There are few places in the states where you can find the quality of Mexican food that Phoenix has. We spent the past year putting together a list of the best places for authentic Mexican cuisine for this year's Best of Phoenix® edition.
What follows are the eight best neighborhood Mexican restaurants in the metro Phoenix area. Print this off, bookmark it, pocket it, or make a list for the next time you need a taco or chimichanga fix.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - Central Phoenix: Asadero Norte De Sonora
Have you had the chicken burro at Asadero Norte De Sonora? Because if you haven't, you're missing out on a kind of chicken burro nirvana -- a piece of wrapped paradise in the form of stellar shredded bits of mesquite chicken, frijoles, shredded cabbage, and creamy guacamole. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - Downtown Phoenix: Rito's Mexican Food
For the longest time, this 36-year-old neighborhood staple in Central Phoenix had pared down its menu to just its famous green chili and red chili burros. Not that anyone was complaining. When you serve essentially just two dishes (and a couple of variations on each) and the lines are still out the door, you're doing something right. Rito's Mexican Food is definitely doing something right. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - North Phoenix: La 15 Y Salsas Mexican Grill
If you are a fan of mole, the dark, intricate sauce made with dozens of nuts, chiles, and spices, you could do worse than pay a visit to Elizabeth Hernandez's cheery Oaxacan restaurant in Sunnyslope, La 15 Y Salsas Mexican Grill. Available in red or black, the mole can be had spooned over chicken or chicken enchiladas. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - Scottsdale: Los Sombreros
Every year, Los Sombreros chef Azucena Tovar travels back to her childhood home of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. And every year, we can't wait for her to return. That's when she adds new dishes to her already stellar menu of well-crafted Mexican food -- the kind that have been bringing Scotts-dalians back to her charming brick home for almost 20 years. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - South Phoenix: Los Dos Molinos
When Victoria Chavez started Los Dos Molinos nearly 40 years ago in Springerville, Arizona, she hardly could have imagined her New Mexican-style restaurant, named after two antique chile grinders, would be the fiery family business it is today. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - Southeast Valley: La Merced
La Merced in Mesa may look small from the outside, but through its doors await gigantic plates of boldly flavored and affordable Mexico City eats: long, scroll-like flautas packed with moist shredded chicken or beef; monstrous tortas gigantes layered with Mexican-style ham, chicken milanesa, and hot dog slices; and dinners of heady chilaquiles verdes and garlic-tinged carnitas piled high to please. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - Tempe: El Tlacoyo
El Tlacoyo may not serve up the escamoles (red ant eggs), chinicuiles (insect larvae), or zacahuiles (yard-long tamales) of Hidalgo, the eastern Mexican state the restaurant tips its sombrero to, but its listing of more than 100 dishes is still, like the rugged-terrain state, a nearly inexhaustible source of flavors. Read more here.
Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant - West Valley: Fajardo's Cafe
There's nothing like a neighborhood restaurant that's actually, well, in a neighborhood. And this homey spot just off historic Glendale's main drag has been serving old-school Mexican eats since 1949. Originally Lily's Cafe, it became Fajardo's in 2009 when Alfredo Fajardo, the son of the original restaurant's cooks, reopened the place, keeping the old recipes intact. Read more here.
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