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Jul 6, 2009 10:18 AM

Making a list for top chow mexican recommendations (PHX)

Will be in Scottsdale area for 5 nights and looking for some authentic non chain type restaurants. After reviewing several threads I have come up with a list and wanted to get feedback on these. Also are these close of a drive from where we are staying near the Chapperal Suites and Homewood suites area on Scottsdale north?
Also if some are better for lunch or others dinnner. We will also have kids with us and grandpa.

Phoenix Ranch Market (pick up lunch in market and walk the grocery stores)

El Nopalito (shrimp tacos)24th street

Carlsbad Tavern

Los Taquitos on Elliot (carne Asades) food channel diners/dives

Americas Taco shop on the 7th (carne asada)

Richardson Cuisine of New Mexico(burrito)

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  1. Most of the places named are about 10-15 miles away in Central Phoenix.

    Your situation is a common one. Visitors stay in a Scottsdale resort and want to find authentic Mexican nearby. That's difficult because most of Scottsdale is predominantly white non-Hispanic . Other parts of town often offer better options due to demographic differences.

    1. Answers to a similar query I posted a couple of years ago...

      1. You will love all of your choices. Do NOT bother with the chips and salsa at Americas Taco Shop. They're awful.

        Unfortunately, none of your choices are near your location in Scottsdale but they are worth the drive.

        Enjoy your visit!

        5 Replies
        1. re: JerryMe

          Thankyou Jerry. Cant wait! I love do my research on food recommendations. Too many times you hear of travellers not enjoying good restaurants as they just walk in and judge by the outside appearance.

          I take it none of the above have good lively atompsphere with mariachi's? or happy hours?

          1. re: palmtree38

            Tradiciones, the sit-down Mexican restaurant adjacent to the Ranch Market, has a festive atmosphere, Happy Hour with a variety of margaritas, including those made with fresh ingredients such as cilantro or cucumber, and mariachis. It's one of our favorite Mexican places to take out of town guests.

            And while you're in Sedona, be sure to visit Elote Cafe.

            1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

            Elote Cafe
            771 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336

            1. re: Rubee

              WE have reservations booked at Elote Cafe for our first evening in Sedona. I must say I didnt find the owner or who I thought was the owner the most pleasant on phone or email. (jeff smedstad) I hope the food/service is better then my first contact with the restaurant.

              I will see about getting reservations for Tradiciones my kids would love this.

              1. re: palmtree38

                Elote is wonderful. Probably the best restaurant in Sedona.

            2. re: palmtree38

              i love the chips and salsa and america's, they are top notch. they have 3 or 4 different kinds of salsa, give 'em all a try.

          2. I would not do both Carlsbad Tavern and Richardson's -- they're both New Mexican food, which, frankly, you can get better in New Mexico. Of the two, I prefer Carlsbad Tavern as being more authentic. Richardson's is more of a chop house. Or rather, do Richardson's or the associated Dick's Hideaway for brunch instead of dinner, you will go away with a major case of happy tummy :).

            There is an outpost of Carolina's Mexican in Scottsdale that I would send you to. Not as seedy as the original location in CenPho but seriously good food -- they are known for their toothsome fresh tortillas and the "brown sauce." To get both of these taste sensations on one plate, choose a burrito variety and order it "foot-long, enchilada style."

            5 Replies
            1. re: themis

              Do you mean the Carolina's location in north Phoenix? I know there is a new location in Peoria, but don't think there's one in Scottsdale. From the OP's hotel, the original loation and the north Phoenix location are virtually equidistant; both are about 12.5 miles.

              Carolina's Mexican North
              2126 E Cactus Rd Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85022

              1. re: silverbear

                Blasted CH software won't let me add a placemark in edit mode. Here's the original Carolina's location.

                Carolina's Mexican Food Restaurant
                1202 E Mohave St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

                1. re: silverbear

                  Carolina's has a couple of websites. This one seems a little more up to date:

                  1. re: johnseberg

                    Yes, that's the one I was looking at. Still no Scottsdale location.

              2. re: themis

                That's the first time I've heard of Richardson's as a "chop house." Although I agree with you that Richardson's and Carlsbad are very similar, I think they are both good enough for separate visits and have found the menus differing quite a lot recently.

              3. You know, there's one I just remembered... it gets overlooked all the time because it's in an ancient strip mall in Gilbert, on Gilbert Road south of Guadalupe: Lulu's Taco Shop. Lulu has been running the place since I was a wee chowpup. I will admit I haven't been there since... well, since I lived in Gilbert, but I have heard that the food is every bit as good now as it was then.

                Lulu's Taco Shop
                610 N Gilbert Rd Ste 302, Gilbert, AZ 85234

                2 Replies
                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  How far away is Gilbert Arizona?

                  I tried calling Carolina's mexican last night to find out about the location in Scottsdale but they had me on hold for 10 min so I end up hanging up. Good thing I dont pay long distance charges from Toronto.

                  1. re: palmtree38

                    Trust me, there is no Scottsdale location of Carolina's. I believe Themis was referring to the north Phoenix location, but as I noted earlier, it's not much closer to your hotel than the original location in south Phoenix. See for yourself:

                    As for Lulu's in Gilbert, it's nearly 20 miles away from your hotel.

                    To cut down on the long drives and potentially unhelpful recommendations, maybe you can clarify your needs. Which of these criteria are *most important* to you:

                    -- proximity to hotel (if so, how close is close enough? How far is too far?
                    )-- type of cuisine (Is Mexican essential?)
                    -- authenticity (Does this have to be a place frequented by numerous people of Mexican descent, or is something that appeals more to a non-Mexican crowd okay?)
                    -- kid-friendliness (Seem to remember this being important from another thread)
                    -- cost
                    -- atmosphere (Is an informal taco stand good, or do you prefer a sit-down restaurant?)
                    -- anything else