At Manny's Mexican Restaurant, a familial spirit permeates the air and is reflected in the menu's hearty homemade dishes that cross borders with Mexican and Southwestern flavors. The combination plates mix and match traditional Mexican entrees such as flautas, tacos, and enchiladas, while the kitchen crew returns to Arizona by deep-frying burritos filled with meats and beans to make filling chimichangas. At the outdoor cantina, bartenders—like jockeys on stilts—reach for top-shelf tequilas such as Patron or Hornitos when mixing their signature margaritas. Southwestern paintings and mosaic tiles capture the sunlight as it bounces about the expansive indoor dining room and outdoor patio.:m]]
Calico Jack's Cantina blends Tex-Mex cuisine with an atmosphere of all-night dance parties and music-fueled celebrations. Murals of Mexican calaveras dot the yellow walls as diners sup on hearty meals of carnitas, burgers, tacos, and salsas and dips. Revelers crowd the floor to rhythmically move to tracks from a live DJ or step up on one of the two full-service bars for delivering raucous toasts or taking first place in a height contest.
Grills and ovens heat up kitchens in all three of Sandbar Mexican Grill's locations to prepare a menu of burritos, fajitas, and other classic dishes. Tortilla chips deliver silky smooth parcels of queso dip ($7) or guacamole ($8) to taste buds and P.O. boxes masquerading as teeth. A Dos Equis–based batter coats the baja tacos' marinated mahi along with cabbage, tomatoes, and chipotle tartar sauce ($12). Steak burritos ($14) play the role of protein keystone at the center of food-pyramid-shaped dinners, and shrimp fajitas ($16) sate ears with the sound of sizzling onions and peppers. Sandbar’s tranquil, welcoming atmosphere heats up at night during weekly events at each location as guests sip fresh margaritas and cold beers.
La Perla Cafe is more than a restaurant—it's one man's American dream come true. Joe Pompa and his wife, Eva, both grew up in the Jerome-Clarkdale area of Arizona. As a young man, Joe worked in the copper mines before becoming a champion middleweight boxer. Thinking of their future, Eva asked him to leave his boxing career behind and study electronics, so Joe took correspondence courses and eventually earned his degree. He took a job with Goodyear Aerospace to provide for his family, but he couldn’t let go of his lifelong goal to become self-employed. Joe knew that between his business acumen and his wife Eva's cooking—which she first learned in her native town of Santa Rosalia in Chihuahua, Mexico—they could make a go of it.
In 1946, the pair moved to Glendale and opened La Perla Cafe. Close to 70 years later, the restaurant still serves the same subtly spiced food inspired by Mexico's Chihuahua region, making tortillas by hand daily. The walls are decorated with a colorful mosaic, scenic prints, and framed boxing posters from Joe's heyday. Green plants weave in and out of a yellow arch, unlike a certain fast-food chain's yellow arches, which are wrapped with hamburgers. On the weekends, mariachi bands bring the space to life and sing classics such as "México Lindo y Querido."
Rita's hopes to transport diners to the lively, colorful streets of Mexico and south-of-the-border beaches with its authentic Mexican food and Mexican seafood. It serves Mexico City–style street tacos, sea-bass stews, and Sinaloa-inspired seafood cocktails that lack only the breezes and vacationing snowmen that come with visits to the beach. Its staffers pull carts topped with avocados tableside to create guacamole in front of hungry patrons and pour eight different handcrafted margaritas made with freshly squeezed juices and premium tequilas.
Voted the Best Neighborhood Mexican restaurant in the West Valley by the Phoenix New Times in 2009 and 2011, Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant serves lavish portions of Mexican food made with authentic recipes. Crispy chimichangas and chicken burros were particular favorites, along with stuff quesadillas, which the Phoenix New Times called "pure hedonism."
Named for a Spanish legend about the romance between a sailor and a mermaid, Salty Senorita encourages guests to fall in love with their over 50 hand crafted margaritas instead. Waiters carry deep bowls of guacamole with handmade tortilla chips, plates of shrimp and mango quesadillas, and 11 kinds of tacos, which can be accompanied by 130 kinds of tequila and various mixed drinks. Waitresses' tank tops and short-shorts continue the beachside vibe created by shark frescos and blue-mosaic columns that sometimes fling seaweed at passersby.