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Best Mexican Restaurant in Phoenix

OK, let me explain what I am looking for. I like authentic chili rellenos, enchiladas and great Margaritas. I hate chain restaurants, but I do like a lively scene with a good bar, good refried beans&fresh home made tortillas. I am staying at the Biltmore in Phoenix, but I can see from my earlier post, that I will need to take a cab, so lets open this up to anywhere I can get to in a cab from the Biltmore. Sorry for the repeat, but I just wanted to clarify.

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  1. Hands down - go to one of two places...."the teepee" a phoenix tradition...two locations one on indian school and one at Bank One Ball Park. The Bario Cafe....best food bar none...her pork dish is to die for...it's the only thing I get and it's awesome. Tableside quacomole is also a must.

    1 Reply
    1. re: restranteur

      I think maybe you had to grow up on the Teepee to appreciate it. I didn't, and don't.

    2. For the best fresh made tortillas (flour) you should try Carolina's. Everything is made fresh and is incredibly tasty. Two locations - 1202 E Mohave St (Downtown) and 2126 E. Cactus Rd (Cactus and Cave Creek). It's an order-at-the-counter type place, so nothing fancy, just really good Mexican food.

      1. How about Los Dos Molinos? On a recent trip to Scottsdale, where my sister and brother-in-law live, they took me to Teepee (I'm from NY state). I think they thought I would appreciate the atmosphere (which differs from the more common AZ everything's-new look) and the food. Frankly, it was nothing special, just cheap. Los Dos seemed way better. Los Sombreros was too bad.

        1. i'd say tradiciones/phoenix ranch market, carolina's, barrio cafe or richardsons. santa fe style but deee-lish

          1. Forgot Richardson's from a previous trip! Seem to remember blue-corn tortillas and lot's of Hatch chiles. Is that the place?

            1 Reply
            1. re: markabauman

              thats the one!! if its really packed and a long wait, swing around the corner to their spot, dicks hideaway. same great food, more bar like, and usually way less crowded :)

            2. Regarding the suggestions above, I don't have a clear favorite, but for the benefit of the OP: I think Los Dos Molinos is just too far away to visit via taxi. Your cab fare would work out to be more than if you rented a car. Richardson's, Barrio Cafe, El Napolito, and Tee Pee (Indian School location) are the closest among those mentioned so far.

              Also, keep in mind that hailing a cab on the street is unheard of in Phoenix. Make sure to work with the Biltmore's concierge to arrange transportation before heading out.

              1. Two restaurants come tomind: Tradiciones, which is the linen-tablecloth restaurant inside Ranch Market at 16th and Roosevelt, and Los Sombreros, on Scottsdale Rd/ Bite your tongue about the Tee Pee; Los Dos is a) far from the Biltmore and 2) not necessarily fabulous, although it is spicy.

                1. I find it hard to recommend a "best of" for Mexican because there are so many variables.... great locations with simply o.k. food, horrible-looking places with great food. Places that are good at certain dishes. Places where you go to eat, but not dine or expect any kind of dining/lingering/social experience.

                  Carolina's (downtown location), for example, is great if you're fine with lining up to order at a window, filling your own drink, grabbing the plastic utensils, and finding a place to share a corner of a table with the crowds of hungry families, construction workers, etc. It's a sketchy hood, they've not spent a dime on decor in 57 years, and your meal will cost less than the cabbie's tip to get you there. I like that. But then again some of my fave places to eat Mexican in the Southwest are in Car Washes, roach coaches, etc. There's no reason to be fancy if all you want is a couple of tacos or a burrito.

                  On the flip side, there are some nice eateries offering atypical Mexican fare... Barrio Cafe and Los Sombreros are two good choices.

                  And there are the "middle of the road" eateries... The Old Town Tortilla Factory is an example. Great patio and decor. Massive selection of tequilas. Fully staffed and modern. A safe bet if you want to linger with a group of friends - but the food seems to be hit and miss. If not a foodie but visiting from NY or Chicago, you'd remember it nicely for the Southwest outdoor dining experience... Margs under the Arizona sky on a warm spring night.

                  So yeah, it's tough to send you somewhere. Our local weekly does a "Best of" issue with a special focus on Mexican treats. Maybe something will catch your eye:


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tastyjon

                    I remember one night at work when I was chatting with a charming older gentleman with a deep baritone voice about food in Scottsdale. He mentioned Old Town Tortilla Factory, and gave a short review... "It sucked!" The only thing going for the Tortilla Factory is their beautiful patio.

                  2. I agree with everyone saying Richardson's, Ranch Market or Carolina's (except I don't care for the beans at Carolina's, but it must be a personal issue, b/c everyone else seems to like them. The tortillas are to die for, and the salsa is very good, too). I definitely think Los Dos Molinos is overrated. And that is coming from someone who LOVES hot food. LDM's claim to fame is that the food is spicy, but they really don't have much else going for them IMHO.

                    A place worth mentioning is Espo's at McClintock and Chandler. Their food is a bit on the greasy side and a little inconsistent, but it CAN be VERY good. I like the tamales with enchilada sauce on them (usually they come very meaty; occasionally, I'm disappointed and they come starchy.

                    1. I have tried enchiladas all over Phoenix and by far,the best cheese enchiladas I've found are at Rosita's Place 2310 e. McDowell.Their rellenos are also very good.For overall authentic Mexican, Tradiciones is right at the top of my list also.

                      1. so, thinking REALLY outside the box... what about la perla? yes, its out there (59th and glendale, and thats 59th AVENUE), but the food is truly authentic and great and the band is equally authentic. And it is nothing if not lively.

                        1. The best Chile Rellenos I have ever had, were at Los Sombreros, but, it might be a little too far.

                          Barrio Cafe and Richardson's are not exactly what you are specifying, but, they are very good, and you won't find anything like them in most US cities.

                          Carolina's is THE place for fresh tortillas, but, I agree that the beans are not the greatest. And, as others have mentioned, it's kind of a fast food joint, and I don't think they serve alcoholic beverages.

                          Arriba is a local chain with a location close to the Biltmore. I think it's better than Chevy's, and some of the other local chains.

                          Richardson's Cuisine of NM, 1582 E Bethany Home Rd, Phoenix, AZ

                          1. Went to Carolina's this weekend with the family (first time in 7+ years as hadn't been there since I moved back in state) and it was great. The tortillas are awesome. Green chile combo, chorizo combo, 2 machaca taco combo, machaca taco without cheese, red beef tamale, chips, dozen torillas & 2 fountain drinks for $23.

                            I'm ready to go back already!