Chilte and Lom Wong named best new restaurants in America

Tirion Boan
3 Min Read

Esquire magazine released its annual list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America and two Phoenix eateries made the cut.

Chilte, the modern Mexican restaurant inside the Egyptian Motor Hotel on Grand Avenue, and Lom Wong, the celebrated regional Thai restaurant on Portland Street, are on the list.

While the concepts were recognized as best new restaurants, customers have been enjoying their food for much longer as both started their journeys prior to opening at their current locations.

Chilte started as a pop-up which evolved into a food truck, and in February, opened as a brick-and-mortar restaurant. It is owned by chef Lawrence “LT” Smith and Aseret Arroyo. The menu draws on Arroyo’s Mexican heritage which is blended with modern influences to create one of the most unusual restaurants in the Valley.

“A neon sign shines in the night. And in the old lobby of the Egyptian Motor Hotel, chef Lawrence “LT” Smith brings a carnal joy to new Mexican cuisine,” Esquire’s Joshua David Stein wrote. “Each bite is a wonder.”

click to enlarge

Alex and Yotaka “Sunny” Martin are the forces behind Lom Wong.

Lom Wong

It has also been a big year for the owners of Lom Wong. Alex and Yotaka “Sunny” Martin started with a pop-up concept, hosting dinners for small groups. They opened their regional Thai restaurant in 2022 in a bungalow near the Roosevelt Row district of downtown Phoenix. In the 2022 Best of Phoenix, Sunny was awarded Best Chef. In this year’s awards, we named Lom Wong the Best Thai Restaurant in town.

And earlier this month, the duo expanded their reach once again. Behind their restaurant, they’ve opened Mr. Baan’s Bar and Mookata, a destination for cocktails, grilled skewers and soup. The new bar continues the mission of introducing customers to more of the regional Thai recipes and cuisine on display at Lom Wong.

“All the curry pastes are hand pounded, all the coconut milk handmade,” Stein wrote of Lom Wong. “It’s an act of love, of passionate cooking.”

The two restaurants, owned by two couples, are an integral part of Phoenix’s restaurant love language.

Hard copies of the Best New Restaurants edition of Esquire will be on stands on Dec. 5.


765 Grand Ave.

Lom Wong

218 E Portland St.

Tirion Boan Food & Drink/Chow Bella

2023-11-28 17:47:00 , Phoenix New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix New Times –

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