Hi, I'm Azucena!

Official aficionado and connoisseur of all things taco for The Idealistic

If there’s one thing I truly know about it’s tacos. Growing up in Yuma, AZ in a Mexican household, I’ve been spoiled with the most authentic and best tasting Mexican food my entire life. When I moved to Phoenix to attend ASU, I encountered one of the greatest dilemmas of my entire life. No where to eat good Mexican food. So I set out on a mission to find the best and affordable tacos. The tacos are rated using our Taco Buddy (also the equivalent of how many tacos I would order). Here’s what I found:

La Frontera

209 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
5 Taco Buddies
Close up of La Frontera Tacos featuring complimentary cucumber, lime, and salsas.

La Frontera has remained a tried and true taco spot of mine. The tacos are so delicious and the people are friendly too. Growing up on Mexico’s border I’ve known authentic Mexican food all my life and moving to Phoenix created a challenge for me. Not being 5 minutes away from a plate of fresh-off-the-grill tacos was difficult. La Frontera fixed my problem. These tacos are simple with fresh corn tortillas, meat, and cabbage/onions. Your options are a red salsa or an avocado salsa (I like to mix the two) and all together it’s an unbeatable flavor. Also, this taco truck is open everyday from 8 AM to 2 AM, you can imagine all the late night taco trips I’ve taken. The only cons are that it’s a cash only establishment and it’s an outside sit down place but you can take your order to-go as well.    


  • Very cheap ($2 tacos no tax!)
  • Complimentary cucumber
  • Delicious tortilla
  • Variety of different meats
  • Also a variety of burritos, tostadas, and tortas.

o  CONS 

  • Cash only
  • Outside seating only

Left: Two big salsa bottles that you are given when you order it to eat there. Right: The La Frontera truck.

Tortas El Güero

2518 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
4 Taco Buddies
Close up of Tortas El Güero tacos served with lime and toppings.

Tortas El Güero is obviously famous for their tortas but you’re sleeping on the tacos if you haven’t had them yet. At first glance, I thought the tacos were too tiny for such an expensive price. However, when I took my first bite I understood why. Plus, with all the extra meat that falls out you can use your second tortilla to create a whole new taco. The restaurant is really nice inside and the agua frescas were refreshing plus there’s a ton of different complimentary salsas you’re able to taste. Over all, I would see myself going back and showing the restaurant to my friends.


  • Variety of salsas (for free)
  • Can make 2 tacos out of 1 taco
  • Fresh tasting
  • Tender meat
  • Good meat to tortilla ratio

o  CONS 

  • Expensive ($3 a taco including tax)
  • Tiny tacos
  • No guacamole salsa!
  • Too many toppings for my taste

Left: Menu and super friendly staff. Right: Salsa bar.

La Santisima 

1919 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
4 Taco Buddies
Close up La Santisima tacos with fresh toppings.

La Santisima wasn’t even on our list until we were on 16th St and McDowell and I saw the big mystic lady popping out of the wall. Then of course when I saw the word tacos it was no brainer, we had to try this spot. This restaurant that most surprised me. Not only is their menu from all over Mexico but the flavors that they presented me were different but delicious. To begin with, the horchata went beyond just cinnamon and rice milk. They incorporated strawberries, melon, and pecans. I was pleasantly surprised however to me, it wasn’t horchata. It tasted more like a strawberry type of milkshake which I wasn’t mad at. Now for the main event, these tacos were top notch delicious. These were the kind of tacos I only taste when I go visit Mexico’s taco stands. I trust the food so much I would even take my Mexican nana. I do however wish they were less expensive because they were competing with my #1 spot. All in all though, I see myself going back to this spot when I’m feeling a nice dinner.


  • Wide variety of salsas in the salsa bar
  • Complimentary chips
  • Amazing art décor
  • Has Mexican food from all over Mexico


  • On the expensive side ($2.50 a taco and $4 an horchata)
  • Don’t have traditional horchata

Left: A picture of the outside and mystic woman. Right: A few of the salsas offered, chips, and drinks (right: horchata left: Jarritos soda).


1621 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
3 Taco Buddies
Close up of Federico's taco with toppings.

Federico’s is the kind of Mexican food someone craves when they want something on the greasy side. I’d only ever had the hard tacos which are very good and then I ordered the soft carne asada taco and I was very surprised. For starters, the taco is absolutely huge. It’s probably the equivalent of two tacos and did have a good flavor. On top featured guacamole and some purple onion and I sprinkled lime on top. The flavor isn’t one that would keep me going back for more but it would satisfy a craving. 

***Side note: I've had other items from the menu and WOULD recommend the hard taco plate! They're very good and the beans and rice are delicious.


  • Guacamole
  • Big amount of food for one taco ($2.99 a taco including tax)
  • Has a drive-thru
  • Bomb horchata


  • Greasy
  • Not fresh tasting

Left: The outside of Federico's. Right: The menu and where you would order.

Tacos Mich

1602 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006
2 Taco Buddies
Close up of Tacos Mich with complimentary lime and pickled carrots.

I wanted Tacos Mich to be so much better than what it was. I was very excited for the price and was truly rooting for these tacos to be amazing but the taste fell flat for me. There was barely any meat on the tacos plus they add the onion, cilantro, and salsa for you. For me, it looked thrown together and I didn’t personally like the salsa they put on the taco. When I moved the meat around on the tortilla lots of grease was left over which is something I’m not used to with the tacos I normally eat. On top of that, there were plenty of pieces of fat in the already little meat that I was given. I am willing to give this place another chance to try the other plates they offer but as for the tacos, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. The plus side to this was that the agua frescas were delicious.


  • Cheap ($1.10 a taco but 75 cents on Wednesdays)
  • Generally cheap menu
  • Very good agua frescas

o   CONS

  •  Bad taste
  •  No salsa bar
  •  Took a long time to be served

Left: The outside of Taco Mich. Right: The selection of agua frescas offered.

After this taste testing experience I found that all tacos are beautiful in their own way and there are so many different types of variety. Every state in Mexico has their own special formula to create a taco and they should all be given a try. This experience enhanced my love for Mexico's history and look forward to my future taco adventures. -Azucena

This blog was originally posted by Intern Azucena Martinez on September 25, 2017. Updated January 2018.