Kembara Phoenix Restaurant

Big things are happening at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. The resort recently underwent a $80-million resort-wide transformation, including the addition of AquaRidge WaterPark and Chef Angelo Sosa’s Kembara, a stylish Asian street food-inspired restaurant.

Chef Angelo Sosa made a great impression on Phoenicians upon opening Tía Carmen–a stunning contemporary Southwestern eatery name for his beloved aunt–in 2022 at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Alongside his long-time partner and restaurant developer Mark Stone, Chef Sosa continues his winning streak at the resort with Kembara, which made its debut in late 2023.

Its menu celebrates the rich tapestry of Asian street food culture, drawing upon inspiration from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and beyond, in a jaw-droppingly beautiful space. The dimly lit restaurant, which evokes the energy and vibe of Asia’s night market, is decked in dazzling neon rope lights, hand-blown glass wall sconces, hand-painted murals and an expansive bar (for sipping a refreshing Highball, of course). On the patio, a tropical oasis awaits with fire elements and bamboo settees. Kembara is sleek and sexy, a perfect setting for a date night, but the presence of a top-notch kid’s menu proves that the restaurant is just as suitable for a family meal.

kembara phoenix interior

Here’s the thing about Kembara; one visit isn’t nearly enough. From skewers and dim sum to noodles and rice and heartier seafood and meat dishes, the menu is stocked–and you’ll want to try it all. Standout starters include the picture-perfect Tuna Thai Jewel, a savory twist on the Thai dessert (tub tim krob) and a beautiful medley of color and texture. Another favorite, the crispy lamb spring rolls are inspired by Indian lamb samosas and paired with a creamy cilantro yogurt.

The crab fried rice is must, featuring lump crab, oyster sauce, sugar snap pea and curry leaf, before moving onto heartier entrees like the incredible (and generously portioned) black pepper Maine lobster and lemongrass pork collar. An array of flavorful vegetarian dishes are also available.

kembara phoenix Tuna Thai Jewel
Tuna Thai Jewel

Kembara’s desserts are perfect. For warm and cozy, opt for the Vietnamese coffee doughnuts, tossed in a Vietnamese cinnamon and sugar mixture. Looking for light and refreshing? Try the Thai ice tea shaved ice with Thai iced tea pound cake, Italian meringue and pickled blueberries.

The cocktail lineup is as remarkable as the food menu, spotlighting drinks named after notable Asian and AAPI-centric books and sake highlighting the most important regions, styles and producers across Japan. It doesn’t get more elegant than The Sympathizer, a smoking whiskey and tea creation, served from a teapot, and Thirst for Love is a frothy delight of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Choya Yuzu Liqueur, Luxardo and lime. A number of zero-proof options are also available as well as the utterly decadent Vietnamese egg coffee.

Kembara is open Monday to Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m., and closed on Sunday. For more information, visit kembaradesertridge.com.

5350 E. Marriott Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85054

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