You can’t help but love the Old Town Tortilla Factory (6910 E. Main St., 480/945-4567, www.oldtowntortillafactory.com , 4–9:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 4–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $12–32). Enjoy one of the fantastic house margaritas on the large flagstone patio shaded by citrus and pecan trees, or choose from one of 80 premium tequilas in the gazebo bar. Move inside the 75-year-old adobe home to sample the homemade tortillas, which come in two dozen flavors and are served with herb butter. Try the tangy achiote ribs, chile pork verde, or Pollo Margarita, stuffed with cheese and roasted peppers.
Grilled artichoke—it’s so simple, but so good at Bandera (3821 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480/994-3524, www.hillstone.com , 4–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 4–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $11–29). This contemporary Western restaurant delivers wood-fire-roasted chicken, ribs, and steaks, accompanied by enchiladas or Spanish rice. Try the steak and enchilada platter with Mexican cucumber salad (akin to Greek). And this is the kind of place where you save room for dessert, like the banana cream pie or the homemade Oreo ice cream sandwich with créme de cocoa and fresh whipped cream.
Frank and Lupe’s Old Mexico (4121 N. Marshall Way, 480/990-9844, www.frankandlupes.com , 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $7–15) has been serving up delicious chicken enchiladas for more than 25 years. It’s hard to beat the casual atmosphere and colorful patio, not to mention the reasonable prices in the middle of downtown. Order a Mexican beer or a prickly pear margarita, and dig into the green corn tamales, shredded beef tacos, or Lupe’s enchilada plate. Oh, and be sure to ask for the hot salsa—if you can handle it.
Looking to try a different kind of Mexican cuisine? Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina (2534 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480/994-1799, www.lossombreros.com , 5–9 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 5–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 5–9 p.m. Sun., $12–28) serves up dishes from southern, central, and northern Mexico. Owner Azucena Tovar’s queso fundido with crab and crepes with goat and blue cheese in pomegranate sauce are inspired, especially when paired with a margarita made with fresh lime juice. Dine outside on the homey patio, and learn how Mexican food is more than just refried beans and tacos.
The combination may sound unusual, but Medizona (4240 N. Winfield Scott Plaza, 480/947-9500, www.medizonarestaurant.com , 5:30–10 p.m. daily, $16–26) manages to combine Mediterranean and Southwestern cuisines into an imaginative menu. Eggplant tacos with lamb, honey-glazed veal chops, and chiote-rubbed salmon and crayfish with corn risotto are just the beginning. It may take a bit of faith to get past the unattractive facade, but Medizona serves up a meal you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Go ahead—be bold and try something new.
A relative newcomer to the city’s dining scene, The Mission (3815 N. Brown Ave., 480/636-5005, www.themissionaz.com , 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $12–32) is a perfect Scottsdale  combination of Latin flavors and chic style. You can’t help but notice the restaurant’s neighbor first: the domed Old Adobe Mission , which serves as the inspiration for the restaurant’s modern-colonial decor. Start with one of the house cocktails and the amazing almejas al vapor, steamed clams with rock shrimp, chorizo, and yucca. The grilled street corn, pork shoulder tacos, and diver scallops are delicious.
The Corral family started Los Olivos (7328 E. 2nd St., 480/946-2256, www.losolivosrestaurant.com , 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Fri.–Sat.) more than 50 years ago and named it for the old olive trees along 2nd Street. This affordable Old Town Scottsdale  favorite features the Sonoran-style Mexican food that Arizona natives grew up on. Enjoy your carne asada and steak picado (served with homemade flour tortillas hot off the griddle) in the Gaudi-esque Blue Room. Or go for a red chile burro enchilada-style along with the traditional margarita with a salted rim while being serenaded, on weekends, by mariachis.
Roaring Fork (4800 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480/947-0795, www.eddiev.com , 4–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 4–9 p.m. Sun., $15–35) serves hearty cowboy grub fit for the most finicky foodies. In fact, former chef Robert McGrath won an “innovative menu” James Beard award for his work. Share the small iron kettle of green chile pork stew, and order the Roaring Fork “Big Ass” Burger, New Mexico fondue pot with little lamb chops, or grilled grouper fish tacos. You’re sure to find a nice pairing for the Western cuisine on the restaurant’s bold wine list.