As a border state, Arizonan cuisine is heavily influence by its close proximity to Mexico. No matter what direction you go in, eventually you’ll come across a Mexican restaurant serving up amazing authentic dishes. With Mexican restaurants located all throughout the valley, it can be hard sometimes to pick where to go. As with everything, different people have different tastes, but as far as the Arizona Mexican scene goes, you’d be missing out if you didn’t try these places at least once.
Frank and Lupe’s
4121 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ
For over a quarter century, this little hole in the wall spot in Old Town Scottsdale has been dishing up some of the best authentic Mexican food anywhere in the Valley. While the actual restaurant itself is small, the portions are plenty big enough to leave you more than satisfied. From the enchiladas to the rancheros, you can’t go wrong with this menu as every dish will have you coming back for more.
1923 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ
Tacos Chiwas is a family owned restaurant named in honor of the owner’s experience growing up in Chihuahua. For years, Chiwas has been serving patrons some of the best barbacoa in the state. The recipes at Tacos Chiwas have been passed down in the family for generations and have attracted a loyal following in Phoenix that keeps coming back. Be sure to try the signature taco served with beef, cheese, ham, jalapenos, and Anaheim chilies.
2814 N 16th St #1205, Phoenix, AZ
Barrio Cafe is home to chef Silvana Salcido Esparza who since 2002 has made it her mission to spread Mexican American culture through her cooking. Through her efforts, Barrio Cafe has come to be recognized as one of the best authentic Mexican restaurants in all of Phoenix. Among the crowd pleasers at Barrio are Cochinita Pibil, Chiles en Nogada, Chef’s tableside Guacamole and Churro Rellenos.
For those with a hankering for tacos, you can’t go wrong with Barrio Queen which proudly boasts some of the best tacos in the Valley. In addition to that, Barrio Queen also offers a selection of over 100 different tequilas. Munch on some chips and their homemade guacamole as you look over the menu. BQ has a large menu featuring everything from carne asada salad, adobo steak tortas, to steak rancheros.
Rancho de Tia Rosa
891 N Higley Rd, Gilbert, AZ
Despite the name, Tia Rosa’s was first opened in 1991 by the grandson of Rosa. Priding itself on its authentic Meixcan cuisine, Rosa’s uses all of the actual Rosa’s original authentic recipes. Rosa’s was a winner in the East Valley Tribune 2018 best of the best. Their menu features a nice variety of Mexican dishes including queso fundido with taquitos, stuffed quesadillas, and spinach enchiladas.
546 E Osborn Rd, Phoenix, AZ
There’s a reason the Travel Channel ranked Taco Guild as the number two spot in the country for tacos. Taco Guild serves all their tacos on either their homemade corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Guests also have the option of choosing their fresh torn lettuce cups as well. Other great options include the chipotle steak, the coffee beef, and chicken tenga among a variert of others.
Ladera Taverna y Cocina
8729 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ
As far as Mexican brunch goes, there’s only one option. Over the years, Ladera Taverna y Cocina has become a key component in the Phoenix Meixcan food scene. Ladera is known for its authentic style cuisine, but is equally known for its brunch concept featuring $4 mimosas served alongside chicken enchiladas and coco leche French toast with some barbacoa hash.
La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop
1919 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ
A staple of traditional authentic Mexican food is undoubtedly, guacamole. While there are lots of variations and a multitude of recipes for guacamole, for the best and most traditional style guac in the Valley, La Santisima stands far above the rest. La Santisima is widely popular in the local area, in large part thanks to its guacamole made with freshly smashed avocados mixed with onions, cilantro, and tomato. The chunky guac is served with a dish of crisp tortilla chips. For extra flavor, the guac is also topped off with diced jicama, mango, and cranberries.
928 E Pierce St, Phoenix, AZ
For a more modern Mexican flare, Gallo Blanco is a crowd favorite in the area. What makes Gallo Blanco such a hot spot is its vast margarita menu and their great happy hour specials. From the tacos to the tortas and even the salsa, it’s easy to see why Gallo Blanco has become such a popular spot for Mexican food.
4044 S 16th St, Phoenix, AZ
This Mexican restaurant’s chef, Leo, began his culinary career as a teenager in Mexico. Today he and Cocina Madrigal specalize in made from scratch dishes and hand crafted tacos, homemade enchiladas, and fresh salads. Fans of authentic Mexican food flock from all over to eat here. While the building itself is small, the food inside is good enough to land this restaurant at the #5 spot on Yelp’s top 100 restaurants in America.