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Best Gourmet Mexican Restaurant Phoenix 2000 - La Hacienda

La Hacienda

La Hacienda

7575 E. Princess Drive

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

480-585-4848

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Don't expect to find any pi?atas, colorful serapes or beer-touting sombreros here. This reproduction of a 19th-century Mexican ranch house is impeccably tasteful, down to the last carved, dark wood chair, white linen tablecloth and soaring silk flower arrangement.

But the lavish decor is just visual garnish for the most upscale Mexican food the Valley has to offer. Chips? No way, José! Instead, opt for high-end appetizers, like pasteles de jaiba (plantain-crusted crab cakes with chipotle oil) or tamal de pato (braised duckling tamale with orange honey masa and tomato nixtamal sauce). And don't even think of combo plates with entrees such as cochinillo asado (spit-roasted suckling pig stuffed with chorizo) and mero al sartén (pan-seared grouper with grilled cucumber pico and veracruzana sauce).

Whatever your choice, save room for dessert -- like La Hacienda's signature capirotada (fried three-milk bread pudding with port macerated berries and star anise ice cream).

When the weather's nice, request a table near the French doors, which collapse together for calming views of a courtyard dotted with palm trees, a bubbling fountain and strolling mariachis.

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