With Arizona closer to Mexico than Texas, the emphasis here has always been on authentic Mexican cuisine, rather than Tex-Mex. And as fajitas are considered a creation affiliated more so with the latter, there’s a definite shortage of this dish around town. Still, here are five Valley hotspots that will come through for you next time you’re craving some sizzlin’ fajitas.
1 Fajitas A Sizzlin Celebration
There's a reason Fajitas A Sizzlin Celebration named their restaurant after this dish: It's what they do best. In business for more than two decades, this outpost along I-17 seasons specially trimmed skirt steak overnight and then broils it over red-hot mesquite. The results are a full pound (could serve two to three people easily) of sizzling fajitas served on your plate over onions with cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream, along with fresh flour tortillas. Chicken, pork, shrimp and veggie fajitas are also available, as well as the Cadillac Fajitas, which feature a full or half pound of the restaurant's signature tenderloin filet.
9841 N. Black Canyon, Phoenix 602.870.4030 web
2 Frank and Lupe's
At Scottsdale staple Frank and Lupe's, enjoy the Shrimp Fajitas Cancun or beef or chicken fajita plate, both options served with rice, beans, tomatoes, onions and guacamole with housemade tortillas. Or if you'd prefer the kitchen to do the filling and wrapping for you, you can opt for the fajita burrito plate -- tender, messy and delicious, and served with rice and beans. The happy hour here is a little on the early side -- from 4 to 6 p.m. -- but the specials include half-price appetizers and half-price (huge) margaritas. Blue corn tortillas are available, but you have to ask, and all orders can be carried out if you want to just run by on your way home from work.
4121 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale 480.990.9844 web
3 Los Olivos
The Los Olivos Scottsdale location and its fun and funky-colored setting has been around longer than ... well, longer than anyone can seem to remember. And fajitas just happens to be one of its specialties. Choose steak, chicken, shrimp or vegetables that have been marinated in the restaurant's zesty sauce, then garnished with green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions, and served with refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and fresh flour tortillas. For something a little different, ask to swap the the refried beans for the pinto beans with cilantro, known as frijoles charros. Another of our favorite dishes here? The chile relleno.
Multiple locations web
4 Taberna Mexicana
If you want to think outside the box, head to Taberna Mexicana, where you can enjoy fajita steak served in tacos, enchiladas, or even on a burger. Yes, that's right, the Fajita Burger at Taberna Mexicana is comprised of ground skirt steak with gooey cheese and some peppers for good measure. It's served with a side salad, but you also have your choice of the usual faves: Mexican rice, seasonal mixed vegetables and spicy black beans. P.S. To start, the tortilla soup here hits the spot.
7001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 480.607.6707 web
5 Padre's Modern Mexican Cuisine
Padre's Modern Mexican Cuisine restaurant char-grills their fajita steak and chicken (shrimp is available, too) to perfection and then serves it with fresh guacamole, fresh tortillas, rice and beans. Enjoying a big plate of sizzling fajitas straight off the grill, with one of Padre's classic mojitos or margaritas in hand, and seated on the restaurant's cool and eclectic patio sounds like a pretty good summer evening in Arizona to us. Also, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that Padre's is famous for its pollo relleno -- juicy chicken breast slathered in a spicy cream sauce and stuffed with caramelized onions, goat cheese, corn and poblano peppers.
1044 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix 602.277.1749 web