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Looking for one great Mexican meal in Phoenix

I'm coming to Phoenix (from Seattle) for the holidays. Since I'm visiting family, I'll probably only manage one meal out, probably lunch.

I'm looking for some mind-blowingly good Mexican food. In the past, I've enjoyed Barrio Cafe, Los Sombreros, El Tlacoyo, Mariscos de la Playa, and Restaurant Mexico, and Carolina's. (Not a fan of Los Dos Molinos). I'd appreciate any suggestions for places to go and dishes to order.

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  1. You mentioned two of the "Holy Trinity" of Gourmex in Phoenix area, Barrio and Los Sombreros. The third is Richardsons. If you haven't been, that is where I would recommend you head to. As far as dishes I can't really help you there, although I can tell you I have thouroughly enjoyed everything I have had there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Billy Bob

      I thought Richardson's was more New Mexican than Mexican. Not that I'd turn down a meal there, as their carne adovada is spectacular.

      1. re: Firenza00

        Yeah, I'd be a little concerned that Richardson's would be more similar to Los Dos Molinos. I like Richardson's quite a bit better, but, I like them both, and they're both heavy on New Mexican style food.

        1. re: johnseberg

          I wouldn't even compare the two, other than the use of our neighbors in the description.

          Los Dos is New Mexican Hatch Chili inspired Mexican.

          Richardson's is more of a gourmet New Mexican. Lots of fish and steaks.

          Two of my favorites, but distinctly different.

        2. re: Firenza00

          I see your point, but I have always sort of viewed New Mexican as another variation of Mexican style, like Oaxacan and Sonoran are different styles. I guess technically since it is heavily influenced by New Mexico, you cold argue it isn't true Mexican, but I would guess most of the practioners have heavy Mexican heritages :-)

      2. I'm going to say go to Tradiciones at Phoenix Ranch Market. Everything I've had there except for the combination plates has been utterly wonderful, and the atmosphere is bar-none the best of any Mexican restaurant in Phoenix.

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        Tradiciones
        1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

        4 Replies
        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          Seconded! They have a mixed grill that you could order if you brought a friend or two -- but I'd steer you away from that, and suggest maybe the mole, the carne asada, the snapper Veracruz, elotes, sopecitos. I can never decide between a margarita or one of the aguas frescas, so I order both. Afterwards, stop by the grocery and take home a bag of tamales for your family; a terrific holiday tradition.

          1. re: themis

            Thirded! I was introduced to Tradiciones through this board and now we are regulars. Great food and lively atmosphere! The cilantro margaritas are great.

            1. re: themis

              Ah, the margaritas! How could I forget the margaritas there, they're fantastic! It's the only place in town where I regularly get the fruit margaritas; they use the same fresh fruit that they're selling in the grocery store, and as a result they come out terrific. Mentioning the aguas frescas (I get those every time I'm in the grocery store; their carts really need cup holders!) has me wondering... anyone ever seen them try a margarita de jamaica before?

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                Gotta agree on this one, and add that the service is outstanding. Whoever is training these folks has got it spot on. And based on a lunch visit earlier this week, the rice has been brought back to it's former glory.

          2. I've had some outstanding "Gourmex" (thanks, billybob) meals at Such is Life/Asi es La Vida in central Phoenix. If you see cochonita pibil on the lunch menu, stop reading and start ordering--theirs is the finest I've ever had. I would also highly recommend their sangria, unless you are highly prone to addictive behaviors. ;-)

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            Such Is Life
            3602 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

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