Check, Please! Arizona- a list of Mexican restaurants

Mexican restaurants from Check, Please! Arizona that you need to try

If you’re looking for a new Mexican restaurant to try, look no further than Arizona PBS’ own “Check, Please! Arizona.” The show has featured many different Mexican restaurants in the Valley and throughout the state, so we’ve compiled a list of all of them so you can check them out!

the tamale store

The Tamale Store

In the heart of Phoenix, The Tamale Store stands as a beacon for tamale enthusiasts, drawing attention from locals and visitors alike.

The Tamale Store is unique not only for its abundance of tamale types (they have more than 15 different ones including dessert and seasonal), but the masa is vegan so everyone can eat here. “Check, Please! Arizona” guest Janet Wilson describes the tamales as “fabulous, fluffy, and vegan.” 

You can visit The Tamale Store at 15842 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, and can check out their website for more information.

Tacos Chiwas

Tacos Chiwas

Run by a husband and wife duo from Chihuahua, Mexico, Tacos Chiwas brings authentic and vibrant flavors to Arizona. The restaurant uses fresh tortillas and chile de árbol straight from Chihuahua.

“Check, Please! Arizona” guests raved about the barbacoa taco, elote corn and lengua, as well as the restaurant’s atmosphere and decor.

Tacos Chiwas has multiple locations in the Valley, so check them out online.

Los Dos Molinos

Los Dos Molinos

Los Dos provides authentic New Mexican cuisine with green hatch chiles from New Mexico, making it great for those who love spicy food. It’s a family-owned-and-operated business, with two locations in Phoenix.

“Check, Please! Arizona” guest Jowan Thornton said that the family-owned vibe extends to the whole restaurant. “It’s a really family-centric spot,” he said. 

You can visit Los Dos Molinos in Uptown or South Central Phoenix and can check out their website for more information.

Backyard Taco: Tacos al pastor

Backyard Taco

Backyard Taco started in Mesa when Ruben and Marisela Alvarez moved to the East Valley from Mexico and started selling tacos out of their backyard. Soon, the line for tacos wrapped down the street, and now you can find them in five restaurant locations.

The restaurant is known for its giant salsa bar with fresh ingredients. “The first thing we try to focus on is the quality of our food,” restaurant partner Steve Beck explained. “Everything we do here is fresh. The salsa bar is fabulous because it gives our customers a variety of salsas from mild to very spicy.”

You can find more information about Backyard Taco and their five locations on their website.

A cone of soft serve ice cream from Topo stands on a wooden table.

Topo

This Gilbert restaurant serves up elote, burritos and soft-serve ice cream in local flavors like prickly pear. Owner Joe Johnston says the focus is simple street food that’s easy to grab and go.

“Topo is designed to be a very simple, walk-up, street food situation. We decided it had to be handheld food and it had to be portable. Our appetizer is elote, our main course is the burrito, our desert is soft serve.”

You can find Topo at 301 N Gilbert Road in Gilbert’s Heritage District, or you can find more information on their website.

A plate of churros from Cocina Madrigal

Cocina Madrigal

This family-owned Mexican restaurant was named number one on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2022. Owner Leo Madrigal says his restaurant’s dishes are inspired by his native Oaxaca cuisine.

“I have these amazing memories that I have with my grandma. You know going through and making fresh chocolate from scratch, mole and different marinades. It really influenced a lot because here at Cocina Madrigal, the tortillas are handmade and made to order.”

You can visit Cocina Madrigal at 4044 S 16th Street in Phoenix, or you can visit their website for more information.

Tacos sit on a plate

The Mission

Though not strictly a Mexican restaurant, The Mission provides flavors from across Latin America and Spain. Located in Old Town Scottsdale, the restaurant even resembles an old Spanish mission.

“Check, Please! Arizona” guests recommended the street corn, chilaquiles, pork and fish tacos, bread pudding and The Mission’s spicy hibiscus drink. Guest Peter Royers’ summed up the experience in one word: “Delicious.”

You can visit The Mission at 3815 N Brown Avenue in Scottsdale, or you can check out their website for more information.

The exterior of the Ghost Ranch restaurant with cacti

Ghost Ranch

This southwestern restaurant uses local Arizona and New Mexico ingredients to bring the heat and flavor to their dishes. Owner David Mora said these ingredients make the food at Ghost Ranch stand out.

“Most of our green sauces are a little bit more fresh and a little bit mellower,” Mora said. “And once we get to the reds, it’s a little spicier and earthier; so there’s a little bit for everybody.”

You can visit Ghost Ranch at 1006 E Warner Road in Tempe, or you can check out their website for more information.

Old Pueblo Cafe

The downtown Litchfield Park restaurant features Sonoran Mexican food. The owner, Peter Mahoney, said that chef Tina Borquez is the inspiration behind the menu. “Her family recipes are so well-known in the West Valley,” Mahoney said.

Dave Riddle describes the meatball soup as “very flavorful and very rich” at Old Pueblo Cafe. Guests highly recommend indulging in the Albondigo soup and the enchilada combo plate.

You can visit this restaurant at 102 N Old Litchfield Rd, Litchfield Park, or you can check out their website for more information.

La Ristra

This East Valley restaurant specializes in New Mexican flavors and cuisine with dishes like New Mexican pizza and blue corn enchiladas. Owner John Gabaldon said the response to his food has been surprising.

“One of the biggest surprises about owning a restaurant, specifically a New Mexican restaurant, is how many people absolutely love the New Mexican-style cuisine,” Gabaldon said.

You can visit La Ristra at one of two locations in Gilbert and Chandler, or you can visit their website for more information.

Gadzooks

This Phoenix restaurant serves customized enchiladas that have bold, unique flavors and textures. Owner Aaron Pool says enchiladas are his passion and that “literally every day of my life, I think about enchiladas.”

Gadzooks is a locally-owned business that is expanding. The restaurant is counter service so each enchilada is prepared in an assembly-line fashion, and then put into the open flame oven to warm.

You can visit this restaurant in multiple locations in Phoenix, or you can visit their website for more information.

La Santisima

Run by a husband-wife duo, La Santisima is a Day of the Dead-themed gourmet taco shop serving the authentic taste of Mexico, featuring cherished recipes passed down through generations.

With an impressive selection of 15 to 18 salsas, they firmly believe that a taco isn’t complete without a flavorful salsa. Highly recommended by guests are the pecan salsa, the special burro with steak, and delightful treats like flan and a refreshing fruit margarita.

You can visit this restaurant at 4117 N 16th St, Phoenix, or you can visit their website for more information.

Otro Cafe

This uptown Mexican cafe prides itself on crafting dishes from scratch using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. They feature Flamenco music on Wednesdays and live music on Sundays.

According to Libby Krajack, it’s like “sitting in a small cafe in Mexico. Guests rave about their must-try dishes like enchiladas, elote callejero, and saffron rice.

You can visit this restaurant at 6035 N 7th St, Phoenix, or you can visit their website for more information.

Elote Cafe

Located in Sedona, Elote Cafe serves creative, original, Southwestern and Mexican cuisine. Owner Jeff Smedstad says, “The food scene is growing here in Sedona. It’s getting better every day.”

David Klener describes the restaurant as “absolutely fantastic,” with a captivating blend of classic Spanish and modern atmospheres. Guests can’t get enough of the elote, a delightful fusion of sweet and salty flavors, and the delectable guacamole appetizers.

You can visit this restaurant at 350 Jordan Rd, Sedona, AZ or you can visit their website for more information.

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