With restaurants popping up everywhere, it is easy to forget about some of the local classics. Barrio Queen in Scottsdale (and soon in Gilbert) is one of those great local legends that cannot be missed for lunch. Although no longer under the direction of Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, who founded the original concept, Barrio Café, its menu still reflects the creativity of the chef whose dishes have been touted as the best Mexican food in Phoenix.
This adventurous and exciting location near the Scottsdale Waterfront has a large patio and is a fun spot for lunch with clients, colleagues or for meetings that are open to some excitement.
The menu is newly changed and includes many classics. The Barrio Guacamole is made tableside and includes the usual ingredients plus pomegranate seeds for a juicy and somewhat tart element. It is made to order, so customization is appropriate — if you dare stray from the original. The street tacos are small but incredibly inventive. They are all about Mexican ingredients, with a twist in some cases. There are more than twenty iterations to choose from. The Al Pastor is made with chile-and-spice-marinated pork topped with diced onion, cilantro, fresh pineapple and red salsa. The Suadero Azteca includes delicately slow-cooked brisket topped with diced onions and cilantro. A fan favorite is the Barrio Pollo, which is spice-rubbed chicken, caramelized onions and roasted poblano peppers in a spicy piñon cream sauce, and then topped with queso fresco. The more unique (and delicious) is the Nopalitos made with tender cactus, serrano pepper, onion and tomato sautée topped with queso fresco. Include a fried egg if so desired. The burritos, tortas and enchiladas are all utterly delicious, with some unique twists and incredible flavors all inspired by the original restaurant.
The décor is eclectic Mexican with a comfortable dining room and bar area. The patio is a favorite and, when cool, is a great place to people watch. The service is fast and guests can be assured they will get an opinion if they ask what is good. The drinks are plentiful for non-alcoholic lunches. Juices, teas and virgin drinks are favored as a mixologist is always behind the bar.
7114 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale