If you were to ask a group of Phoenix locals about their favorite Mexican restaurant, you would likely get a different answer from each person. With over 300 Mexican restaurants in the valley, there are seemingly endless options and everyone seems to have their own favorite place.
Where to Find the Best Mexican Restaurants in Phoenix
If it sounds intimidating to sift through hundreds of Mexican restaurants in search of the best ones, don’t worry! We’ve done the research (read: taco eating) and created this guide to the very best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix. Happy eating!
10. Tempe City Tacos
While tacos are in the name here, what actually makes Tempe City Tacos one of the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix is their burritos. We regularly crave their California burrito, stuffed with carne asada, fried potatoes, pico de gallo, cheese, and guacamole—it’s the perfect comfort food. The fried shrimp burrito and the chorizo breakfast burrito are also delish, and the breakfast burrito is served all day! The burritos here are full of flavor, and are somehow made even better by adding some house-made salsa. Try their tomatillo salsa or the avocado jalapeno salsa if you like some heat.
9. La Santisima
16th Street in Phoenix is known for amazing Mexican food (four restaurants on this guide are located near there!), but even with so many surrounding options, La Santisima stands out. Come here for the quesas (their version of quesadillas)—thick, fried masa shells stuffed with cheese and a filling of your choice and topped with extra cheese. For the filling, we recommend the La Santisima specialty—steak with mushrooms, poblano peppers, onions, and spinach or the Cochinita Pibil—delicious slow-roasted pork. If you’re not a meat-eater, La Santisima also has a great selection of vegan and vegetarian options.
8. Gallo Blanco
We couldn’t write a guide to the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix without including tortas. These big, messy sandwiches are a popular dish all over Phoenix, but our favorite is from Gallo Blanco. Try the Naco torta with carne asada, sliced avocado, and two fried eggs served on ultra fluffy bread. Top it with their avocado-based salsa verde to add a little heat. Not in the mood for a sandwich? Try their taco dorado, which isn’t really a taco, but a thick fried masa base topped with melted cheese, marinated pork, onions, and cilantro. Taco or not, it’s delicious!
7. Mariscos Playa Hermosa
While you may not expect a landlocked state to offer great seafood, Mariscos Playa Hermosa may make you momentarily forget you are in the desert. The menu is massive and includes almost every kind of seafood you can think of, so the molcajete with green sauce is our favorite way to sample several of their specialties. With grilled shrimp, fried fish, carne asada, and chicken all served in a delicious tomatillo lime sauce, this dish is big enough to serve two and still have some left over!
6. Cocina Madrigal
Don’t let Cocina Madrigal’s modest appearance fool you, this unassuming building houses one of the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix. Cocina Madrigal serves the classic Mexican dishes you know and love with a gourmet twist. Try the steak tacos with house-made corn tortillas, chipotle-pomegranate marinated steak, fried peppers, onions, and gorgonzola cheese. Gorgonzola may seem like an odd choice for tacos, but trust us, the combination of flavors works perfectly. Don’t forget to save room for dessert— the churros here are unreal! Stuffed with Bavarian cream, drizzled with caramel, and served with extra cream for dipping, we are convinced these are the best churros you can get this side of the border.
Ta’Carbon, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix, is known for cooking up some of the best carne asada in Phoenix—and it absolutely lives up to its reputation. Most of the tacos are served in their most basic state, with just meat and tortillas. The meat is so good you could eat it straight, but stop by the salsa bar to add onions, cilantro, limes, and of course, salsa. Try the carne asada, the pastor, or the Hazz taco, which is carne asada topped with green chilis and melted cheese, and make sure you grab a cup of their horchata. While there is usually a line at this popular joint, it’s worth the wait and the line moves quickly. Just make sure you’re paying attention to the signs as there are different lines to order and pay.
4. Casa Corazon
While there are plenty of places in Phoenix with great chips and salsa, Casa Corazon is our favorite thanks to their extensive salsa bar. They make 10 varieties of salsa in house daily, so they have all the classic flavors we love, plus unique flavors like cucumber, serrano, and pineapple. As incredible as the salsa selection is, don’t get too full because the entrees are just as good! Casa Corazon serves our favorite enchiladas in the valley, and the red sauce is to die for. Or try tacos de canasta al vapor, beef and cheese tacos smothered and steamed in red chili sauce. The sauce absorbs into the tortilla, making it extra flavorful and delicious. This isn’t your typical taco; be prepared to eat it with a fork!
3. Barrio Cafe
We’ve expressed our love for Barrio Cafe before, and they definitely deserve a spot on our guide to the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix. While Barrio is known for its tableside guacamole (which is incredible!), don’t sleep on their other options. Try the quesadilla borrachaan—an open face shrimp quesadilla on a thick, house-made tortilla, or their queso fundido, which isn’t your typical queso dip. Barrio’s queso fundido is made with multiple types of cheese (including goat cheese!) and plenty of cream, layered with chorizo, pico de gallo, avocado, mushrooms, and spinach, and served with a side of spicy salsa verde. Everything here is delicious, but the queso alone is worth coming back for.
2. Tacos Chiwas
It doesn’t matter how many times we visit Tacos Chiwas, we could never get sick of their authentic tacos. We recommend the asada, the pastor, and especially the pollo, which is one of our all-time favorite chicken tacos. With seasoned grilled chicken, pickled red onions, and cilantro crema, it’s heaven in a tortilla. Be sure to also try their gorditas, a soft masa shell filled with potatoes, beans, and your choice of red or green shredded beef. Whatever you order, the price and quality here are hard to beat! Tacos Chiwas is truly one of the very best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix.
1. Taco Chelo
For the very best tacos in Phoenix, head straight to Taco Chelo. This place has our heart along with the number one spot on our guide to the best Mexican restaurants in Phoenix. Every taco on Taco Chelo’s small menu is amazing, so you really can’t go wrong, but be sure to try the costra taco—a carne asada taco covered in cheese and caramelized onion. This gooey, cheesy creation is what dreams are made of! Make sure you also grab a side of chips, salsa, and guac, and wash everything down with their house-made horchata for a perfectly satisfying meal.