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“Back once again” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Barrio Cafe

Barrio Cafe
2814 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006-1205 (Encanto)
602-636-0240
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Ranked #19 of 2,623 Restaurants in Phoenix
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: Encanto
Scottsdale, Arizona
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Back once again”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 via mobile

We have been here several times over the years. Last night we took friends for their first time.
We all enjoyed dinner and service. Four different dishes, guacamole made at our table and our favorite dessert.
Neighborhood you may call ethnic I call it an area I wouldn't walk at night (-:
Would come back and recommend to others, not traditional Mexican fare but worth the price for the entrees.

Visited July 2014
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460 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    267
    119
    37
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    15
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Ann Arbor, MI
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“A not-so-hidden gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

I, too, have seen the buzz about this place and it also came highly recommended by a friend whose culinary judgment I greatly respect. I was surprised, then, to see the recent string of disappointing TripAdvisor reviews. My experience justified the buzz and fully validated my friend's judgment.

Barrio Cafe is located on North 16th Street, a street that announces its ethnic authenticity through murals and other art media, but was once a less vibrant part of town. Years ago, Barrio Cafe would qualify as a hidden gem; today, not so hidden (as the size of the waiting crowd confirmed!)

Arriving at the restaurant as a solo diner, of course I was asked if I wanted to sit at the bar. Not an option: the bar is mobbed and the space that houses the bar is packed with diners waiting to be seated. People are standing literally shoulder to shoulder, sweat gathers quickly in the interior hear, and the noise level is high decibel. Not a suitable space for a quiet dinner. I asked to be seated at a table and accepted the 45 minute wait.

The greeter/seater was graciously apologetic about the long wait. Escorted to the table, I settled in with an excellent margarita. (All their margaritas fall within the $13-$15 range, a bit pricey for a neighborhood restaurant but reflective of the top-shelf ingredients.) For my entree, I selected the cochinita pibil that I can unabashedly exclaim as some of the tastiest pork I have ever eaten. Marinated in anchiote and orange, it allegedly is slow roasted overnight. Each bite was tender (almost flaky) and bursting with flavor. The accompanying rice and beans and vegetables also were well prepared and flavorful. I also enjoyed the olive tapenade that was served with the table bread. While traditional in recipe, it was obvious that the olives were fine quality.

Also traditional was the interior, accented with tile, framed modern art, and some religious pieces. Very nice.

A final shout out to the waitstaff: gracious, attentive, prompt and professional.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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mesa, az
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Seems on the way down”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

First went here soon after it opened and were blown away by the food and the service. Have returned many times over the years and most recently we were a bit disappointed. It seems to be resting on its laurels from the past and is losing its touch.. Dishes have become almost stereotyped. The sides are not worthy of the mains and some of the mains have lost their punch. However their Chilies en Nogada is still one of our all-time favorites and highly recommend it, if it is in season. Drinks are great and tableside guac is still a real treat. Hope it finds its way back to excellence.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Phoenix, Arizona
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Dinner at Barrio Cafe”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

I was excited to try this restaurant after watching a show on t.v.. I was expecting a wow flavor , but the enchiladas suizas taste dull the chicken was hard and too much red onion to make a flavor for the dish. My wife got the shrimp tacos , one shrimp for each taco almost $ 4 a taco $ 12 for the plate and a handful of cabbage. The only thing that it was really good was the dinner salad and the drinks. It was pricy and the flavor on the food I can have it in my Home and save some money. My first and last time going there.

  • Visited June 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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1 review
“If you want authentic, come here!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2014

We stopped in for lunch Saturday June 28th and it was just perfect! I had the shrimp tacos!!! Come and get it!

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