We knew we'd found the best Mexican neighborhood in town when we heard that Silvana Salcido Esparza lives there. After all, Chef Silvana, as she's known to fans of her Barrio Café, runs one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, on one of our most-traveled paths, 16th Street.
We asked her to share some Mexican favorites in Phoenix, and among her suggestions was this one, for "Best Mexican Neighborhood."
"All you have to do is look around to see that this little corner of Phoenix is a mecca of Mexico City and Oaxaca transplants," Silvana tells us. She points to Mini Mercado Oaxaca, and Los Reyes de la Torta as great stops for authentic Oaxacan specialties and Mexican sandwiches, respectively, and also points to the local Food City's tortilla factory and bakery as must-dos. Beyond that, parts of Sunnyslope (particularly Hatcher) are, indeed, a mini-Mexico, featuring strip malls packed with doctors, dentists, discotecas, and botas de vaquero.
Another of Silvana's Sunnyslope favorites is the Mexican hot dog vendors situated most evenings at Cave Creek and Mountain View, and also at Dunlap and Second Street.
"Forget south Central," she says. "For a greater sense of community, head towards the Slope. The meth-head zombies are gone and replaced by the little Oaxacans on bikes."