Phoenix, AZ

Yelp reviewers chose this Phoenix restaurant as the number one spot in America for tacos

Ellen Eastwood

Yelp reviewers can be a little... discerning. So when they unanimously agree that something is great, it's probably worth trying.

In 2022, Yelp named the Top 100 Places To Eat in the United States according to their reviewers. The number one spot, earning "more 5-star reviews than we can count," according to Yelp, went to Cocina Madrigal in Phoenix, owned by Head Chef Leo Madrigal.

Cocina Madrigal focuses on two things - tacos and tequila. But they do those things very well. That's no surprise since Leo got an early start cooking with his grandmother in Mexico.

"We had to cook fresh. In those times, there was no refrigeration," Madrigal said on the Kelly Clarkson Show.

Fortunately, the family's backyard was home to a lot of produce, including pomegranate and papaya trees. "It couldn't go to waste, because there was no money. So we had to use everything," Madrigal explains.

Madrigal came to the United States as a young man and worked his way up in some of Phoenix's finest restaurants before opening his own. The depth of his experience shows in the menu of comfort food offerings with a gourmet twist.

At Cocina Madrigal, he maintains his early tradition of making everything from scratch using fresh ingredients. In fact, his wife makes all the corn tortillas served in the restaurant by hand.

What can you expect at Cocina Madrigal as a diner?

You can start your meal by choosing between multiple types of made-to-order guacamole, including jalapeno bacon, serrano chili, or caramelized pineapple.

Then it's time to move on to the tacos. Maybe you'd like a beef tenderloin steak taco marinated with pomegranate, garnished with crispy onion, pepper, chipotle aioli, and gorgonzola queso.

Or maybe the Oaxaca shrimp taco is more your style, with coconut cabbage slaw and avocado crema.

A Yelp reviewer raved about the crispy salmon served on top of mashed potatoes with roasted tomatillo salsa and avocado relish, saying: "My wife got the crispy salmon and it was to die for. I can’t believe how crispy it was. Amazing!"

But Madrigal says the most popular dish on their menu is the wild mushroom enchilada with mole sauce, peppers, and onions.

As if the menu wasn't enough, Cocina Madrigal is a Latinx family-owned and run business, with Leo as Head Chef, and his wife and two sons joining him in the kitchen and running the restaurant. "To see my sons and daughter graduate from college, to see them every day, it's an amazing feeling," said Madrigal, getting emotional.

This place indeed has something magical, because, in addition to the Yelp honor, the restaurant has also been named by Trip Advisor as one of The 10 Best Restaurants in Phoenix. Travel & Leisure also mentioned it in their article Where To Find The Best Tacos in the U.S.

Whether you're a local or not, it's probably worth the trip to Phoenix.

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Culture and lifestyle writer covering food, travel, and social trends. Making sense of our fast-moving world and helping you figure out what's worth trying for yourself.

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