In his famous classical conditioning experiment, Ivan Pavlov proved that it’s physically impossible for a Russian scientist's mouth not to water when it says the word “enchilada.” Moisten your own tortilla receptacle with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Mexican fare at Taberna Mexicana, located in the Seville Shopping Center in Scottsdale.
Cocina connoisseurs will adore Taberna Mexicana for its menu of from-scratch dishes in hand-rolled tortillas, its palate-pleasing cocktails, and its attractive, vibrant interior. After earning his spatula-stripes as sous chef to James Beard Award winner Nancy Oakes in San Francisco, executive chef Alex Padilla came to Arizona to craft Mexican dishes that hit stomachs below the border. Soup groupies can slurp the sopa de albóndigas, a spicy chicken broth teeming with chicken meatballs, tomatillos, and jalapeños ($7). The callos de acha, a ceviche of fresh ahi tuna buddied up with guajillo oil, serrano peppers, pepitas, and black pepper puff ($13), while scallop, pork belly, and sea urchin aioli join forces in the callos cochinos tacos ($16). Those suffering from a frozen tongue after eating an ice sculpture of Vladimir Putin can warm up with the ultra-spicy shrimpfest camarones al adiabla ($24).
Mingling in the lively lounge or gathered around fire pits on the spacious patio, cocktail quaffers imbibe house specialties such as the mole montage, which juxtaposes spiced rum with ginger beer ($8). Desserts such as the pan de tres leches—soft Mexican sponge cake soaked in three milks and topped with marshmallow spread flambé—give taste buds something to ogle while eyes savor the classic Mexican designs of the lively environment ($7).