Kai Restaurant

An innovative fine-dining experience
Lodged within the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Kai Restaurant showcases locally grown produce and a surprisingly rich Arizona-made olive oil in recipes that merge contemporary tastes and time-honored Native American techniques. (Kai means “seed” in Pima.) The results include lobster tail, corn and avocado atop fry bread, and rack of lamb sauced with a mole made from American Indian seeds.

Kai Restaurant’s calming interior design reflects the earthy palette found in the Arizona Gila River Indian Community around the restaurant. Most tables have views of the Sierra Estrella and South Mountain ranges through the floor-to-ceiling windows — bringing the desert landscape into the dining room. Kai Restaurant’s table settings match the colors of the setting sun, and the rest of the décor is subdued — allowing the food and stunning views to take center stage.
Things to Know
  • Inside, light green walls are hung with local art, including pieces created by Mike Medicine Horse Zillioux, an artist who is also Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass’ director of security.
  • The dishes meld Native American and global cuisine, and are explained in generous detail in the menu. And beyond the literary text, Kai Restaurant’s menus are beautiful, too. Each is hand-painted by Mike Medicine Horse Zillioux.
  • Although reservations are not required here, they are strongly recommended. With 20 regular tables and just a handful of seatings per night, spots can be snapped up pretty quickly.
  • Kai Restaurant’s dress code, which the restaurant describes as “smart business casual,” prohibits shorts, T-shirts and hats (though ladies’ dress hats are allowed). The establishment isn’t particularly fond of blue jeans either.
The Food
  • In form and function, Kai Restaurant’s menu is unlike any you’ve seen before. Each course at the Phoenix restaurant is an inventively titled chapter — from the small plates of “The Birth” through the savory appetizers of “The Beginning” up to the main “The Journey” and finally the heavenly desserts of “The Afterlife.”
The Chef
  • Chef de cuisine Ryan Swanson has been instrumental in developing and executing the restaurant’s Native American–inspired, globally accented menu since being promoted from sous for the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa culinary team in 2015.
  • Swanson previously apprenticed under Vincent Guerithault, one of the few James Beard Foundation award winners in the Southwest.
  • When the Scottsdale Community College Culinary Program graduate isn’t cooking wild-mushroom-topped elk loin, he enjoys hiking, hockey and listening to vinyl records.
Business casual
Kid friendly
Private dining
Reservations recommended
Valet parking
Getting There
5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, Phoenix, Arizona 85226
Kai Restaurant
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