Lists

10 Best Places for Tamales in Metro Phoenix

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See also: Mejico vs. Fuego Bistro: Seafood Chile Relleno Battle

Tamales Guadalajara This little West Valley restaurant on Van Buren in Tolleson offers five different types of tamales. The tamales are a little small, but packed. The cheese tamale carries some heat with it, thanks to the green chile folded into the masa. Beef is a staple tamale, and the ones from Tamales Guadalajara come filled with deep red beef that isn't so spicy, so it's more of a friend to those looking to dodge spice.

La Piñata Each tamale at La Piñata is handmade, and it shows. The restaurant only has two offerings -- beef and green corn -- but you can get either one by itself, or add sauce and cheese for a nice twist. The beef tamales are also made with pork. Reminiscent of your (or your friend's) nana's homemade tamales, with fluffy and fresh masa wrapping the hot and delicious beef mix inside. If you've never had green corn tamales, let La Piñata do the honors of being your first, and you won't be let down.

Azteca Bakery & Mexican Fast Food When you read the menu at Azteca, which you'll have plenty of time to do while waiting in a long lunch line, you'll notice that they offer simply red or green tamales. You'll also notice a sign that boasts they don't use any preservatives in their food. At Azteca, they don't make a big deal about their tamale offerings, but you have every right to. The red tamale -- made with beef -- is dense with meat, and has a heat that sneaks up on you, almost forcing you to take another bite. Each tamale is fairly small in size, so don't feel bad ordering two...or three.

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Natalie Miranda