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.
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.
At Susie's Mexican Cafe & Lounge, ingredients craftsmen follow recipes handed down from generation to generation to construct an extensive menu of fresh, traditional Mexican cuisine. Early birds can jump-start the day with a breakfast of chilaquiles, scrambled eggs and corn tortilla chips doused in red or green salsa that's made from finely diced seasonal elf costumes ($7.75). The citrusy kick of a margarita ($3.75–$4.25) pairs delectably with an arsenal of seafood entrées, including garlic-marinated shrimp ($11.95), and seasoned chicken fajitas cradle onions and fresh green chilis ($11.95). Like cowboys in a Tijuana china shop, combination plates corral south-of-the-border dishes such as a red beef tamale buddied up with a cheese enchilada and chaperoned by sides of spanish rice and refried beans ($8.45).