Plaza Bonita offers authentic, flavorful Mexican food
Plaza Bonita offers authentic, flavorful Mexican food.
By Andrew Leach
Photos by Andrew Leach
Interested in being transported to Mexico City for lunch or dinner? If so, I recommend heading over to Plaza Bonita on Carefree Highway in North Phoenix. They have a variety of classic Mexican dishes and have several flavors of salsa to choose from.
Plaza Bonita has a few locations throughout northern Arizona including spots in Cottonwood, Sedona, and Flagstaff. At their North Phoenix outpost, the décor is bright and colorful. Meanwhile, the staff is quick and friendly and always greets you with a smile. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be on the busier side, so be prepared to wait, or opt for a seat at the bar.
The chips and salsa served are crisp and warm and hard to stop enjoying while waiting for your meal. There’s a traditional salsa for dipping but upon request you can get a milder salsa. One of the positives of this restaurant is that while they have common Mexican dishes, they also have a selection of more unusual items.
We ordered the fajitas ($24.99), available with chicken, beef, shrimp, or a veggie option mixture of bell peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms sautéed together. We opted for a mixture of beef and chicken. The fajitas plate arrives with plenty of meat, making it an easy dish to share with two or more people. The meat was cooked perfectly and sautéed with bell peppers and onions. It meal comes with rice, beans, guacamole, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, and your choice of flour or corn tortillas. Try building your tortilla of flavor by adding the toppings to the base of the tortilla and add a few pieces of beef and chicken. The flavors meld together for a tasty bite.
Up next, the combination plate number two ($11.95). For the combo, we selected the beef taco and cheese enchilada. The plate also comes with refried beans and rice as well. It’s a great combination and offers you the flexibility to mix and match selections including a chile relleno, a burrito, or even a tamale. Our selections didn’t disappoint. The shell of the taco is crisp and filled with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, diced onions, and seasoned beef. The enchilada is a good size and oozes with melted cheese and red enchilada sauce. While the dish is designed for one person, there’s a lot of food.
The final entrée sampled is one of my culinary guilty pleasures. Luckily, it’s a delightful dish to enjoy at Plaza Bonita. The chicken mole ($13.05) is a standout dish here. At Plaza Bonita they take skinless breast of chicken and braise it with a sweet, yet slightly spicy peanut butter based sauce, which also has a bit of chocolate mixed in. It comes with a side of beans and rice, as well as your choice of tortilla. The flavors may not be to everyone’s liking but if you like a little sweet and spicy at the same time, you may want to try it. Plaza Bonita makes the mole sauce in-house, which gives it the added bonus of not being exactly the same each time you visit. Some days it may be sweeter, spicier, lighter in color, or darker in hue. But every time I’ve had it, regardless of the batch, it’s been tasty.
While traveling south of the border to Mexico City may not be in the budget, you can get the same sort of flair and flavor with a visit to Plaza Bonita. Muy bueno.
2815 W. Carefree Hwy., Phoenix
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