* While I received a complementary meal, all opinions are my own.
I was invited to dinner at the Anhelo restaurant last night, an invitation I could not resist as there is so much buzz around this “new” downtown eatery. I put new in quotes because while the brick and mortar is new, the concept has been around since 2019.
History & Overview of Anhelo Restaurant & Its Chef
Originally launched as a wildly-successful pop-up dinner series named Hidden Kitchen, Anhelo (which is Spanish for ‘desire’) is the brainchild of Chef Ivan Jacobo. A native of Mexico who was raised in west Phoenix, Jacobo attended the culinary program at Estrella Mountain College before leaving AZ for a period of time to work at the prestigious Bohemian Club in San Francisco. Returning to Arizona, Jacobo worked at several local restaurants, and even started his own food truck, before pursuing his ultimate goal.
Jacobo’s dream was to create a fine-dining restaurant focused on the freshest ingredients from around the world with an unmatched wine menu in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Anhelo opened at its original location in Heritage Square, moving recently into a beautiful, custom-designed space on the ground floor of the 1930s-era Orpheum Lofts. Walking into the Anhelo restaurant, a stylish 60-seat space on 114 West Adams, you are instantly transported to New York or Boston.
The seasonal menu at Anhelo is a three-course prix fixe menu whose prices are dictated by the main entree you happen to choose, and on the night we visited ranged from $55 for the Wild Mushroom Risotto to the $100 Prime Beef Wellington. I dined with my good friend (and partner in crime) Sasha Clements with The Scout Guide Phoenix/Scottsdale, and here is a breakdown of our meal:
Three-course Prix Fixe Dinner at Anhelo
The Hungarian Honey Truffle Ice Cream was a surprise hit of the night, especially since we had to google “Hungarian Honey Truffles”. A rare variety of truffles, they are found only under Black Acacia trees along the Danube River in Hungary. Best paired with ice cream, pastries and fruit, they earn their nickname for their deep, honey-like finish. Chef Ivan told me he bought all of the allocation for Phoenix, so Anhelo is the only place to try this delicacy right now!
We also had the pleasure of meeting Anhelo’s Wine Director, Ryan Ansell, who arranged a pairing of some lovely Old World versus New World wine tastings for our meal. He has designed the wine menu so that you can order a 2 oz. tasting of some of the finest wines around the world…I saw a few of my favorites like Sea Smoke Southing and a Chassagne Montrachet.
A veritable wine aficionado, Ansell hosts top chateaus, owners and winemakers for intimate, unique wine dinners and events at Anhelo. The ever-changing list of upcoming curated events is located on the restaurant website. I cannot wait to attend one… what about you? Either way, if you find yourself downtown at Anhelo, drop me a line to let me know what you think! xoM
The Anhelo restaurant is open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 pm. For more information, call 602-596-7745, visit www.anhelorestaurant.com, or follow on social @anhelorestaurant.
Looking for more restaurants in the Valley? Check out my About Town archive and try out some new spots!