Barrio Cafe: Good -- But Glorified -- Mexican Food

Photo by Alex Rodriguez
Enchiladas suizas at Barrio Cafe.
Hey, readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.

Check out the slideshow of the full Eating 16th Street series.

See also: Is Barrio Cafe's Take on Mexican Food Authentic? And Does It Matter?

The Place: Barrio Cafe
The Food: Upscale Mexican cuisine
The Backstory: Mexican cuisine in a non-pretentious setting for 10 years.
The Price: $17 for enchiladas suizas.

I'm probably going to get a lot of heat for what I'm about to explain.

But this is Phoenix -- so why not?

I have issues with upscale Mexican food. Call it being a traditionalist. Call it being a hater. Both apply, in this case, so let me tell you why.

To me, Mexican food is naturally rustic. It's meant to be eaten with your hands. It's messy. It's rough on the untrained palate. The roots of most (if not all) Mexican dishes are campesino foods. Meals that are meant to be eaten by the layman, the worker, not the mayor.

That's the beauty of it -- that it's not meant to be fancy.

Barrio Cafe has an admirable mission: a little neighborhood eatery providing authentic southern Mexico cuisine and chef's original creations in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Photo by Alex Rodriguez
Barrio Cafe interior.

Location Info

Barrio Cafe

2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Alex - what is glorified is your subpar review. Did you mention the guacamole with pomegranite. All that fussy talk about a salad? Let's get some serious writing. Pithy and boring, I will pass on the review, not the restaurant.


How would you know if it 'translates well,' or not? You have nothing to translate it to. You see, you are claiming to know one language well, 'authentic Mexican food' the way your mother prepares enchilada. To have a 'translation" you have to have another culture present. Take a friend with a different background next time. Compare notes. You still will dislike the salads and still will prefer the food prepared certain way, but you will have better understanding how 'it translates.'  Personally I do not believe in defined 'authentic' for any country larger than Monaco, but love listening to people arguing about it. 



I was just there and I too thought the salad was dumb. My dad and I both didn't eat them, what a waste of food.




1.) "And while I'm quite against the James Beard Foundation, I do appreciate the recognition for her merit"


Who. Fucking. Cares. Why am I reading about your thoughts on the JBF paired with a belittling gesture about how you "appreciate" the recognition of Silvana's merit? Subtly sure isn't one of your strong points.


2.) Oh my god, a salad. Is there a crack in the earth now? Ugh, soooo not ~*authentic*~



I can't wait for this pitiful series of "reviews" to be over.


I'm with Frank. It's a place to take out-of-town tourists.


I agree with you! Overpriced food and not that tasty.

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