First Place: Nando’s Mexican Cafe
6715 E. McDowell Road, Mesa
Fernando Rios and friends set out to build a better mousetrap - or, in their case, a better Sonoran-style restaurant - in 2003 in Gilbert. It wasn’t until Mesa’s warm welcome in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession, that they truly knew they were on to something.
Today, the budding local chain has a cafe in Chandler and just opened a store in Queen Creek.
The lunch and dinner menu, based on Dad Alfred’s and Mom Nana’s recipes, is anchored by 10 traditional combo platters. Portions are huge. Favorite specialties include Alfredo’s Green Chile Pork, the Pollo Rico and the Sonoran Enchiladas.
Many Mesa families also go for the Faja Pasta, a clever and delicious marriage of Mexico and Italy.
Second Place: Serrano’s Mexican Food Restaurants
141 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler
Third Place: Valle Luna
1949 W. Ray Road, Chandler