Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
Owner and chef Azucena Tovar's spice-laden menu bursts with fresh ingredients and Mexican comfort fare that has garnered Los Sombreros several awards from publications such as the Phoenix New Times. Stomachs are revved up by sharable starters such as the crab and mango salad ($9.95) and the huitlacoche crepas, with each flaky crepe delivering Mexican truffles under a shower of goat and blue cheese drizzled in pomegranate sauce ($9.95). Entrees sizzle up in the exhibition-style kitchen, flaunting their savory aromas and silverware duels in varieties such as the slow-roasted carnitas ($17.95) and the rib eye con cuatro salsas, ensconcing carnivorous bites with four fruit-and-veggie medleys ($21.95).
"Best Bartender," "Best Margarita," and "Best Bar Patio." These are just a few of the awards with which locals have decorated Loco Patron in recent years. Unsurprisingly, the combination of talented bartenders, outdoor seating, and signature drinks such as the Sweet Heat margarita with organic chili liqueur have made the spot a popular after-work hangout for groups of friends.
People don't only come for the booze, though. They also come for cuisine such as the crunchy pork taco with arbol sauce, which won first place at the Arizona Taco Festival in 2011. Diners can choose from other taco fillings, too, including New York strip steak or lobster. The menu also includes house specialty enchiladas and house salads, like the spicy steak and the chicken salad, both of which are considered hidden gems by Loco Patron regulars.
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 that sometimes fling seaweed at passersby.
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.