Best Mexican Restaurant (2002)

Acapulco Bay Company

Phoenix is only four hours from the Mexican border. You'd think we'd be swamped with excellent, authentic Mexican restaurants. Not so -- unless your idea of real Mexican cuisine is that bloated chain stuff topped with a tiny paper flag. For the real deal, we go to Acapulco Bay, where we can sample some of the finest comida Mexicana y mariscos found -- dare we say it -- in all of Maricopa County.

It's a long menu, and everything is extraordinary, from the camarónes ahogados (fresh, whole raw shrimp "cooked" in lime juice with cucumber, tomato, red onion and spices) to the parrillada for two (a combo of Baja chicken breast, marinated pork steak, tender carne asada, juicy carnitas, grilled vegetables, guacamole and pico de gallo).

And where else can we get such succulent seafood as whole red snapper, cabrilla, tilapia, shrimp, octopus or lobster tail prepared seven different ways? Our favorite presentation is the garlic sauce, the infernal pepper sauce, the salsa ranchero, the salsa Veracruz, the cracker breaded, the spice grilled, and the crystal, spiked with mushrooms and cheese. Oops -- how many favorites are we allowed to have?


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