15 Best Mexican Restaurants In Phoenix

While not globally recognized as a gastronomical destination like Arizona's other big city, Tucson, Phoenix still has plenty to offer to hungry people looking for great Mexican food. The city's restaurant scene is an exciting mix of established Mexican-American standbys, traditional regional kitchens, and newer upstarts that are upending expectations for Mexican cuisine.

It's impossible to capture the full breadth of Mexican food in Phoenix in a single article, but we can guarantee that the 15 restaurants on this list won't disappoint. More than that, each one has something about it that differentiates it from every other Mexican joint in the Valley. We scoured professional reviews, customer ratings, and our own memory to compile this list. Whether you want a fine dining experience, a feast lifted straight out of Oaxaca, or simply bottomless chips with guac and strong margaritas, there's something here for you. Just remember to save some room for the sopapillas.

Barrio Café

Many Mexican restaurants in Phoenix serve Mexican-American comfort classics — think combo platters doused with melted orange cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce. That's a delicious type of food, and you'll find it well-represented on this list, but it's not what the Barrio Café does. Instead, the restaurant focuses on regional Mexican recipes as well as dishes elevated with a little fine-dining flair. The pato en tamarindo — duck breast topped with a tamarind-infused port wine sauce — isn't the sort of thing you'd expect to find at a standard neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Barrio Café also has a whole section of its menu devoted to tlayudas, pizza-like oversized flat tacos that originated in Oaxaca.

The restaurant has earned plaudits from professional reviewers for its chiles en nogada (stuffed poblanos topped with an almond cream sauce) and its guacamole, which is made tableside for ultimate freshness. And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Barrio Café's chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza, should be feeling pretty good about herself. The restaurant's success has inspired a raft of imitators with similar names, so make sure you go to the genuine Barrio Café with the contact information listed below.


(602) 636-0240

2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85006

Tacos Chiwas

Tacos Chiwas is another spot that features regional Mexican cuisine — well, spots, as it has three locations in the Phoenix metro area. The taqueria serves up recipes from the state of Chihuahua in Northern Mexico.

This restaurant is perfect for those with a slightly more adventurous taste in meat. It expertly prepares offal cuts like tongue and tripe, and its beef barbacoa is made with beef cheeks. Tacos Chiwas isn't all about meat, however — the menu includes interesting and complex vegetarian options like rajas (a blend of roasted chiles with beans and asadero cheese) and calabacitas (a mix of squash and corn flavored with onions and cheese). You can get your meats and veggies stuffed into freshly-made corn tortillas for tacos, fluffy flour gorditas, or burritos.

The flour gorditas make this place stand apart from other Phoenix taquerias. Most gorditas are made from corn, but the flour variation is a Chihuahuan specialty. The restaurant is run by Armando Hernandez and Nadia Holguin, a couple with Chihuahuan roots, and most of the food is cooked by Holguin, a classically trained chef and a Chihuahua native.


Multiple locations

Mariscos Playa Hermosa

No list of Phoenix Mexican restaurants would be complete without at least one seafood place, and Mariscos Playa Hermosa might just be the best Mexican seafood in town.

If you're looking to ball out with an order that will make other patrons envy your table, Mariscos Playa Hermosa's novel-length menu has options for you. La Grandiosa is a particularly impressive seafood tower laden with two kinds of oysters, three kinds of shrimp, two ceviches, and crab legs. The restaurant excels at raw seafood dishes doused in aguachile (lime juice, cilantro, and chiles) and cooked specialties. If you want to try a bit of everything, a molcajete is a good bet — you'll get your choice of cooked proteins heaped in a stone dish and topped with salsa.

While oceanic fare is the thing to get here — with offerings that span from whole fish to octopus to lobster, you can easily order something new every time you visit — there are tasty things for non-seafood-lovers, including steak, chicken, and vegetarian Mexican classics. This restaurant is a true crowd-pleaser with a festive vibe.


(602) 462-1563

1605 E. Garfield St., Phoenix, AZ 85006

Las 15 Salsas

This Oaxacan restaurant's name would suggest that it specializes in sauce, and that is the main draw of Las 15 Salsas. Specifically, professional reviewers have singled it out for its mole sauce. While it doesn't quite serve 15 different moles, it offers an impressive half-dozen versions of the sauce, a major upgrade over the single brown, chocolate-scented option sold by many Mexican restaurants. The mole negro is the most familiar type, featuring chocolate, chile peppers, and a variety of aromatics. The red mole is the best bet for spice lovers, while the yellow is flavored with cumin and coriander.

Apart from the moles, there are plenty of other treats to enjoy here that you won't find at too many other places. You can order chapulines (grasshoppers) as an appetizer with guacamole, beans, and tortillas. Also of note are the molotes, Oaxaca-style fried empanadas made with masa instead of wheat dough.


(602) 870-2056

722 West Hatcher Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85021

Asadero Norte de Sonora

"Asado" is Spanish for "grilled," and that's just what Asadero Norte de Sonora is best at: grilled meats. And while the "grilled" items at many taquerias are actually sizzled on a flattop griddle, Asadero Norte de Sonora does them the right way — on an actual grill.

The smoky delights at this restaurant include choices like carne asada steak, pork al pastor, ribs, whole chicken, and beef head. The chicken is coated with a savory marinade, and all the meats are well-seasoned and properly cooked. If you're dining with a crowd, the most fun option is the parrillada, which is essentially a mixed grill combo. You choose three types of meat served on a platter alongside vegetables, charro beans, salsa, and tortillas — it's a make-your-own taco party. This restaurant is small, and its decor is the opposite of fancy, but its food is the real deal.


(602) 253-4010

122 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85034

Valle Luna

Valle Luna has been open since 1983, dishing up classic Sonoran-style food to generations of Phoenicians (Sonora is the state of Mexico that lies directly to the south of Arizona). Really, it's Sonoran-American food — the restaurant's menu is filled with the melty, cheesy goodness Americans have come to expect from "Mexican" cuisine. But just because this place isn't selling purely regional Mexican food doesn't mean it isn't delicious. Menu highlights include chimichangas (which were probably invented in Arizona) and fundidos, a chimichanga variant stuffed with jalapeño cream cheese and meat and topped with melted cheddar. This is a good Mexican place to take picky eaters or small children — there's an American section of the menu with burgers and chicken fingers.

Valle Luna has stellar reviews from customers, with patrons praising the food and the service. The drinks also get a lot of love online; if you're looking for a good Mexican restaurant to catch a buzz while watching sports, Valle Luna is it. There are three locations to choose from in the Phoenix area.


Multiple locations

Popo's Fiesta Del Sol

Popo's Fiesta Del Sol is another long-standing and beloved Phoenix institution making huge portions of Sonoran-American food for happy diners. Its history stretches back even farther than Valle Luna — the first Popo's location opened its doors in 1964. There are now two locations, one in Phoenix and one in Glendale.

It sets itself apart from the many other restaurants in Phoenix serving this type of food by delivering intense flavors. When a menu item at Popo's is supposed to be spicy, you better believe it will be spicy. This is a great place to grab drinks and appetizers that are so filling they might as well be a full meal — the cheese crisp, rolled quesadilla, and spicy bean dip are all satisfying options.

When you visit, keep an eye out for machaca, which shows up in many of the restaurant's specialty dishes. It's a type of dried, shredded beef typical in Sonoran cuisine. The drying process intensifies the savory taste of the beef, making it arguably even more delicious than fresh meat.


Multiple locations

El Norteño

Our tour of old-school Sonoran places continues with El Norteño, which has been cranking out amazing food from a little building on 7th Avenue since 1981. It's the most machaca-focused restaurant on our list — you can get the dried beef on its own or as the filling for chimichangas, burros, tostadas, flautas, and enchiladas.

El Norteño is also a popular breakfast spot, serving classics like huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and breakfast burritos (of course, machaca and egg is an option). If you show up on Saturday, you can sample the restaurant's menudo (tripe soup), which it only makes one day a week.

Unlike the previous two restaurants on this list, which are fun places for a party atmosphere, El Norteño is geared more towards takeout orders — you can technically dine in, but it's not known for its ambiance. Still, the food is so good that you won't mind waiting to eat it until you get home.


(602) 254-4629

1002 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85007


Cutting-edge restaurant Bacanora has received a lot of attention from national food critics who love chef/owner Rene Andrade's constantly shifting menu of Sonoran dishes cooked with excitement and flair. Everything at the restaurant is grilled over wood, giving the food a delicious smoky essence. The online menu isn't a lot of help for understanding the restaurant — it only lists a couple of dishes, including grilled chicken and carne asada entrees and an elote appetizer. That's because many of the recipes that have earned this restaurant its hype are daily specials, and you'll only be able to find out what those are if you visit. That's when you'll discover Andrade's widely-praised ceviches, aguachiles, and cooked seafood dishes.

We would be remiss not to mention Bacanora's cocktail menu, as well, since the restaurant is named after an agave liquor that's native to the Sonoran region. You can find this spirit in Bacanora's spin on a classic margarita. The mezcal-based Oaxacan Old Fashioned is also worth trying.


1301 N.W. Grand Ave Unit 1, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Los Olivos Mexican Patio

As the oldest restaurant on our list, Los Olivos Mexican Patio would earn a spot based on historical value alone. It's been making customers in Scottsdale happy since 1947 (or 1928 — Los Olivos claims different founding dates depending on where you look). The restaurant has been operated over the years by three generations of the Corral family, and it's located in a charming adobe building in Old Town Scottsdale. But Los Olivos is no mere relic — the restaurant still turns out delicious Sonoran food today.

All the tortillas at Los Olivos are made by hand in-house. So is the chorizo. The restaurant's specialties include several types of fajitas as well as a one-of-a-kind enchilada dish known as the "Mexican Flag" (so-called because of its red, white, and green color scheme). It consists of a beef enchilada with red chile sauce, a cheese-and-onion enchilada with sour cream, and a cheese enchilada topped with green chile sauce.


(480) 946-2256

7328 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

La Santisima Gourmet Taco Shop

La Santisima lives up to its "gourmet" title by using high-quality ingredients and offering inventive flavor combinations for its tacos, burros, quesas (quesadillas on corn tortillas), and lonches (sandwiches served on birote rolls). It positions itself as a lighter alternative to the deep-fried, cheese-laden cuisine of some other Phoenix Mexican restaurants.

The restaurant has earned enough fans to come to the attention of the Mayor of Flavortown himself, as Guy Fieri paid La Santisima a visit in 2017 for an episode of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives."

The default here is corn tortillas, and they're made fresh from scratch. Some of the most interesting fillings for entrees include shrimp topped with chiles en nogada, shark, and tamarindo mahi mahi. Diners love the restaurant's salsa bar, which features an impressive selection of house-made sauces to customize your order.


(602) 254-6330

4117 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016

Cocina Madrigal

Cocina Madrigal is one of the most adored restaurants on our list, having won the number-one spot in Yelp's Top 100 Places To Eat in 2022. It's also earned love from a number of other national publications and TV shows. Despite its long list of accolades, it's still an affordable, approachable restaurant that serves a slightly elevated take on Mexican-American food.

Even more than the other restaurants we've discussed, Cocina Madrigal isn't afraid to take its food in a fusion direction. Dishes like Jamaican chicken salad, five cheese macaroni and chicken, and La Diabla chicken pasta show that the kitchen is comfortable with a range of global flavors. Still, the heart of the menu is Mexican comfort foods like green chile pork, tacos, and enchiladas. Cocina Madrigal also has an impressive selection of tequilas, mezcals, and Mexican beers to pair with your meal. The prices are surprisingly great for such a famous place, with most entrees under $20.


(602) 243-9000

4044 S 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85040

Comedor Guadalajara

Another longstanding outpost of Sonoran food in Phoenix, Comedor Guadalajara is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. Like Asadero Norte de Sonora, its main claim to fame is its parrillada platters filled with a mix of grilled meats and veggies (here, they're plated impressively on overflowing skillets). The selection of proteins on the parrilladas is unique; in addition to the standard cuts like steak and chicken breast, you can also get offal (in this case, liver or tripas) as well as many types of seafood.

While the parrilladas here are notable, they make up just a small portion of the restaurant's extensive menu. You can also get seafood and meat platters and Sonoran staples like enchiladas, chimichangas, and cheese crisps. This is a great restaurant if you're with a large group and only some are interested in diving into the grilled meats.


(602) 253-8299

1830 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004

El Rinconcito D.F.

The "D.F." in this restaurant's name stands for "Distrito Federal," aka Mexico City, and walking through its doors feels like teleporting away from Phoenix. It's a no-frills establishment that makes excellent traditional Mexican dishes. One must-try here is the huarache, a sturdy flatbread made from masa and topped with your protein of choice; options include eggs, pork al pastor, and beef suadero.

The al pastor here is legit; it's cooked on a real trompo (a vertical rotisserie grill) and can be eaten in a variety of ways, including as a street taco with chunks of pineapple and splashes of salsa verde. It's worth planning to visit El Rinconcito on the weekend when the restaurant makes several special dishes you can't get on weekdays. The rich consomé de barbacoa, or lamb soup, is swoon-worthy. You can score goat barbacoa and pork pozole on the weekends as well.


(602) 943-5933

8901 N 12th St., Phoenix, AZ 85020


While many of the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix thrive because of their versatility, Ta'Carbon proves there's nothing wrong with being a one-trick pony. Its mission is "to deliver the best carne asada in the United States." According to happy customers, its singlemindedness is paying dividends.

On a Reddit thread about the best tacos in the Valley, several people shouted out Ta'Carbon, with one person saying, "Tastes like you're eating in Sonora." The carne asada is a popular choice, but one Redditor pointed to the restaurant's tripas taco as the superior option. In Ta'Carbon's case, "carne asada" doesn't just mean grilled steak. The restaurant sells a multitude of grilled meats, including al pastor and its signature Hazz, a mix of grilled beef, green chiles, and melted cheese. Another taco you should try at one of Ta'Carbon's two locations in the Valley is the campechano, a deliriously rich blend of beef, pork chicharron, and sausage.


Multiple locations


The restaurants on this list were selected based on personal experience, professional reviews, and customer feedback. We tried to include a mix of different styles of Mexican food and varying price points to give an in-depth picture of the vibrant restaurant scene in Phoenix. Restaurants with historical importance, unique points of view, or hard-to-find menu items were prioritized.