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Dec 19, 2010 07:13 AM

Best authentic Mexican in Phoenix/Scottsdale

Travelling with 5 family members from the northeast and we are looking for some authentic Mexican food. Two of the diners are vegetarian, so a place with some decent veggie options would be ideal. I live in Texas and know that the best Mexican food is often found at hole in the wall places, so a fancy place isn't necessary, but I need a place that's clean and can accomodate a table for 6. Thanks!

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  1. I hate to answer a question with more questions, but in this case, it's inevitable:

    -- The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is vast, so you'll need to be specific about where you are staying, how far you are willing to travel, and what mode of transport you'll be using. It would make no sense to refer you to a place 30 miles from where you'll be when there might be an equally good place 3 miles away.

    -- How strict are the vegetarians in your group? The most authentic food in the most hole-in-the wall places is often the food most likely to contain lard, chicken broth, etc. Almost any place you go to will offer a meatless bean burrito, but only some places will offer food that is completely vegetarian.

    9 Replies
    1. re: exit2lef

      Sorry for not being more specific! Staying at the Marriot Desert Ridge, willing to travel no more than about 20 min (maybe 30 if there are other nice things to do/see nearby). Both vegetarians are semi strict. If it said chicken broth or lard on the menu, they probably wouldn't order it. But, they also probably wouldn't ask about the exact preparation, so if it sounds vegetarian, and doesn't obviously contain meat, it's probably ok. Both will eat fish, but only one eats shellfish (sorry- they are kind of difficult!) Luckily no one is vegan. Because if you couldn't eat queso, what would be the point, right?

      1. re: RoadTrips

        Okay. This is a classic inquiry for this board and poses the usual dilemma: Newer resorts on the edges of the Phoenix Metro Area tend not to be in neighborhoods full of recent immigrants from Mexico. The choice then becomes either to go to a nearby place that may be perfectly good but somewhat Americanized or to make a longer drive into territory that is home to more authentic fare.

        In the former category, you've got a place like Jalapeno Inferno, a few miles away in Scottsdale, but near the Desert Ridge area of Phoenix.

        You've also got Carolina's North a few miles to the south. It's a divey, order-at-the-counter place, and you'll have to practice some "don't ask; don't tell" with the vegetarians since lard is part of their celebrated tortilas. Nevertheless, it's satisfying food at a very good price.

        If you're willing to drive down SR51 from its north end near Desert Ridge to its southern end in Central Phoenix (20-30 minutes under optimal conditions; longer during rush hour), you'll have more choices. I'd recommend La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop. It's a cozy, clean, full service place with interesting interior Mexican food.

        La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop
        1919 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

        1. re: RoadTrips

          Los Reyes de la Torta, about 20-25 minutes from Desert Ridge, is another north Phoenix option to consider. As the name implies, tortas (Mexican style sandwiches) are featured prominently on the menu, but the restaurant serves up other authentic dishes like huaraches, sopes, tacos, and ceviches. The menu also features lots of great agua frescas and licuados (smoothies). Los Reyes is located in a somewhat seedy strip mall, but the restaurant itself has been bright and clean on my visits.

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

          1. re: RoadTrips

            About the only option that comes to my mind would be the Blue Burrito, but am not sure if any are still open. They specialized in non-traditional Mexican fare - no lard, no chicken broth, etc., and were a hot place for semi-Mexican for vegetarians some years back. Some have closed for lack of traffic, and am just not sure which might still be open.

            Good luck,


            Here is their Web site:

            Blue Burrito
            2268 E Williams Field Rd Ste 117, Gilbert, AZ 85295

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I think Blue Burrito at Shea and Scottsdale is still open. I haven't been in at least five years. I've been to Baja Fresh (national chain) more recently, probably a little over a year. I wonder if Revo Burrito is veg friendly?

              Via Delosantos claims to use vegetable oils. I like the repollo and corn enchiladas, and visit regularly, as it is fairly close to home.

              My suggestion to the op is to splurge and go to La Hacienda at the Fairmont Princess. Then, have a cheap meal at the Pita Jungle at Desert Ridge. I think both places will please everyone.

              La Hacienda
              7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

              Via Delosantos
              9120 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020

              1. re: johnseberg

                Revo has several vegetarian options. Given the neighborhood, they pretty much have to.

                1. re: johnseberg

                  Blue Burrito is a joke. I suggest going to Whole Foods over that waste of space.

                  Blue Burrito
                  2268 E Williams Field Rd Ste 117, Gilbert, AZ 85295

                2. re: Bill Hunt

                  I recently ate at the Blue Burrito at the SLC Airport. Maybe my tastes have changed, but it seemed nothing like the original Blue Burrito I enjoyed back in the '90s when it was at the site now occupied by Noca. Regardless of the food quality, I'd hesitate to recommend it for the same reason I hesitated to name Carolina's -- it's an order-at-the-counter type of place for quick meals rather than a full-service restaurant.

                  3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                  Blue Burrito
                  2268 E Williams Field Rd Ste 117, Gilbert, AZ 85295

                3. re: RoadTrips

                  I would not hesitate to recommend the Rokerij. Not a long shot at all right down the 51 to Bethany Home. Many excellent vegetable and seafood choices that vary by the evening and a good assortment of New Mexican style Mexican dishes. Pleasant seating for a party of 6, nice atmosphere and well done food.

                  6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016