The 10 Best Mexican Fast Food Dives in Metro Phoenix

The familiar Filiberto's sign shines like a beacon in the night, as if to say, "Give us your tired, your hungry, your tipsy masses."EXPAND
The familiar Filiberto's sign shines like a beacon in the night, as if to say, "Give us your tired, your hungry, your tipsy masses."
Charles Barth

What is a “-berto’s?” It doesn’t take much of a drive through the suburbs of metro Phoenix to encounter countless examples. Roliberto’s, Poliberto’s, Raliberto's, Eriberto’s – it seems like there’s one on every other corner.

These charmingly divey Mexican fast food joints aren’t for the elaborate-post-gentrification-style taco set, nor are they likely to satisfy authentic Mexican food purists. They exist in some alternate fast-food utopia where huge portions come incredibly cheap, ingredients are prepared fresh daily, and weather-beaten exteriors serve not as a deterrent but as a signal of all of the above.

They’re also the subject of much folklore, with the various Roli’s and Poli’s rumored to actually be franchises of some larger corporation dodging income taxes or, even harder to prove, some sort of money-laundering fronts.

More likely, the “-berto’s” suffix characterizes an ever-growing list of copycats looking to cash in on the reputation Filberto’s has established since opening its first location in Mesa in 1993. And for these efforts, it's no surprise many people think they’re all basically the same.

But that’s where we come in. Not all “-bertos” are created equal, and what follows is our list ranking the best of these Mexican food dives Metro Phoenix has to offer.

10. Kingberto’s

4212 West Cactus Road

Not the king here, but a name like Kingberto’s at least helps get them into the conversation. Arguably the least divey on this list, the small restaurant shares one of west Phoenix’s trademark strip malls with a Fry’s and thus is without a drive-thru. It’s also only open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Try: the Loco Burrito.

Pro tip: Dine in to enjoy the free chips and salsa bar.

The carne asada burrito, perennial "-berto's" staple.
The carne asada burrito, perennial "-berto's" staple.
Courtesy of Filiberto's

9. Filiberto’s

Numerous locations throughout the Valley, including:
2302 West Camelback Road

Fili-B’s, the original, the eponym – the name of all the restaurants on this list, if you ask some people. Filiberto’s doesn’t top our list, but this chain deserves some credit for creating the model and sticking to the format. Anyone who’s been to any “-berto’s” knows what to expect here, and extremely rare is the Filiberto’s that isn’t open 24 hours a day or doesn’t have a drive-thru.

Try: the Carne Asada Burrito.

Pro tip: Filiberto’s burritos can be ordered in “Jr.” form, for those looking to keep it a little lighter.

Julioberto's signs have popped up all over Metro Phoenix in recent years.EXPAND
Julioberto's signs have popped up all over Metro Phoenix in recent years.
Charles Barth

8. Julioberto’s

Numerous locations throughout the Valley, including:
2237 East Indian School Road

With an ever-growing number of locations beginning to rival the ubiquity of Filiberto’s, Julioberto’s offers a nearly identical menu as well. All the staples are here, if not particularly exciting. The chain’s locations are open 24 hours, and all feature drive-thru.

Try: the fish tacos.

Pro tip: Avoid menu items whose flavor relies heavily on cheese, as Julio’s cheddar is not our favorite.

7. Federico’s

Numerous locations throughout the Valley, including:
8777 Grand Avenue, Peoria

What’s in a name? Federico’s may not bear the “-bertos” suffix, but it certainly operates in the same way. This chain offers the oversized burritos, tacos, and quesadillas for which the suffix is emblematic, but with noticeably fresher ingredients and consistent preparation between our visits. This location is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday, but others feature 24-hour drive-thrus.

Try: the Shredded Chicken Quesadilla.

Pro tip: Dine in to take advantage of the expanded salsa selection at the salsa bar.

Get a heaping helping of meat and other fillings when you order a burrito with no tortilla at Eriberto's.EXPAND
Get a heaping helping of meat and other fillings when you order a burrito with no tortilla at Eriberto's.
Charles Barth

6. Eriberto’s

3437 North Seventh Avenue

This one-off dive earns the sixth ranking on this list for its cheaper-than-normal prices and its central location – it’s one of the closest “-bertos” to downtown Phoenix. Eriberto’s also serves up the best pollo asado of any restaurant on this list, with large, fresh, and tender cuts of chicken that would actually be suitable for consumption outside the 24-hour-Mexican-fast-food-dive realm.

Try: the Pollo Asado Burrito.

Pro tip: Cut the carbs by ordering your burrito with no tortilla and be rewarded with an especially generous portion of meat and other fillings.

The soupy beans at Rolberto's make the bean and cheese burrito a must.EXPAND
The soupy beans at Rolberto's make the bean and cheese burrito a must.
Charles Barth

5. Rolberto’s

5032 North Seventh Street

This 24-hour drive-thru may be the most divey on our list, but it’s also one of our favorites. Rolberto’s tortillas are fresh and anything but soggy, and the beans are some of the soupiest in town. There’s no inside seating, but a row of covered picnic tables has usurped what appears to have been a second drive-thru lane.

Try: the Bean and Cheese Burrito.

Pro Tip: beans, beans, beans – add Rolberto’s soupy beans to just about any menu item to give it a surprisingly complex texture and flavor dynamic.

4. Torres Mexican Food

240 West Southern Avenue, Tempe

The top four “-berto’s” on our list don’t sport the suffix, either, but we’ve been over this – these restaurants are very much doing the “-berto’s” thing, just better. Formerly a Riva’s Mexican Food, Torres earns its high ranking for its especially generous portions, its well-staffed and fast-moving kitchen, and its ideal location. Yucca Tap Room concert goers are likely to know this dive as a post-show stop, and it’s a prime late-night option for students at ASU’s Tempe campus. It's also open 24 hours a day.

Try: any of Torres’ overstuffed breakfast burritos.

Pro tip: Dine in to take advantage of the salsa bar and load up on spicy pickled carrots.

Add beans to Regio's chorizo, egg, and cheese burrito to give it that extra "something."EXPAND
Add beans to Regio's chorizo, egg, and cheese burrito to give it that extra "something."
Charles Barth

3. Regio’s

1705 East Indian School Road

Tucked away, almost under the SR-51 overpass, Regio’s is not to be overlooked. Offering dine-in and drive-thru options, Regio’s serves up the “-berto’s” staples with seemingly more attention to detail. Many of the menu items’ ingredients wouldn’t be too out-of-place in a sit-down affair, and the restaurant’s red and green sauces are especially unique in their tangy flavor. Regio's hours of business are 6 a.m. to midnight, daily.

Try: Chorizo Burrito.

Pro tip: Add beans to the Chorizo Burrito for an especially indulgent delight.

Vaqueros means business, and the business is carne asada.EXPAND
Vaqueros means business, and the business is carne asada.
Charles Barth

2. Vaquero’s Carne Asada

Multiple locations including:
3414 North 24th Street

There’s a reason Vaquero’s puts the “Carne Asada” right in the name. For our money, this is the best place to score a carne asada burrito in Metro Phoenix. Vaquero’s steak is violently seasoned and just as tender. They also dole it out in huge portions. A Vaquero’s burrito is the size of your forearm. No kidding. Vaquero's is open 24 hours a day.

Try: Carne Asada Burrito.

Pro tip: Make sure to ask for extra hot sauce – Vaquero’s sauce containers are small, and the kick the red sauce provides is necessary for every bite.

The carne asada quesadilla showcases just how good the Salsita's carne asada is.EXPAND
The carne asada quesadilla showcases just how good the Salsita's carne asada is.
Charles Barth

1. Salsita’s

Multiple locations including:
1541 East Roosevelt Street

Outdoing even Vaquero’s, Salsita’s tops our list on the merits of its carne asada alone. Think: the smokiness of barbecue, every bit as tender, but with a subtle spice and existing among Mexican accoutrements. It’s good in any of the applications on the Salsita’s menu, but for some reason, it stands out the most in a quesadilla. Open 24 hours, its 16th and Roosevelt streets location also makes it ideal for students at ASU and U of A’s downtown campuses, and, of course, late-night partiers leaving the nightlife complex the area has become.

Try: Carne Asada Quesadilla.

Pro tip: ask for guacamole sauce. We repeat: ask for guacamole sauce. It comes free with any order, and Salsita’s makes it spicy and heavy on the avocado.

Did we leave your favorite off the list? Tell us what’s what in the comments!



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