The Arizona State Sun Devils are getting into the thick of their 2013 football schedule, playing the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday evening in Tempe. If you live here in the Valley of the Sun, or are visiting for the game, you might like to indulge in some local Mexican fare prior to kick-off.
As most people know, the Phoenix area is famous for great food from south of the border. And there are a number of excellent places to find “Sonoran-style” grub within a short distance from Sun Devil Stadium.
As a service to the community, Devils In Detail offers its selection of the top 5 Mexican eateries in Tempe. Don’t blame us if your favorite joint didn’t make the list.
1. Casa Reynoso
Located in a strip mall on Mill Avenue, just south of the ASU campus, Casa Reynoso is one Mexican restaurant that is proudly “old school.” No oven-baked sea bass enchiladas at this hole-in-the-wall! Instead, patrons wolf down heaping platters of tamales, burros and refried beans. Casa Reynoso was established in Tempe in 1984, and it’s survived this long by offering top-shelf food that doesn’t change with the latest culinary fashions.
If you’re familiar with the Valley food scene, you might be sensing a pattern here. We don’t consider “Chipotle” to be real Mexican food. Instead, we stick to tried-and-true places that honor the local culture. In 1963, Rosa Keeme opened the doors to Rosita’s in Tempe. After three generations of Keemes, Mama Rosa’s authentic Mexican dishes are still fantastic. We’d bet Frank Kush is a regular here. Just head west on University Drive to find out for yourself.
3. Serrano’s Mexican Food
Serrano’s completes our trifecta of “can’t miss” traditional Mexican restaurants in the Tempe area. Their food is also solidly Sonoran, with a choice of combination plates for anyone wanting to sample Arizona specialties like chimichangas, machaca beef tacos and green chile cheese crisps (yes, we’re talking to you, visiting Wisconsin fans). Just be careful not to fill up on the chips, salsa and bean dip before you order!
4. Manuel’s Mexican Food
Manuel’s barely made it onto our list, and for good reason. This longtime family of Mexican restaurants seems to going the way of locally-based national chains such as Garcia’s and Macayo’s: the food is becoming less spicy, the portions are getting smaller, and the margaritas have lost some of their punch. Still, the Manuel’s location on Southern Avenue east of ASU remains a good bet for a better-than-average Mexican dinner.
5. Dos Gringos Trailer Park Restaurant
Okay, we threw in Dos Gringos so no one could accuse us of being party-poopers! This decidedly hip street tacos-and-Corona hangout, situated at Priest and Elliot in south Tempe, has become a staple in the lunch and happy hour scene, and puts on a good show for the late night crowd as well. It’s downright Cabo-esque. With seating both indoors and on the patio, this Mexican grill serves up food until 2 am and has some of the coldest cervezas around. Ole!