10 Mexican Restaurants in Scottsdale for Tacos, Tequila and More



Traditional yet modern, Scottsdale's best Mexican food restaurants run the gamut from tiny neighborhood take-out joints to richly elegant dining rooms featuring creative, modern Mexican fare. 

When you find yourself in Old Town, stop by Cien Agaves Tacos and Tequila, where the fun atmosphere is rivaled only by the impressive selection of top-shelf tequila.

For gourmet fare, head to The Mission, located next door to Scottsdale's small historic mission at the edges of Old Town. The menu is a whimsical blend of haute cuisine and creative modern Mexican and Latin American fare. Try the fun and savory crispy pork and cola lime glaze, which features pork belly marinated in cola, lime and served with chiltepin, peanut, pickled red onion and iceberg lettuce.  

If your goal is to luxuriate in Scottsdale resort living, pay a visit to the posh Fairmont Scottsdale Resort, where you will find La Hacienda. This elegant restaurant features a menu by celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, who blends traditional Mexican flavors with top-notch ingredients to create award-winning dishes.

In south Scottsdale, stop by The Blind Pig for a taste of fresh Mexican food prepared with flair. The house nachos are a favorite with repeat customers, as is the chunky house guacamole. The pork chop with mole and wild mushroom quesadillas are winners, as well. 



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Los Favoritos Taco Shop is a local Mexican food chain that is well-loved for its tasty selection of unpretentious, flavorful fare. The menu is replete with combo platters, and the selection includes down-home staples like hard shell tacos, carne asada available in both street tacos and bulging burritos, cheesy enchiladas, tamales and other cheese-laden specialties. The fare is far from gourmet, but eating here really scratches the itch you might have for flavor-rich Mexican grub that will definitely not break the bank. Burritos are very popular, thanks to the restaurant's use of thin, stretchy and buttery flour tortillas.


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The Mission


 

If ever there was a place to enjoy a sophisticated dinner amid the flicker of candlelight, The Mission in Scottsdale is it. This casual upscale restaurant specializes in "modern Latin cuisine" skillfully prepared by Chef Matt Carter using a traditional "plancha" style grill. Kick your meal off with the Crispy Cola Pork, pork belly infused with cola, lime, chiltepin, peanut, pickled red onion and gem lettuce. Try the Pork Shoulder tacos, which features a house pineapple glaze, cilantro, red onions and ten hand made corn tortillas. Another stand-out is the Chorizo Porchetta, pork shoulder, chorizo, rosemary, cotija, white bean puree and sweet garlic crema. Dishes are infused with the traditional essence of pecan and mesquite wood and feature a creative fusion of Spanish and Latin American flavors.


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Fun, funky and right in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, Cien Agaves Tacos and Tequila is a favorite stopping point for out-of-towners and anyone with a soft spot for tasty tacos and top shelf tequila. The heart of the menu is The Taco Stand, an expansive taco menu where you can pick and choose from house specialties like the Grilled Ono Taco or zesty Tinga Taco, a crispy corn tortilla stuffed with chipotle-marinated shredded chicken. Can't decide? Choose the dos or tres taco especial, which comes with your choice of two or three tacos. Enchiladas, burritos, and chimichangas are also well-represented here.


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This small, unassuming south Scottsdale cafe dishes out some of the city's best Mexican food. The Blind Pig may not sound like your typical Mexican restaurant, but the plates are brimming with traditional and authentic flavors. For starters, try the guacamole, made fresh daily and featuring a zesty kick. There's also the decadent queso fundido, made with beans, serrano peppers, butcher shop chorizo, and creamy white cheddar. For something more refreshing, try the tangy and fresh ceviche. The eclectic entree menu features everything from Mexican-style pork chops with mole to the house Mexican pizza and burrito combos. A full wine, beer and cocktail menu is also available.


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There's nothing fancy about the small dining room at Tacos Jalisco in Scottsdale, but sometimes all you need is good food served up by expert cooks. This is the case at Tacos Jalisco, a tiny neighborhood restaurant located next to a laundromat that is dishing out tacos, burritos, tostadas, tortas and enchiladas that rival the best in town. Creamy beans, fluffy rice and a long menu of take-out classics make this a must-stop destination for those days when you're craving Mexican comfort food. Easy, fast and always flavorful, a great stopping point for a quick lunch, or order take-out for those long nights around the pool. Friendly service and fresh agua frescas (traditional Mexican fruit coolers) offer further incentive for making a stop here.


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If you're looking for a break from the conventional Mexican restaurant combo platter, head over to Diego Pops. The stylish diner is home to a unique menu of modern Mexican fare served with a tropical and cosmopolitan twist. The botanas (snacks) menu features classic appetizers like chips and salsa, guacamole, and cheese quesadillas. But you'll also find unique offerings like habanero hot wings and the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink brussel sprout nachos (made with corn, fresh Mexican cheese, chili, onion, the house roasted beet crema, and even a fried egg). Tacos stuffed with chicken, pork, chicken and fresh veggies are the main attraction, along with a small but savory menu of main plate entrees.


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Barrio Queen offers Mexico City-style dishes, described here as "Mexico City soul food." You know you are in for an above-average meal when your tortillas are made fresh in-house, which is what you'll find on the restaurant's expansive taco menu. You'll find many options for burritos, tortas and enchilada platters, along with a full menu of house specialties like chiles en nogada (a Pueblan dish made here using chicken breast in an almond cream sauce that's served with dried fruit and cheese) and the popular roasted pork shoulder Yucatan dish, cochinita pibil. Swing by during the daily happy hour for good deals on small plates and margaritas.


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This family-owned restaurant, tucked into a shopping center in far north Scottsdale, offers an accessible menu of regional Mexican specialties. You'll find everything from nachos to Yucatan-style cochinita pibil, or roasted pork shoulder. Regional dishes from Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara and Puebla, to name a few, are well-represented on the menu, which means there is something here to please pretty much everyone. Whether you're craving a silky mole or Baja fish tacos, chances are you will find it here. Dishes are carefully crafted and plated, and the restaurant itself is pleasant and casually upscale, with a full bar offering signature Mexican-inspired cocktails.


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La Hacienda at The Fairmont


 

This award-winning Mexican restaurant is located at the elegant Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale and features signature dishes created by Richard Sandoval, an internationally-renowned chef with restaurants around the world. The menu focuses on indigenous ingredients and unexpected pairings, making this a must-try destination for adventurous foodies. Try the Tamal de Huitlacoche, an earthy, fluffy tamale filled with goat cheese, zucchini and huitlacoche, a corn fungus that's a Mexican delicacy. Warm Spanish-style architecture, beehive fireplaces and one of the city's best tequila bars round out this upscale Mexican food destination.


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If you're craving tasty Mexican grub in Scottsdale, Mucha Lucha Taco Shop is here to serve. As its name implies, you'll come to this stylish fast-casual restaurant - which features bright pink walls and oversize murals of Mexican luchadores - for its craveable menu of classic Mexican street tacos like carne asada and barbacoa. But the expansive menu also includes specialty burritos, chimichangas, seafood, taco salads and classic snacks like nachos. Almost everything is prepared on site, including an assortment of homemade salsas. If you can't decide what to order, try the five street taco combo, which gives you a taste of the various meats on the menu. Of course, you'll want to top off your meal with an order of hot churros.


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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