Mexican and Southwest
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Barrio Café (2814 N. 16th St., 602/636-0240, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10:30 Fri., 5–10:30 p.m. Sat., and 3–9 p.m. Sun., $10–20) will have you saying hola. Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza proves there’s more to Mexican food than Sonoran tacos and refried beans, with a culinary tour of the country’s best dishes. Start with the pomegranate-seed guacamole, prepared tableside, and survey the small restaurant’s award-winning menu. Consider the cochinita pibil, a 12-hour roasted pork with achiote rojo and sour oranges from the Yucatán Peninsula. The amazing pollo poblano,—a tender chicken breast with roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and queso fresco in a tomatillo buerre blanc—will make you a convert to Mexico’s other cuisines. The Sunday brunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. is also a treat.
Coronado Café (2201 N. 7th St., 602/258-5149, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 5–9 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 5–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $14–18) delivers an artfully crafted assortment of rustic pizzas, fresh fish, slow-roasted meats, and the occasional “comfort” dish like the bourbon and cherry BBQ chicken, served with fork-mashed potatoes and grilled squash. The converted Craftsman-style bungalow’s hardwood floors and charming bar provide a romantic atmosphere for a special dinner. Delicious sandwiches, soups, and salads are perfect at lunch.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you step into San Carlos Bay Seafood Restaurant (1901 E. McDowell Rd., 602/340-0892, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $10–18), you’ll think you’ve landed in a small café on the Sonoran coast of Mexico. Start with a cold Pacifico beer and the Seven Seas cocktail, a buffet of tasty ocean creatures. The spicy seafood stews are extraordinary, but you won’t want to miss filling up on fresh tortillas topped with garlic shrimp. This is a place the locals frequent, and the mariachis on the weekends are not for the benefit of tourists.
Big, festive, and family-friendly, the hacienda-style Tradiciones (1602 E. Roosevelt St., 602/254-1719, 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sun., $9–17) provides lots of south-of-the-border ambience in downtown Phoenix. Dive into a bowl of warm tortilla chips, and take in the courtyard’s ceramic tiles, tin lamps, fountain, and multicolored pennants. The sizzling fajitas, seafood enchiladas, and burros with shredded beef are tasty, but it’s the grilled rib-eye, topped with a spicy chipotle cream sauce, that will have you saying delicioso. Most nights, a mariachi trio serenades diners.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition