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Dining: Chef Silvana Salcido spreads more love with Barrio Queen

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013

Dining: Chef Silvana Salcido spreads more love with Barrio Queen

Barrio Queen, Scottsdale

Barrio Queen on Urbanspoon


Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza opened the
Barrio Café
in Phoenix in 2002 and nine years later in December 2011, she hit the streets of Old Town Scottsdale with another restaurant, Barrio Queen. While Barrio Café has a long track record of awards, including “Best Mexican Restaurant” in Phoenix for numerous years, the new Barrio Queen was named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” in the November 2012 issue of Esquire magazine. For Barrio fans, this may come as no surprise because Chef Silvana has an outstanding reputation for her distinctive and authentic Mexican cuisine. She has even been named to the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame and was a semi-finalist in early 2012 for the Best Chef Southwest award from James Beard.

Patrons will find some of chef Silvana’s signature dishes on The Barrio Queen’s menu such as cochinita pibil, guacamole, enchiladas suizas and chiles en nogada. However, there are new creations and lots of them to try at Barrio Queen. This is exciting for chef Silvana’s faithful followers and an absolute treasure being discovered daily by the downtown Scottsdale crowd. On Barrio Queen’s menu there are over 30 different types of tacos that you can mix and match for $3.50 each and lots of other delights including chicken en mole, carnitas and carne asada. There are gourmet burritos and a special treat on the weekends, menudo rojo which is a beef tripe and hominy soup. Meats are lusciously tender, sauces are rich and silky and chef Silvana’s dishes are made with fresh Mexican cheeses and spices brought back from trips to Mexico. Try the tlacoyos, black bean and corn mesa fritters and papas with spiced ketchup for starters.

The food isn’t the only great thing at The Barrio Queen and Barrio Café. There are over 275 tequilas waiting for you to try and you will also find a good selection of Mexican beers. There is even a skinny margarita for those calorie counters out there. The Barrio Queen has large patio on Stetson Drive and plenty of parking but you will likely pay a few dollars to park on busy evenings. Chef Silvana decorates with talavera and Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) figurines and pictures which give her restaurants even more authentic appeal than any alternative Mexican restaurants in Phoenix. Phoenix is blessed to be the home of chef Silvana Salcido Esparaza.  While there are mixed reviews about Barrio Queen, I think the bar was set high by Chef Silvana’s Barrio Café which is a flawless execution of authentic Mexican cuisine.  Let’s not confuse the two restaurants.  Barrio Queen is not intended to mirror the cuisine of Barrio Café so you need to consider judging it for what it is intended to be and not as a comparison to Barrio Café.  It’s more of a taqueria that would appeal to a wide variety of diners and it’s more casual in it’s presentation and menu.

Also, for those of that don’t know, Barrio Airport Café opened in the summer of 2012 in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Terminal 4 near Gate 5. You can get a breakfast, lunch or dinner fix on your way in or out of Phoenix. Another consideration might be to take treats to go and show people who aren’t living in Phoenix what they are missing!

Great food at Barrio Queen Photo courtesy: Barrio Queen

Great food at Barrio Queen
Photo courtesy: Barrio Queen

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