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Best Tex-Mex Restaurants in Scottsdale: Where to Savor Southwestern Cuisine



Tex-Mex restaurants in Scottsdale offer a unique spin on Southwestern staples such as tacos, chimichangas, barbecue, green and red chile pork, and other regional favorites.

For Tex-Mex in a fun, funky dining room, head over to Cien Agaves, where the taco menu is almost as comprehensive as the collection of tequila bottles behind the bar. Try the Dos or Tres Taco Especial, which comes with your choice of two or three tacos stuffed with a variety of quality meats and toppings.

No-nonsense, straightforward Mexican and Tex-Mex fare is on the menu at El Molino Mexican Cafe, where the chimichangas, perfectly crisp on the inside and stuffed with savory meats and spices on the inside, are always a winner.

For a sophisticated lunch or dinner in downtown, try out Cantina Laredo, offering modern takes on classic Tex-Mex dishes like sizzling fajita plates and barbecue tacos. 

If you're idea of great Tex-Mex includes the sweet and salty flavors of a top-shelf margarita, check out Z'Tejas during happy hour. This regional chain is known for its fajita plates and its Sixth Street Margarita. 

 

Finally, if you're looking for Tex-Mex in Old Town Scottsdale, stop by the Old Town Tortilla Factory for creative Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes served on one of the prettiest outdoor patios in town. 

 


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Old Town Tortilla Factory is located in Old Town Scottsdale in a historic 75-year old Scottsdale adobe home. The restaurant is popular with visitors drawn to the restaurant's Southwestern charm and ambiance--not to mention the 1400 square foot flagstone patio surrounded by green vegetation and the much-appreciated shade from a 100 year old pecan tree. The menu focuses on Southwestern food with a Mexican twist. Menu favorites include Tex-Mex staples such as pork chile verde, slow roasted pork with cilantro, tomatillos, green chiles, onions and potatoes, or the southwestern filet mignon, a grilled filet served with garlic mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a zesty chipotle mushroom demi glaze.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Old Town Tortilla Factory presents creative and delicious Southwestern flair in a historic and attractive Old Town Scottsdale setting.

Patricia's expert tip: The Old Town Tortilla Factory's offers some of the best al fresco dining in town with a state-of-the-art, climate controlled heating and air mist system that keeps things warm in the winter and cool in summer.

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Los Sombreros


Fun, festive decor creates a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy heaping portions of Mexican favorites. If you're famished, an appetizer of beef gorditas will more than tide you over until the main course arrives. Blue corn crab enchiladas, grilled chicken with spinach in chipotle cream sauce, and to-die-for guacamole are just some of the crowd favorites here. For an exquisite and unforgettable entree, order the lamb adobo, a lamb shank drenched in adobo sauce and served with grilled vegetables, beans and tortillas. After dinner, head to the patio for a change of pace and to tackle a luscious dessert. That's right, with chocolate tamales on the menu, who can resist?

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Los Sombreros is a downtown Scottsdale favorite featuring classic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the delicious queso fundido as a starter.

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You won't find greasy run-of-the-mill tacos at Blanco Tacos + Tequila. The menu blends fresh ingredients and authentic Mexican recipes for out-of-this-world flavor profiles. Start with the popular house guacamole. It's a creamy, spicy treat made with roasted poblano and Anaheim chiles, caramelized onion and cotija cheese. Entrees include traditional combo platters and a taco menu. The carnitas tacos are stuffed with pulled pork that is slow cooked and topped with fresh condiments, including chopped white onion, cilantro, salsa verde and a squeeze of lime juice. The menu offers many low-fat and gluten-free options for diners looking for healthy yet still-tasty fare.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Enjoy gourmet tacos and combo platters at Blanco Tacos + Tequila, a stylish outpost of Mexican and southwest eats.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the house guacamole.

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Habaneros Mexican Grill is a favorite Scottsdale Mexican food eatery for dining in and take out. The menu delivers straightforward Sonoran fare dripping with flavor. A house favorite is the carne asada burrito, which served with fresh guacamole and pico de gallo. Other Habaneros specialties include chicken, steak and shrimp fajitas, flautas, chiles rellenos, tacos (seafood tacos are a specialty here) and the popular "Buenos Nachos," which come with your choice of ground beef, chorizo or chicken. For lighter fare, there are garden salads and taco salad. Flan and sopapilla are available for dessert, and there are a selection of refreshing aguas frescas at the fountain drink station.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Habaneros Mexican Grill offers a strong selection of Mexican fare, with a nod to classic Tex-Mex dishes.

Patricia's expert tip: Habaneros is a popular lunch spot, but don't overlook the restaurant's strong breakfast menu.

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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.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Cien Agaves gives traditional Mexican and Southwestern cuisine a fun spin without sacrificing quality and flavor.

Patricia's expert tip: Ciene agaves, or 100 agaves in Spanish, features an impressive tequila bar with--you got it--a collection of 100 top shelf tequilas behind the bar. Let the knowledgeable staff help you select a comparative sampling during your visit.

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Jalapeno Inferno is a Southwestern-Mexican restaurant serving gourmet fare in a stylish modern space with a spacious patio. The family-owned restaurant has two locations in Scottsdale has made a name for itself with its pillowy soft flour tortillas, extra crispy tortilla chips and salsa, and creative margarita menu. For starters, try the "Illustrious" green corn tamales, two steaming hot tamales made with fresh sweet white corn masa and stuffed with a blend of Mexican cheeses and green chiles. The menu spans favorite classic Mexican, Sonoran and Tex-Mex dishes, including the popular West Texas barbacoa tacos, two soft flour tortilla tacos stuffed with grilled chicken that has been simmered in a sweet and tangy mango-chipotle barbecue sauce.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Jalapeno Inferno is a family-owned Scottsdale restaurant serving an eclectic menu of tasty Tex-Mex, Sonoran and classic Mexican dishes.

Patricia's expert tip: For a savory-sweet take on a Tex-Mex classic, be sure to try the West Texas Barbacoa tacos. Great deals on margaritas and appetizers during Happy Hour.

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Carlsbad Tavern
Photo courtesy of Carlsbad Tavern


Carlsbad Tavern & Restaurant in Scottsdale embraces New Mexico-style Mexican food and culture, making for one of the most colorful, fun lunch and dinner spots in Scottsdale. Authentic New Mexican grub uses fresh New Mexico chiles in a variety of creative and delectable meals, such as the luscious Crab Stuffed Poblanos, two poblano chiles stuffed with crab, peppers, onions, and cilantro served with smoked cascabell and yellow bell cream sauce with sides of rice and black beans. Or try the inimitable Machaca & Tomatillo Chimichanga, slow cooked machaca beef with roasted tomatillo sauce and pepper jack cheese wrapped in a deep-fried tortilla.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Carlsbad Tavern specializes in truly unique and fresh Southwestern cuisine in a casually elegant setting.

Patricia's expert tip: Hamburgers and other classic American fare is also a specialty here.

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Blue Adobe Grille - Scottsdale


Blue Adobe Grille is the brainchild of Chef and Owner Jose Leyva, who brings traditional "New" Mexican cuisine to Scottsdale with his unique take on such regional favorites as chimichangas, enchiladas and rellenos. The menu branches out into American comfort food staples, with pizza, sandwiches, and even meat loaf making an appearance on the eclectic menu--all infused with traditional Mexican and Southwestern ingredients and flavors. The fire wood grille with pecan wood and 100% Hatch chiles make for a perfect balance of flavor and spice. Try the tasty and authentic pork posole stew, or one of the house favorites, carne adovada.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: The Blue Adobe Grille is highly regarded for its authentic take on Southwestern cuisine, as well as the restaurant's friendly and casually upscale dining room.

Patricia's expert tip: This is a friendly neighborhood spot with a revolving calendar of events and specials. Come on a Thursday for live music and try the "Killer Margarita," a house favorite.

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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. 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. But you'll also find some Tex-Mex and Sonoran-Mex items. 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.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: Hacienda's is not strictly Tex-Mex – the menu offers many regional Mexican staples – but the restaurant offers plenty of north-of-the-border classics, too.

Patricia's expert tip: Happy Hour happens Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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La Fonda del Sol is a long-standing north Scottsdale destination for Mexican and American Food. The small, family-owned restaurant has all your favorite Mexican comfort foods, including homemade salsas, chile rellenos, enchiladas, and a menu of signature fajita dinners and skillets. If you love a good chimichanga, make room for the restaurant's hefty, chicken-stuffed house chimichanga – it's hard to resist this rendition. La Fonda offers good value (combo dinners come with rice and beans), and a daily happy hour that happens from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It's hard not to be charmed by this mom-and-pop shop and it's expansive menu of cheesy and hearty Mexican favorites.

Recommended for Tex-Mex because: La Fonda del Sol is a charming mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant with a menu that dabbles in Tex-Mex classics.

Patricia's expert tip: Happy Hour happens daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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