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Jun 14, 2007 03:19 PM

Fave Tortas in PHX?

So this was an interesting lunch trip. I saw Barry's earlier post about Lisa G in which he linked to Howard Seftel's article about good sandwiches. One of his picks was Tortas La Presa on 7th Ave and the description made me hanker for one.

I had never been to this eatery, but thought I knew of its location on 7th St, so I didn't write own any details. When I got down to where I thought it was located, it wasn't there. In retrospect, I might have been thinking of a bright, newish looking Torta place on 24th St, around McDowell?

In any case, my mind was now in that foggy mode when you realize you should have written down an address and you kind of drive about, hoping you'll bump into something. Which I did... Tortas El Guero near 16th St (and McDowell). It looked popular so I pulled in and ordered a carne asada tort with a Mexican Coke. As I sat down to wait for my order, I cracked open a fresh New Times and this week's review was about: Tortas El Guero. Well that was a little freaky! Even the owner in the article's picture was there in front of me serving up food. In any case, the torta was pretty good though I think it could do with stronger bread. Mine was nice, but held together like a Hilton being booked into County. Halfway through it had pretty much disintigrated and the sandwich became more like finger food. Still, it's worth a trip. BTW, mine was considered small (softball sized) - the larger ones must be even tougher to keep together.

I'll have to re-try the place on 7th and also my phantom place I'm now thinking is on 24th. Any other faves out there?

Howard's 10:

Michelle's review:

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  1. The new place on 24th St is actually a cool concept, my husband knows the owner. They essentially want to be the Subway for the Hispanic market. If you ever go in it's a madhouse, it's always packed. But it's very much like Subway in that you pick your meats, veggies, and bread.

    We tried to go a few weekends ago for their official grand opening, but it was packed, we had the beasties, and the loud ranchera music was blasting in the parking was a bit much for my husband. so we headed to PRM instead. :)

    I haven't been to Tortas La Presa, but I'll add it to my list. My list never seems to shrink. It just keeps growing.

    8 Replies
    1. re: mamamia

      On 19th ave and Camelback there's a little place called Salsitas - just a tiny little booth, (it's like a sauna in the summertime) but they turn out some of the best tortas in the 'hood. I like the jamon or the carne asada - they sear it up on a little grill behind the counter, then add whatever toppings you want.

      1. re: ThirstyThursday

        Which corner of 19th Ave and Camelback? This place sounds promising.

        1. re: silverbear

          I thought it was at 17th ave and Camelback.. just south of Camelback on 17th, across from PhoBang?

          1. re: silverbear

            This is an old thread, but I just saw it -- it's on the SW corner of 19th and Camelback. There is still a lot of construction in that area, though, so it's not the easiest place to get to. Salsitas, by the way, is a chain with locations throughout the valley. We just had breakfast at the one on 43rd Ave. north of Dunlap (used to be Mixteca).

        2. re: mamamia

          I thought I'd include the place name for this reference -- it's Tortas Paquime. I've not tried the one on McDowell & 26th (..?) yet, but there is an outpost out west as well, around 99th Ave and Indian School. That one doesn't appear to do things Subway-style; they have a regular menu of tortas. But the loveliest thing is they have a full bakery for sweets and pastries, and they have a Mexican ice cream case -- vibrant flavors, very fresh; like gelato in there's very little air but the crystals may be a bit coarser.

          The tortas are maybe on the small side --? But the bolillos are soft and perfect and the meats are very tasty. They also do breakfast sandwiches, I think.

          Great family-run operation, always a welcome suggestion when we're out and about on the weekend.

          1. re: themis

            Here are the locations the places database has:

            Tortas Paquime
            4344 W Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85031

            Tortas Paquime
            2541 E McDowell Rd Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85008

            1. re: hohokam

              I don't know how you're doing that! I have not had an option to add place links since the holidays. So frustrating.

              1. re: themis

                Oh. That sounds weird. Maybe someone in Site Help or Tech Talk or whatever the help desk forum is called can figure out what's going on.

                I will say that the place link thing, while always available to me, doesn't always perform as well as I might wish it would. But what you're experiencing sounds like a different issue altogether.

        3. Hand's down I really think Guedo's taco shop in Chandler has a great Torta. fresh Bollio roll, fresh guac shmear, salsa fresca, onion and cilantro then your choice of carne asada, carnitas, and/or pollo asado.



          1. Tortas la Presa is the BEST. My husband and I drive 20 miles out of our way to have Tortas there. We really like the Torta Especial. It has 4 or 5 different meats (roast pork, beef, ham and more), fresh avocado, onion, grilled jalapeno, beans, the works! YUM! If you like spicy, get extra jalapenos. You should also ask for the special sauce. It is like a mayonaise-y spicy sauce. The horchata is good there too.

            The place is always packed. I think they now accept Visa, but it's good to take cash. I think I may have to trek there this weekend.

            9 Replies
            1. re: jewel4352

              Have you tried the one in Howard's article? It seems a step above the standard offerings of most places.

              1. re: tastyjon

                Yep, that's the one. 7th St north of Dunlap.

                We have also eaten at the Glendale location, which is equally as good food-wise. Just not as lively an atmosphere, which can be good and bad. For a while the hours at the Glendale location were spotty and they would only accept cash, so we just drive to the 7th St location.

                1. re: jewel4352

                  Tortas la Presa (7th St) changed the name to Los Reyes de la Torta. It seems the same, but they did add another room, so it is a bit less crowded. We were not able to determine the reason for the name change, though.

                  1. re: jewel4352

                    Los Reyes is excellent. Went this Saturday and both rooms were almost full at 1pm. The sandwiches were to die for! I had the Especial and my my dining partner got the Arizona torta (I think that's was it was called.) Both were wonderful.. I can't believe that I was able to finish everything and an enormous watermelon agua fresca. Now I'm craving a torta!

                    Los Reyes de la Torta
                    9230 N 7th St Ste E, Phoenix, AZ 85020

                    1. re: rxenergie

                      Could you be a little more specific, por favor? What's in the Arizona torta? Price range?

                      1. re: Mr. Roboto

                        Price range on torta shops doesn't vary much, usually about 5 dollars for a sandwich as big as your head.

                        1. re: Mr. Roboto

                          Domo arigato, Mr Roboto,
                          Well, I stopped by Los Reyes for two reasons, first, this thread made me crave a torta, and secondly, I couldn't recall what was on the torta. For $7.50, the Arizona torta features ham, melted cheese, pork sirloin and breaded beef. Today I sampled the torta del Rey, an enormous sandwich consisting of breaded beef, pork, chorizo, ham, melted cheese, egg and avocado. The egg was more like an omelet! I really wanted to eat this with my hands, but it was way too large. One sandwich could feed two, as I wasn't able to finish it. Overall I left very happy again; it's worth checking out.

                      2. re: jewel4352

                        I tried the "Torta Kings" today based on favorable buzz on this board and Howard Seftel's recent review:

                        This place is a strip mall gem. It's completely ordinary looking from the outside, but step inside and there's interesting, well-prepared food; friendly service; and a neat waterfall behind the bar counter where the juices and frescas are prepared.

                        Ironically, no one in my family had a torta. We love good tortas, but there was so much else on the menu to try. I had huarache con hongos -- basically a huge, thick corn tortilla covered with crumbly white cheese and sauteed mushrooms. It was sort of halfway between a pizza and a pupusa on steroids and was absolutely delicious. The salsa verde that came with it zipped up the flavor a bit. My wife had a shrimp burrito that was unlike most any other burrito I've seen. The interior was filled with shrimp, rice, and avocado. What really impressed me was the garnishes of sliced radishes, a grilled scallion, and a grilled jalapeno. It was also nice to see that the entire burrito had spent time on a griddle, giving it a toasted look and feel.

                        For the baby, we ordered a serving of refried beans, which were fresh and contained nice bits of intact pinto beans. Nothing from a can here. Beverages were a bottle of Mexican coke for my wife and a mango fresca, served in a very large and elegant glass, for me.

                        Service was friendly. Our server spoke limited English, but putting her English together with our high-school Spanish, we were able to come up with a culinary Spanglish that communicated our needs.

                        The total: $25 for two adults and one small child. Not too shabby. My only regret is that I did not have my camera with me. The huarache in particular would have photographed well.

                        It's interesting to see how Sunnyslope is becoming a center for authentic, interior Mexican cooking. There are veterans like El Bravo that deliver the Arizona / Sonoran style quite well, but places like Los Reyes de la Torta are part of a new generation of Mexican culinary adventure in Sunnyslope. Somone looking for a subject for a blog might want to start a Sunnyslope dining guide. In any case, I look forward to return visits to Los Reyes and to exploring other places in the neighborhood.

                        1. re: silverbear


                          I'm glad that you tried Los Reyes and enjoyed it. I was very surprised at how large the menu actually is. I think that I am the only one ordering tortas when I eat here and have yet to try all of the other delicious sounding items they serve.

                          I'm finding more and more interesting spots here in Sunnyslope and will post reviews appropriately.

                2. There is another Tortas La Presa on Glendale in a strip mall a couple of blocks west of 43rd Avenue. We have been there several times, and it is very good. I've also had gargantuan shakes made with tropical fruits such as guanabana, guava, mango, etc.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kittyfood

                    Oh yeah.. my vote goes for Tortas La Presa.. here's a blog I wrote on YELP..

                    "Usted es el bocadillo ms hermoso! .".. roughly translated.. you are the most beautiful sandwich!

                    While this place is in a transitional neighborhood don't let the homeless fool you.. its really tasty! The service is very friendly and it's so cheap you can have a great taco lunch for under 5 bucks!

                    Let's get to the nitty gritty.. first torta I had from here the "La Presa" couldn't be finished.. not even by my portliness! Its 2 thick pieces of telera topped with ham, cheese, pork sirloin, breaded beef, sausage, chorizo and egg. This torta's HUGE, seriously! Most come with potato chips though ask for the salad instead. Its a serving of shredded lettuce, cabbage, sliced radishes, half a caramelized onion and a roasted jalapeo. IMHO, makes for a balance but really, you can't balance this out but the thought is there!

                    Alambre de Res burro, tacos and quesadillas have claimed major rock star status with me! Tender chopped beef, bell peppers, onions and melted cheese.. I think they use a little bacon fat too 'cause these bad boi's are bursting with flavor! Ah, gawd!

                    The fresh juice they make here can also pass for a wonderful lunch substitute. I like the granola, strawberry and pineapple licuado! A meal in itself!

                    They take your plastic card too! Just go for it!

                  2. I would add El Nopalito to this list...I had the cubana torta ($5.99) with all the accompaniments for lunch today and it was excellent. They've also recently repainted inside and it's looking better much. Another reason to love this place....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: azhotdish

                      Adding the place link...

                      El Nopalito
                      2831 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008