Tuesday, March 16, 2010

La Parrilla Suiza

13001 N. Tatum Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85032

:):):):):) (5 smiles out of 5!)

La Parrilla Suiza (which means "the Swiss grill") has been our favorite Mexican food restaurant for the past 10 years. (The "Swiss grill" is, I believe, the metal tray they serve some dishes, like the fajitas, on which has a compartment to hold pieces of hot coal from the grill, to keep the food warm or sizzling. We do not know the story behind how the Swiss influenced the owners of the restaurant chain, or how they came to use the device.) We have also tried to remember how we came to discover Suiza (as we call it for short), and we cannot remember if someone recommended it, or if we just saw the sign for Mexico City food and decided to try something new, which we like to do and have done often.

As Super Dragon has been our favorite Chinese restaurant, Suiza has been our favorite Mexican restaurant. Again, the food is consistently good, and the service is great. The food IS different than regular Mexican fare. They do have the usual - burritos, tacos, quesadillas, fajitas, chips and salsas. But, they also have different or unexpected dishes.

According to the website, Suiza's tacos, meat and cheese dishes are all grilled or cooked on charcoal. One of my favorites is called Shrimp Alambre. It is grilled shrimp with bell peppers, and a sort of pico de gallo salsa (of tomatos and onions and peppers), which gives the dish a slight kick. It is served with flour tortillas and buttery white rice. I love to eat it with the chips. My daughter loves their flour tortillas, so when I order this dish, more often than not she gets the tortillas.

My husband loves their corn tortillas, which are fresh and hand-made right there. The Tatum Blvd. location has a window into their grill area, and we can see them making the corn tortillas, or grilling up the meat. Sometimes it is quite a show!

I like to think that their food is healthier, although I don't know at all what their calorie counts or fat contents are like. But, they serve grilled meats, not breaded or fried, and lots of veggies, including bell peppers, onions, tomatos, and a wonderful cabbage salad they have recently started serving as a side with some of their meals. Of course, they have fried foods, and full fat cheese, I'm sure, and serve sour cream, but I feel they have better options than traditional Mexican restaurants if you are watching what you eat. The Shrimp Alambre is one meal that seems relatively healthier to me than, say, a beef burrito. Lean protein, grilled, and lots of veggies, with a small serving of rice - sounds good to me!

I have raved about the Shrimp Alambre - sorry! Can you tell it's my favorite dish there?

The restaurant itself is enjoyable to just sit and look around as well. There is a beautiful mural painted inside, and there are brick and rock arches, as well as Mexican tiled art on the walls.

La Parrilla Suiza's Tatum Blvd. location received an average of only 3 stars out of 5 from the Yelp.com review, and if you read the reviews, they vary from 2 to 5 stars. I did notice that the two most recent reviews - one from February this year, and one from December last year - were 5 stars though. Some people thought the food was bland and nothing special. Others thought it was right on in representing Mexico City food. I suppose expectation can be something to consider. I've never been to Mexico City, so I have no idea how the food is different there from what we Americans think of as traditional Mexican food.

I think La Parrilla Suiza is a fantastic place to eat when you want Mexican food, but are tired of the usual fare. We've been going for 10 years, so obviously we think it's pretty good!

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