Two Arizona spots named to best Mexican restaurants in America list
PHOENIX — Being so close to the border, it’s easy to understand why Arizona has some of the best Mexican restaurants in the country.
Two in particular stand out, according to a popular food and drink website.
Thrillist named Phoenix’s Barrio Café and Tucson’s El Charro Cafe to their list of “The 31 Best Mexican Restaurants in America.”
Barrio Café, near Thomas Road and 16th Street, has been serving up delicious food for 15 years.
Since 2002, Silvana Salcido Esparza’s take on regional Mexican cuisine has wowed patrons even more than the striking graffiti murals bedecking the exterior. The accolades started rolling in pretty much immediately, including multiple James Beard nominations. The cochinita pibil, slow roasted overnight wrapped in a banana leaf with sour orange and achiote, is rightfully Barrio’s calling card, but you’d be well advised to come hungry enough to explore more of the menu like the also heralded chiles en nogada — roasted poblano stuffed with a mixture of chicken, apple, pear, dried apricot and pecan before being covered in almond cream sauce and topped with a Mexican flag-channeling trio of cilantro, queso fresco, and pomegranate seeds. — Matt Lynch
El Charro Cafe in Tucson has been around a lot longer, as they’ve been in business almost 100 years.
The same family has run El Charro since 1922, and no family in America can claim to have run a Mexican restaurant for longer. The Tucson landmark is frequently noted for its (occasionally disputed) claim to have invented the chimichanga, but hey, how many places have even been around long enough for such a claim to be plausible? While said fried burritos pack enough flavor that it’s wholly believable this could be the OG, the realest house specialty is the carne seca, which is dried daily on top of the restaurant before being shredded, grilled up with some peppers, tomatoes and onions, and served on a platter of happiness with rice, beans and cactus. — ML
Arizona is one of six states on the list to have multiple restaurants make the list.
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