10 best Mexican restaurants in the Valley

10 best Mexican restaurants in the Valley

Photo courtesy of Hybrid Storytellers via Unsplash.

By Trinity Murchie

June 28, 2024

Get a taste of the chefs, menus, and ambiance of the 10 best Mexican restaurants in the Valley.

Sonoran: the Mexican food style typically found in Arizona. It’s not a traditional style of Mexican food, as it’s more comparable to Tex-Mex or New Mexican food, yet its still a true Arizona staple. While Sonoran food is delicious in its own right and deserves celebration, sharing a border with Mexico allows our state to have restaurants that draw upon the traditional seven regions of Mexican cuisine. This results in a delicious, more authentic experience.

While it’s tempting to gatekeep the gems of the area, good food is meant for sharing. So grab your wallet and your friend, and get ready to break bread (or devour chips and salsa). Here is a list of 10 Mexican restaurants in the Valley that will leave you delighted, in a food coma, and coming back for more.

 

1. Tacos Huicho

This gem in north Phoenix is a local’s favorite for authentic cuisine with traditional choices: lengua, cabeza, cecina. The simplicity of the restaurant’s aesthetic contrasts by the traditional complexity of the style of food.

One TripAdviser reviewer put it perfectly: “Between the three of us, we had tacos de lengua, cabeza, pastor, asada and chorizo. They were all very good. We then shared an order of quesabirria which was also outstanding. This was the best quesabirria that we have had in the US. The red and green salsas were also top-notch!” Go for the food, then go home for your own margarita and siesta. 

Where: 1941 E. Oak St. Phoenix 
Must Try: Quesabirria 

 

2. Taco Chelo  

Highly recommended by Valley locals and several online lists for amazing Phoenix tacos, this Roosevelt Street restaurant is a must-try. Named after Chef Suny’s grandmother, Taco Chelo keeps the menu concise to pay homage to highly-crafted selections. While there are choices of salads and tortas, the real tasty treasures are the specialized tacos.

With meat, seafood, and even vegetarian options, this is a menu that everyone can find yumminess on! They are also known to make one mean prickly pear margarita. Can you say perfect summer party?

Where: 501 E. Roosevelt St, Phoenix
Must Try: Fish tacos 

 

3. Elmer’s Tacos

This restaurant is a Chandler staple that would be easy to pass by if you didn’t know about it. Get ready for chicken and Asada tacos, bean and cheese burritos, and chips with house salsa. The food is excellent, the staff is very friendly, and the ambiance is unassuming.

If you’re anywhere near this area, consider this your go-to spot for lunch and dinner. You may swear “I won’t eat this much next time,” but much like a frat boy after a rager, you will happily do it again and again and again.

Where: 355 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler
Must Try: Spicy chicken taco

 

4. Otro Cafe

Are you vegan or gluten-free yet love authentic-tasting and flavorful Mexican food? The chef at Otro Cafe brings his cooking expertise from Mexico City and focuses on using fresh, local ingredients for a healthy and flavorful impact. Otro is known for its ambiance, and it serves food for all meals of the day.

While patrons have a lot to say about the dishes here, it is the Pozole Vegano that stands out. This restaurant is vegan and has many gluten-free options, setting it apart from others as a very inclusive hotspot for Mexican cuisine. Don’t worry, you can still get meat and flour-fueled items here, as well!

Where: 6035 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
Must Try: Pozole vegano

 

5. Asi Es La Vida Restaurant

If you’re looking for the perfect restaurant for a family meal or an intimate date night, look no further! This upscale Mexican restaurant will have you falling in love with both the ambiance and gourmet menu options. The Frida Kahlo decor creates a quirky and lovely ambiance that anyone can appreciate, and the menu is complete with some amazing options.

Try the cheesy nopales, the leg of lamb, or the fan-favorite carne tampiquena — an item recommended by reviewers across Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp alike. With affordable prices for gourmet, this will be the new go-to for a classy experience.

Where: 3602 N. 24th St., Phoenix
Must Try: Carne tampiqueña

 

6. Gallo Blanco

Drool-worthy tortas, guacamole, and … banh mi?! The chef at Gallo Blanco was born to parents of French, Vietnamese, and English descent, and although the menu focuses on authentic and delicious Mexican food, you can also find bahn mi and other unusual fare.

Regardless of the order, you will soon find out why this place is always busy — the food is irresistible and the ambiance is akin to a contemporary art gallery. Be prepared to wait in a line that will lead you to nothing but happy taste buds, filled bellies, and delighted eyes.

Where: 928 E Pierce St, Phoenix
Must Try: Tortas

 

7. Restaurant Huachinangos Mexican Food

I was raised with the belief that hole-in-the-wall restaurants lead to the most delicious food. This belief proves true with Huachinangos, which can be found in a plaza in Mesa. From the outside, it may look like nothing. Order, and you will soon change your tune to one of delight. Tacos pastor, mole poblano, gordita de asada, and cucumber lemonade — these are just a few of the mouth-watering selections available to tantalize the taste buds.

Drive into a plaza and drive away with the feeling that only authentic, homestyle cooking can create. 

Where: 1620 W. University Drive, Suite 5, Mesa
Must Try: Mole poblano

 

8. Tacos Sahuaro

This taco stop is quaint and unassuming, but packs in massive flavor with its meats and house-made tortillas.

One Yelp reviewer has described this place to a T: “Prepare yourself for the best tacos! You’ll feel as though someone’s nana is cooking these homemade tortillas and amazing food overall. Expect a hole-in-the-wall vibe. There are no windows and may seem sketchy from the exterior but I could live here the food is so good!” The food is good enough to make someone want to live in a room without windows — what a testament to the fine flavors found here.

Where: 2320 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
Must Try: Tacos, any kind

 

9. Cocina Madrigal

Voted the No. 1 restaurant in the United States by Yelp in 2022, this restaurant lives up to the hype. The food is Oaxacan style and while the asada and al pastor are noteworthy, it is the shrimp tacos that receive the highest accolades.

Each person can eat this high-quality cuisine for under $20/person, too! Just be aware that this restaurant closes for the summer months, reopening in early August. It’s worth the wait, though. Seriously, mark your calendars for the reopening date of Aug. 5 and make a date out of it! Camarones and corazón.

Where: 4044 S. 16th St., Phoenix
Must Try: Shrimp tacos

 

10. Ta Carbon

This one holds a very special place in my heart, as few things can leave an impact as deep as the first amazing bite of local cuisine.

When I first moved to Phoenix, I met up with a high school friend and drove 45 minutes to get to her house. “I’ll buy you dinner if you drive!” Unaware of how far Goodyear is from just about everything, I naively agreed. She chose a restaurant that was 40 minutes away! Frustrated, I decided to trust and take her lead, and I’m so glad that I did because she led us to Ta Carbon in Glendale.

The food here is authentic, with aromas radiating out of the front door — which you will get acquainted with while waiting in the long lines. The staff is friendly, kind, and patient. The ambiance is busy, but the wait is worth it. Opt to sit on the patio, snack on the fixings from the salsa bar, and gear up when your order is ready; it feels like Christmas morning walking up to the counter to pick up the present awaiting, complete with a grilled jalapeno and tall horchata.

Their bean and cheese burritos are hands down the best around, and there is not a bad taco on the menu, which is complete with traditional choices such as tripas and lengua. My only complaint is that they couldn’t cater my wedding; it was my master plan to get the good relatives living closer. Oh well, at least I have Ta Carbon. *Putting shoes on now to make the drive*

Where: 5834 W. Camelback Road, Glendale
Must Try: Bean and cheese burrito

 

The takeaway

This list has been made from years of trying new restaurants with friends, scouring websites for the best picks, and chatting with anyone who is willing to share the name of their go-to. Hopefully, your new favorite (or long-standing favorite) is here. If not, please find a way to share it with others. After all, the best way to keep your favorite restaurant in business is to help them thrive by creating new customers. 

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.10 best Mexican restaurants in the Valley10 best Mexican restaurants in the Valley

 

READ MORE: We found the best Sonoran hot dogs in Phoenix for you to taste-test

Author

  • Trinity Murchie

    Teacher, writer, and traveler, Trinity lives in a small town and enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring all things bizarre. Catch her at local ruins exploring haunted histories, in quaint towns with creatives, or at the farmers markets hunting for unique ingredients. Wherever you catch her, be sure to say hi; she’ll want to hear your story, too.

CATEGORIES: FOOD and DRINK
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