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Looking for a casual Mexican Restaurant

My daughter and I are traveling to Phoenix next week. We will be driving from the airport to Strawberry AZ. Can anyone recommend a good casual Mexican restaurant. Will be heading up route 87. Don't wont to travel to far off the hwy,

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  1. I think the best choices are closest to the airport (assuming Sky Harbor Int'l).

    This question has been asked and answered many times. Provide some more input, and I'll help narrow down the many choices.

    1. We will be flying into Sky Harbor int'l. Looking to stop for lunch on our way north. not looking for anything fancy. Love local places that have good food. I dont want to detour to far from the route up north.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sherriesjeans

        My last reply to a similar question works:

        Yet another style of Mexican can be found at Mariscos Playa Hermosa.

        Keep in mind that some places may be closed on Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays.

      2. All Mexican restaurants in Phoenix can be considered casual.

        To make things simple for you I would just go to Los Dos Molinos or America's Taco Shop.

        1. Barrio Cafe. Especially as you specified "restaurant" rather than fast food after coming off a flight.

          1. It's Native American rather than Mexican, but close to Route 87 in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community you'll find the Stand. It's an ultra-casual place for fry bread, a regional indulgence worth having at least once during a visit. The address says Scottsdale because that's the nearest post office, but the location is in the heart of the reservation at Alma School and Indian School.


            Other options are available in or near Downtown Mesa, where Route 87 is known as Country Club Drive:

            Mangos Mexican Cafe -- good, casual, AZ-style Sonoran food in the heart of Downtown Mesa. Outdoor patio seating, which would be nice this time of year.


            Republic Empanada -- a casual, order-at-the-counter place for empanadas. Also serves tamales, posole, and other specialties from both Central American and Mexico


            Los Dos Molinos -- fiery New Mexican on Alma School just north of Broadway


            Blue Adobe Grill -- slightly less incendiary New Mexican on Country Club just north of Main


            1. several people have recommended Carolina's. Is that close off the highway or would be going way out of my way. The stand sounds cool!- has anyone eaten there?

              5 Replies
              1. re: sherriesjeans

                Carolina's location at 1202 E. Mohave Rd, Phoenix, AZ is very close to the airport. I love it. The food is served fast casual in polystyrene cartons. Closed Sunday and some holidays.


                I haven't been to The Stand, It wouldn't be too far out of the way.


                1. re: sherriesjeans

                  The Stand is an undeniably unique experience. You can do better foodwise, but it's good, and it's a package deal that's completely worthwhile.

                  Be warned on two counts. First, if you're searching for an address at some point, don't end up at the hamburger joint also named The Stand, and also on Indian School. The Stand you're looking for is just off the corner of Indian School and Alma School. Second, The Stand's hours are... highly variable. Have a Plan B.

                  1. re: Dmnkly

                    Oops. I linked to the wrong place. I didn't put it together with what exit2lef wrote.

                  2. re: sherriesjeans

                    Carolina's is on the west side of Sky Harbor Airport; Route 87 is east of the Airport. From that point of view, the restaurant would be out of your way; however, the Airport rental car center is on the west side just about half a mile from Carolina's. Long story short: If you're renting from a major on-airport agency (Hertz, Avis, etc.), you could easily stop at Carolina's right after picking up the car without a significant detour.

                    1. re: exit2lef

                      Only two times I flew into Phoenix, we got a rental car and headed directly to Carolina's. Never regretted it. Intend to make that 3 times this spring. There's a second location, tho, in a better neighborhood.