At Baja Fresh, spice-yearning patrons can swing by to sample comforting casual fare comprised of fresh-made guacamole, salsas, and never-frozen meats. An array of burritos or tacos swaddle themselves within the stuffed blanket of a warm flour or corn tortilla. Similarly, the signature Baja burrito smothers its protein with melted jack, guacamole, and pico de gallo ($6.69–$7.89), prepping itself for a burrito battle against the spicy nacho burrito stuffed with chicken, cheese, black or pinto beans, rice, queso fundido, jalapeños, crunchy tortilla chips, and salsa crema ($6.39). For lighter lifting, the kitchen also outputs fire-grilled mahi mahi tacos ($2.99 each), mango-chipotle chicken salad ($6.49), and tortilla-free burrito bowls in need of a sharp, prong-powered friend.
Arriba's team culls chilies grown in Hatch, New Mexico to assemble made-from-scratch New Mexican fare depicted on an extensive menu. Culinary tourists can take a trip to the border via the White Sands chimichanga plate—covered by a unity of spicy ground beef, green chili, and chicken guisado ($11.59)—or by way of the machaca green-corn tamales, which brandish machaca beef and a crown of green sauce ($10.99). Entrees typically come chaperoned by beans and rice, for a meal more multifaceted than a swiss-army knife glued to a smartphone. Dishes range in spiciness from “snappy” to “meltdown,” but can be prepared by mild by request, with the Santa Fe fajita salad ($11.99) falling in the former category and the eight-ounce steak Tampico ($17.99) dwelling in the latter category. Diners can also satiate smaller appetites with individual tamales or tostadas from the à la carte menu.
The chefs at Baja Joe's Mexican Cantina prepare seafood in the style of Sinaloa, a region of northwestern Mexico that flanks the Pacific Ocean. That coastal influence is especially evident in dishes such as the campechana especial—a medley of scallops, oysters, octopus, and shrimp served inside of a coconut shell—or whole red snapper, cooked with white wine, olives, and bay leaves and served by Poseidon at the end of a trident. Chefs also grill traditional Mexican combinations of carnitas, steak, and chicken, in addition to preparing veggie dishes. The cantina's 1,200-square-foot patio makes an ideal setting to sip a specialty margarita, such as the La Pinta, mixed with pomegranate-infused tequila, while their newly expanded 2,600-square-foot sports cantina boasts six flat-screen televisions, pool tables, darts, music, and more.
Heaping portions of Sonoran-style Mexican food whisk palates away to the plains of Northern Mexico at Someburros, a quick-service restaurant renowned for its authentic family recipes and from-scratch preparations. The menu's house specialties exemplify the care and culinary ingenuity honed over three generations of Vasquez family cooking, as the restaurant has evolved from its early days as a small South Phoenix takeout. The house-made salsa adds a piquant accoutrement to the pollo fundido’s jalapeño cream cheese–topped tortilla, coaxing out its marinated chunks of chicken breast with the toasty warmth of fiery spice. The restaurant’s eponymous burros pack soft tortillas with beans, melty cheese, and meats such as green chili beef or grilled carne asada. Cascades of 32-ounce soda, lemonade, or iced tea capably relieve tongues tingling from spices or licking lightning-flavored stamps.
El Rico's transformed from a humble taco shack into a full-fledged Mexican restaurant that boasts a menu jam-packed with homestyle eats. Mountains of nachos lurk beneath grilled carne asada or pollo asada capped with guacamole, sour cream, and lime ($9.79 for full order; $6.99 for half order). Crispy flautas ($8.99), which come in threes to symbolize each of the hemispheres, conceal shredded beef or chicken, and the grilled-shrimp taco plate hosts its seaworthy morsels atop soft tortillas accessorized with pillows of rice and beans ($11.99).
Z-Lantro decorates plates with fryer-free fare inspired by Mexican taco stands. Rather than starting meals with a ritualistic belly dance, guests can peruse a menu filled with four types of meat, eight kinds of salsa, and a host of hearty breakfast items. Carne asada tacos orbit tables on 6-inch tortilla saucers festooned with cabbage and cilantro. Grande quesadillas sizzle with grilled chicken or traditional al pastor pork, and pico de gallo and a rich sauce made according to a secret family recipe passed down by a secret relative smother enchiladas. Crispy burrito bowls burst with refried beans, mexican rice, and creamy guacamole dressing, ready to be crunchified at will by chips and salsa.