BBQ and Kansas City. Jambalaya and New Orleans. Mexican food and Tempe. Some things just go together.
Home to a wide variety of restaurants that are well known for Mexican cuisine, Tempe offers concepts that range from new and trendy to multigenerational classics and family-run concepts that have defined this culinary landscape for decades.
Keep in mind, you’ll find tacos most dining establishments in Tempe. But if it’s an authentic Mexican culinary experience you’re looking for, some restaurants are leading the flavor pack.
Our list of Tempe’s top authentic Mexican restaurants — and which dishes we can’t get enough of — will help you navigate which restaurants land on your must-try list.
Tempe Marketplace | 31 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 912-4052
Incredible food, delicious cocktails and live music? Say no more! We recently caught mariachis serenading guests of Barrio Queen Tempe and we loved every minute of it! The menu is full of recipes rooted in the rich history of Mexico’s vibrant barrios (“neighborhoods”), and the flavors are made possible by using fresh, quality ingredients from local farmers. They also have an extensive tequila and mescal list to choose from and award-winning table-side guacamole that is a must try!
3138 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ, 85282 | (480) 966-0776
One of the most crave-worthy Mexican restaurants in Tempe is Casa Reynoso. This family-owned business is an extension of the 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 their best menu options is combination #8: an enchilada, burro and chile relleno. Que rico!
2001 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 916-3690
From the family that created such concepts as Bacanora, Espiritu and Tacos Chiwas throughout the Valley, comes an upscale and authentic Mexican dining experience in Tempe. Husband-and-wife co-owners, Armando Hernandez and Nadia Holguin, are delivering world-class Chihuahuan cuisine from their new location at Culdesac — Tempe’s new car-free community. Lucky for you, there are parking options. But be sure to make a reservation, because this culinary duo has quite a following of enthusiastic foodies. In 2019, Holguin was named a semifinalist in the James Beard Awards’ Best Chef – Southwest category. In 2021, their Phoenix concept, Bacanora, was named one of the 40 best new restaurants in America by “Esquire” magazine. And in February 2022, the James Beard Foundation recognized the restaurant as a semifinalist for best new restaurant in the country. Needless to say, we’re thrilled they’ve set up shop in Tempe. Check out our TikTok for more.
1706 E. Warner Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 838-1005
5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir., Suite #567, Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 838-9610
Garcia’s has been a local favorite for years; once you visit, it is easy to see why. They serve delicious Mexican food at affordable prices. We’re big fans of their lunch specials like the Fajita Quesadilla, and we also recommend their Chile Rellenos, Grilled Margarita Chicken Burro and the Tilapia Pacifica. Don’t forget to check out their long list of margaritas too. From the Blackberry Citrus to the Coco Motion, you’re sure to find your new favorite.
1006 E. Warner Rd. #102-103, Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 474-4328
Ghost Ranch serves modern Southwest cuisine fare for happy hour and dinner from Monday to Friday and weekend brunch. They also offer a full menu of beer, wine and cocktails inspired by the multicultural history of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and northern Mexico. Their team knocks it out of the park with a delicious menu featuring items like cowboy steak, green chile burgers, tacos, Aztec Cake (which is like a perfect marriage between enchiladas and a casserole) and Chimayo chile braised-pork enchiladas. The lineup also includes Grilled Rainbow Trout, vegetarian options, salads and Rancho Papas, a creamy side dish with a hint of spice. The staff is always very friendly and the interior is full of the most beautiful Southwestern decor.
If you’re looking for a really good local taco shop, Maskadores is the place to go. Known for their delicious street tacos, they have many meat choices and even more toppings to choose from. I would also recommend the wet burrito, a bit on the spicy side but with great flavors. The salsa bar features several homemade varieties, so choose as much salsa as your heart desires. Don’t forget to leave room for a churro (or three). The walls are painted and decorated with the maskadores – which makes for a fun atmosphere.
Los Reyes de la Torta
1528 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, AZ, 85281 | (480) 491-1314
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 their Torta Del Rey complete with five 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 their regular size and the mini. The mini certainly isn’t calorie free, but there’s a little less guilt.
Pronto by Serrano’s
6440 S. Rural Road, Tempe, AZ 85283 | (480) 345-0044
Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant originally opened in Tempe in 1985, but the Serrano family’s legacy throughout the Valley of the Sun dates back more than 100 years. Of course, the key to longevity is evolution. And Tempe is the newest recipient of the Serrano family’s exploration of just that. Enter Pronto by Serrano’s. Located in the same space that housed Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant for over 30 years, this fresh, new concept offers all the flavors this family is famous for — but in a modern, fast-casual concept. Here you’ll find the legendary machaca, shredded chicken, asada steak and tomatillo pork available in build-your-own, customizable offerings, including burritos, tacos, nachos, salads and bowls. Ask about the seasonal offerings — upon Pronto’s July grand opening, these included quesabirria tacos, birria ramen, spicy fish tacos, a breakfast burrito, stacked enchiladas and chicken tortilla soup. Pro tip: Don’t skip on dessert. Felicidades, Pronto!
Rosita’s Fine Mexican Food
960 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ, 85281 | (480) 966-0852
Rosa Keeme’s dream of opening up her own restaurant came true in 1963 when the first Rosita’s opened its doors in Tempe. Now, the second and third generations of Keeme’s families continue to serve some of the best Mexican food in town. Located on University Drive and Hardy, Rosita’s 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.
1214 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480)-446-8226
101 E. Baseline Rd., Tempe, AZ 85283 | (480)-839-8226
With its counter-service, colorful décor and ample seating, this is a great spot for families who love Mexican food! First opened in 1986, you can enjoy heirloom recipes perfected by Isabel Vasquez, the first owner’s Abuela. Try tacos, enchiladas, tamales, delicious burros or los especiales! You’ll eat like you’re part of the family at Somburros.
Treats & More
The Paleta Bar
521 S. College Ave., Unit 107, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 265-8948
Indulge in authentic, gourmet Mexican ice pops in a wide variety of flavors, along with premium dipping and toppings that offers endless combinations. Also, try the fresh elote, savory Dorinachos and refreshing aguas frescas.
5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 456-3761
Located inside Arizona Mills, this family-owned eatery showcases raspados, a Mexican-style shaved iced drink made popular in Michoacan, Mexico. The owner and his family are from Michoacan and that’s what inspired their restaurant’s menu of authentic raspados, sopes, gorditas, caldos and more flavorful dishes. They use 100% natural ingredients (fresh fruit and not syrup). Order a fresh Tamarindo Obispo with shaved ice, fruit, lechero (condensed milk) and ice cream. Or order a more traditional raspado without the ice cream. Mango, Coconut and Strawberry are all very popular.
2714 W. Southern Ave., Tempe, AZ, | (480)-393-3652
If you’re looking for delicious, authentic Mexican snacks – Raspalicious has you covered! Try traditional Raspados, shake, crepes, Elote, Tosti Maiz or Tosti Loco and more.
If we didn’t mention your favorite Mexican restaurant in Tempe, please tell us what we’re missing out on. We’re always adding to our list of favorites.