make up the bulk of the menu,” Bon Appétit writes. “That’s a great thing, when all of the vegetables are this good.”
Find the full list of 50 restaurants awarded across the country online at Bon Appétit.