I love Phoenix. I love the heat and the sun, and, of course, I love the food. Being so close to the border, Phoenix is a great place to get Mexican food. So, as a lover of all things Mexican food and especially and all things tacos, I decided to hunt down the best tacos I could when I was in Phoenix for 9 days.
To establish my authority as a taco expert, please allow me to show you this gratuitous selfie in a taco sweatshirt:
Basically, I love tacos, so you should trust my opinion. Characteristics I love in tacos include innovation, spice (some heat, but not burning my face off with little underlying flavor) and a killer tortilla. Let’s get at it, huh?
…where you eat in an old church. We saw this place on a random travel channel show and instantly decided we had to check it out. Based in an old church, it still has religious imagery and stained glass windows, which makes for a cool environment to down margaritas. Apparently, if you go here enough, you get a special key for members only, which seems like a good enough reason for me to eat tacos all the time if I lived closer.
What to order: I had a mix of “old world” and “new world” tacos: Urban Bean Coffee Braised Beef from the classics column, and Peking Duck from the mix it up side.
The Urban Bean Coffee Braised Beef was hands-down the winner here. It has a delicious mango relish on top, and it compliments the beef so well. The Peking Duck was also amazing, and has fried Brie cheese on top, which gives an unexpected creaminess that was lovely. I also had the Chipotle Cherry Steak taco, which was good, but I didn’t think it really compared to the other two.
Wash it down with: A Classic margarita that’s only $5 during happy hour!
On the side: The Street Corn was delicious and oh-so-cheesy. I also love that it comes on the cob, in case you just want to pick it up and have a go at it.
…where you order sushi with your tacos. Dustin and I happened to stop into this place when I messed up some scheduling details and we were in need of an afternoon lunch stop. It’s a Mexican Asian fusion place, so they have some cool unconventional options, and you can order sushi with your tacos. If you’re looking for a ‘grammable taco place, go here, because the decor is so pretty. The menu felt a bit random (are bacon wrapped dates Mexican or Asian?) but I didn’t mind since we got to try some different things and ended up putting together a meal of happy hour fare and saving some money.
What to order: We ordered 3 tacos, and they were a bit smaller than we expected, so we could’ve shared even more. The best was the Korean Beef Taco, though I would’ve expected more heat, since Korean Beef is usually very spicy. It was delicious, though, with veggies and kimchee on top. The Pescado Dorado was pretty good, and the Carnitas was delicious and classic.
Wash it down with: A spicy peach margarita if you’re feeling the heat.
On the side: Some sushi rolls and the aforementioned bacon wrapped dates.
…your fast food taco option that’s in a different league than Taco Bell. Sometimes, you just need a fast food option that you can pick up and take home after a long day of shopping. For us, that’s always Rubio’s when we’re in Phoenix. I don’t mind, because it’s fun to try things that you don’t have at home (In and Out, anyone?). The best thing about this place is that you don’t feel like a cow after eating it because the fish tacos are the star, and they’re nice and light.
What to order: The Salsa Verde Shrimp tacos win it all, but I go with the Costal Trio to mix it up, since it comes with 2 fish tacos in addition the shrimp. So good!
Wash it down with: Mango iced tea.
On the side: Chips and the Roasted Chipotle Salsa from the salsa bar.
…where we loved sitting outside, enjoying the cool environment, and were blown away by the fast service. Admittedly, we seem to eat at weird times, which I’m sure is a large part of why the food came so fast and why we take advantage of so many happy hours. It was happy hour here and the deals were great, I could see myself heading here for after-work drinks with coworkers if I lived here. The vibe is a bit younger and hipper, which was fun.
What to order: I ordered the Crispy Fish and Pork Adobada, but the real winner was Dustin’s Carne Asada. The Pork Adobada was good, but I wish it had just a bit of heat because it fell a bit flat. I think that’s why Dustin’s Carne Asada taco was the winner, because it had a fire-roasted salsa on it that added a bit more depth of flavor.
Wash it down with: I had a Pineapple Mojito, which was delicious, though admittedly a rogue choice where I probably should’ve ordered a margarita. Oh well, I can’t be tamed.
On the side: The free chips and salsa are such an indication of the quality of a Mexican restaurant, aren’t they? Well, this salsa was so good, and totally made this restaurant a winner in my book (I’m easy to please).
I said I would share ALL the tacos, and that includes the one we made ourselves. We did a cooking class at Sweet Basil, which I will be reviewing on the blog soon, so stay tuned!
Honorable Mention (I don’t have a picture):
…where we normally eat tacos when I’m in Phoenix, but inexplicably (possibly had something to do with all the tacos we ate early in the week & how gross I felt after that) didn’t this time. You should still check it out even though I don’t have a picture of my plate to show you.
Order the signature Cochinita Pibil on a taco or as a main course and you’ll be set. It does not disappoint. If you’re into heat, I love their jalapeño margarita, but the house marg is also good. For an appetizer, we usually get guacamole, which they make table side. This had a huge entertainment factor before I started making my own guac at home all the time and saw how easy it really is.
…where I had a bite of Dustin’s breakfast tacos. So, if we’re making a complete list of “all the tacos I had,” it might need to be included for honesty and such. They were delicious, as is everything I’ve tried at Snooze, a hip happening breakfast place where we gladly wait an hour for a table.
The Chilaquiles Benedict is perfect for anyone who loves Mexican food and breakfast food as much as I do. Wash it down with a mimosa (I like the Mmm Mmm Mimosa, which has Pomegranate liqueur). On the side, get a side pancake of whatever luscious desert-style pancake they have on the menu. We’ve had pumpkin, banana, and pineapple varieties, and never left even a single bite on the plate.
Now you’re in the know when it comes to Phoenix Tacos, so return the favor and tell me in the comments: Where did you find the best taco you’ve ever had?