The legendary beauty of Arizona’s Sedona Desert and the Phoenix area have always been popular with people in search of a Southwestern vacation. And with so much to see, do and explore, it’s easy to work up an appetite.
Check out these five restaurants sure to satisfy your craving for spicy, flavorful and genuinely authentic Tex Mex food.
Best Tex Mex Restaurants in Phoenix
Taco Guild—546 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Like the exclusive guilds formed in the 1600s, Taco Guild is a place for those committed to excellence in culinary creations. Serving plates at this neighborhood Tex Mex restaurant have been upcycled from plateware of yesteryear. And every meal is served on a unique plate to ensure a harmonious eating experience.
Traditional meals with a twist begin with a bowl of Jalapeño Bacon Guacamole. Old World Tacos include the Pork Adovada stuffed with mango jicama relish, avocado and cilantro; and the Urban Bean Coffee Braised Beef with caramelized onion, mango jicama relish and Cotija cheese. New School Tacos include the Chipotle Cherry. This delight has steak poblano straws, chile aïoli and bleu cheese. The Tropical Ono is made with menonita cheese, roasted-tomato salsa, coconut slaw, mango, tomato and cilantro.
Don’t leave without a enjoying a round of tequila or one of the unique craft beers from the bar.
The Tamale Store—13046 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ 85022
Tamale making is an art at The Tamale Store, and the canvas is a family-run kitchen using healthy, sustainable, eco-friendly ingredients from local farmer’s markets. One year after opening in 2008, this Tex Mex restaurant won “Best Tamales in Phoenix.” According to owner Martha Castillo, that same passion for creating great food gets stronger every day.
Meat tamales include flavors like Chicken Green Chile, Pork Red Chile, Chicken Chipotle and Beef Red Chile. Vegetarians can order handcrafted tamales like Green Corn & Cream Cheese, Poblano Chiles & Monterey Jack Cheese along with the Muhrooms & Cream Cheese. Vegan tamales feature the Cilantro Black Bean and Southwest Chipotle.
Complete your meal with signature salsas made with freshest ingredients like tomatillos, Mexican red chiles, Chile Morita, Chile Japones, onions, ancho and jalapeño.
Sierra Bonita Grill—69333 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, AZ 85104
Sierra Bonita Grill features menu items first cooked up by American ranchers and Spanish settlers. The chefs and cooks working in the kitchen of this Phoenix area restaurant have reimagined recipes from that era—transforming them into some of the best southwestern fare in Arizona.
A must-try menu item is the Shrimp Ceviche. This dish is marinated in citrus juice is a great starter to any meal. The Azteca Soup is packed full of spices to warm you up with plenty of zesty flavor. Main course meals like the Santa Cruz Pasta and Carne Asada are hearty and authentic. For a true taste of what Tex Mex restaurants in the Phoenix area have to offer dig into the Pork Oso Bucco. This delicacy is made with green chile and cheddar mash, roasted baby carrots, cipollini onions, zucchini and Hatch green chile sauce.
Sweeten your Southwestern dinner experience with the Oaxacan Chocolate Soufflé. This decadent dessert is made from Bertos vanilla bean ice cream and made from scratch strawberry sauce.
Blue Adobe Santa Fe Grille—10885 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85259
When it comes to standing out in a crowd of Tex Mex restaurants, Blue Adobe Santa Fe Grille does it with flavor, spice and pecan wood burning stove. The owners also pride themselves on serving indigenous classics like Red Chile Pork Posole, Soppapillas and Stacked Enchiladas. The chiles are, of course, Hatch (pepper lovers will know the name)!
Be sure to try the handheld Chicado Melt sandwich. This one has sliced, fire-roasted grilled chicken smothered with Jack cheese, avocado and tomato relish on a potato bun. Pizza is also on the menu, and top pizza pies include Portabella, Garlic Shrimp and Spicy Chicken. Eating the Lazy Tacos is definitely worth the effort. These packed soft corn tortillas are filled with choice of shredded beef, chicken or carne adovada with pico de gallo, crunchy tortilla strips and adobo sour cream.
If you find yourself in the Phoenix area on Monday, you can enjoy killer margaritas specials during Margarita Mondays.
Z’Tejas—7014 E. Camelback, Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
The rich flavors of Southwest cuisine are celebrated in the innovative dishes served at Z’Tejas. Start your meal with the Grilled Shrimp & Guacamole Tostada Bites. These tasty treats are made with cilantro pesto shrimp, house-made tostada rounds, guacamole, chipotle and spicy cucumber salad. The Catfish Beignets are dusted in cornmeal then deep-fried with sides of jalapeño tarter sauce and Southwestern slaw.
The Wild Mushroom Enchiladas are inspired by Mexico. This dish features roasted crimini and Portobello mushrooms, avocado, mango relish, ancho mole sour cream, Jack cheese, seasonal rice and black beans. The Grilled Cilantro Pesto-Rubbed Ruby Trout is popular with Scottsdale restaurant-goers who crave a gluten-free meal.