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).
Whenever Luis Millan whips up one of his spicy pork tacos, tender enchiladas, or fresh salsas, he pretends he's cooking for his mother. The skilled chef—with years of international culinary training—told the Phoenix New Times, "cook everything like you would want to eat it or somebody you love would want to eat it." He infuses that passion into every dish at Canteen Modern Tequila Bar, drawing inspiration from his mother's specialties and the street food he enjoyed while growing up in Mexico; Millan's personal favorite is a slow-roasted-pork taco with fresh onions. Authentic eats and a lively atmosphere earned Canteen a spot on Phoenix Magazine's Best New Restaurants list.
As Millan mans the busy kitchen, the dining room buzzes with energy. Bartenders serve up shots of mezcals and blend margaritas from a selection of more than 100 blanco, reposado, and anejo tequilas. Inside, guests recline on cushy couches and armchairs under the glow of hanging flowery lanterns, while outside, strings of lights run across the two expansive patios and an outdoor bar. On weekend evenings, vibrant lights, lively music, and a crowded dance floor create the atmosphere of a dynamic fiesta or the coolest Bed Bath & Beyond of all time.
In 1986, the Tenorio family pooled their knowledge of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine to create a restaurant that combined authentic, south-of-the-border cuisine with quick service. They named it Filiberto’s after one of their own, Filiberto Tenorio. Since then, Filiberto’s Mexican Food has expanded to three states and 55 locations, but their commitment to fresh ingredients hasn’t changed. Available for dine-in or carry-out, the menu abounds with crispy chicken, beef, and pork tacos, hefty burritos, and combination platters that pair enchiladas, tacos, and chili rellenos with rice and beans or a compatible paper doll.