Some Like it Hot

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

Say “buh-bye” to deep-fried burritos smothered in neon-orange cheese – the fare at these Nuevo Latino hotspots is farm-fresh, fabulous and filled with all the signature flavors you love.

The Mission

Chef Matt Carter’s menu of contemporary Latin cuisine is an all-star line-up of braised meats, fresh seafood and handcrafted cocktails. Start with an order of Grilled Street Corn or 12-ingredient Tableside Guacamole (better yet, try both), then move on to the succulent Pork Shoulder Tacos for two. For a perfect pairing, consider a Blood Orange Margarita or Watermelon Basil Mojito.

La Hacienda at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

With a menu crafted by Celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval and brought to life by Chef de Cuisine Forest Hamrick, La Hacienda continues its run as one of Scottsdale’s most acclaimed Mexican restaurants. Reserve a table on the patio (by the fire pit, if it’s chilly) and savor the rich flavors of South America in specialties like the fresh Seafood Ceviche , slow-braised Carnitas hacienda or spicy-sweet Pollo en Mole de Abuelita.

Cien Agaves

You could eat at Cien Agaves every night for a week, try two different tacos each time, and still not have experienced all of their taco offerings – grilled ono, pork in adobo sauce, crispy shrimp, marinated skirt steak – well, you get the picture. And for your sipping pleasure, Cien Agaves offers 100 hand-selected premium tequilas, frosty margaritas and specialty cocktails like the Cactus Mai Tai.

Barrio Queen

At downtown’s Barrio Queen, traditional family recipes are served with a dash of calle (street) attitude! Menu highlights include the award-winning Cochinita Pibil, succulent slow-roasted pork seasoned with sour orange and achiote; Coctel de Elote, sweet grilled corn topped with butter, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime; and a tequila list that’s more than 400 strong.

Blanco Tequila + Tacos

Boasting a striking indoor-outdoor layout and a compact menu filled with contemporary twists on Mexican classics, Blanco is as bold and spicy as the raw style of tequila that it’s named after. Don’t miss the gourmet cheese crisps such as the braised short rib and avocado, as well as the 10 different styles of tacos.