When you arrive at Cocina Madrigal, a neighborhood joint in South Phoenix, the parking lot will probably be full. Squeeze your way into a spot along the street, among shut-down auto dealerships, tire shops, and a few stray houses before you walk over to this gem of a restaurant.
It's not in a trendy area, the decor is low-key, and the furniture is worn-in. Yet at lunchtime, almost every single table is full. A group of retirees chats over chips. A young mom with her daughter lights up when her partner meets them for lunch. Business people in suits slide into a booth.
The restaurant is loud and full — both promising signs of the food to come.
It's no secret either. Yelp reviewers voted to name this spot the number one restaurant to eat at in 2022. After the award, owner Leo Madrigal appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show, where the singer-turned-host sang his praises. And those praises are well deserved.
The Cocina Madrigal menu sticks to classic Mexican American dishes along with specialties from Mexico City. It's known for its enchiladas and while beef birria, barbacoa, and chicken fill some, the best seller is a little surprising; a mix of wild mushrooms.
The Wild Mushroom Enchiladas ($14.95) includes two corn tortilla-wrapped enchiladas filled with mushrooms and jack cheese, drenched in ancho mole cream, chunky avocado salsa, and sour cream. The soft, savory rolls are served with rice and black beans. While the dish may look like any classic sour cream and yellow cheese spot's enchiladas, these are a level above.
The mushrooms are cooked until buttery soft, releasing their earthy and savory flavor while retaining plenty of their meaty bite. While this dish would be an excellent choice for those that avoid meat, omnivores won't miss it either. The creamy orange-colored mole melts into the tortillas as well as flavoring the surrounding rice.
Whether you are in the neighborhood after a hike on South Mountain, need to grab a quick business lunch close to downtown Phoenix or are on a special hunt for some great veggie options, Cocina Madrigal has a dish and a table for everyone.
4044 South 16th Street