PHX Los Betos, Filibertos, et al. - What's Good, Not?
- johnseberg Jul 5, 2007 09:33 PM
I just got back from Los Betos. It's a 24-hour, mostly drive thru, Mexican place. This location is at 3001 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ (just North of Thomas Rd). I guess there are other locations. I'm thinking there is another at about 32nd St and Greenway in Phoenix.
A couple of years ago, a former neighbor of mine suggested I get the ham with eggs, and cheese burrito, there. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I've had a few more, and only one was a little "off".
Since then, I've tried some other items. The enchiladas were really disappointing. The sauce reminded me of Western brand salad dressing.
Tonight, I had a carne asada taco, and an adobada taco. Both were a large amount of meat with guac, tomato, cilantro, and onion, on two soft corn tortillas. I'm not saying the meat was top-notch, but, not bad. The tortilla was supermarket quality, but, the rest of the ingredients seemed good and fresh. For $2.29 a piece, it sure beat going to Taco Bell.
I really rarely go to these places, but, sometimes, circumstances make them a more favorable choice.
I'm interested in finding out what items are safe, and what should be avoided.
(somewhat dated menu)
Bean and cheese burrito...extra hot sauce on the side.
Avoid the "chips and salsa" that is inexplicably $3.75. It's a large to-go container full of chips, topped with melted cheese and pico de gallo. Not cheesy enough to be nachos, but soggy enough to be gross. If you must have chips, order "chips, plain" with salsa (pico) and hot sauce on the side.
Ahhh, the Berto group. Lots of places around town called somethingBerto. I've eaten at the beto's you mentioned, I rate it on the middle of the scale of the bertos I have eaten at. I have three Fillabertos within a couple of miles from me, two of them are inconsistent, and the one on Dobson and Southern in Mesa is actually really good about 95 percent of the time.
I think they are just about all reasonably safe to eat at, most of their problems have come from the green and white police (illegal alien stuff), rather than food issues. There is another berto like shop pretty close to the one you mentioned, but I think the food is superior. It's called Super Burrito and it's on Scottsdale Road, just south of Thomas on the East side of the street. I don't know about their late night status, but last time I was there, I got a couple of fish tacos for 3 bucks and a Huge Horchata, and I was pleasantly full for just over 5 bucks.
If you find yourself in Chandler, there is a little Taqueria on Alma School and Warner called Taqueria Azteca (it has another name too, I can't remember what it is). Small place, EXTREMELY friendly service from the owner/cook/server. Food is great and super cheap - about a buck and a half per taco. They are on the small side, but 2 is a good lunch.
Thanks for recommending the taqueria on Alma & Warner (the name on the sign now is Taqueria MiCasa). You're right about the guys being *very* friendly. Good, authentic carnitas and chicken tacos for $1.18 a piece. They have fish, beef tongue, and some other options as well. I work nearby, so I'm sure I'll go back often.
There's one of these places in Scottsdale, but it's not a "betos" or "bertos." It's on the north side of McDowell between Hayden and Scottsdale roads. Ugh, what is it called??? Does anyone know? Anyhow, I used to go there all the time after being out at the bars and I really thought it was pretty good, considering the price. Better than Filibertos, I thought. I would get enchiladas... then again, it might have been the alcohol talking...
I think Betos/Bertos/Super Burrito and Fiesta Burrito are all sub par - though Betos does a decent burrito when in a pinch.
They, as well as most of the other semi-fast Mex (SFM) food places suffer from similar probs:
- Dishes where melting is desired suffer from the quick prep and cold, styrofoam plating. Thus things like enchiladas, for example, are often cold, with unmelted cheese wrapped in a cold tortilla and some warm sauce poured on at the last moment.
- Blah sauces. In PHX I've yet to find an SFM place who've wowed me with their sauces - be their ench sauces or red/green offerings for wet burritos, chimis, etc. For example, I went to Super Burrito the other day and had a chimi served wet - where they simply poured a very bland brown enchilada sauce over the top. Maybe I've been spoiled by too many trips to New Mexico, where the bold sauces are often the highlight of the dish. Here they seem an afterthought - or a no thought.
Salsas - There are a few SFM places where I love the salsa offerings, but again at most they seem uninspiring. Also inconsistent. In some places you have no choice. Others might have one or two choices... tomato based, tomatillo based, thick/brown hot, thin weak/green. Others might have 3 or 4. I guess the key is to find a place that matches your salsa preferences and stick with it.
Finally, is it me or are many of these places getting a bit pricey? Sure there are some good deals, especially if you keep things simple, but I'm now finding myself more willing to drive a few miles extra and spend a couple of bucks more for a sit down Mexican joint and get more bang for the buck.
Note: The above opinions are mostly for the SFM places in this neck of the woods. I'd love it if an El Nopalito, for example, set up a divey place nearby.
I agree with you...
I am paying $5-$6 (or more) for this kind of food, I can do wayyy better at a slightly more expensive sit-down place. Or somewhere like La Tolteca where I ADORE their salsa bar.
However, I still just cannot do better for a cheap anytime of day or night bean burrito craving, but for other things...yeah, there are better choices.
Perhaps this opinion also is due to the fact that I am not heading home from a bar late at night on any sort of regular basis anymore. :)
People all think mexican food one big group. Try going to our east coast and get the same style of american food as you do on the west. ( I'm not talking McD's and the like.) Just the same with mexican food. Most of Arizona's food is not the same as New Mexico's style. There is a huge difference. I've lived in Albuquerque, Tucson, and now in the Phoenix area and all have a different flavor and style. It's just what you are familiar with.
I can't believe I didn't use the "Place" feature for Los Betos!
Los Betos Mexican Food
3001 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Anybody got any specific recommendations around the Taum/Greenway part of town? There are quite a few of the Betos/Bertos around there, but are any of them any better than any others? (And the 24-hours requirement is mandatory.)
Also, anybody know of a 24-hour place that does reasonable Red Chile con Carne?
And, in fairness, 24-hour drive-through isn't *just* for apres-bar. Late shift at work; car full of dogs; desperately in need of a shower from doing something outdoorsey. All of those preclude a regular-hours sit-down place.
Morenos at Horne and Broadway in Mesa is very good. Carne Asada rocks and the best sonoran hot dogs in the valley.
I'm fairly picky when it comes to these types of restaurants - I flat out won't eat at Filiberto's, and am really hesitant when it comes to several others. That being said, I'm obsessed with Los Favoritos. Everything I've had there is stellar - the meat is never too tough or fatty, their sauces (red and green) are very flavorful, and it's never *too* greasy. My go-to item there is the Chorizo Breakfast Burrito, or for lunch or dinner, the beef taco and cheese enchilada plate.
The one we go to is in Gilbert, but I think there's one in Chandler and one in Scottsdale as well.
And two in Apache Junction! Los Favoritos are some of my favorito joints. The Chandler location has a bonus -- the gelato shop a couple of doors away is also great.
Only the Gilbert and Chandler locations appear on the LF website which makes no sense to me but I don't mind the lack of crowds when I need a burrito fix.
Tried LF this weekend and while cleaner, couldn't really figure out much of a difference. Sauces had no kick, enchiladas served with cold, unmelted cheese, salsa bar had 2 choices, the taco was pretty much the same as any taco. Maybe I have unreasonable expectations, but for a combo plate + drink/tax/tip nearing $10, I'm going to stick with simple, single location places.
Here would be my current faves for a sub $10 meal worth $3 in gas to get there:
- La Condesa and La Tolteca on 16th st..
- Nearby: America's Taco shop, El Napolito and Rosita's
- El Molino in Old Town Scottsdale (in a strip mall behind Staples - kinda hidden).
Happy to entertain other places. Again, I might be warped but my first gigs were in restaurants which really refined their flavors/heat (in another state), and I love the New Mexican passion for sauces, which can transport the same bean burrito in incredibly different directions.
I just moved, and in getting to know my new neighborhood, I tried the Juliobertos on Glendale & 7th st and was pleasantly surprised. I had the Carne Asada burrito on a Sunday night around 7:00, and the meat had great flavor with a nice char to it.
Tried the Arizona burrito a couple weeks later at around 2:30 a.m. and it was super hot and fresh, and just greasy enough to soak up some of the damage I had done to myself that night.
I'm a big fan of favoritos (75th/glendale location). Everything there is great, I usually go with carnitas. Never cared much for los betos, filibertos isn't bad. Any recommendations for other great spots in the west valley?
Had my first experience with Filberto's today (after 5 years in Phoenix) because of lunch hour desperation. I wouldn't do it again. The beef taco was just okay and at least a teaspoon's worth of oil dripped out while I was eating it. And the chicken taco had a huge piece of gristle, plus the chicken was pink. That might have just been from cooking it in the red sauce, but I couldn't eat it.
I wanted to report on a Hispanic taco place. It's -Something- de Taco on the NEC of 35th Avenue and Camelback. I think back in the day it used to be a JBs. Please go in and try - It is great!
Ok - The machaca is not in the same class as Sylvia's La Canasta but pretty damn good and the beans are on par w/ Carolina's. The condiment bar will make you cheer! Pickled onions, fresh cukes, 3 types of salsa and a very fresh pico de gallo.
We went there early this am (like 7am?) and the Owner / Manager opened up and took our order. Tortillas are FRESH! SO got machaca w/ eggs, beans and tortillas and I got bean and cheese taco (cuz' they don't do burritos, only tacos) I regretted not ordering more (wasn't very hungry at 7am) but we'll definitely be back.
Sylvia's La Canasta
5504 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013
I know this is an old post but while visiting AZ, I just got around to going to both Los Betos (Hayden Rd) and Filibertos (Cactus Rd) in the same day(!). Thought I would comment and update the board. Ordered the same exact things at both as a comparison: Carne Asada Taco; Carnitas Burrito; Chiles Toreados (grilled chiles with salt and lemon). Asked for both red and green salsa with the order. In my opinion, Los Betos is the clear winner. About $2 cheaper, larger portions, and the food was of better quality and taste. The taco was encased in 2 corn tortillas (Filibertos only 1 tortilla) and the heft was about 1/3 more in sheer weight. Burrito weight was similar for both but the pork from Los Betos was less fatty and had a nice mildly crispy exterior in places. 4 Chiles from Los Betos for 75 cents, 3 from Filibertos for $1. The only thing that Filibertos was better at was the overall flavor of the red and green salsas. Just a bit more salt and heat than the more watery stuff from Los Betos. However, the food at LB was more flavorful even without salsa so I am willing to overlook that.