Phoenix has many Mexican restaurants, but this one gets extra points for ambience, creativity, and affordability. It’s a neighborhood hangout, but instead of vinyl booths and plastic tables, it favors dark wood and Diego Rivera prints. And the food stands out, with dishes like Oaxacan grilled chicken tamale wrapped in banana leaves and topped with a mole sauce. The machaca (slow-roasted beef) is also excellent—tender and juicier than you’ll often find it. Plus, the twinkly lit patio is a great option in pleasant weather.
Tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, try the sweet and nutty tamarind-flavored margarita.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.