Latin American Restaurants in Houston: Barrio Café
Latin American Restaurants in Houston: Barrio Café Barrio Café website

Despite not being internationally renowned as a culinary haven like Tucson, Phoenix remains a compelling choice in Arizona for those seeking outstanding Mexican and Latin American cuisine in general.

The Valley of the Sun boasts a vibrant restaurant scene, ranging from well-established Mexican eateries to burgeoning newcomers hailing from South and Central America, as well as Puerto Rico, among other countries.

The culinary diversity comes as no surprise, given Phoenix's significant Latino population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42.7% of Phoenix, Arizona's population identifies as Hispanic (680,000 people).

Presented here is The Latin Times' list of the best Latin American restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona.

Top 5 Latin American Restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona

Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, a James Beard semifinalist
Latin American Restaurants in Phoenix: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza is a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef 2023 Barrio Cafe Website

1. Mexican Food Restaurant: Cocina El Madrigal

Specializing in handcrafted tacos, homemade enchiladas, fresh bold salads and more Mexican specialties, Cocina El Madrigal is a father-and-son restaurant located in Phoenix, ranked number one in Yelp's Top 100 US Restaurants 2022.

Mexican chef Leo Madrigal first developed his culinary background in Mexico as a teenager and has been building kitchens and menus in the valley for the past 30 years. He served as a corporate chef at Z'tejas Grill, Taco Guild, Hopdaddy Burger Bar, and Salty Sow.

Oaxaca, his birthplace in Mexico City, holds a significant presence on the menu, illustrated by the presence of dishes like Oaxaca fundido.

2. Mexican Food Restaurant: Barrio Café

For over 20 years, Barrio Café has offered a creative and fresh alternative perspective on modern Mexican cuisine. With a focus on regional recipes enhanced by a sophisticated twist, the restaurants vision has captured the attention of food critics like Howard Seftel, who awarded the establishment a five-star rating.

Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef 2023, was raised in Central Valley, California, where she learned to cook from her grandmother and honed her skills by working alongside her parents in the family's bakeries. After finishing culinary school, she traveled throughout Mexico, bringing her diverse experiences back home. She opened Barrio Café with a business partner in 2002.

This Mexican restaurant in Phoenix features a menu with a unique and creative perspective on Mexican cuisine, highlighting its richness beyond traditional tacos and burritos. One of the recommended options is 'pato en tamarindo'—duck breast topped with a tamarind-infused port wine sauce—and various flavors of tlayudas, pizza-like oversized flat tacos from Oaxaca.

-2814 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, Arizona

3. Peruvian Food Restaurant: El Chullo

In 2011, Peruvian Esperanza Luzcando fell in love with Arizona during her visit to the U.S. for her son's graduation. By December of that year, she and her husband, José Ramírez Sánchez, decided to relocate and pursue their dream of opening a restaurant.

El Chullo, named after an ancestral garment used in South America, offers traditional Peruvian dishes with recipes passed down through generations, such as ceviche, a dish consisting of fish or shellfish marinated in citrus and seasonings.

"We are very happy that Peruvian food is becoming more widely known worldwide. And we always invite all our customers to visit our beautiful country and to learn about our culture and above all enjoy our delicious cuisine," says Luzcando in the restaurant's website.

  • 2605 N 7th St Phoenix AZ
  • 4414 N 7th Ave Phoenix AZ

4. Colombian Food Restaurant: Que Sazón South American Cuisine & Ceviche bar

This Latin American restaurant is the brainchild of the Colombian chef Fabian Ocampo and his wife, Julie. They had been offering South American dishes in a renowned food track in Phoenix for almost five years until the pandemic forced them to close in March 2020.

However, their dream was too big and they didn't let go. They brought it back to life this year with the launch of 'Qué Sazón,' which translates to 'What seasoning' in English. The restaurant is located in the historic Teeter House, a pyramidal structure from the Victorian era located in Heritage Square.

The menu features popular Colombian dishes such as empanadas and tostones, along with other specialties from across South American. From Venezuelan arepas to Peruvian ceviche, Cuban-style sandwiches, Argentinean-style adobos and a selection of Brazilian recipes, 'Qué Sazón' promises a culinary journey through the flavors of the continent.

-622 East Adams Street, Phoenix

5. Puerto Rican Latin Bar and Grill

Puerto Rican Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona
Puerto Rican Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona Puerto Rican Latin Bar and Grill Facebook

Owner Wesley Andujar founded this Latin food restaurant to share some of the cherished traditions of his family. The menu boasts a range of traditional offerings prepared in the style of Créole cooking, locally known as cocina criolla.

Standout options include sweet plantains as an appetizer, amarones al ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce), mofongo (mashed plantain), and a choice between adobo-seasoned fried chicken or the classic Puerto Rican pork roast, pernil. Located in west Phoenix, Puerto Rico Latin Bar and Grill offers a relaxed atmosphere and budget-friendly Puerto Rican dishes.

2714 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix

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