When you see cilantro on a menu, you know you are in the Southwest. Find out where you can sample Cilantro while in Scottsdale.

When you see cilantro on the menu, you know you are in the Southwest. It’s not just a flavor that defines Southwestern Cuisine, but it is also one of most divisive herbs in the world. Recent studies suggest that it may be a genetic predisposition to either love or dislike the herb.

CRUjiente Tacos

You don’t have to worry if you are a cilantrophobe. Scottsdale has plenty of tasty, cilantro-free dishes. If you love the flavor of cilantro, I have some ideas to enjoy it.

Rich Hinojosa, chef and co-founder of Crujiente Tacos, uses cilantro leaves and stems in his creations. It’s impossible to choose a favorite flavor because the flavors are so complex and layered. The Mexican Chop Salad has a vibrant, cilantro vinaigrette that is a perfect complement to the deep-fried squares of cotija. CRUjiente’s tacos are more than just tacos. The Texas Wagyu is delicious with its slightly spicy, cilantro-based mojo. It’s the perfect compliment to the sweet, soy-pickled Shimeji mushroom. This is a dish to behold.

CRUjiente Tacos Wagyu Taco. Photo by Christian Brabec

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The unexpected combination of cilantro and house kimchi made me swoon. CRUjiente Tacos had a tasty cilantro cocktail, the Arcadia Margarita. It was made with muddled cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro. Jason Morris, the restaurant’s cofounder, created this tasty drink. The drink was not overly spicy but it was refreshing, and each ingredient was highlighted. It made a great companion to my cilantro-centric meal.

The Mission

The Mission has locations in downtown Kierland Commons and serves tableside guacamole which highlights the vibrant colors of cilantro. The freshness of the green herb is added to the guacamole. It is not spicy.

The Mission serves tableside guacamole with fresh cilantro. Photo by Susan Lanier Graham

A salsa verde or fresh green sauce is another way to use cilantro. This traditional sauce is usually made with tomatillos (similar to tart tomatoes), peppers, onions and cilantro. It’s served over savory dishes.

Roaring Fork

For a delicious example of salsa verde order the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Carnitas at Roaring Fork. This dish is made extra special by the house-made, hot buttered flour tacos. For a Southwestern twist, order the frozen margarita swirled with huckleberries.

Green Herbs are Good for You

The best part is that cilantro contains a lot of antioxidants. It is also thought to help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, soothe digestive upset, fight colon cancer, reduce swelling, and reduce infection. Whew! This herb is a wonderful one. For more information on this herb, visit Wander with Wonder to find out about other great restaurants in Scottsdale or throughout Arizona.