BBQ and Kansas City, Jambalaya and New Orleans, Coffee and Seattle, Mexican food and Tempe. Some things just go together.
Tempe, Arizona has a wealth of Mexican food eateries, from quick-service options like Maskadores Taco Shop, to trendy, nightlife hotspots El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria and Loco Patron, to mainstays like Rosita’s and Restaurant Mexico that have been in Tempe for decades. It’s hard to choose a favorite. So, I’ve decided to focus on the best family-owned Mexican restaurants in Tempe. Here’s the scoop about the dishes that the Tempe Tourism Office team order again and again. If we don’t mention your favorite dish or your favorite Tempe Mexican restaurant, please tell us what we’re missing. We’d love to know about it.
One of the most crave-worthy Mexican restaurants in Tempe is Casa Reynoso. This family-owned business is an extension of family’s first venture into the restaurant business in Globe, Arizona. Now solely located in metro Phoenix, the Reynoso family continues to do what they do best – share their family recipes with all of us. You’ll have trouble deciding between their carne asada dishes, chimichangas, tacos and burros. But, one way to sample of their best menu options is combination #8: an enchilada, burro and chile relleno. Que bueno!
3138 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ, 85282
If you’re looking for a local hole-in-the-wall taco shop, Maskadores is the place to go. Known for their delicious street tacos, they have lots of meat choices and even more toppings to choose from. I would also recommend the wet burrito – on the spicy side, with great flavors. The salsa bar features several homemade varieties, and you can do up as much salsa as you desire. Don’t forget to leave room for a churro, or three. The walls are painted and decorated with the maskadores all over the restaurant – which makes for a fun atmosphere.
1721 E. Warner Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284
Ghost Ranch serves modern Southwest cuisine fare for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, alongside a full menu of beer, wine and cocktails inspired by the multicultural history of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and northern Mexico. Guests enjoy a seasonal menu that features items like cowboy steak, green chile burgers, tacos and chile Colorado braised-pork enchiladas with Chimayo chile. The lineup includes shrimp ceviche, trout, vegetarian options and salads that spotlight fresh produce and hints of citrus.
1006 E. Warner Rd. #102-103, Tempe, AZ 85284
La Fonda has been in Tempe since 1967, although they moved to their new location on Baseline just east of McClintock a few years ago. Their dishes with cheesy fundido sauce are very popular, but one of our favorite dishes is the carnitas with flour tortillas. The pork is juicy and tender, the tortillas are fresh and the salsa is excellent.
1831 E. Baseline Rd., Tempe, AZ, 85283
It’s hard to choose from their menu of authentic, straight from Mexico City tortas, tacos, burritos and chilaquiles. And, I can’t eat quite as much as Adam from Man v. Food when he ate the Torta Del Rey complete with 5 types of meat. But, one of our favorites is the Mexicana Torta. It’s filled with flavorful grilled steak cooked with onions and jalapenos, pico de gallo, avocado and refried beans with salad on the side. Thankfully guests can choose from a regular size and the mini. The mini certainly isn’t calorie free, but there’s a little less guilt.
1528 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, AZ, 85281
Rosa Keeme always dreamed of opening up her own restaurant and that dream came true in 1963 when the first Rosita’s opened its doors in Tempe. There are now three generations of the Keeme family, and even second and third generations of employee’s families, who continue to serve some of the best Mexican food in town. Rosita’s, located on University Drive and Hardy, has an extensive menu of South of the Border fare, including mole, enchiladas, chimichangas, fajitas and tamales. Their house specialty is the “Rosita’s Special,” a large flour tortilla filled with melted cheese and your choice of green chile with beef, seasoned chicken, red chile with beef or shredded beef.
960 W. University Dr. #7, Tempe, AZ, 85281
The colorful and fun restaurant is located on Mill Ave., in the heart of Downtown Tempe. Serving both as a yummy taco joint and also as a hopping nightlife spot, it fits the bill on both counts. Large TVs and giant bar space make it perfect for watching sports. Try the guacamole and queso to get your appetite going, and of course the street tacos are a must here. When the DJ arrives later for the evening, the party really gets started.
640 S. Mill Ave. #110, Tempe, AZ 85281
Located on the north end of Mill Ave in Downtown Tempe, Loco Patron features a fantastic outdoor patio and delicious food to go with it. Order a fresh squeezed margarita (choose from 11 cool options) to go with your street cart tacos. Several large TVs abound for sports lovers, and the huge bar is ready for every type of drink order. Go later in the evening for a DJ spinning music and some nightlife fun.
222 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
Susie’s, located on University Drive between Dobson and the 101, has been serving Tempe’s Mexican food craving diners for 20 years. It’s not a fancy place, but that doesn’t mean that the food isn’t excellent. And, they even serve breakfast. Start your day off with the filling Huevos con Chorizo, 2 scrambled eggs with spicy chorizo and beans, a tortilla and rice or potatoes on the side.
2405 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ, 85281
For more information about restaurants in Tempe, please visit the Food and Drink section of our website or call the Tempe Tourism Office at 800-283-6734.