Before opening her restaurant at the age of 42, Silvana Salcido Esparza packed up her 1968 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and drove to Mexico to spend a year learning about local cuisine from villagers. These days Esparza rides a motorcycle, competes for James Beard awards and lends her voice to Hispanic causes. Her food is infused with her big personality. Don’t expect burritos and combo plates here; Esparza specializes in regional cuisine from central and southern Mexico. Try the guacamole, prepared tableside (with seasonal pomegranate seeds) and the Cochinita Pibil—pork slow-roasted for 12 hours. The décor celebrates Chicano and other Latin-themed art, the bathroom is a shrine to masked luchador wrestlers, and the tiny bar offers one of the largest tequila selections in Phoenix, which is saying something. Amid a desert sea of Mexican restaurants, Barrio Cafe consistently retains best-in-the-city status.
- Open Hours: Tuesday to Thursday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday from 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM, Saturday from 05:00 PM to 10:30 PM, Sunday from 11:00 AM to 09:00 PM
- Feature: Trendy;Breakfast & Brunch
- Credit Cards Accepted: visa, mastercard, amex