Valle Luna Mexican Restaurant makes Arizona's best chimichanga!

Rito's Mexican Food comes in second place

Ask around about the origins of the chimichanga in Arizona, and you'll likely hear several stories. The founders of Tucson's El Charro claim the dish was born after a burrito accidentally fell into a deep fryer, while Macayo's Mexican Kitchen in Phoenix claims the dish was their creation – the result of an experiment gone right. Yet another theory posits that chimichangas were brought to Sonora by Chinese immigrants by way of Mexico. Wherever it came from, just about every mom and pop Mexican restaurant in the state has its own version of the golden fried chimi.

  • Valle Luna Mexican Restaurant
    Phoenix

    The chimichanga is a specialty at Valle Luna Mexican Restaurant in Phoenix, where the deep-fried burrito comes stuffed with a choice of meat and smothered in a homemade Sonoran chimi sauce. Guacamole, sour cream, Spanish rice and choice of beans come on the side.
    Photo courtesy of Valle Luna Mexican Restaurant

  • Rito's Mexican Food
    Phoenix

    Loyal customers at Rito’s Mexican Food in Phoenix often order their chimis “enchilada style” smothered in cheese and sauce. Options for dry chimis include red chile, green chile or bean chimichangas, topped with guacamole, sour cream, cheese and tomato.
    Photo courtesy of Rito's Mexican Food

  • El Charro Café
    Tucson

    El Charro Café in Tucson claims to be the originator of the chimichanga, invented when a burro accidentally fell in the deep fryer. Hungry diners can choose between mini chimichangas as an appetizer or a full-size variation stuffed with beans, grilled veggies, chicken tinga, carnitas or shredded beef (among others).
    Photo courtesy of Jackie Tran for El Charro Café

  • Los Compadres
    Phoenix

    Los Compadres has specialized in Sonoran-style Mexican food for over half a century, and the chimichanga makes an appearance on the menu with filling options that include chicken, taco beef, machaca beef, red or green chile beef, or bean and cheese. The deep-fried burrito comes topped with sour cream, guacamole and cheese with a side of rice and beans.
    Photo courtesy of Los Compadres

  • Mangos Mexican Cafe
    Mesa

    Seafood features prominently on the menu at colorful Mangos Mexican Cafe in Mesa, though when it comes to the classic chimichanga, guests can choose between beef or chicken.
    Photo courtesy of Mangos Mexican Cafe

  • Mi Nidito Restaurant
    Tucson

    A Tucson institution since 1952, Mi Nidito specializes in Sonoran cooking. Diners can choose from a whole list of deep-fried chimichangas, topped simply with sour cream or served "enchilada style" with sauce.
    Photo courtesy of Mi Nidito Restaurant / Facebook

  • Original Blue Adobe Grille
    Mesa

    The chimichanga at the Original Blue Adobe Grille in Mesa comes filled with chicken or shredded beef, caramelized onions, jack and cheddar cheese, deep-fried and served with Adobo sour cream and pico de gallo.
    Photo courtesy of Original Blue Adobe

  • Macayo's Mexican Table
    Multiple Locations

    The kitchen at Macayo’s Mexican Table still uses original family recipes to prepare their Mexican specialties, including the chimichanga. According to local legend, it was Macayo’s founder who accidentally invented the dish way back in 1946. The menu today features a range of filling options, including carne asada, carnitas, shredded beef or chicken.
    Photo courtesy of Macayo's Mexican Table

  • Mi Casa Restaurant
    Benson

    Don't let the humble façade fool you. Mi Casa Restaurant in Benson serves up the town's best Mexican food, including some mighty fine chimichangas. 
    Photo courtesy of iStock / EzumeImages

  • Serrano's Mexican Restaurant
    Multiple Locations

    Opened in 1979, Serrano's now serves up Mexican fare at several locations in Arizona. No matter where you dine, you'll find chimichangas on the menu, served with guacamole, seasoned sour cream, rice and beans. Filling options include bean and cheese, machaca, shredded chicken, green or red chile beef, pork or carne asada.
    Photo courtesy of Serrano's Mexican Restaurant

The top 10 winners in the category Best Chimichanga in Arizona are as follows:

  1. Valle Luna Mexican RestaurantPhoenix
  2. Rito's Mexican FoodPhoenix
  3. El Charro CaféTucson
  4. Los Compadres - Phoenix
  5. Mangos Mexican Cafe - Mesa
  6. Mi Nidito Restaurant - Tucson
  7. Original Blue Adobe GrilleMesa
  8. Macayo's Mexican TableMultiple Locations
  9. Mi Casa Restaurant - Benson
  10. Serrano's Mexican Restaurant - Multiple Locations

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Dominic Armato (The Arizona Republic), Diana Brandt (Arizona Foodie), Maralyn Dennis Hill (Luxe Beat Magazine) and Nora Burba Trulsson were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the state's food scene.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

 

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Dominic Armato

Dominic Armato

Diana Brandt

Diana Brandt

Maralyn Dennis Hill

Maralyn Dennis Hill

Nora Burba Trulsson

Nora Burba Trulsson