Deseo (6902 E. Greenway Pkwy., 480/624-1030, www.kierlandresort.com , 6–10 p.m. Wed.–Sun., $12–35) is really good—I can’t say it more simply. James Beard Award–winning chef Douglas Rodriguez’s survey of Nuevo Latino fare at The Westin Kierland spans Latin Mexican, Caribbean, and Native American cuisine. The impressive ceviche menu may convince first-timers to give the fresh seafood starter a try. Order a cocktail from the Muddle Bar, where fresh fruits and herbs are mashed together and given a little extra kick by an assortment of premium liquors. Then, dive into the goat cheese empanadas, Kobe meatballs, and brie potato mash.
Cave Creek  may be famous for its cowboy steaks and burgers, but do not miss the casual El Encanto (6248 E. Cave Creek Rd., 480/488-1752, www.elencantorestaurant.com , 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun., $9–17) for legitimate Mexican cuisine. Outdoor tables line a pleasant lagoon where palm trees grow and ducks wait patiently for a reward. It’s been named one of the best places in the Valley to pop the question, but if you came for the food, not romance, you’re in luck. The chef came from a coastal Mexican town and has perfected the art of seafood. He recommends the sea bass Vera Cruz—the “real flavor of Mexico”—and the chicken mole. True Mexican food buffs will salivate over the carnitas poblana relleno, a roasted chile stuffed with tender, slow-cooked pork and green chile sauce.