Nestled inside a 1930s art deco building downtown and helmed by chef Ivan Jacobo from the West Valley, Anhelo showcases some of the best local talent. Jacobo grew his successful pop-up into a sleek and modern dining room, where his menus are crafted from fresh and seasonal ingredients. Evergreen entrees like duck with Arizona honey and lavender or his signature beef Wellington are expertly executed. Scallop dishes showcase what wonders can be done with seafood in the desert. The young restaurant is already a Wine Spectator award winner for its carefully curated wine list, but the real win here is its wine dinners in which some of the world’s best wineries pair pours with Jacobo’s tasting menu. It’s no wonder tickets quickly sell out.
Government furloughs forced owner Martha Laurencin to consider turning her passion for cooking into a serious business venture. Now, Ms. Martha’s Caribbean Kitchen is one of the best ways to get your fill of the Caribbean and not just from the food. With regular live music to set the atmosphere and shelves of Caribbean goods to shop from, the restaurant is a great way to stock up on island vibes and ingredients. But the biggest reason to stop by, hands down, is the food. The raved-about oxtails are a must, but so are the crispy chicken wings, curried goat, and the brown stew chicken. And what about starting things off with a deep fried johnny cake or a Jamaican patty stuffed with meat? There’s lots to love at this joint filled with Caribbean soul, but make sure you check the tricky hours of operation before you head down. Reservations are not accepted at this time.
The most dangerous part of Neighborly Public House is how easily you can slide from innocent happy hour drinks to all-out dinner. Here, you feel like you’re hanging out at, well, a neighbor’s house. The extremely comfortable seating is designed to make customers feel at ease settling in for a while, snacking on the High End Junk Food menu during Social Hour, which includes oysters Rockefeller. The food is delicious and uncomplicated, with entrees like rotisserie chicken and braised short ribs, but there’s also a surprisingly large seafood selection with some of the city’s best crab cakes. Also, there’s a reason they break out the dessert menu separately on the website. Don’t miss it.
A food truck so popular they had to go brick-and-mortar, Phoenix Coqui is dishing up authentic Puerto Rican cuisine courtesy of partners Juan Alberto Ayala and Alexis Carbajal. The location’s simple storefront disguises warm hospitality and mouth-watering flavors. Anyone familiar with Puerto Rican food should feel right at home here, and anyone new to it will be eager to try more; the menu includes flaky empanadillas, tostones, a pernil plate piled with slow roasted pork and arroz con gandules, plus mofongo topped with fried pork or tomatoey shrimp.
When you combine a turn of the 20th century home with a modern French restaurant, you get Sottise in all its cozy glory. The charming eatery welcomes guests with aperitifs and an atmosphere that inspires lingering over meals. Sottise is a strong addition from chef TJ Culp, who also operates Restaurant Progress in the Melrose District, and restaurateur Esther Noh. The cuisine manages to capture both Parisian refinement and countryside comfort, with a focus on shareable plates. Baked brie is combined with calvados honey and hazelnut vinaigrette alongside a beef tartare and chicken liver mousse, with plenty of fresh baguettes to devour. Entrees step things up a notch, with classics like lobster thermidor and short rib bourguignon, plus a strong escargot offering, but never feeling too fussy. A well-rounded cocktail and wine menu provide the perfect backdrop to an elegant yet relaxed meal.
Downtown once existed for those who worked the 9-to-5 and populated power lunches and happy hours. Now, a strong dining scene keeps patrons around 24/7. Wren & Wolf has taken all of that into a unique morning-to-night concept and serves up upscale comfort food and steakhouse favorites gone wild, perfect for the lunch meeting or the indulgent dinner sans office. Wren & Wolf’s coffee bar is open for caffeine and fresh pastries at the start of the day. While the menus are frequently updated, keep an eye out for wild boar bolognese or a charred bone marrow to start. The eclectic decor of taxidermied animals might feel strange but combined with add-on caviar bumps or hibachi with Japanese A5 wagyu, it all seems to balance out.