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 here is a list of the most beloved Mexican restaurants in Tempe. And, you’ll get the inside 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 add to our list of favorites.
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 | (480) 966-0776
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 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. In addition to their south Tempe restaurant, they have a second Tempe location at 818 W. Broadway Rd.
1721 E. Warner Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 284-7000
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. Their talented chefs, Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno, and their team knock 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 shrimp aguachile, grilled trout, vegetarian options and salads that spotlight fresh produce and hints of citrus. The staff is always very friendly and the interior is full of Instagram worthy photo spots.
1006 E. Warner Rd. #102-103, Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 474-4328
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 | (480) 966-8001
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 | (480) 491-1314
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 | (480) 966-0852
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 | (480) 257-2797
Garcia’s has been a local favorite for years and once you visit, it is easy to see why. They serve up 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. They have two locations in Tempe, at Arizona Mills and in south Tempe.
5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir. #567, Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 838-9610
1706 E. Warner Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 838-1005
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 | (480) 699-0922
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 | (480) 966-7091
A funny name with a good story: The term “Gadzooks” originated from owner Aaron Pool’s roommate. When Pool’s roommate opened the fridge and saw his leftovers were eaten, he would yell “Gadzooks”. Gadzooks restaurant now pride themselves in standing out and being different from competitors by continually pushing the limits in the world of enchiladas. You can make your own enchiladas here by choosing your meat or vegetarian options, opting for red or green sauce (insider tip – order it “Christmas style” to get both), and then choose your toppings like cheese, guacamole, cabbage and more. So delicious!
505 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (602) 279-5080
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.
5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 456-3761
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.
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