The colorful and relaxed Casa Bonita (164 Coffee Pot Dr., 928/282-2728, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sun., $8–15) is a favorite with locals, and though it may not look like much, it’s hard to beat the tasty margaritas, fresh salsa, and refreshing escape from the tourists of Uptown. The homey, reasonably priced restaurant is hidden in a grocery store plaza, and its diverse menu includes chicken poblano and bacon-wrapped shrimp smothered in a flavorful cream sauce.
Named for the croaking amphibian that lives in southeastern Arizona, Barking Frog Grille (2620 W. Hwy. 89A, 928/204-2000, 5–10 p.m. daily, $14–20) serves Southwestern favorites that don’t seem tired or dated. Kick off happy hour with a prickly pear mojito and stay for dinner to enjoy the chicken tortilla soup, fish tacos, or enchiladas. If you’re looking for something more filling, try the campfire ribs or maple-juniper pork chop. Conclude the night with the tequila-laced crème brûlée.
For cheap, straightforward Mexican food, give Angel’s (2245 W. Hwy. 89A, 866/826-9515, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $6–12) a try. Don’t let the Denny’s-esque ambience fool you—this is classic Sonoran food: hot tamales, crispy beef tacos, burritos, and a host of enchiladas. The friendly staff is happy to walk you through the menu, though you really can’t make a bad pick. Think basic, not fancy.